How to choose a campsite and which places to avoid

Camping is something that all real outdoorsy people love. But, there is one unwritten rule that says that it always rains on the tent. There are times when you check the weather forecast for the weekend, and it looks like it’s going to be sunny. And then all of a sudden a rainstorm starts and your sunny camping trip is ruined.

Choosing a perfect campsite is a skill every camper must develop. By learning which spots are good to pitch a tent, you will also learn which places to avoid if you want to have a successful camping trip.

Established sites


If you prefer camping at established sites, you must respect the rules of the designated area. Don’t expand more than you’re allowed to, don’t start a campfire just anywhere you like, and be resectful of your surroundings.

Collect all your garbage, and if you find someone else’s trash, pick it up as well. If your kids or other campers see you doing it, it will raise their ecological conscience. Respect the local flora and fauna, and try not to disturb it. Stick to your campsite and enjoy the time away from a crowded city.

Wild camping

Wild or stealth camping means even greater responsibility. Don’t break branches, be careful where you make a fire, and clean up after yourself. Try to leave the place as you found it, and, of course, collect all your garbage. Camping is great, but we need to be responsible for the natural surroundings and take care of it.

Where to camp?

Camping with a tent
Camping with a tent

There are quite a few factors that you need to look for when looking for a perfect campsite. First of all, you need to find a well-drained spot that won’t fill with water when the rain starts. It’s not cool to wake up soaked in the middle of the night. Also, look for a sheltered place like a big tree, but make sure that there are no old branches overhead. Choose a flat and even terrain to pitch a tent, and elevate your legs during the night to help them rest better.

If you are camping in a season when there are a lot of bugs, then choose a place that has a little bit of breeze. In the end, there are places with stunning views where you would like to wake up in the morning, so in those cases, you can skip the previous factors.

Places to avoid

  • Depressions are likely to be flooded during a rainstorm, so you better avoid them.
  • Gorges are not a good idea either. If you are camping in a gorge choose a spot above the flood debris levels. But, if heavy rain starts move quickly to a different place.
  • Hilltops and ridges may have the best views, but they are more prone to frequent storms. If the weather is stable and sunny, then you can camp there, but if not, move to a shelter or a lower area and protect yourself from the storm.
  • Lone trees can attract a lightning strike, so avoid them.
  • If you camp next to a water source you need to be extremely careful. Your campsite can become flooded if it starts raining. Also, the ground is more humid next to a river or lake, there are more bugs, and you might be visited by bears at night, depending on where you are.
  • Valley floors are colder than other places in the morning because they accumulate cool air.

What you need to do now is to make a decision about where you want to go and follow this simple guide. Stay safe and good luck on your next camping adventure.

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival