How to Organize a Campsite

How to Organize a Campsite
Keeping an organized campsite creates not only a more efficient camp but a safer one. Campsites should be chosen and spaced out according to Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. By doing this you avoid attracting animals and wildlife, prevent your gear from blowing away and creating litter, and minimize your impact on the site where you are camping.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • LNT principles
Step 1
Choose a campsite that is within regulations of the area you are backpacking in. Many areas do not allow camping within 200 feet of a trail or water. Find a campsite that has a durable surface such as duff (fallen leaves), snow, or grassy meadow so that you leave as little impact as possible while camping there.
Step 2
Create a triangle with your camp stations. The sleeping area, with your tent or tents, should be in one area, the kitchen in another and the bear hang---if you are using one---in yet another area. These three areas should be at least 200 feet apart, if possible. You do not want any food particles or scented items near your tents in bear country, and setting up your tent site upwind from the kitchen and bear hang area is not a bad idea. If you are camping in the winter or on a glacier, you probably don't have to worry about bears or other threatening wildlife, and cooking closer to your tents is less dangerous.
Step 3
Take care of your equipment by securing all loose items in your tent or backpack. Even if you are stepping away only for a moment, store loose items securely under a tarp so they do not blow away. All food and utensils should be stored in a food bag when not in use and hung in a bear hang while you are sleeping.
Step 4
Never set down dirty spatulas or spoons on the rock or ground of your kitchen area, set them on the back of a lid. Spill as little crumbs as possible and dig a sump hole several yards away (not in the direction of the tent) to pour dirty water into when cleaning out your pots and pans. Organizing your camp kitchen is especially important and should be on a surface that equal to or surpasses durability compared to your tent site as you will spend most of your time around the kitchen area. Rock is the best surface if you've got it.
Step 5
Do not leave out socks or sleeping bags to dry on a tree limb and then walk away, and never leave stuff out to dry overnight. You never know when a storm will blow through the mountains, soaking and scattering your stuff.
Step 6
Return the area to what it looked like before you camped there as much as possible. Scatter leaves where they have been walked on, replace the stick you tossed aside to set up your tent and always scan the area before leaving to make sure you don't leave a trace. Always follow the LNT principles which are: Plan Ahead and Prepare, Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, Dispose of Waste Properly, Leave What You Find, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife and Be Considerate of Other Visitors.


Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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