6 Important Points to Consider for Choosing the Right Campsite
When you are extremely tired after a long hike or trek, you need rest and for taking proper rest, you need a good campsite. A bad campsite may contain anything from lack of water to one or more trees abruptly falling down to wild animals attracted to your food packets to your tent pitched on a bed of rocks that keeps your sleeping bag slipping down, throughout the night.
Choosing a wrong campsite can result in a miserable night in the dark wilderness. It can even be dangerous. All in all, you need to think before leaving for the trek on how to choose a good campsite. Here are some important points to consider.
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Outdoorcampingadvice is a useful website where you can get many camping merchandise, product reviews and advice. Here you’ll get advice on what essential things you should carry on your camping trip, how you should take safety precautions, gluten-free camping meals, how to camp with your dog, how to camp in your car, and much more. These tips will help you make your camping a pleasant experience.
What Features to Look for?
When you arrive at a spot which you can potentially make your campsite, don’t start pitching tent impulsively. First take a look around. Look if it is near a water source and the trail. Although you should never camp less than 61 meters (200 feet) from a source of water, you should be close enough to one for cooking, bathing and dishwashing purposes.
Your campsite should also be at least 61 meters (200 feet) from the trail. This way you as well as people hiking on the trail can enjoy more solitude.
Make sure that the spot is flat. Even if you don’t find a perfectly even location, make sure to position your tent in such a way that your head will be higher than your feet. Before pitching the tent, remove objects like rocks, pinecones and sticks that might prick your back while you’re trying to sleep.
Also, think on weather conditions. If it’s cool, consider pitching your tent in the east so that you’ll wake up in the warmth of the rising sun. If it’s hot, consider camping in a shady spot where the sun will be less intense. Never camp in narrow spots, valleys, notches or top or low points in a ridge because these are spots which tend to receive strong winds. If there is wind everywhere, take shelter behind a windbreak like a boulder or bush. And if there is no wind, check the area for dead trees or broken limbs called widow-makers that could smash into your tent at night.
Apart from wind, rain is a potentially problematic element. Camping in a low spot has a risk of collecting water during a storm, or even worse, the collected water could drown you away in a flash flood. Higher spots are likely to drain better and as a bonus, they stay warmer at night as cooler air is likely to sink in the low areas.
Choose an area for camping that is big enough to accommodate your entire trekking group. If your group is considerably big, choose an area which is big and leveled and should accommodate all the tents.
The excreta should be carried away far from the campsite. It can spread foul smell and also invite flies and mosquitoes that can spread diseases. Your campsite should be at such a spot from where you and your fellow campers can go far away from the campsite as well as from the water source in the downhill direction to carry on personal business so that rain should not wash away the waste into the stream to pollute it.
Choose an Established Spot
You may be aware of the Leave No Trace principles, if you’ve done any camping before. These are meant to protect natural recreational resources. As far as possible, choose an established spot to set up a camp. If there is none available, you can even create a new one.
While moving around the camp, never wear your hiking boots, but wear soft-soled shoes as your hiking boots can compact the soil (making it hard for plants to grow).
It’s also recommended to avoid starting a fire if there’s no fire ring. However, if you seriously need one, make sure you create it from firewood from the ground. Let the wood completely burn and after the ashes cool down, spread them around.
Try not to camp in a spot for too long. While leaving, collect all your trash and replace anything you took, so that the place would look as if you had never been there.
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Think also on how your stay might affect the wildlife in the area. Find natural paths in the forest called game trails on which animals travel. Camping on such a route may block animals’ way towards a water source or other necessity. Also if the campsite is properly selected, you can avoid nuisance from animals. Avoid spots where wind and water are stagnant to avoid pests like mosquitoes. Infrequently larger animals like skunks, possums, raccoons and even bears may visit your camp just out of curiosity. To minimize such occasions, avoid camping around game trails and make sure you wash your dishes immediately and hang food minimum 61 meters (200 feet) downwind from your tent.
Strictly avoid feeding the animals. When they get accustomed to human contact, they can become a greater trouble or danger to other campers.
How will You Choose a Winter Campsite?
A good thing about winter camping is that you have fewer chances to impact the environment, since it’s covered in the cold, white snow. But there is a bad thing too and it’s that the cold white snow is bad for your body. However, with a few simple things to remember, you can have a pleasant experience of winter camping.
Many of the factors that should be considered during summer campsite selection are true for winter campsite selection too. You can camp on the snow or any open ground showing through the snow, but avoid one if it’s supporting considerable plant life. Just like during summer camping, you should choose a flat ground so that your sleeping bag won’t slide downhill while you are in deep sleep.
Wind can cause a great problem during winter camping too. A sign of wind is hard, sculpted snow of a brittle, frosty texture. Loose, powdery snow is a bad sign as well. It indicates that wind has deposited the snow and your tent too will soon be covered. So, avoid both these areas.
Choose a right campsite with these tips and enjoy your camping trip to the fullest.