Cold air, dark night, warm fire, and bright stars – the perfect campsite? Well, a perfect campsite is far more than that. We all have this dream. Listening to the sound of nature (bears growl and wolves howl? that’s actually kinda creepy), roasting the marshmallows (burned marshmallows taste bitter), and sleeping out under the stars (well, technically under the impermeable waterproofing of modern tent fabric, checkout our shop for more details) show when everyone starts complaining about being too hot or too cold, starving hungry and feeling uncomfortable.
People, holiday under canvas doesn’t need to be that way. That’s why we’ve provided you with this list of how to choose the perfect campsite so that you can relax and focus on tuning in to the great outdoors.
Ring ring, hello?
Now, always contact the land management agency for the area where you plan to camp, in order to check for the camping regulations or permit requirements. For example, not all campsites allow you to park beside your pitch, meaning you may need to carry your tent and camping gear. Besides, some campsites don’t allow barbecues and the vast majority don’t allow campfires. Hence, do check out the available facilities and campsite rules, and let these guide you in your decision making.
Flat? Flatter? Flattest!
Remember, good campsites are found, not made. So first things first, look for the flattest spot you can find. This means both that the ground is not on a slope (which could leave you sleeping on an angle) and that the surface of the ground is also flat. Flat areas covered in grass or sand are two prime choices, if available. Also, beware of depressions in the ground. Camping in a small depression might be nice if it’s windy, but definitely not nice if it turns into a rain collector during a storm.
What’s above you?
After flat ground for pitching tent, shade is another important criteria when choosing a campsite. The sun can very quickly progress from pleasantly warm to searingly hot, so you’re going to want some shade. Of course, having permanent shade throughout the day isn’t necessarily mandatory, but shade in the afternoon is a must. Give the trees a good once over before selecting your spot and make sure there are no branches that are dead or look unstable. A strong wind can easily bring one down on you.
What’s around you?
Not only is it important to think about what’s above you, it’s also smart to note what’s surrounding you. You may not want to be camped right on the water’s edge due to bugs, thirsty animals, and flooding risk. But if you’re out there hauling your own water, it sure does help to be relatively close to a water source so you’re not breaking your back lugging precious water about. Oh, look out for anthills as well. These little guys will find you before you know it, so do a thorough check of the area around your site.
If you’re camping at an established campground, you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of the most popular thoroughfare. This doesn’t mean you have to backpack in 10 miles, or four-wheel in for hours just to get away from everyone else. Just try to stay at least one site back from roads or paths where people will walk frequently. Avoid choosing a site too close to the amenities blocks or right by the barbecues as these can be noisy at all hours of the day (and night).