The choice of a campsite is an important decision that one needs to make before setting out on the actual trip. Unfortunately, not so many people put a lot of thought into the need to treat this decision with the seriousness that it deserves. We have lots of individuals out there who are in the dark about the downside of making a poor decision regarding the choice of a camping site. On the positive side, if you’re reading this, it means you are making an intentional move to learn about how to choose a good campsite. We shall be covering the factors that you need to put into consideration when selecting a camping site.
The following are the factors that we’ll be covering in detail going forward:
What to Consider When Choosing a Campsite
The first thing that you need to consider when choosing a campsite is the wind. As much as you are going to pitch a tent at an open ground somewhere in the middle of the woods, it is still important to consider things like the speed, strength, and direction of the wind. See, the open ground is a great place to set up your tent. But, you’ve got to ask yourself how the tent is going to hold up in the event of a strong wind. To take care of this, you need to ensure that the open ground you select is surrounded by trees. Trees do a great job of acting as windbreakers. So, in the event of a strong wind blowing across the area, your tent will remain intact.
When it comes to the direction of the wind, you need to consider the actual location of your campfire and its alignment with the position of the tent. Make sure the alignment of the campfire and the tent are in such a way that the wind does not end up blowing smoke into the inside of your tent. Let the campfire be located on the opposite side of the blowing wind against the tent. In other words, if your tent is on the eastern side of the campsite and the wind is blowing eastwards, then the fireplace should be set up downwind. This way, the wind will not blow smoke into your tent and cause discomfort.
The direction of the wind is also capable of disrupting your sleep especially if you are a hammock camper. So, be sure to set up your tent in a position that will have the least contact with the direct winds. A dense surrounding of trees at the campsite will help to prevent such disruptions from causing discomfort.
When it comes to water, you want to set up a tent at a safe distance that is neither too close nor too distant from a water source. Water is an essential resource that you cannot stay without for too long As a matter of fact, you can hardly go a day without it. So, it is a smart move to ensure that you can access it with ease while camping. But, there are certain dangers that come with being too close to a water source. It is for this reason that you need to ensure the location of your campsite is appropriate enough not to deprive you or cause harm of any kind.
An appropriate campsite should be safe from hazards like flash floods, which are often common in areas at the bottom of a hill, river bed, and a dried swamp. So, be sure to look out for these locations and avoid them the best way you can. The easiest way to identify a river bed or a dried swamp is the absence of plant-life.
As much as you want to stay at a safe distance from water sources, you might want to ensure your campsite is not too far. A walking distance from your tent to the water source is fine. Remember, a lot of unwanted insects like mosquitoes like to hang around the water sources. Plus, wild animals also frequent such places a lot more during nighttime hours. So, it will be in your best interest to stay a safe distance from the large water bodies.
The decision to choose a campsite should be done is full consideration of the presence of wood. This is because, just like water, we’d like to think of wood as a good servant but a bad master in the sense that it is such an essential resource but still a dangerous hazard. It is important for you to choose a location that is in close proximity to lots of wood because it is a readily available source of fuel for your campfire. Do not set up your campsite at a place that is almost a quarter a mile away from wood because eventually, you will have to walk that distance fetching firewood. Save yourself the hassle, won’t you?
While at it, be careful about the type of wood surrounding the selected campsite. Dead standing trees are a very dangerous kind of wood to hang around. They are the dead trees that are yet to fall because they are held by tree branches of other trees. Think of these as a ticking time bomb because it is just a matter of time before they come tumbling down and you can be sure that they will sweep and crush everything in their way. So, do yourself a favor and stay away from dead standing trees because it only takes a strong-enough wind to set them off.
Dead standing trees are not the only hazardous pieces of wood you should be worried about. Widowmakers are tree branches that fell off from trees but did not reach the ground because they got stuck between branches of other trees on their way down. In the event of a strong wind blowing over the area, these large branches could easily be shaken off and come down with great speed. It is anyone’s guess what would happen if you set up your tent in such an area. The falling branches will not only destroy your campsite but they could also cause serious injuries.
As much as it is a good idea to set up a tent in a place surrounded by trees, it is important to avoid setting up directly below the trees. Select a position that is a little distant from the feet of the trees. This way, even if there are widow makers or dead standing trees, they will not fall directly on to your campsite and cause damage to your tent and yourself. Always remember that safety is a priority and you cannot afford to gamble with it while selecting a camping site. Read also: Safety Tips for Solo Campers
Game trails are mostly frequented by animals and the last thing you want is to bump into a raccoon or a possum while camping in the middle of the woods. It can be quite scary. To be on the safe side, it is advisable to select a location that is away from game trails. It will be in your best interest to keep off such trails anyway. You may not notice a game trail at a glance but with much attention, you can notice traces of animal tracks in the trail. Alternatively, you could seek the assistance of a park ranger or any authorities available at the selected camping location. These people have relevant information about the location that could help you make a decision to help you avoid game trails at the campsite.
In summation, selecting a camping site requires you to consider the following points:
- Set up your campsite about 200 feet away from a source of water source
- Make sure the location you select has a generous surrounding of trees to act as windbreakers
- Set up your campsite at a flat ground to avoid flash floods
- Stay away from game trails and you will not have any problems with wild animals in the campsite
- Make sure you can find firewood without having to walk too long
- Keep off areas that are directly beneath tall trees. You never know when widow makers or dead standing trees will come tumbling down
- Make sure the fireplace is downwind relative to the position of the tent
It is quite easy to have the time of your life camping. But, it all starts with the right decision of choosing a campsite. As we have seen, it is not that hard to choose a good campsite. Just make sure you put into consideration the wind, water, and wind. If you can remember these three things, there is literally nothing that can stop you from finding the perfect campsite. Just remember to take your time. It serves your best interests to find a good campsite so do not be in a hurry. Involve the right authorities and most importantly, think critically. Some of the decisions are pretty much common sense. So, go out there and have a happy camping trip!