Picking the ideal campsite for your needs is vital to an enjoyable camping experience. Once a tent is set up, it is never fun to move it. Here are the essential things to consider when picking a spot to pitch your tent and roast your marshmallows.
Safety First: Never, never pitch your tent in a flash-flood prone area. Basically, make sure you do not put your tent at the bottom of a ravine, or any place where natural water run-off flows. Use trees as wind shelter, but watch for trees that are decaying or dead and give them a wide berth; heavy winds topple rotten trees and you want to be out of reach.
Drink Up: Camp near a clean, easy access water source. Each park has various regulations on how close you can camp to the water, so keep those area specific rules in mind. Also, remember that the wildlife needs the water too. Do not camp so close to the water that animals coming in to drink will explore your camp on their way.
Comfort Matters: Maybe you brought a mattress pad, maybe you are sleeping on the dirt; either way, clear out the space where you are putting your tent. Find a level piece of ground to pitch your tent. Hills and angles make for awkward sleeping positions. Make sure there are no ant hills or animal holes where you place your tent. Finally, clear the ground under the tent of all sticks and rocks. Make the sleeping surface as smooth as possible for a nice night of rest. Side note: Prank your fellow campers by placing rocks under their sleeping bags…but only if you are prepared for whatever retaliation they cook up.
Proximity: There are two main ways to look at camping close to other campers: safety benefits, or aggravation. Camping in a designated location with other tents and camp vehicles discourages wandering predators, both human and animal. The adage safety in numbers almost always rings true. Some people however, are not comfortable sleeping so near to strangers, and that is okay too. Camping farther away from other people provides more peace, quiet, and privacy. Choose whatever proximity to other people as you feel comfortable with, but try to choose wisely so you do not have to pack up your site due to changing your mind.
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My: Know what wildlife lives in the area you will be camping. Do not keep food in your tent as that can attract predators. Use bear poles or bear boxes if provided. Do not leave food lying out, uneaten and unattended. Make sure to pack up or burn all food containers as well. The smells linger on packages and still attract animals, so keep them in a designated area with the food and separate from the heart of camp.
Keep these five tips in mind when you pick your next campsite, and you should have an enjoyable experience making memories!
Talking about picking your campsite, here is a video from an expert woman camper on this very topic: