How to Choose a Campsite

How to Choose a Campsite
Choosing a campsite that is comfortable and functional will keep the entire camping group happy. Primitive campsites are beneficial for those who are backcountry camping or camping with a tent. Primitive sites often come with unpredictable terrain. Full amenity campsites that include water and electric often have their lots cleared for easier access. Choosing a campsite that works for the campers by allowing enough room for a fire pit, clothesline and outdoor living space is essential.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tent or RV
  • Tape measure
  • Rake
  • Gloves
  • Ground level
  • 25 to 50 feet of clothesline and clothespins
Step 1
Sign in with the camp office or obtain a backcountry permit from the local DNR (Department of Natural Resources) office. Make sure to ask for campsite locations and availability---this will prevent having to move a campsite later if the site has already been reserved.
Step 2
Choose a campsite that has the measurements needed to set up camp. For an RV, make sure there is ample room to pull or back in. Take measurements of spaces between trees or other RVs to avoid accidents.
Step 3
Check for ground condition and quality. Choose a campsite that is free of large tree stumps, rocks and excessive moisture. Make sure that the ground elevation is as flat as possible. Use a ground level to find extreme differences in elevation. If there is too much variance, choose another site.
Step 4
Pick out a campsite that faces the east for AM sun and make sure the back or side of the tent or RV faces toward the west. Try to find a site that is shaded to keep the campsite cool. Bushes or fences are good to camp next to as they keep wind gusts minimal.
Step 5
Avoid areas close to large bodies of water that may flood. Keep the site within close proximity to a natural water source---but it least 200 feet away or closer if the campsite elevation is higher.
Step 6
Find a campsite that has large trees for tying rope to. This is a good way to hang out clothing and camping supplies while keeping them dry and mildew free.
Step 7
Set up camp. Use a rake to smooth out the surface for a tent. Remove rocks and sharp debris. For an RV, lock the wheels in place with a wheel stopper and connect water and sewer hoses. Plug into an electrical outlet if available.
Step 8
Avoid campsites that have dead brush and fallen tree limbs---they can pose a fire hazard. Set up a fire pit at least 15 feet away from the tent or RV. Use a fire ring at all times.

Tips & Warnings

Arrive early in the day to get the best campsite or make reservations in advance to assure a site.
Some campgrounds give out campsites on a first come first serve basis.
Never burn wood in dry weather conditions.
Do not cut wood in a public area. Feel free to gather fallen branches and limbs for fire starters.

Article Written By Julie Boehlke

Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.

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