Camping Site FAQ – How to choose the right spot for camping?
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New to camping in the wilderness.
Don't worry; this article will help you know how to choose a suitable campsite?, Leave No Trace principle, Campfire tips, and how to keep your food and other odour-producing items safe?.
How to choose the right spot for camping?
- Before backpacking knowing the rules and regulations will help you in better understanding of the area.
- Avoid choosing campsites with fragile vegetation.
- Choose your campsite 200 feet away from the water sources—easy access to water for cooking, cleaning & drinking purposes.
- The water source must be flowing and not stagnant. Best is to find a running or freshwater stream. Make sure to keep your water source clean and hygienic.
- Avoid overhead hazards. Choose a campsite that does not have any hanging dead trees or branches and also avoid areas that are prone to avalanche or rockfall.
- Choose a site slightly uphill for warmer dryer nights.
- Choose a site away from exposed ridges and open meadow's to avoid the wind.
- When you find your ideal tent site, clear your ground from any loose rocks, pines, sticks that could damage your tent or hinder your sleep.
- Your campsite should not be on animal trails or restrict the animals from moving towards the water source.
- Choose a ground that drains well in case of rain. If necessary, you can dig a narrow passage around your tent to drain the water out.
- Make sure your campsite doesn't have any history or chance for a flash flood, soil erosion etc.
- Stay away from insect breeding grounds.
- Choose dry ground for less thermal conductivity.
- Avoid windy campsites for setting up your tent.
- Find your campsite two hours before sunset.
How to select a campsite for winter?
- A snowy campsite is ideal for reducing the environmental impact.
- Cold air wind can be a real problem for winter campers.
- Check for carved or sculpted and brittle snow covering that is hard is an indicator of frequent wind. If you find large quantities of powdery snow deposited, this may also be an indicator of strong wind.
- Avoid camping in valleys and lower spots during winter. Avoiding such areas help you evade much of the cold.
- If you are planning camping in an area that has a history of avalanches, then consider checking with your state's avalanche prediction centre.
- The base of the fire should be on bare soil.
- Try to make use of previously established fire pits if available, thus reducing the impact.
- Wind can be hazardous as it can send embers shooting into the woods which can easily ignite a forest fire. Remember humans, cause nearly 85% of forest fires in the United States. Be highly cautious while choosing a campfire site.
- Clear a 15 - foot radius around your campfire site.
- Before starting your fire, be prepared with a bucket of water or sand, a shovel or a fire blanket or anything that can extinguish the fire.
- Build your fire gradually; do not overbuild your fire. You can use Gas canister stoves, Backpacking stoves and multi-fuel stoves rather than building a fire using wood as fuel.
- Don't cook inside your tent.
Leave no trace
- Try to use existing trails and campsites.
- Try to keep the campsite small.
- Disposal of waste properly - Pack out all leftovers, trash from your campsite. Deposit human solid waste at least 200 feet away from water, camp and trails. Deposit in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep. Clean your dishes away from the water source. Use biodegradable soap and products
- Leave what you find.
- Put Off campfires properly, make sure of it before you leave.
How to keep your food safe from animals while camping?
- It is very critical to properly store your food because it may attract some of the predictors. In some instances, it may also be essential to your safety.
- Deposit food in your hang bag except for the food that you are going to cook within a few minutes.
- Keep all your odour producing items in separate odour-proof bags before putting in your hang bag.
- Before packing your camping gear, Make sure your hang bag has enough space for keeping all those food and odour-producing items.
- The hanging bag should be sturdy enough to hold your items and should be waterproof.
- Consider taking a rope of length 50 feet at least. A lightweight rope is preferred.
- Tie a rock or a piece of wood in one end and on the other end your hang bag.
- Throw the rock or the piece of wood at the one end over a hefty tree branch that's at least 12 feet off the ground and 5 feet from both the trunk and the branch above.
- Tie the rope to a distant tree or root or on the trunk of the same tree.
Be a responsible hiker, follow the "Leave No Trace" principle while hiking and camping.
Treat the environment gently, reduce the impact as much as possible. Enjoy every beautiful moment nature offers. Respect the wild.
I hope some of the campsite tips and advice may help you make your camping adventure more enjoyable.