Campsites are a special part of the backpacking and camping experience. It is said that good campsites are found, not made. Finding the best camping spots begins at home when you plan your trip. Proper trip planning is essential and can make or break your camping trip. You must be familiar with the regulations of the area and thus plan your camps accordingly. Proper planning will save you from settling for a campsite that is far from ideal.
It’s always beneficial to know what to look for when finding the best camping spots, so here are some effective campsite selection tips to assist you:
Is the camping spot close to a water source?
Being close to water is imperative so you don’t need to travel far for the water you need for drinking and cooking. However, sometimes you may prefer to load up on water and camp out at a dry site in a special place or if you seek privacy away from your noisy neighbors.
Is your camp location safe from hazards such as flash floods, rock falls, avalanches or high tide?
It is important for you to be aware of the local environment and not camp at a site where you can get injured.
Is the surface free of roots, broken branches, and stones?
This is just to facilitate you with a comfortable trip, more than anything else. Clear the small debris from the area before setting up your camp or move to a different location. If there aren’t any ideal sites around, inflatable sleeping pads can improve comfort.
Is your campsite located on a compacted ground?
When people camp on the same spot again and again, often it results in the compaction of the ground. This can be a bad news if you set up your camp on the same site and it rains heavily. Suddenly, you find yourself swamped when the compacted area fills with water.
Consider the sun.
If you want to enjoy the warmth of the morning sun, make sure that your camp faces south. The best camping spots will have some trees to block the unwanted sun during the hottest parts of the day.
Is your campsite set off from game trails and hiking trails?
You don’t want to set your shelter too close to a hiking trail for the privacy reasons, or a game trail, where you may get disturbed by the animals at night. It is always best to avoid both.
Is the campsite 200 ft away from the water source?
The principles of leave no trace recommends camping at least 200 feet away from the water source. Although, there’s another good reason for this: it can significantly reduce the internal condensation you may experience in your camp.
Is your campsite heavily exposed to the wind?
It is always good for your campsite to have a certain amount of wind to help eliminate the shelter condensation. However, you must avoid camping in a very windy spot that could blow your gear away or cause it to collapse.
Be aware of the natural surroundings.
Don’t camp under tall rocks or cliffs, or else you may have unexpected guests roll in when you are least prepared. The same goes for leaning trees, which will fall whenever they please!