Choosing the right campsite takes enough skills that seasoned campers spend a lot of time learning to maximize comfort and convenience. Remember that your campsite should be treated like your home even if you’re only staying for a night.
There are a lot of factors to consider when picking a campsite, but don’t be overwhelmed by all the information! We have made this guide on the 5 Ws of picking a campsite for you to have a more enjoyable camping experience.
Is it going to be hot? If yes, find some shade. Being woken up at 7AMin a stiflingly hot tent is not fun at all! If you cannot find a safe spot where there is shade, you can create your own through an extra tarp!
If it looks like it’s gonna rain, stay away from areas that are unsafe from lightning, like trees. But if you don’t have better options, then it is much better to be among a lot of shorter trees than being out in the open, or next to a corpse.
Is it going to snow? Try picking a site that is on higher ground, since low points will reach much cooler temperatures.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Pick a site that is set up for waste disposal. If there are no trash canisters around, be prepared to bring your own trash home with you. Never leave your leftover food and other garbage in the wild so as not to pollute the land and nearby water sources! Being responsible for your own trash also helps keep the wildlife safe.
Water should be your main priority when picking a campsite. A perfect one will have easy access to a creek or lake. Being out of a campground, you won’t have easy access to potable water, there are no water hookups in the wilderness, but a nearby stream or river will provide you with water to drink and cook with. Camping near a water source also means you can swim and have a more wonderful experience!
However, note that there are a few things you need to understand as well. First, a fast-flowing river could pose a threat to your camping trip rather than being a saving grace. Check the water line once in a while especially when it’s raining. Never camp on a dry river bed!
The general rule when camping near a water source is to sty away from it for about 200 feet. Through this, you’ll be able to keep the water clean.
Black bears roam all over the Blue Ridge Mountains with a population of 300,000 in the U.S. alone, making them a common concern amongst campers. Make sure your campsite is safe from beat encounters and other animals. Although it’s a matter of picking a great spot, another great way to avoid them is by eliminating odors from food and supplies. Even your toiletry items could attract bears, so keep them in a hard-sided vehicle or a food storage container at least 10 feet from the ground.
As for snakes, consider wearing sturdy boots and gloves.
Let me explain this in simple terms. The fibers in the limbs of a dead tree break down easily when a strong breeze of wind comes, or when heavy rain occurs. Avoid these so-called widowmakers! You don’t want to be dead in a tent underneath a heavy twig, so pay close attention to dangling dead branches, flash flood zones, and rockfall debris when choosing a campsite. There’s always some danger involved since natural occurrences may pose threats to your campsite.