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Choosing the right campsite

Discussion in 'Shelter' started by Jessi, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. Jessi

    Jessi Novice Camper

    How do you choose the perfect camp site while you're out?

    Obviously you have to consider whether the ground is good for your tent, etc, but what else? Do you pay attention to trees that look like they might fall soon or try to get close to the water, etc?
  2. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    I choose a camp site for safety, isolation, large game watching [for photography] and close to canoe routes.
  3. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    I would try to chose a campsite that offered some wind protection and good drainage, as well as, ample firewood and a bit off the beaten track. If I could I would try to be near a nice flowing stream or lake, so I would have water for cooking and bathing. I would try for a slightly sunny location, but with shade as well if camping in the hot summer. I too would want a safe spot and isolation, from others, so that privacy and quietness would make my trip more enjoyable.
  4. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I always look for flat ground where I can put my tent. If there is no flat ground you will end up with all sorts of problems, first it is a bit harder to actually get the tent setup. Then if there is rain and the ground is near the bottom of a slope you will wake up with the bottom soaked through. Also the tent itself is on a hill you might fall asleep on one side of the tent and then in the morning everyone will wake up squished together on the side that is toward closest to the bottom of the slope. Not to mention different rocks and roots the can stick up off the ground and make for an uncomfortable sleeping surface.
  5. davbonpol13

    davbonpol13 Newbie

    To be honest, I used to think that if there was no water in site of the campsite, that I didn't want any part of it! On our most recent camping trip, my husband and I choose a spot that was on top of a mountain. Now that I have tried it, camping on the mountaintop will most assuredly be an option from now on! I still love having water nearby for the many water sports that I enjoy like kayaking, swimming and fishing. The mountain offers beautiful veiws and less mosquitos, I had not thought of that before!
  6. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    I think that you have to be a lot more careful when finding a campsite now, because there are a lot more chances of other campers being in the area, unless you are in a fairly remote location. Regular campgrounds are nice because they usually have restrooms and water nearby, even though they do not have the privacy of camping in the mountains. There are trade-offs, and benefits to each one.

    Now, if i were going to camp, I would opt for as much comfort as possible, even though that wasn't important to me when I was younger. Definitely having water and a bathroom is an important thing to me. I have cleaned dishes with leaves and sand before, and while it does work fine; I much prefer water, even if it is only cold water.

    We used to cut fir boughs and lay them out on the ground to make kind of a mattress for the sleeping bag, and that does help when you are sleeping on the ground, (plus it smells wonderful!) but I think a camper van would be the right thing for me if I were going camping nowadays.
  7. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    I remember those days [though just a few]. I took some of those so called survival courses where you had to make a lean to, sleep on cedar boughs and the like. I know how to do that - but alas - I don't have to. :)

    You would enjoy my base camps. There are well thought out with excellent equipment and lighting as well. From there I go into the interior for three or four days. When I am finished I return to my camp. You can look up the thread On the Water. Track down to Canoe Country, it will give you some idea to what I am accustomed to.
    happyflowerlady likes this.
  8. kevinkimers

    kevinkimers Novice Camper

    Well, it depends on the environment I am in. If I am in a desolate area like a desert or tundra of some sort... if available I look for a rock overhang or something that can provide some bit of shade. If none are available, I just look for the smoothest spot. In a dense area with vegetation, I try to find a spot that is as level and/or smooth as possible. I try to pitch my tent away from low hanging branches, they need to clear the tent by at least 4 to 5 feet. I make for sure my camp fire is clear of debris so there is no chance of fire.... Just a suggestion. When making a camp fire it is better to dig a small hole leaving the dirt piled around the hole. Place logs and sticks in the hole for the fire pit. When done.... push dirt back into the hole. It protects it from the wind so there is less chance of a strong wind carrying any embers off and starting a forest fire. :woot:
  9. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Good stuff, @kevinkimers experience speaks.

    I tend not to use words like best because as you point out it depends on the circumstance. Need is the Mother of Invention and sometimes circumstances will dictate the decision making process.
  10. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    That is one of my favorite expressions lol and I also agree! I guess everyone has their own little mental checklist for when they are scouting out a camp site but for me I usually look for one which has some interesting geography. Hills, big boulders, cliffs, lakes, rivers... those sorts of things make the nature walks and exploring much more fun once you've got your camp site setup.
  11. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Ya...that's about where I'm at. I also like a bit of isolation and remoteness

    I purchased a telescope awhile back; when we are the lake looking for our camp site I use the same to scout out possibilities before we land. Noting worse than landing and deciding we want something else. When we are tripping we are limited to where we can camp. For example, if we have registered our trip plan as well as three other allowed parties then there are only four camp sites to select from.

    We use the old 2:30 rule. Look for your camp site mid afternoon to assure the best possible. Get on the water earlier if you want to make good time and never plan to arrive late.
  12. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I suppose that is a good rule, but what if you like to sleep in? I am not a morning person and I cannot definitely not imagine stopping for the day at 2:30, especially in the summer when there is still daylight all the way until 10:00 PM.
  13. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    I'm talking about interior canoe camping. I've seen guys searching diligently for the last, usually crummy, camp site on the lake in the evening hours. No...we aim for mid day so we can set up properly and more especially enjoy the water and our camp experience. There's lots of time for sleeping.
    campforums likes this.
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