Choosing a campsite can make or break your camping experience. Established campgrounds may be great because they offer electrical hookups, water, restrooms, and designed space for tents, tables, fires and more. But what if you want to get away from those "camping luxuries"?
Break loose and set out for your own campsite in the backcountry. Here's what you should consider when choosing a campsite.
Where Will You Sleep?
Choosing where to sleep is the most important decision when picking a campsite. You should pick a spot with flat ground so you can pitch your tent and not worry about waking up against the wall and off your sleeping pad.
Is There Shade?
Shade is another important factor when picking a spot to set up camp. While permanent shade isn't necessary, you'll at least want your tent in a shaded spot. Trust us, there's nothing worse than waking up to the blazing hot sun beaming on your tent.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
You should always be aware of what's above your campsite. Don't choose to set up camp beneath a dead tree and risk fallen limbs crushing your tent.
You should also be aware of what's around you. For example, you might not want to be near water because of bugs, thirsty animals and a possible flooding risk. Instead, choose a campsite near water, but not close enough to have visitors.
If there are high winds in the forecast you should consider settling in behind something that can act as a windbreaker like a big boulder or a collection of trees. In other words, don't be caught on open ground. Wind is something that your tent and gear cannot protect itself from.
What Impact Are You Making?
Consider what kind of impact you'll be making in the backcountry. We want to preserve our lands as much as possible, so if you find a spot that looks like it's already been camped in, go for it. You'll be making much less of an impact than if you were to forget your own spot.
Do You Have Privacy?
Are you going to want privacy? After all, we're talking about moving away from the more established campgrounds and carving out our own sites in the backcountry. You may want neighbors for some company, but you probably won't want to be 20 feet away at all times. Allow yourself some privacy, that's why you're camping right? Privacy highlights the excitement of getting out there into the wilderness, so treat yourself.
How Much Space Do You Need?
Make sure you have ample space for your tent, fire (kitchen), and all your gear. You also might want to play games and allot space for activities too. Just because you're camping doesn't mean you have to sacrifice all the fun and comfort of being at home.
Pro Tip: Don't forget, you'll also want to check the rules and regulations in the area in case you need a permit to camp.
Other things you'll want to consider:
- How many people do you have?
- Do you have dogs?
- What activities will you be doing?
- Do you have trail access?
- Is there water nearby?