10 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Campsite

Whether you’re choosing a campsite at one of your favorite campgrounds or you’re settling into a back country campsite, you want your location to be the cream of the crop. Having the right campsite can help make the most of your camping trip. But how do you choose the best spot to settle in? Here are ten tips that can help you choose the perfect campsite.


Look for level ground. This keeps keeps you from slumping into a pile in the corner of your tent during the night. If you can’t find perfectly level ground, look for the least amount of slope, and sleep with your feet downhill.


Choose a site that’s free of debris. Avoid pitching a tent over anything that can damage your tent or sleeping pad, or make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. Pick a campsite clear of large or sharp rocks, saplings, thorns, etc. Dead limbs and broken branches are fine because they’re easily cleared, and they make great firewood. Soft ground is best.


Think about sun position and shade coverage when choosing a campsite. Would you rather have shade in the p.m. or a.m.? Do you want to escape the afternoon heat? Do you want your tent to dry out quickly in the morning? How late do you want to sleep in? These personal plans and preferences should inform your choice of site.


A gentle breeze is pleasant, but howling winds are a pain. A windy campsite can help keep bugs away, but too much wind can wreak havoc with a campfire, and make it difficult to set up a tent or keep gear contained. Large trees, bluffs, boulders, hills, etc. help block the wind.


Look up before pitching your tent. Trees provide great protection from the sun, rain, and wind, but they can also cause problems. Don’t camp beneath dead trees or branches. Also keep in mind that you should never build fires beneath low hanging trees.


The best campsite is close to everything — or at least to the things you want or need. If you want to fish, swim, or filter water, you should be close to the river. If you want to hike, you should be close to the trailhead. Maybe you need ready access to firewood. Consider these things when choosing your campsite.


How important is privacy and solitude? For example, expect a lot of company if camping near the bathroom at campgrounds. If you don’t mind passersby or neighbors wandering over to chat, this doesn’t really matter. If you want a little more seclusion, however, you need to be more strategic about choosing your campsite. Consider hiking in and camping at a remote, primitive campsite. Back country campsites -unless already established – should be 200 feet from a trail.


Don’t build up a campsite if you don’t have to. Camp where others have camped before whenever possible. If you’re camping at a maintained campground, you’re good. Try and find an established campsite in the back country to minimize your impact. The best back country campsite is one that’s already there. Not only does this mean less work for you, but it limits your impact on the environment.


Avoid things that can ruin your camping trip. Tall grass invites snakes, chiggers, and ticks. Loose, rocky terrain is uncomfortable, and breeds snakes and rolled ankles. Steer clear of areas prone to flooding and rock slides. Know how to identify poisonous plants and avoid them.


Some campsites just look better than others. People have different tastes and like different things. Maybe you prefer a campsite nestled in the woods, or maybe you like wide open spaces. Choose a campsite that speaks to you and makes you feel good.


Of course, choosing perfect campsite means nothing if you don’t have the right camping equipment. Stop by and see us at Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for any camping gear, camping supplies, or outdoor gear you need!

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