Nothing compares to camping out under the stars but just because you are roughing it doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable. There is an option between unrolling a sleeping bag on the hard ground and holing up in a hotel, you just have to find it. Keep reading to learn how to choose a campsite that is both safe and comfortable.
1. Consider the Ground Surface
It may seem like a no-brainer, but the first thing you need to look at when choosing a campsite is the ground surface. Start by looking for an area that is nice and flat so you can pitch your tent – if you set up on a slope, you may wake to find you’ve rolled downhill. You should also consider the area around your tent – don’t set up right at the bottom of a hill or your tent could be flooded with drainage.
2. Check Your Surroundings
In addition to making sure that you don’t set up your tent somewhere covered in sharp rocks or at the bottom of a hill, you should also choose a spot that is well shaded. You’ll be getting plenty of sun during the day, so choose a shady spot to pitch your tent so you don’t wake up sweating at 7 am. If you can’t set up your tent under a shady tree, bring some shade or shelter of your own.
You should also take a moment to see what’s around you. For example, you may not want to set up camp on the banks of a river or lake because wild animals could come along and you’re more likely to be bothered by insects. If the weather forecast calls for high winds, think about setting up your tent behind a natural windbreak. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to take a quick walk around the outskirts of your chosen campsite before you actually set up camp to make sure it’s safe.
3. Don’t Forget to Look Up
While it is a good idea to set up your tent in a shady area, don’t forget to look up! Never set up your tent underneath a dead branch that could fall on you in the night. You should also steer clear of rockslide and avalanche pathways.
4. How Much Space Do You Need?
If you’re hiking alone and you’re pitching a tent for one at night, you probably won’t need a great deal of space. On the other hand, if you’re traveling with a group, you’ll need to find a safe and comfortable campsite that can accommodate a larger tent or several tents. It may take some time to find the perfect spot, so don’t wait until it gets dark to start looking.
5. Privacy and Proximity
One final thing you should think about when choosing a campsite is your proximity to other campers and to amenities. While there is something to be said for safety in numbers, camping too close to another party could be unpleasant in terms of noise and it could alter your experience of being alone in the great outdoors.
The perfect campsite is a matter of preference, but it definitely pays to take the time to choose wisely. Whether you’re staying for one night or several, you want to be comfortable as well as safe, so follow the tips above to choose your campsite.