What Makes a Good Campsite?

Finding a proper site to make camp, whether you are in wilderness survival scenario or just out in the woods for fun, can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and a total nightmare.  But what is that you should look for in a campsite, and what should you avoid?  Ultimately you are going to have to make do with what is available, but here are some principles to keep in mind when you are looking for a place to bed down for the night.


  • Avoiding dangerously low night-time temperatures is paramount. For this reason you should avoid both low lying areas that can trap cold air, and exposed tops of hills or mountains where the wind can strip you of your body heat.
  • Look for an area with vegetation or terrain that naturally blocks the wind and weather.
  • Water is your second most important concern in survival. So finding a location near water to set up camp is ideal.  But you don’t want to be too close to the water.  This could put you in dangerous proximity to predators like bears, and it could frighten off potential prey animals.
  • Making camp about a quarter of a mile from water is ideal.
  • What makes a good place to sleep for you, might also make a good place to sleep for animals you don’t want to share your space with. Clear away ground debris to reduce the chances of being bitten by spiders, scorpions, and snakes.  If you see large droppings with fur in them, that is a sign that a predator is in the area.
  • Don’t make a camp right next to a game trail. The reason is the same for not making camp by water.
  • A fire is going to be essential to cook, boil water, and keep warm. An area with suitable firewood is always a good place to make camp so that you don’t have to haul wood and waste time and energy.

You might not find the picturesque campsite when fighting for survival in the wilderness, but if you keep these principles in mind you should be able to keep yourself from having a lot more trouble than you need when you’d rather be sleeping.

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