Tips for Backcountry

To pick an ideal campsite

To pick an ideal campsite

Even with the best of equipment’s and a good shelter system, it would get difficult to sleep at low-quality terrain or campsite, the purpose of a good quality rest is for you to recharge yourself and face the days at wilderness with good energy to move further. So it is important to be selective of the campsite where you would rest for the day.
Use these general guidelines to find a site and get some good night’s sleep in the wilderness

Finding Location

When you reach half of your day or little later, you should start looking out for an ideal place where you would spend the night. On your map, look for places that have

– Convenient proximity to wood and water (at least 150 to 200 meters away from water bodies to avoid contamination).
– Flat dry surfaces, where you could pitch your tent well else you might find yourself crammed against the tent wall at night. Clear the ground for any sharp protrusions like rocks, pine cones, etc.
– In addition to finding a flat surface, taking a time to find a right site will improve your odds for a good night sleep.
– Having a permanent shade is an added advantage, you wouldn’t want to be woken up by a blazing hot sun on your tent in the morning.
– Seek tree cover as the ground loses a lot of heat at night, tree cover helps in reflecting the heat back to you and help you stay warmer and reduce condensation.
– While seeking tree cover, avoid overhead hazards like dead trees, branches and areas prone to rockfall or avalanches.
– Choose higher ground, avoid bottoms of valleys and dips in terrain where cooler air collects at night, for a more warmer and dry night camp slightly uphill.
– Farther away from the trail and not disturb other backpackers or the local community who use the trail.
– Not near any national parks or prime habitats of wild animals.
– Far from waterlogged places which might be breeding ground for insects and stagnated water bodies.
– Away from places prone to natural hazards like avalanches, flash floods, rock falls, river gorges, exposed ridges, lone trees, fragile vegetation and loose rock ledge or below dry tree branches as nature can be unforgiving at times.
– If there are high winds consider setting up a tent at the leeward side of boulders or trees which help in breaking winds or any other natural props available.
– Consider wind direction, to avoid high winds stay away from exposed ridges and open meadows where there is nothing to slow down the force of a storm
– Consider camping on the spots which have already been used and had their marks left behind, although the wilderness may be vast, protecting what is left will go a long way for future generations. You want to leave wilderness just as you found it. If you can’t use the established area, make your campsite small to reduce impact and do your best to stay away from fragile vegetation.
– A little privacy from other campers and camp little farther making your experience much more enjoyable.
– Plan for rain, try to camp on porous soft dirt as it helps in seep down, and orient your tent for any sudden downpour at night.
– Most important thing is to gather as much information as possible from the local area like restrictions, permits, and exit routes, nearest hospitals, emergency rescue.


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