12 responses

  1. Stevie McAllister
    August 14, 2009

    Camping near water sources insures a higher contact probability with nuisance animals. People often times camp near water source so animals tend to think of the water as not only a water source, but a food source.

    And in addition to it being more humid, mosquitoes tend to be more prevalent near a water source.

    I find that in the colder months I like to be at a slightly higher elevation than the water source to avoid the cold.

    On the subject of wind. Pitching camp in a breezy exposed area reduces flying insects significantly.

  2. Earlylite
    August 14, 2009

    Excellent points. I'll also add that camping under a tree can reduce tent condensation and that in colder months you want to avoid camping at low points because colder air will pool there.

  3. Stevie McAllister
    August 14, 2009

    Great discussion and great things to remember.

    We sometimes forget and have to relearn from experiencing another less than optimum campsite:-)

  4. DK
    May 20, 2010

    Don't forget to look overhead as well, especially in Colorado where lots of trees are dead from Pine Beetle, if a strong wind picks up the tree and/or branches could blow over on you.

    • Jeff
      September 10, 2012

      Looking up is very important. New England has had a lot of storms the last couple of years. Broken rotting trees are scattered all over the place. I also do this while I’m hiking.

  5. Campsite
    May 18, 2011

    You need to check for prior signs of flooding – washouts, debris and check any river markers that may be near by. I always try to pitch my tent above the level of any streams/rivers – been flooded before, don't want it to happen again!

  6. Ray Anderson
    May 24, 2011

    Good points. Especially number 5–I never sleep well if my head is lower than the rest of my body.

  7. RickPittsburgh
    September 10, 2012

    I am with DK on the whole widow maker thing. Look up. I have many a time heard large limbs crashing down in the area(especially in winter) when hunkered down for the night. It can be nerve racking to say the least.

    Years back I actually had a tent crushed while I was hiking around my camp. This is very serious thing and I cannot stress how important it is to not only look down but look up. Being uncomfortable is one thing. Having a 100lb+ branch fall in your lap from 25+ft above in the middle of the night is a whole different animal.

    Funny story about noise.

    On the LHHT you are required to camp at designated areas along the trail.

    While on my last week long trek I made my way to the Grindle Ridge site, setup camp for the evening, grabbed some grub, and called it a night.

    Not a great distance away there just so happens to be a sporting range(trap shooting, etc.)

    Normally there is quite a bit of gunfire throughout the day but it tends to taper off after around 5pm so it really isn’t a big deal…

    Well, the last time I was up there I was blessed with the fact that some kind of party was going on at the range.

    I got to listen to a Hootie and the Blowfish coverband well into the evening(2am.) Needless to say they were horrible.

    To make it even worse I found myself singing Hootie the whole next day as I was hiking to my next camp for the night.

    Fun times on the LHHT.

  8. Ranchez
    December 31, 2012

    All excellent points. I also try to find a higher location with an east/southeast exposure to catch early morning sunlight and warmth.

  9. campingstovecookout
    August 20, 2014

    I am a big fan of privacy and like to camp away from the trail but there is a balance there with impacting natural habitat if there isn’t already a campsite there. Look for a spot that has been used first to minimize these impacts and practice no trace camping.

    Thanks for the summary and reminder about this key part of any trip.

    • Will
      September 3, 2014

      I have one question about campsites and campfires. How far away should your tent (shelter) be from your fire? Obviously it shouldn’t be so close that it catches fire, but what is say the maximum distance away? New camper/hiker is why I’m asking but this site has plenty of useful information from you experienced folks. Keep it coming!

      • Philip Werner
        September 3, 2014

        You need to be able to monitor a campfire at all times for safety so the sparks don’t start a forest or brush fire. You can’t just walk away some place while it’s burning. That close.

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