Going out into the wilderness on an RV camping trip puts you right in the middle of wild animal territory. While you want to be respectful of any animal that makes the place you are camping their home, you also don’t want them in your things while you are trying to get away and relax.

Though we tend to see more video and equipment toward keeping bears out of a campsite, chances are very low that a bear will invade your space unless you are in known bear country. Most of the time regular campsite invasion offenders are smaller animals like raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels and skunks.

The biggest factor that draws animals into campsites is food.

Animals generally try to stay away from humans unless there is something interesting in the campsite they want. When an animal smells food and they are hungry, they are going to find a way to get to that food. Unfortunately if you do not have your food properly stored; there is a very high chance of visitation from unwanted creatures to your camping spot. Many animals that make the forest their home can smell strong food odors from items such as raw meat and food scraps from up to a mile away.

Since so many animals have such a keen sense of smell it is wise to properly store and dispose of all food after every meal. Just closing up a cooler or sealing a food package is not enough to keep animals from invading and eating your food. Animals can still smell food inside packages and containers and we all know trash bags are like bat signals to raccoons and skunks.

The most common food storage mistakes that draw animals into a campsite include:

  • Trash bags with food scraps not taken to a dumpster
  • Food crumbs and scraps left on a picnic table or under a table
  • Chip and bread bags left out
  • Food left inside of tents even in unopened packages
  • Spilled beverages that contain sugar or empty beverage containers
  • Food prep surfaces and cooking surfaces left unclean

Here’s how to store and dispose of food properly to keep unwanted animals away:

  • Burn food scraps over the camp fire instead of placing them in the trash, or at least take your trash bag inside the RV or place it in the campsite dumpster every night.
  • Keep all eating and food prep areas as tidy as possible. Clean all food prep and cookware surfaces that are outside the RV after every meal. Don’t forget to wipe off the outside table if you use it to eat at, and pick up any large pieces of food off the ground.
  • Make sure all food gets back in the RV or the cooler. If you leave the cooler outside the RV, make sure it is a cooler with a good seal and hinge locks, and of course don’t forget to snap those locks shut.
  • Rinse all sugary drink spills with lots and lots of water.
  • If you set up a tent alongside your RV, make sure that there is no food inside the tent. This includes even closed packaged food.
  • Another great tip is to surround the perimeter of the campsite with an animal deterrent like mothballs or dryer sheets with fabric softener.

Should a critter wonder into your camp here are some things you can do to get rid of them:

Raccoons and Opossums- These guys are easily scared with loud noises and clapping, just make sure to keep a distance and don’t try to touch them or pick them up.

Skunks- They are also deterred by loud noises, but be aware that their first instinct is to spray, so keep a very good distance and use a really loud noise.

Bears- In the off chance a bear wanders into your camp, you will want to slowly and quietly get out of the campsite and to safety. Do not face off with a bear. Forget about the site for now; there is nothing you can do until they leave.

For more tips on RV camping or information on RV rental please feel free to browse our website or contact us anytime. NW Adventure Rentals has a luxurious fleets of motorhomes and travel trailers, conveniently located in the Pacific Northwest at our Seattle location! Let us help you have a great outdoor vacation!