On any camping trip, there is one constant; your campsite is your safe-haven where you go to get out from inclement weather, store your gear and rest your head after a long day of hiking. But to really enjoy your outdoor experience, you not only have to pack lighter, but pack smarter as well. Otherwise you’re treading water in the backwoods before you take your first step into the wilderness.
The first rule of thumb for effective camping is to know the difference between essential camping gear and the unneeded luxuries. Although comfort should always be a top priority, this doesn’t mean large space full of creature comforts. You are camping, after all.
Huge tents with excessive over packing can not only weigh you down, but essentially take away from the experience. Smaller tents also provide more flexibility for placement on a specific campsite than larger ones.
When you get to your selected campsite, survey the area. Keep your eyes open for trees with drop potential, because nothing ruins a trip more than being crushed by an oak tree. Telltale signs include fallen branches at the base, creaking sounds from above and patches on the trunk free of bark.
Additionally, when scoping out the canopy, a thick cover is advantageous over a thinner one to protect from rain showers and the hot sun. Also upon your initial survey of the landscape, ensure your neighbors are tolerable for the duration of your stay. Are they messy, noisy and inconsiderate? Maybe they’re even aggressive? Or are they peaceful, quiet and considerate?
Finally, when assessing your prospective site, also determine general wind direction in relation to your surroundings. Make sure you’re upwind from all potential offenses, including your neighbor’s campfire. Implementing these few simple steps will make sure you have a fun and enjoyable weekend in the woods.