Wildlife encounters

Truck Camping Security: Animal Encounters

Important safety considerations for camping in wildlife territory

In a series of independent blogs, we are passing along retired law enforcement officer Bryan Appleby’s personal safety advice for truck campers, including personal safety, wildlife encounters and camper security.

There are many big animal, reptile and insect threats to you when camping in remote areas, some as small as bees, spiders, and mosquitoes. So take good note of these recommendations to avoid a negative experience next time you come across one of them:


You should know your susceptibility to insect bites and prepare accordingly.  Spraying the door frame and screens with insect repellant will help to keep many of them away. While outside, wear clothes that minimize exposed skin and use bug spray. If you’re allergic to bee stings, have any necessary medication with you.  Also, check the ground around your chosen parking spot for fire ant hills as well as normal ants. Scorpions are also known to hide themselves in not visible places.

Collared lizard and Bighorn Sheep
National Park Service Photo


Reptiles, including poisonous snakes, can be prevalent in areas that truck campers travel through.  The greatest dangers from poisonous snakes are to children and pets, which normally go exploring new areas; so make sure to keep an eye on them. If you leave shoes or containers outside unattended, always check them before inserting hands and feet. Do not place your hands on or in locations that are not clearly visible.

wildlife encounters


The basics regarding bears include: keeping your food secured in a fully-enclosed location and keeping a clean camp. Your biggest potential bear problem will be the people around you, as they may not be on the same level of bear safety.  You are only as safe as the people around you.  If you see or encounters a bear, remain calm, refrain from eye contact, keep a safe distance (100 yards or more) and back away slowly. If a bear does charge, chances are it’s a bluff. Carrying bear spray has proven to be the most effective deterrent for up-close encounters.

Whenever you’re in bear country, avoid the areas frequented by them and refrain from locations you are not able to see 360⁰ around you.  Also, know how to use the bear spray ahead of time, and carry it with you and not inside a pack.


It is so easy to allow yourself to come close to deer, elk, moose, bison and other big animals you see in the wild; but don’t! Leave a safe distance of 50 to 75 yards away from these animals, as they can easily cover this distance between you and them, in the time it takes for you to decide to run away.  If you do get chased, put a tree or other obstacle between you and the threat. Keep in mind that elk have sharp hooves and a bison can weigh as much as a small car.


Smaller animals can very easily damage or destroy important items in and around your truck and camper. A good tip is to keep rodent bait traps in the engine compartment of the truck, to keep mice and other rodents (including rabbits) from eating the wiring and insulation.

One last animal tip: do not feed the wildlife, leave food out for them or for your own pets, as you may not like who you invite to dinner!

Camping Safety Tips with Phoenix Custom Truck Campers

Wildlife encounters
Coyote photo by National Park Service

With our custom made truck campers there’s no limit to where you can go and what you can do on your outdoor adventures. We know that every camping situation and every camper are unique, that’s why we threw away the mold and work directly with each customer to guarantee you get a camper that meets all of your specific camping requirements. There is no factory, no middle man, just us and the customer, and we promise that your camper will be camp-ready when you pick it up.

Give us a call so we can get started on your own Custom Phoenix Truck Camper. The world is ready to be explored. Are you?