Going on an outdoor adventure such as camping is a fun activity that requires a lot of preparations. One of the crucial decisions in camping is choosing the perfect campsite where you can spend a night comfortably and without any hassle or worries. Here are the essential factors you can look for in picking the best location.
The very first step in selecting an excellent campsite is finding the right location. There are several factors you have to consider when looking for the perfect spot for your base camp. A level area is the best place to set up your camp, most preferably within convenient proximity of firewood and water. As much as possible don’t choose sites at the bottom of a valley or canyon, where the air would be coldest and most humid. Avoid, of course, areas that are danger zones for natural hazards, like avalanches, flash floods, and rock slides. Choose a location as well that is not at risk of being flooded by groundwater if it rains.
Make sure your spot is off-trail, which would not disrupt another backpacker’s wilderness experience. Avoid places near animal trails or prime habitats that may lead to an unwanted midnight visitor. Stay far away as well from insect breeding grounds, like waterlogged meadows and stagnant lakes.
Finding a place where you can sleep comfortably is one of the most critical factors you have to consider in choosing a campsite. Therefore, finding a level area with a flat ground surface is the best choice for setting a base camp. Making sure that your flat ground is even can also important, with no sharp protrusions or bumps that will help you sleep soundly.
Flat areas covered in grass or sand are two prime choices, if available. Natural materials, like pine needles, leaves, moss, or sand, are more comfortable and less thermally conductive than hard-packed dirt. Make sure the ground surface is also dry because the wet ground is more thermally conductive. Camping in a small depression and a naturally contoured surface might be nice for your preferred sleeping position, more so if the weather is windy. However, during a storm, the surface may turn into a rain collector, and that is not very nice.
Looking for shade is the second most crucial factor when choosing a good location. Having permanent shade throughout the day may not be necessarily mandatory unless you’re in a desert. However, shade in the morning is a must. Try looking for a place under or next to trees, bushes, or large rock; as they can block wind and reduce radiant heat loss. However, always be aware of what’s looming above you. Don’t choose to set up beneath a dead tree branch if you want to avoid your tent being fallen over. Of course, the shade problem can always be alleviated by bringing your own shade shelter. Just make sure you pick an open area to set it up and be cautious of the infamous winds, especially if you’re camping in a desert.