Tips For Selecting The Best Campsite Ever

That’s right, summer’s not over yet. Here are some tips to make the best out of your last few nights under the stars.

  1. If you’ve found a site you think is perfect, take a quick walk around and inspect the vicinity—you may spot something that makes it less desirable. For instance, if you spot a grizzly bear within 20 feet of your “perfect” site, consider relocating. Bears are photogenic and intriguing, but also can crush your skull like it’s a bag of corn chips, and that’s no fun.
  2. Taking young kids camping for the first time, and not quite ready for the wilderness? Try “camping” in the backyard. If you haven’t done it before, make sure you’re camping in your backyard, and not someone else’s. People are so sensitive these days, and you never know when someone’s going to get all territorial about you and your family setting up a tent in their backyard. I know, it’s ridiculous, but that’s the world we live in these days.
  3. If you have a hard time sleeping or enjoying a campfire without the soothing purr of a gasoline-powered generator, you’ll want to stick to campgrounds. Rugged mountain trails make it difficult to carry generators up, and thusly, backcountry campsites can often be eerily silent.
  4. If camping near an alpine lake, try to select a campsite that is not underwater. In addition to complying with Leave No Trace guidelines, this will also keep your sleeping bag dry.
  5. Talk to your tentmate and decide if you prefer to try sleeping with blood rushing into your head, or, alternately, sliding down towards your feet the entire night. Pick an aggressively sloping tent site accordingly. If you can’t agree on one or the other, simply sleep head-to-feet, and you can both enjoy the night. OR, try to find a flat spot.
  6. Before your trip, head to your local library and flip through back issues of magazines whose covers promise articles describing the “Best Campsites Ever.” This is where all the best campsites ever are listed.
  7. Stop at the appropriate land management agency’s visitor center and speak to an employee there. They may not understand your quest for “the best campsite,” and they may try to explain that it’s not really possible to objectively compare campsites, but if you repeatedly explain that you are looking for “the best campsite,” they may eventually relent and just point you to an area where there are some nice campsites.
  8. Just pick out a relatively flat campsite with a decent aesthetic and/or view, and decide to be grateful that you are a person who can go “camping” for fun, and not as a necessity. Shit yeah, that’s pretty great. Best Campsite Ever. Until the next time you go camping.
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