Apache Camper Blog

  • Published on Feb 29, 2016
    7 Camping Dangers in Nebraska

    “Better to be safe than sorry” was the mantra I grew up hearing from both of my parents. While Mom typically said this in reference to packing shoes for every possible occasion, Dad found it more applicable in the context of being prepared for anything Mother Nature could throw at us. That said, consider this more of the latter-- a guide “better to be safe than sorry: Nebraska camping dangers edition”.


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    Water/ Drought

    Even though the heat of summer hasn’t quite rolled in yet, the sunny months can be brutal in amongst the sweeping plains of Nebraska. Though there are rolling hills, overhead treeshade can be hard to come by. The potential for drought and dehydration are legitimate dangers in the summer months. Be sure to pack an ample supply of drinking water before setting out on any camping excursion. Make sure to double check the campground rules for campfires.  At the peak of a drought period, open fires will sometimes be restricted or banned.  Also keep an eye on the Nebraska Game and Parks website before venturing out to see what the fire danger is during the time you are planning on camping.  Grass fires are devastating - play safe, and stay safe.


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    Overhead Snow and Ice

    In the wintertime overhead snowdrifts and ice present themselves as a legitimate threat to civilians. Now is the time, when the snow is still present but beginning to melt, that the overhead snowdrifts and ice are particularly dangerous. Be sure to look at your overhead surroundings and make sure that you steer clear of snow buildup that lacks foundational support. When these finally break and fall they are known for seriously injuring the people dwelling below. Also keep an eye open for slick conditions when towing.  Check the road conditions before heading out for hunting or mid winter camping.  Nebraska Department of Roads usually has a road map of the entire state showing whether a roadway is clear or if it is snow or ice covered.  Once again, safety first!



    Poisonous snakes and other critters

    There are poisonous snakes are that are native to Nebraska.  Be careful to watch where you step when out and about. You can avoid being bit by wearing closed-toed heavy leather boots or similar footwear. Most of the state parks will post signage telling you whether rattlesnakes are prevalent in that area.  It would also be wise to invest in some antivenom and have always have an emergency plan in case of injury by a poisonous creature. 


    Other common creatures that may pose a danger in Nebraska are coyotes who usually stay from humans, but stay aware.  There are the occasional mountain lion, but the last thing they want to deal with is humans.  They will however, attack small animals including small dogs.  Without saying, skunks are probably the least desirable animal to have a run in with.  Their protective "aroma" is pungent, and extremely hard to remove.  This is especially tough if your dog has a run-in.  Keep tomato juice on hand just in case.  It will be helpful in removing the odor.  There are also raccoons and possums which are  certainly annoying, they can pose a danger if they are rabid.  When you are camping, there is also the danger of the brown recluse spider, and very rarely the black widow which are very toxic and poisonous. 


    Make sure to never leave home without carrying a complete first aid kit.  Check this kit every year to make sure that all the contents are okay, and also whether any of the creams or ointments are expired.  If you have an encounter with any of the creatures of Nebraska, and aren't sure how to deal with it, contact the poison control center which you should always have in your contact list on your phone, or drive into the nearest town and find medical personnel. 


    One of the silent dangers nearly everywhere in Nebraska are the abundant deer.  They will suddenly jump out of a ditch and cross the road sometimes with disastrous results especially when towing a camper.  Dawn and twilight are the highest incidences of accidents, but anytime after dark is dangerous particularly in remote areas. 


    In all instances, be aware, and know before you go about the animal neighbors that might be present in the area you are camping.  Prevention is definitely the best medicine. 




    A bison is one creature in the prairie that you do not want to cross. Though seemingly docile, this large species can quickly turn aggressive when they feel spooked or threatened. In the event that you do see bison roaming wild, stay inside your vehicle. If you are out in the open, make no sudden movements, but create distance from the animal as quickly as possible.  Most bison are residing in protected areas and are rarely seen in an area that is commonly publicly used however. 



    Springtime Thunderstorms and Tornados

    The weather in Nebraska can roll in quickly and unexpectedly. Therefore it is important to be prepared for anything and everything. Even if the forecast doesn’t call for anything on a given day, it is still important to be prepared for the worst. Temperatures can drop quickly, even in the summer months, so be sure to pack expecting the unexpected.  Keep an eye on the sky - if conditions look or are threatening, head to the nearest storm shelter.  Most campgrounds will have the storm shelters in the shower houses, but don't assume.  Make sure when you are checking into any campground to find out where the  nearest shelter is.  No matter what, if you don't feel comfortable in your camper during a storm, vacate and head to the nearest shelter.  Tornados aren't the only danger - there are also straight line winds which can knock down limbs from trees, as well as hail storms that can be dangerous to someone caught out in the open.  Find shelter - there is no shame in being safe.  If possible, check the radar on your phone or computer and know which county you are camping in.  The alerts are usually posted by county, and will normally not mention campgrounds unless they are in the direct path of a severe storm. 


    Be aware that these storms can begin in the middle of the night.  Having a storm alert "alarm" with you could be lifesaving.  You can enter the zip code for the area you are camping, and it will alert you in case of severe weather. 





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    Desolate Places

    It is very easy to “fall off the grid” in the sweeping plains of Nebraska. Be sure that you don’t venture so far away from civilization that you lose GPS or cell phone service. Once in a while, it is unavoidable, and in that case, have a 12 volt radio with you to tune in the local stations for information.  Also, even though you are dependent on GPS or something similar, learn to use a map!  Even though some consider it "ancient technology", it doesn't hurt to have a detailed road map on hand.  Again, considering all of the other potential dangers, it is imperative that you are able to have access to a radio and safety shelter in the event that something else happens. Old school practices still come in pretty handy.  Better to be safe than sorry, right? 


    Apache Camper Center

    As you start planning your Nebraska camping adventures, be sure to check out our latest inventory deals. And as you’re driving, through stop in and see us!  We also have all your necessary RV accessories, and plenty of helpful advice.  Even if you stop by just to say "hi", we will be glad to see you!


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