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Criteria for choosing a campsite

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Criteria for choosing a campsite

Post  Warloque on Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:43 am

Criteria for choosing a campsite


1st criteria: Ground Condition - Avoid rocky grounds as it prevents pegging. Tent pegs and tent bottom-canvass will also be at risk of being damaged by the rocks. If the ground where you choose to place your tent is littered with branches, random rocks or any other hard objects, remove them before pitching your tent over them. This will provide you with a much more comfortable surface to sleep on at night. You can feel every jutting piece of object or hole in the ground beneath your tent's bottom-canvass.


2nd criteria: Overhead - Check and ensure that the pitching site you choose is not under decaying branches or any other objects (eg. fruits) that might fall onto your tent. Avoiding this and having to pitch your tent in a less shady spot would definitely be better than be woken up in the middle of the night by falling objects on top of you. Moreover, it will save you from damage to your tent.


3rd criteria: Wind Direction - Align your tent to have the entrance facing the prevailing wind. Tents usually have a secondary opening on the other side, either as another entrance or as a window. This allows the wind to pass through your tent, rather than having it fight against the wind as a resistance obstruction. If it is not possible to have a direct alignment, even an angled alignment is good. Having your tent's side positioned against the prevailing wind would be like having a parachute placed in the way of the wind. This creates heaving loading on the tent guylines holding up the side where the wind is beating against, and would result in a collapsed tent. A second incentive in allowing the prevailing wind to pass through your tent is that it ventilates your tent and gets rid of all the lovely odour that has been trapped in the tent overnight.


4th criteria: Local Wildlife - Make careful observations of the surroundings. Watch for tracks that may have been left behind by animals, like wild boars, or any other creatures that are bigger in size. This can be ascertained by the size and looks of the tracks. Wild animals usually shy away from human presence. But if it is a frequently travelled path that is leading into the vicinity of your tentage, it would be a good idea to avoid it. During the silent hours of your camp at night, when there are no movements or sounds from you, wild animals may accidentally stumble into your campsite... or worst, into your tent. Another tip is to avoid pitching too close to long grass, thick vegetation growths and bamboo clusters. These are favourite hiding places for small rodents and birds. And where there are small rodents and birds, there will be snakes.


5th criteria: Pests - Another careful observation would be for the smallest of creatures in the wilderness, and yet, they can be the ones making your camping experience into a nightmare. Watch your ant trails and suspicious looking lumps hanging from branches. If these lumps are active bee or wasp hives, stay well away. Like most colony/family creatures, bees and wasps are territorial. So you would want to stay out of their immediate boundaries. One bee or wasp sting is still bearable, but when you get stung by hundreds or thousands of stings, it becomes fatal. Unfortunately, ant trails can appear overnight, and can vanish just as quickly. So this is a little more difficult to avoid. The best solution is to keep your food or sweet items off the ground from their detection.


6th criteria: Terrain - Where possible, choose a pitching site that has some gradient - a slight slope is good enough. This draws rain water away from your tentage and prevents you from waking up in a swimming pool after a night of torrential downpour. Avoid sites that trap water in. These create "water ponding" and can make a well planned camping trip into a most uncomfortable experience. When survey your choice of campsite, try and imagine how water would flow through it. This will help you choose the higher ground to keep from being waterlogged.


7th criteria: Resources - Your basic needs during a camp must always be met. This includes washing, cooking and keeping warm. Thus, choose a campsite that provides, or is close to two resources - clean water and firewood. The worst place to choose is anything like a mangrove swamp location. The water is muddy, and the wood are all wet.


8th criteria: Disposal - This is optional, since technically, you can bring your thrash with you when you leave the campsite, for disposal somewhere else. However, it would be so much more easier if you are not too far off from a designated rubbish point.


9th criteria: Conveniences - Nature's call is something that we cannot ignore. Ideally, your campsite has public toilets nearby for this, otherwise, when choosing a campsite, a section of your campsite must be available for this very purpose. Sufficient foliage cover has to be available for privacy. If there are female camp participants, a makeshift enclosure must be erected for them, with trenches in the ground prepared.


10th criteria: Fixed Shelter - This is for the event of a weather emergency. A safe, man-made structure has to be within reach of your choice of campsite, in case of a storm. This identified structure must be able to withstand lightning, and be able to shelter the entire camp's number of participants, comfortably. If the shelter is too small, a secondary shelter has to be identified that is not too far away from the primary shelter. This allows you to split your campers into two pre-arranged groups.
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