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4 qualities of a good campsite

  • Jan 13, 2015

When you're backpacking, the world is your campground. But without distinguished campsites, it can be easy to pitch your tent in a bad location. Avoid a dangerous or uncomfortable camping location by finding a spot that has some of these qualities. 

1. Level, dry, solid ground 
One of the easiest and most important aspects to look for in a spot to set up camp is flat land. An uneven surface doesn't just make it difficult to have set up your tent, it invites water to pour in over your tarp if the weather gets bad. Try to find somewhere fairly level, whether the ground isn't swampy. 

Additionally, you don't want anything to rocky or covered in branches because this will be uncomfortable, and the land is more likely to have small animals living there, such as snakes. 

Beware of long swaths of dry, flat land - these may be dry river beds. Although aesthetically, they're perfect for a camping area, in a rain storm, you'll likely lose all your gear and risk injury in a flash flood. 

2. Privacy 
When you're out in the wilderness, privacy may seem like an odd concern, but you want to pitch your tent far away from trails or hunting areas. This isn't just to protect yourself from thieves or annoying sounds, but also to maintain the appearance of natural beauty to the people you're sharing the forest with.

3. Near water, but not too close 
Finding a camping site near water will allow you to use that natural source rather than your own supply, saving you space in your pack and weight off your back. However, you want to stay about 200 feet from the water source. Not only does water attract animals and other people, but you don't want any human waste to contaminate the water. 

4. Far from hazards 
It's not just paths and water that you should set up far from, as there are plenty of hazardous areas that look like great locations. Places where trees, rocks or avalanches can fall should be avoided. This means no camping below leaning trees, under cliffs or at the bottom of mountains. On the edge of a cliff or mountain is also dangerous. 

Be on the lookout for signs of wildlife as well. You don't want to toss your gear down just outside a bear's territory or near a group of deer. Try to keep your space and so will they. Animals are most likely to attack when they feel threatened. 

Setting up camp is incredibly important because you want to make sure that you get a good nights rest after all your daily activities. Make sure to use your PRG280-1 to help you find your way back to your campsite. With its compass and 5 daily alarms you will be sure to make your deadlines.

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