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How To Choose A Campsite?

by | Mar 27, 2017 | Hiking Tips | 0 comments

At the end of the days hike take some time to choose a campsite. Your decision is the difference between being at one with nature or damaging a fragile ecosystem.

I know this is the point in the day where you just want to sit down but not yet. This is the time when you set yourself up for tomorrow almost the most important decision of the day. Without a good nights sleep you will not enjoy the following day and could end up wasting your weekend. Invest an extra five minutes to choose a campsite and you will enjoy the following day infinitely more.

So what makes a good campsite?

There are many factors which can impact your choice of a campsite.

Access to water

Water is essential, not just drinking but cooking and cleaning. After rationing water all day it is great if you can choose a campsite which has easy access to water. Ensure you pitch over 200 feet away in order to avoid contamination.


You only have a tiny layer of tent protecting you from the elements. In a windy environment take some pressure off your tent and try and find a site with some shelter.

Check the trees and above

Camping within the trees offers shelter from the elements and the rising sun, preventing an early morning wake up. Before setting up ensure that there are no damaged branches or anything overhead which could fall during the night.

Choosing a campsite with shelter

Avoid midges

Oh the bane of anyone who spends anytime in the outdoors. To have the best chance of a midge free night avoid slow running water, bogs and pick areas with a breeze, over 7mph.

Respect animals

If you are camping near a water source do not choose a campsite which is on game trail. You do not want to be woken up in the middle of the night by an animal crashing into your tent.

Leave no trace

Find a hard durable surface in order to leave no trace when you pack up camp. If you camp on vegetation and stay at a site for multiple nights move your tent every night in order to minimise the damage.

Choose a campsite - leave no trace

A room with a view

You have done a hard days hike in order to escape the city, reward yourself with a view to die for in the morning. If possible camp away from others, nothing ruins a view quite like a bright orange tent.

In the north then check the aurora forecast and if it looks promising, why not pitch with your tent door facing that way. You never know the Northern Lights may come out to play.
Believe me it is worth setting a couple of alarms.

What else do you take into account when picking a campsite?

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About The Author

Strategy consultant by week, explorer by weekend. His first ever hike was a 9 day thru-hike at Torres del Paine and it was love at first hike. He now sleeps better in a tent than a bed. He would rather drive for 2 hours down a country lane than sit for 2 minutes in traffic. He has been known to lead driving safaris in areas without wildlife with a Justin Bieber soundtrack.

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