What Makes the Perfect Campsite or How to Choose the Perfect Campsite
The place where you place your tent is an important aspect in any outdoor activity: it can make the experience fun … or it can be a problem if you do not choose the right place. Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect campsite.
Before starting your adventure, there are two things to keep in mind:
Check the legislation and regulations of your camping site
It is worth reviewing two different terms of the legal scope: The camping and the bivouac (itinerant camping):
The camping refers to spending several consecutive nights in one place (with their respective days).
The bivouac refers to setting up the store at the last minute and dismantling it with the first light of day.
Each autonomous community, National and the Natural park has a different regulation with respect to regulating these activities, and we must stick to them. In general, the camping is very restricted and it is considered that for this activity we must go to campings. On the other hand, the law is much more permissive with the bivouac or itinerant camping in many places from a certain height (although for example in P. N de Aiguestortes even bivouac is prohibited). It is important to know the regulations of our destination and to respect it.
The conservation of the environment is an important aspect.
1. Find out and plan your itinerary
2. Find out in advance (in guides and maps) if there are sites indicated as ‘Bivouac areas’. These will certainly be the best.
Plan the itinerary to reach a good area at least 2 hours before sunset.
Once on the road, and with our mind set on planting our tent, these are the eleven aspects that we will have to take into account when choosing our camping place.
Take your time and try to locate a flat, grassy, fluffy and uneven place. Otherwise, you’ll end up waking up in the middle of the night seeing that you’ve been slipping into some corner of the store. If the soil is grassy, it will be easier to place the pickets.
We said we’re going to bivouac, right? In that case it will not be necessary to spend too much time finding shade, although some trees will protect us from dew, rain and wind.
Choose sites with height
If it rains heavily, it will be fundamental to drain the soil and avoid the troughs.
Look for a place near the water (river, ibon), but stay about 150 meters from it: first for safety and also for noise, animals and mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes and other insects
Flee from the areas of standing water, otherwise you will be the dinner of more than one mosquito.
Avoid also areas where you have won, there will be horseflies, ticks …
If the area has a bit of wind or breeze, it will reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes.
Avoid leaving any object outside the store:
In low and middle mountain there are nocturnal animals that will rob us from the garbage bag to any shoe or boot. It is not pleasant to wake up and see the remains of the garbage bag completely scattered.
For some strange reason, snakes, insects, and spiders like to sleep inside their shoes … Keep them inside to avoid surprises!
Although when you go to sleep it makes very good weather and temperature, the simple dew will soak your mountain boots, and it is not comfortable to start the day with wet feet.
Choose the camping site in high mountains
Most of the times we installed our store over 2mil, and sometimes it is stony ground, without insects or water …
In some places of high mountain usually there are walls built to stop the wind
Look for places where there are walls built with stones to save you from the wind. If you can not nail pebbles, tie the rope to a stone and put other stones on top of it to hold it better.
The most important aspect is to know the weather forecast and to know where the wind will blow. It is essential to find a hillside with orientation contrary to the wind. No matter how much you lift a small wall of stones, there will always be gusts of wind that will hit the store. The hills and peaks are prone to suffer the strongest winds.
The stone walls stop the wind, but it is best to seek a good orientation
Avoid sites that have the loose rock with signs of landslides. Always look at the top of where we want to sleep.
If the weather forecast is stormy or if we see signs that it will be so, we must avoid large accumulations of water (lakes), caves and summits. Otherwise, we will be an antenna.
How to choose the camping site in winter
Calculate where the sun will set in the first hour, look for a site facing east. Those first rays of sunshine will comfort you on a cold night.
Look for some height, and avoid very narrow valleys
The herbal inversion in winter makes the Valley’s air that are very steep not to warm because it hardly gives the sun all day. This means that it is sometimes colder at the bottom of the valley than at higher altitudes.
Look for signs of avalanches: Do you have broken trees or remnants of other avalanches? Do you see a runner on top of you? Avoid it!
And last but perhaps most importantly, do not forget to leave the place where you slept even better than you have found: if you find other people’s garbage, do not drop the rings for picking it up. If you do not do it, no one will!