How To Pick The Perfect Spot For Camping
All work and no play leads to some very cranky people. Life comes with obligations and for the most part, they are inevitable. We need to pay our bills and this means we need to work for a living. That doesn’t mean we don’t get to enjoy life and escape from the daily grind whenever we can.
That’s where camping comes in. There is nothing that relaxes the mind, body, and soul more than getting away from the urban jungle and switching off for a few days in nature. You’ve got your tent, sleeping back and other gear to get out there, but where to go? Depending on where you live, there could be hundreds of places for you to go camping. But choosing the perfect spot for camping can be a little tricky, particularly if you’re a camping novice.
Find a Flat Surface
One of the most important things you need to remember before you set up camp is that you’re pretty much sleeping on the ground. Even with a tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag, you still want to find yourself a nice flat surface that is high enough to give you a bit of security, particularly if you have chosen a waterfront camping spot. The last thing you want to do is literally start to roll every time you change sleeping positions. Once you’ve found yourself a nice flat piece of land, clear it of any twigs and stones so your campsite is as comfortable as possible.
Even though camping involves you being in the great outdoors, you don’t want to leave yourself totally exposed to the elements. Your camping spot should offer you some shade, particularly in the hotter months. A nice spot among trees will not only give you adequate shade from the burning sun, but it will also shelter you from high winds and rain. Avoid camping at the bottom on a hill though. If you get caught in heavy rain, the water from the hill will run down and very likely right into your camping area, or worse, into your tent.
Location, Location, Location
Regardless of whether you are choosing to go camping along the coast, a forest or the mountains, location is everything. You want the scenery around you to be tranquil and relaxing. At the same time, nothing can kill that feeling of tranquility like pitching your tent in the middle of a crowded camping area. Choose a nice, quiet location, preferably as far away from other campers as possible, but still close enough to the camping ground’s amenities. Unless of course you’re really roughing it and want to camp in the wilderness. Even then, find a place that gives you great views where you will get lots of peace and quiet and enjoy watching the sun rise and set each day.
Choose a Waterfront Location
There is nothing more calming than camping near water. The world is full of lakes, rivers, and beaches that attract campers all year round. If you camp near a source of fresh water, you may not need to carry so much water with you. Just make sure the water is drinkable before you take a sip. When camping near water, make sure you pitch your tent a considerable distance from the waterfront. Tides can be unpredictable and if you get caught in a storm, the riverbanks can creep up on you a lot faster than you think. Being near the water doesn’t necessarily mean being in the water. Set up camp on higher ground if possible, but at the very least put some distance between your camp and the water’s edge.
Watch the Weather Report
Before you embark on your camping trip, pay attention to the weather report online or via the local media. Forests and mountains can become treacherous in bad weather and while a little shower will add to the charm of your camping trip, a flash flood or raging winds won’t. If the weather report doesn’t bode well for a weekend camping trip, it’s always better to postpone than to go and have a bad experience or put yourself in danger. The weather report will also give you an indication of the type of clothing you need to pack so you should be checking it to make sure you have an enjoyable trip.
Check the Wind before You Set Up
When you decide on a weekend camping trip, you can be certain that there are dozens of other people with the same great idea. That means that when you arrive at the camping ground you may be in the path of smoke from other campers’ fires. Before you get out your camping gear check the direction of the wind so you’re not going to spend the night in a constant cloud of smoke. Even if you don’t plan on camping in a popular area, it’s a good idea to check the direction of the wind so your tent doesn’t come under threat of strong winds in the middle of the night.
Don’t Neglect Local Guidelines
In some areas in nature, you can just pitch a tent anywhere and enjoy your weekend away. Other areas have local authorities that regulate how and where you can camp so you need to check with local authorities to avoid getting yourself into trouble. Some camping areas require a camping permit which you can usually get at the entrance to national parks and camping grounds. Places like these also have strict rules on where and when you can set up, light campfires and other safety regulations and guidelines such as avoiding contact with wildlife. One of the benefits of reporting in for a camping permit is that the authorities will usually ask you to declare the time you intend to stay in the area and will send someone out to check on you if you don’t report back on time.
Be Kind to Nature
Camping in the wilderness is one of the best ways to rejuvenate yourself after a hectic work week. Just remember that the forest is home to possibly hundreds of animals and thousands of different plants and trees. Your visit to nature shouldn’t leave any telltale signs apart from a little bit of flattened grass. Choose a campsite that you don’t need to disturb or clear too much and if you plan on lighting a campfire, make a small camping pit and only use twigs and branches that are already on the ground. Most importantly, whatever you bring into the camping area with you, needs to leave with you as well.
No matter where you decide to camp, your main aim is to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful scenery. Make sure you pack warm clothes and enough food and water. Bring your phone with you if you must, but put it away, or better yet, conserve your phone’s battery and only use your phone if you need to.
It’s a big and very exciting world out there and the possibilities for finding the perfect spot for camping are endless. Choose a different location each time you go camping so you can experience the very best nature has to offer.