A little bit of knowledge goes a long way. All of the facts listed below are pertinent to camping trips, and many of them are decent conversation starters that will show your friends that you know what you’re talking about.
1. About 3 million people camp at parks run by the National Park Service every year according to the Outdoor Industry Association.
2. Deer can jump as high as 10 feet in the air from a full sprint.
3. Wildfires are probably more common than you think. Over 100,000 wildfires occur every year in the United States alone.
4. Raccoons can purr. Like house cats, they usually purr when they feel content or safe.
5. Ticks must be connected to their hosts for at least a day and a half–36 hours–to pass Lyme disease.
6. In 2009 alone, there were more than 30,000 reported cases of Lyme disease.
7. Niagara Falls actually consists of three sets of waterfalls. Canada’s Horseshoe Falls are the longest with a 2,600 foot brink, while the connected American and Bridal Veil falls have a 1,060 foot brink. In total, 750,000 gallons of water run over the falls every second.
8. A mouse can squeeze through an incredibly small space thanks to its soft skull. Zip up your tent at night–if there are holes bigger than a ballpoint pen, a mouse can get in.
9. It is a myth that fish can be humanely killed with ice water. According to Australia’s RSPCA, the most humane way to kill fish is to strike them in the head with a blunt instrument or to spike the fish.
10. You can tell the temperature by listening to a cricket chirping. Count the number of chirps in 14 seconds and add 40 for the temperature in Fahrenheit.
11. The record high temperature in the United States was recorded in Death Valley, California at 134 degrees Fahrenheit.
12. The record low temperature in the United States was recorded in Prospect Creek, Alaska at -79.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
13. Black bears can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. They also have an incredible sense of smell, so take appropriate precautions when camping in bear territory.
14. The largest wolf species in North America grow to about six and a half feet from tail to muzzle.
15. Mosquitoes can smell the carbon dioxide in a human’s breath from over 100 feet away.
16. Hardwoods don’t spark, and seasoned hardwoods are ideal for campfires. Many campsites don’t allow you to use wood from the ground, so kiln-treated hardwoods are an essential supply.
17. After a few hours, your campfire can reach temperatures of 900 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Always keep a bucket of water near your campfire in case the flames get out of control.
18. Gas stoves, charcoal grills and other fuel-burning devices can cause dangerous build-ups of carbon monoxide. Never store these devices in your tent, even when you’re not using them.
19. Lightning strikes are fairly common, occurring about 100,000 times per day worldwide. A bolt of lightning can raise the temperature of the surrounding air by 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
20. Wildfires move quickly. Some reach speeds of 14 miles per hour, so never go anywhere near a wildfire and check for advisories before heading out to a campsite.