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How to Pick a Campsite

Learn how to pick a campsite from Heather Menicucci, author of Let's Get Primitive: The Urban Girl's Guide to Camping, in this Howcast video.


One of my favorite parts of camping is picking the campsite. It's like apartment hunting, but it's free. It's super fun.

If you're camping in a campground, then you have to camp where the sites are designated. If you're primitive camping, there's just some basic rules you should follow. First, you should really try to pick a site that's been used before, and you can tell because there's probably some charred ground. You don't want to litter the forest or the state park with a bunch of campsites, so you really want to camp where other people have camped. A log, like this one, or a fire pit, those are sure signs that someone's camped there before.

The other thing you want to do is stay 200 feet from the trails, from water, and from cliffs. You can kind of figure that out by just walking it out. You can probably roughly get where 50 feet is. You just want to stay pretty far away from trails, water, and cliffs. The other thing is, you're looking for level ground. So, you're looking for a good area to pitch your tent, somewhere flat and level, somewhere dry. You want to avoid areas that are low ground or near water, because not only is it going to be wet, but it's going to attract mosquitoes.

Most forests and parks have protected areas. So, at the beach there are dunes, and the forest it could be a common place where bears are seen. You just want to make sure you stay away from any protected areas. Make sure you're thinking about wildlife when you're out there, both for their safety and your own.

Then the other thing is you're looking for a spot that has a little bit of a mixture of shade and sun, because you want to be able to have both, and there's no reason why you can't.

Every camper likes a different kind of campsite, and that's what's really fun about it. That you will be able to find something you love, and it'll be your new home for a couple of days.

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