How to choose a campsite


How to choose a campsite

There’s quite a lot to think about when deciding how to choose a campsite – sun, shade, wind and water to start with, then there’s noise, the view and proximity to facilities, not to mention the terrain (is it flat? covered in grass?).  It seems like a lot of things to consider, and while the perfect campsite might seem a bit like an unachievable unicorn, if you can’t find perfection, there are ways around it so you can make the best of what you can get.

Dealing with the elements

There’s no getting around the fact that when you are camping you are outdoors, and therefore at the mercy of Mother Nature.  She can be a fickle beast – hot and sunny one minute and windy and rainy the next.  While you can’t plan for every eventuality, you can take a few simple steps to work with, rather than against the weather.

Check the forecast

Make sure you check the forecast before you go and pack accordingly.  If it is going to be windy, put in some heavy-duty pegs.  Sunny? Add a bit of extra shade such as a tarpaulin.  Raining? A stronger tarp might be in order. 

Look around when you arrive

When you first arrive, think about potential campsites not only based on the weather you are experiencing as you stand there, but on the expected forecast, and where the sun will be at certain times of the day.  Think about when the sun will be directly on your tent (do you want to be woken up by the sun early in the morning?), and whether there are any trees around that could drop branches if the winds pick up. 

Make sure you have the gear for the season

Camping is much more fun when you have the right gear.  If you’re camping in the middle of winter, then you need a tent that is up to the task.  For summer, a lightweight tent that allows for good airflow will work best. 

Look up, down and all around

It’s important to look at the particulars of the site you think you might be making your temporary home.  Check to see how flat it is, and make sure there aren’t any prominent rocks or tree roots that you might end up lying on.  Make sure it isn’t at the bottom of a slope, where water could pool and flood you, or in an obvious watercourse.  Be aware of the types of trees you are near, and whether they are ones that might topple over in a storm (or just sway around). 

How far to…

Now, these next criteria are quite subjective, and depending on how you like to camp, you might like to be near these things, or far, far away.  Take note of how far the amenities are (be close for convenience, or far for privacy), where the water supply is, if there is a playground or shared facilities nearby that you either want to be close to (in order to supervise the kids without leaving your site) or far away from (for a bit more tranquility), and how far you are from the road.  Consider the needs of your children in terms of water or road safety and choose your site accordingly!

To sum up

Luckily, we all like to camp differently, otherwise we’d turn up to a campground and all want the same spot.  Even if you can’t find your “unicorn” site, by assessing your site based on the criteria above, you should be able to find the next best thing and enjoy a happy, safe and comfortable camping experience.

Tent buyers guide