Optimizing Your Campsite Pt. 2: Location, Location, Location

Camping in the woods

Contributed by Laura Cromwell, Cabela’s

Now that you’ve chosen your tent, it’s time to take it out for an adventure. Prior to setting up camp, it’s important to take your surroundings into account before you lay down your first tent stake.

Is this legal?

Unless it’s designated campgrounds, camping away from developed areas is known as “dispersed camping.” While it may seem exciting to camp in unchartered territory, you’re on your own in terms of certain provided amenities. Look for bare or “worn” ground that won’t be disturbed by a campsite. Remember to do your best to leave a dispersed campsite better than you found it. Bear in mind that some areas allow camping only in labeled sites, or none whatsoever. Prior to planning your trip, contact the park service of where you’ll be staying to ensure no laws are being broken.

Did you check the weather?

Rainstorms, snowstorms, tornado conditions and other unsavory weather events can ruin a camping trip in an instant. Investing in a portable weather alert system can help you decide whether or not to pack up and head for the car or to stick around and wait it out.

Near the water?

If you’re camping at the beach, find out where the high tide rises and set up camp 25 feet away from there. If you’re near a lake or river, pitch your tent 100 feet away from the water in order to not disturb wildlife in need of a water source. Mosquitos are also a pesky problem when camping near water, so bring along plenty of mosquito repellent to drive them away.

In the woods?

If the forest is calling your name, be sure to pitch your tent in a spot that’s free of overhead branches. Branches can snap and fall at any given moment and cause serious harm or death to an unsuspecting camper.

At high altitude?

For high-altitude environments, bring a tent that withstands excessive winds and low temperatures that a prominent above the timberline. Avoid ridges and spots of exposed ground which are a hotbed for lightning strikes.

In the desert?

When it comes to desert camping, the desert doesn’t accommodate you, you accommodate the desert. Desert camping can present extreme conditions, from three-digit temperatures during the day or chilly nights, you have to study the season’s temperature patterns ahead of time. Your tent may be your only source of shade and when it comes to staying hydrated, which is why you must pack plenty of water before setting out.

For those seeking diverse sceneries towake up in, it pays to plan ahead and be aware of your surroundings no matter where you pitch your tent.

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