6 tips to stay sun safe while camping

Whether it's during the school holidays or just for a weekend getaway, camping is a favourite for many Australians. It's a great opportunity to get off the grid, explore the outdoors, and enjoy life among nature. But camping also entails spending long periods of time outside under the often unforgiving Australian sun. Here are six tips for staying sun safe next time you camp.

Sun-protection1. Apply sunscreen before you get dressed

Camping is usually not the time for rugging up, so often you will have more skin exposed than covered. Slathering on some broad-spectrum sunscreen before getting dressed into your clothes or swimmers will ensure you don't miss an inch, and you'll have less chance of getting an accidental burn strip where the strap or hem of your clothes has sat. The sun's UV rays can also penetrate sheer and light fabrics, so applying sunscreen to your entire body will offer all-over protection.

2. Plan ahead

Before leaving for your camping trip, make sure you pack enough sunscreen for the entire holiday. Also remember to pack a tarpaulin to protect your camping site from sun and rain, and bring along some portable shade such as beach umbrellas. Each day, plan out your activities to avoid being out in the sun during the middle of the day, and don't forget to take a small tube of sunscreen out with you so you can re-apply as necessary.

3. Use baby powder

It can be hard to re-apply sunscreen when you're covered in sand. Sprinkling some baby powder on your skin wherever the sand is stuck will remove the moisture and allows the sand to easily come off. It works on your hands, feet, arms, hair - everywhere! If you don't like using baby powder, cornstarch works just as well. Once the sand is off your skin, you can easily re-apply your sunscreen.

4. Swipe sunscreen down your hair part

A shady hat is ideal when you're relaxing at your camp site or out for a walk, but not so great when you're swimming at the beach, as it can be difficult to wear a hat in the water. Instead, try swiping a waterproof, non-greasy slick of sunscreen down your hair part, and remember to re-apply every few hours.

5. Take a long lunch

The sun's UV rays are the most harmful during the middle of the day, so it's a good idea to avoid being outside at this time. But when you're camping, you usually spend the entire day outdoors! Rather than doing activities in the fierce midday sun, try making a long lunch out of it. Find a shady spot at your camp site or nearby, and take a break from the heat while you enjoy some food.

6. Encourage kids to apply sunscreen too

It's really important that kids apply sunscreen every day, especially if spending time outdoors. To encourage your kids to wear sunscreen, get creative with the applicator you use. Sunscreen sticks can be a lot of fun for kids to draw on their skin, although you'll need to make sure they cover every inch and rub it in well. If you're using a sunscreen lotion, make-up sponges or paint brushes can help make the application fun for kids.

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Written by National Skin Cancer Centres