How to choose a perfect backcountry campsite

Rebecca Hext
 
 
 
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When you are camping in the backcountry, finding a campsite is sometimes difficult. Check out our guide to finding the perfect campsite on your next backpacking trip!

Follow the Rules

First of all, make sure you follow backpacking campsite etiquette. Rule number one is to make sure you are at least 200 feet from the trail and water sources.

In addition, try to use campsites that are already clearly established to reduce any more damage to the area.

Water

Even though you can’t set up right next to the stream, be sure to get as close as you can. Lugging water back and forth from a stream a mile away from your site will get old quickly. If you have the option to camp near water, take it. Your legs with thank you when the trip is over.

Facing your tent door towards a nice view will make your mornings more enjoyable

Surfaces

Don’t pitch your tent on rocks, grass, or wet ground (if possible). Make sure you do not choose a site that will collect water if it starts to rain. No one wants to wake up to a flooded tent in the middle of the night!

Hazards

Going along with that, check your campsite for hazards before setting up. If you are pitching your tent underneath a tree, check to see if any branches look damaged. Likewise, if you are near a river, make sure you are out of the flash flood zone. Check the area for fallen rock debris as well to make sure you will be safe from rock slides.

Campsite Comfort

Just because you are sleeping outside doesn’t mean you have to give up comfort! If possible, choose a site with good sitting rocks or logs. This will make cooking a lot easier and keep your clothes a little cleaner. In addition, If you have a hammock, be sure to scout out good tree options near your camp before choosing one. It is best to not spread out too much in case another group needs a spot near yours.

 

Make sure to not spread out too much in case other groups show up and need space

A House With a View

When you are pitching your tent, try to face the door towards the prettiest view. Waking up to a sweet view of a mountain or lake will get your day started out on the right foot. Additionally, face your tent in the direction of where the sun will rise to heat you up quickly after a cold night. Waking up with sunrise is also a great way to get your day going early.

Be Courteous

Above all, your campsite choice should attempt to be as courteous as possible. Try to have the least impact on the area that you can while you are staying. Don’t deplete all the good kindling near the campsite, don’t be loud, and always pack out what you pack in. My rule of thumb: try to leave the site cleaner than you found it.

 

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