How to Pick a Great Campsite: 12 Helpful Tips

Camping is such an enjoyable vacation idea. Going with your family or friends to a reclusive place in the environment to enjoy nature and feel connected to the planet which we all inhabit is very pleasurable. Picking the best camping spot, though, is very important to how well your camping trip is going to turn out.

To pick the best camping site a person needs to find flat ground that is at least 200 feet away from water and hiking paths. Campers need to be aware of their environment when they are choosing a camping site. Therefore, when choosing a camping site campers need to look for dangers.

There are lots of things to keep in mind when choosing a camping site. It is important to be aware of all the outside forces that can cause damage to your campsite. Read on to learn more tips on how to pick the perfect campsite.

1. Do Research

Before you even begin your camping trip it is important to know where camping spots are. Before you go to your camping location check online for where other people who have visited the spot have set up camping.

You can also check out a brochure from one of the ranger stations that shows the camping grounds. Knowing where others have camped is a way to make sure that you are not wondering for hours trying to find a good spot.

Also, by doing the research beforehand on where you can set up a tent you will be aware of places where you are not allowed to set up camp. The people who take care of the land where you are camping may have rules on where a person may or may not camp.

It is important to respect these rules. We are not entitled to a camping spot and therefore should be good guests of the land.

2. Scheduling Time to Look

It is important not to lose track of time. Exploring the outdoors is a lot of fun, but if you cannot find a campsite before dark it makes setting up camp a lot more difficult.

Setting up camp in the dark restricts vision. Therefore, you will not be able to scout whether your campsite is a safe place as easily as if you had the sun as your friend.

I suggest that you start looking for your campsite two hours before sunset. The process of looking for a campsite can bring you to a lot of beautiful places either way.

Make sure everyone in your group of campers is aware of this, so you are all prepared to take time near the end of the day to prepare for bed.

By taking that little bit of extra time you are making your camping trip more successful and enjoyable.

3. Find Flat Ground

Try and find flat ground for a better camping experience. It is hard to camp on a hill. It is not comfortable for sleeping and will leave you with back pain in the morning.

Another problem with the bumpy ground is that it gives pockets where wind can come through and blow your tent away. Chasing down your tent when you are getting ready for bed is not a fun way to spend your camping trip.

Also, the bumpy ground gives little pockets under your tent for animals and snakes to burrow under. Therefore, while you are lying in your tent you might be greeted by feeling a little furry friend moving around under your tent.

Overall, making sure you have flat ground will prevent a lot of unpleasant activities and will bring an overall more pleasant camping experience for you and everyone you are camping with.

4. Look for Water Sources and Trails

When you are camping it is important to stay 200 feet away from any water source. Water is important to the ecosystem. By camping near the water, it will bring more likely chances of running into creatures that will hurt you.

By camping near water, you also can hurt the animals who will not drink the water if you are there. It is not a very considerate thing to camp near water.

Also, camping near beds of water increases your chances of being flooded. Waking up to standing water is not a fun way to wake up.

Also, make sure you are 200 feet away from any trails. This is so you can avoid humans. If you camp near trails you could be awakened by loud people trying to hike in the morning. People also are more likely to wander onto your campsite not realizing that you are staying there.

5. Look for Shade or Sun

Whether to look for the sun or shade is dependent on what time of year you are camping and where you are camping.

If you are camping during the winter it might be more pleasant to look for a place where the sun shines. This way you can obtain more heat. To fully utilize the heat keep your tent shut and allow the greenhouse effect to warm your tent up.

If you are camping in the heat of summer it might be best to look for places where there are lots of shade. It will get you out of the heat. This will protect you from the harsh environment.

If you are camping in the Summer it might be best to keep your tent door opened slightly to allow air circulation inside of your tent. That will help cool things down and bring for a more pleasant camping experience.

6. Check for Dead Trees

One thing you may not think of doing is looking for dead trees. This is a rather important thing to do when choosing a camping site.

If you happened to get a wind storm in the middle of the night and those trees fall, you and those you are with could be in great danger.

Dead trees are also more flammable. Dead trees are very dry. Live trees have sap that runs through them. The sap is what gives the tree nutrients. When a tree is dead they no longer need sap and so the tree will dry out. This makes it easier for a fire to eat through a dead tree than an alive tree.

Therefore, if you camp next to dead trees you are increasing your risk of starting a forest fire or being caught in a forest fire.

There are usually lots of places without dead trees around. Those places will be more beautiful too because living trees are a beautiful aspect of nature. Therefore, look for a pretty campsite and stay alive.

7. Look for Other Campers

What kind of camper are you? Do you like to make new friends while camping? If you do then camping near others may be the right choice for you.

If you like making friends on vacation then I would suggest that you go up to the people before you set up camp and get their opinion on the area and see if they are wanting to be social. If they are not wanting to be social I suggest you look for another spot where you can camp at.

On the other hand, if you are like me and do not wish to make friends when camping looking for how to stay far away from people may be best for you.

People make noise during the night and can often leave food out which will lure animals onto your camping ground. Staying as far away from other humans may be the best camping situation for you.

8. Look for a nice view

You are camping the entire purpose of camping is to enjoy nature. Therefore, while you are exploring nature if you see an area that is especially beautiful feel free to make a mental note to go back later and see if there is any good ground to set up a tent.

When I am looking for a camping spot I like to make sure that there is a way to get away from all the trees so I can go on a morning walk to see the sunrise.

If seeing the sunrise is important to you too then put that into your list of requirements for your camping spots. Also, if there is a place to see a sunrise there is a place to see the stars. What is better than star gazing when you are camping.

You are out camping to have fun. It is worth making sure that the things that you enjoy can be included at your campsite.

9. Consider Wind

What is worse than rain when camping- wind. Wind can blow your entire camp to ruin. It can catch your tent and blow it away. Wind also can knock down trees and injure you or your camping buddies.

Therefore, it is important to take into account the dangers of wind when picking a camping spot so you can find some tools to help with wind.

A tool that can help with wind is a boulder or another form of wall that you can pitch your tent behind. If your tent is up against a large surface the wind will not be able to catch under your tent as easy to blow it away.

Also look for ground that is soft enough that you can get your stakes in deep, but hard enough that they will not come out easily if the wind starts blowing.

By taking into account wind you can protect yourself from an uncomfortable camping experience.

10. Look for Soft Ground

When you are camping you will be sleeping on the ground. You do not want to be sleeping on a rock, because that will be very hard to sleep on. The best thing to do is look for ground that is not burdened with lots of pebbles or pine cones.

Make sure that you will not have to do a lot of cleaning of your campsite before it will be ready to lay a tent down. Otherwise, you are wasting time that you could be exploring nature.

Looking for a spot that is naturally clear and soft will give you more time to explore. The soft ground will be good for your sleep and therefore will give you more energy the next day to go on more hikes and have more fun.

If you want before you go through the bother of even putting up a tent it might be worth it to lie on the ground and see if you think you could sleep there all night.

11. Do not Camp in Canyons, Valley, or Danger Zones

There are several spots where you should not camp at. Keep those in mind when picking a campsite.

You should not camp in canyons. The wind will bounce off the edges of the canyon and it will make it extremely cold. This will not be a pleasant camping experience for you or anyone in your camping group.

You should also not camp in the open fields. This leaves you open to predators and it also does not protect you from the cold wind either.

Also, make sure that you don’t camp in any dangerous areas such as where rock slides or flash floods are more common. Check with people who know the area the best to figure out where the most dangerous places to stay are to remain safe.

12. Find an Area Where You can Leave no Trace

When you are camping you are guests of the land. You must take care of the area you are in. Do not clear out anything and try to adjust the land so you can camp somewhere.

Make sure you leave the land exactly as you found it. When searching for a campsite keep in mind that other creatures live there as well and be respectful of their natural resources. You do not want someone else to be able to come by your campsite after you have left and be able to tell that you were there.

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