Tips For Picking the Perfect Campsite
Choosing Your Campsite
Camping is one of those activities where you either really love it or absolutely hate it, there isn’t really an in between. Over the years, we have noticed that those who hate camping have typically had a bad experience while camping. With more digging, we find that almost every bad experience is related to the chosen campsite. So, while it might seem simple, we are going to share our best tips on how to choose the perfect campsite!
The 5 W’s
There are a few variations of the “W’s” when choosing a campsite, but these are our favorite:
It is always a good idea to camp near a fresh water source, such as a river or stream. This will allow you to haul water to your campsite easier and it offers great recreational activities. Remember to set up camp far enough away from the water in case of heavy rain. You don’t want the water to rise too much and soak your campsite.
Ideally, you want to choose a campsite that will get still gentle breezes to keep you feeling refreshed, but one that is also is sheltered from major gusts. Setting up a tent or trying to sleep during strong winds is nearly impossible. Whether it is tall rocks or a line of trees, make sure your campsite has some sort of shelter from the wind. This leads us into our next, very important “W.”
3. Widow Makers
While protection from strong winds is important, always check the trees around your potential campsite for any dead branches. A gust of wind, heavy rain or even too much snow accumulation can cause these dead branches to break off and come crashing down, which can cause serious injuries.
If you are camping in an area that allows campfires, you will want to choose a campsite that has plenty of useable woodnearby. Gathering firewood and then having a long hike back to the campsite will drain your energy and leave you feeling frustrated, especially if you run out of wood in the evening. Remember to never cut down a live tree for firewood or shelter unless you are in a survival situation! Look for trees and branches that are already dead and easily accessible.
While camping, be mindful of wildlife. You need to respect nature and all its creatures, but also be prepared. Do research on the area you will be camping in and know ahead of time if you need to bring bear proof coolers, bear spray, or bear canister and choose a campsite that will accommodate the extra supplies. It is also important to pick a campsite far away from ant hills, wasp nests, insect breeding grounds like ponds, or anything else that may make your campsite uncomfortable.
- Before going camping, familiarize yourself with the laws and regulationsof the area you will be camping. Every area is different when it comes to allowing campfires, requiring permits, being pet friendly, etc. Knowing the rules and regulations before going will make your camping experience much more enjoyable.
- When it comes to the physical spot you will be camping in, make sure it is relatively flat and well drained. Bringing your GO-KOT will reduce your need to find flat, comfortable ground, but a well-drained area is must regardless!
- Remember that the perfect campsite is found, not made. Don’t make any drastic changes to the area you plan on camping in. Not only will that disrupt nature, but it also causes you unnecessary stress ad additional work. If you feel that changes need to made, find a different campsite.
If you are leaning towards staying at an established campsite, then make sure it still fits into the above criteria. It is also important to check that campground’s ratings and reviews, so you know what to expect.
A Final Note
Regardless of if you are camping in backcountry or at an established campsite, ALWAYS pick up after yourself. By leaving no trace of your camping experience, you are helping to preserve nature and protecting the creatures that call it home. Not only that, but you are ensuring that you or someone else will be able to call that area a perfect campsite in the future.