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How to Choose a Campsite?

select a campspot in nature

Last Updated on February 19, 2021 by Tent Reviewer

Camping is a great pastime. Camping gives you a chance to get out into nature where you can enjoy beautiful views in the fresh air. It also gives you a chance to bond with family or friends without TV, video games, and electronic devices.

If you plan a camping trip, the first thing you need to do is choose a campsite. This is not as easy as it sounds. If you are going to enjoy your camping trip, the place you choose to set up camp is very important.

ways to select a campsite

How to Choose a Campsite?

When choosing a campsite, the first thing that you need to do is decide whether you are going to camp in a campground or if you are going to camp out in the woods or another out of the way area.

If you are new to camping, it is best to stay at a campground. There are a few reasons why camping at a campground is a good idea for first-timers. These include:

  • You won’t be alone just in case something happens.
  • Many campgrounds have amenities such as a lodge to get out of the heat or rain. A lodge is also great if you get bored.
  • Many campgrounds have a lake or another body of water for swimming, fishing, and boating.
  • You can choose a campground with electricity and running water at each site.
  • Many campgrounds have bathrooms, complete with toilets and showers.

If you are an experienced camper and want to camp off the grid, you will have complete privacy. You won’t need to worry about noisy campers nearby.

Also, camping off the grid gives you a chance to see what you are made of when it comes to outdoor survival.

Whether you choose to camp at a campground or off the grid, the place you set up a camp can make or break your camping trip.

ways to choose a place for camping

 

Places to Avoid When Camping

If you plan to camp at a campground, there will be some sites that are better than others. However, most of the sites will be safe for camping.

If you are planning to camp off the grid, there are several areas that should be avoided. Some areas can put you at great risk when you are camping, especially if you aren’t an expert camper. The places to avoid include:

Gorge

It is best to avoid gorges when camping. If you set up camp near a gorge and a freak rainstorm hits, you will be in great danger. Heavy rain can cause flash floods in a gorge, which can put your life at risk.

When choosing a campground, it is best to avoid setting up camp near a gorge, even if there is no rain in the forecast. Mother Nature can be very tricky, and you don’t want to be around if a freak rainstorm hits.

avoid choosing a gorge as campsite

Depressions and Gullies

Depressions and gullies can become waterlogged or flooded during heavy rains. This will make camping uncomfortable and even dangerous if there is rain in the forecast.

Exposed Ridges

You should avoid camping on an exposed ridge or a hilltop. This is especially true if you are camping in an area where frequent storms occur.

Under Lone Trees

If you go camping in an area where there is just one tree, it is best to find another place to camp. If there is lightning, the lone tree will be at great risk of being struck, and it can put you at great risk as well. It is best to find a campsite where there are plenty of trees around.

Too Close to a Water Source

choosing a campsite away from water resource

Amateur campers will see a body of water and believe that they found the best camping spot around. Not only do they have beautiful lakeside or riverside views, but they will also have a water source nearby.

Unfortunately, camping too close to a water source isn’t the best idea. While it is good to camp in the general vicinity of a water source so you can go swimming, fishing, and get water, but you don’t want to set up camp too close.

There are plenty of bugs near freshwater sources, including mosquitoes. Also, nocturnal animals drink from the water sources in the area, and the last thing you want is for unexpected visitors to show up at your campsite while you are sleeping.

You can camp within walking distance of the water source, but don’t stay too close.

Valley Floors

Valley floors don’t make the best campsite because katabatic air sits o the valley floor in the morning, which will cause your tent and gear to become damp. If you want to have a dry place to sleep, avoid valley floors.

Areas of Fragile Vegetation

When you go camping, it is your responsibility to protect the nature around you. Areas of fragile vegetation make poor campsites. It is best to choose a location where your presence won’t impact the vegetation around you.

 

Tips on Choosing a Camping Spot

Choosing the right campsite can make or break your camping trip. If you are new to camping off the grid, you should know how to choose the right spot. There is more to choosing the perfect camping site than trying to find the most beautiful area.

If you are new to camping off the grid, there several tips that you should follow.

choose woods as campsite

Think About the Sun

If you are going camping during the summer, the heat can put a damper on your trip if you don’t choose a campsite wisely. If you camp out in the open with no shade around, your tent will heat up very quickly in the morning.

If you want to sleep in while on your camping trip, you should choose a campsite deep in the woods, the sun won’t crest the horizon right when it rises, which will keep your tent cooler, longer. Also, it is nice to have a shady area to sit to stay out of the hot sun.

Check the Trees

If you plan to camp in the woods, it is essential that you look at the trees in the area before choosing the right spot. If there are trees that are showing signs of death and decay, you should avoid these areas.

Things to look for include large branches on the ground, hollow tree trunks, and moss around the base of the tree. If you choose an area near a dead or dying tree, it can fall right on your campsite.

If you are in a tent sleeping, a falling tree can be deadly. It is essential that you choose an area of the woods where the trees appear to be healthy.

Plan for Severe Weather

Mother Nature is unpredictable; therefore, you should always choose a campsite that will protect you if severe weather strikes.

It is best to choose an area with natural protection from the wind, such as a group of shrubs, along the edge of trees, or beside a boulder. Moreover, you can choose a tent for high winds.

If the wind picks up, you will have protection. You also want to avoid sleeping in depressions because your campsite will fill with water if it rains.

Finally, don’t sleep near the tallest tree in the forest. If there is lightning, this will be the tree that will most likely get stricken. Planning for severe weather will keep you safe and comfortable while camping.

select a protective campsite against severe weather

Avoid Bugs

You can be in the most beautiful area of the forest, but if bugs are attacking you, it will ruin the view and your entire camping trip. You can light a fire to keep the bugs away, but if it is very hot outside, the fire will only increase the temperature at your campsite.

Mosquitoes tend to breed around standing water. As nice as the views are by riverbeds and lakes, the view isn’t worth being attacked by mosquitoes throughout your camping trip.

When setting up a campsite, it is best to set up camp a little less than a quarter-mile away from standing water. This is far enough away where the mosquitoes will stay away, and it is close enough to the water source if you need freshwater or want to take a swim.

Consider the Wild Animals

When selecting the right campsite, you don’t want to pitch your tent on a game trail. Sure, seeing a family of deer is great, but if a bear or another dangerous animal approaches, your fun camping trip can turn deadly.

It would help if you also chose an area where there is a tree nearby for you to hang your food. This is the best way to protect your food and yourself from bears.

You should also keep your campsite clean. If you drop food on the ground and leave it there, squirrels and chipmunks will overrun your campsite to eat the food from the ground. If the food is left on the floor all night, it will draw bears to your campsite.

If you want to stay safe while camping, you should choose a spot where you won’t need to deal with wildlife.

Choose an Area Where You Can Enjoy Mother Nature’s Joys

If you don’t choose the right campsite, your camping trip will be very boring. It is best to find areas where you can enjoy Mother Nature’s joys.

The best campsite is one where hiking trails are within walking distance because hiking is a great way to spend the day when you are camping.

You should also choose an area where there is a body of water within walking distance. This will give you an opportunity to go fishing and swimming.

select a campspot in nature

 

How to Reserve the Best Site at the Campground?

Campgrounds are great for amateur campers. You should understand that all campgrounds aren’t the same.

If you are planning to camp at a campground, there are several tips that you should follow so that you choose the right one. There are also tips to follow so that you reserve the best site at the campground.

Consider the Amenities

Before choosing a campsite, you should find out what amenities are available. If you want your trip to be fun and convenient, select a campground with electricity and water at each site.

If you want to go fishing, boating, or swimming during your trip, make sure that you choose a campground near a lake.

If you are camping during the summer, it is best to find a campsite with a lodge or a community area with air conditioning to cool down if it gets too hot outside.

Finally, campsites with bathrooms complete with showers are best.

Nearby Stores

As much as you try to plan and prepare for your camping trip, it isn’t uncommon to forget something.

If you select a campground near a store, you can easily take a ride to get whatever you need. If not, you will need to drive for miles just to get whatever you forgot.

Sightseeing and Attractions

choose a campsite with attraction

If you are planning to camp for several days, staying around the campground can get very boring. Before selecting a campground, you should check out the attractions and places to go sightseeing in the area.

This will allow you to plan a day or two away from the campsite, which will make the trip more fun.

Close to Home

If you are new to camping, it is best to select a campground within close proximity to your home. If you forgot to pack something, you could easily head home to get whatever you need.

This is also a good idea if you are camping with small children. If they become too cranky or unruly in the middle of the night, you can quickly pack up and head home.

If you are too far away, you will end up driving all night just to get your children home.

Don’t Reserve a Site Right By the Bathrooms

Many new campers think that a site right by the bathrooms is great because they won’t need to walk far when nature calls. While it may be convenient to be near the bathroom, there are downsides.

The bathrooms at a campsite are used hundreds of times a day, and they aren’t cleaned every few hours. By noontime, the bathrooms can start to stink.

The last thing you want is for the bathroom stench to waft over your campsite because the constant smell of urine and feces can put a huge damper on your camping trip.

 

Conclusion

If you want your camping trip to go well, it is essential that you choose the right campsite. This is true if you are staying at a campground or camping off the grid. If you follow the tips listed above, you should be able to find a campsite that will keep you comfortable and safe.