How to: Pick the Perfect Camp Site

When it comes to roughing it in the great outdoors over several nights in a row, choosing the right campsite can make or break the experience. Set up shop on the wrong side of an embankment and you may suffer a night of wet sleeping bags and grumpy friends. Forget to take the right precautions and you’ll have curious critters sniffing through your weekend food supply. Fortunately, there are a number of steps to take that will ensure you find the perfect campsite.

Begin planning your campsite prior to your journey into the wilderness. It can be quite overwhelming and tiring planning a proper site on the fly, especially if you’ve been traveling or hiking the entire day. Make sure that you’ve done your due diligence regarding camping permits and park licenses at your location of choice. It’s often worth a call to the state park or wilderness area to identify reputable campsites. Ask about wildlife within the area so you can take precautions against encounters with hungry wild animals.

Once you’ve entered the chosen park or wilderness area and identified a desirable camping location find a sturdy surface to pitch your tent. The surface where you pitch the tent should be reasonably flat with a slight tilt, to minimize the possibility of water collecting underneath in the event of a rainstorm. Bare ground and short grass will suffice, but rock or gravel is preferable. Make sure that the site is at least 250 feet away from water sources with plenty of elevation. Giving the site some elevation will reduce the potential for flooding, mosquitoes, and other pests that thrive in the lowlands and tall grasses. Avoid major depressions and valleys, which are the dampest, coolest, and most humid locations.

Moreover, ensure the safety of your campsite by evaluating the integrity of the trees surrounding it. Dead or dying trees within the vicinity could potentially collapse over the entire campsite and put your camping companions in danger. Attempt to set up camp in consistently wooded areas with plentiful tree cover while avoiding single trees that could attract lightning during a storm. If you plan on making campfires, invest in certified fire rings or pans to ensure a safe, comfortable fire. If you’re not experienced building fires in the woods, try practicing in your backyard or open space before you embark on your camping vacation.

The campsite is often an overlooked, underrated part of the camping experience. Too frequently, a snap decision is made when choosing where to retire for the evening. Try to find a scenic spot with a view, along with the attributes previously mentioned. This will make your sojourn in the woods that much more special. Lastly, make sure that your time camping is environmentally conscious, so that the next camper venturing into the woods is treated to the same perfect campsite you were treated to. Low-impact camping protects Mother Nature and ensures that the wilderness will enjoy a long and fruitful existence.

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →