When selecting a place to camp at night, most backpackers like to choose a location close to water. At 2 pounds per liter, water is often the heaviest thing in your backpack and you don’t want to have to carry it very far if you can avoid it. Especially at night, when you need water for dinner, for washing up, for breakfast the next day, and to carry with you after you break camp the next morning. It’s not unusual for me to need 5 liters of water for these purposes.
But dry camping, that is camping away from water, provides a nice change of pace from time to time. Sometimes you have no choice and you need to carry extra water with you, say walking along a dry ridge between water sources. But other times, you might consciously decide to carry 5 liters of water (10 pounds), so you can camp at a campsite far from running water and closer to your next day’s objective.
There are some advantages to dry camping, beside the opportunity to spend the night on top of a mountain or on a ledge with only the stars above. For one, it tends to be a lot more private than camping near water, because so few people do it. In addition to more peace and quiet, it can also be a good way to remain invisible…which solo female backpackers often desire to avoid being harassed.
In addition to avoiding people, dry camping also lets you avoid all of the animals, both big and small, that frequent water sources at night and are likely to pass through your camp at night. That alone might justify doing it more frequently, if only because it puts you and your food bag farther away from the game trails that they frequent at night.