Monday, 22 February 2016

6 Tips for Choosing a Good Campsite

  1. Permission - Before you set up camp anywhere, ensure you are allowed to. Best to do this before you leave home. Phone ahead and book in. Obtain relevant permits if this is relevant. Check what the rules are for camping at this location. If the rules don’t work for you; please find somewhere else. Never camp on private property without permission.
  2. Safety - Select a site that will not flash-flood i.e. creek beds or close to the river’s edge. Avoid spots where there is erosion as this can be a sign that this spot experiences lots of stormwater runoff. Avoid lone trees and high ridges as they can become lightning targets. Don’t camp near dead trees or trees that have lots of fallen branches nearby; the wind could blow them down on you.
  3. Size - Make sure your site is large enough to set up your tent/s or camper/van, put your out chairs, park the car and cook meals. The average 4 man tent is approx. 2.5 mtr x 2.5 mtr but needs a minimum of 1 mtr surrounding it for guy ropes, pegs and safe walking space. The average car is 5 mtr x 2 mtr. Plus another 4 mtr x 4 mtr for a couple of chairs, esky, food box and cooking space. Always check to see you and your family will have enough space. You may need a second campsite if you want to put up tarps, take the BBQ, the dog or have a second tent for the kids.
  4. Terrain - Make sure your site is slightly elevated and has good drainage in case of rain. A gently sloping campsite is ideal. The perfect surface is grassy, sandy or gravelly, so that it can absorb rainfall. Please don’t build trenches around your tent to drain away water. This causes erosion. Try to select a spot that does not have sharp rocks, especially under your tent area. Select the flattest part of the campsite so that you can sleep level. Check the area carefully to ensure you are not setting up on a bull ant’s nest or under a huge wasp nest. Remember to look up, down and around.
  5. Protection - Hopefully you will be able to select a campsite that catches the morning sun and gives you shade in the afternoon. Remember that Ideal head positioning when you go to bed is west. This means that the sun is not hitting you in the face in the morning. Also be aware of prevailing winds and select tarp and awning orientations to allow for this. Maybe use car and tent as a windbreak if there is no shrubbery to offer some protection from the elements.
  6. Privacy - Respect the privacy of others. Trees, shrubs and the shape of the terrain can screen your camp. Try to select a campsite as far away from others as you can. This doesn’t mean that you can’t walk on over and say Hi later. Just means you will not disturb each other whilst you are getting on with the fun stuff you like to do.
Perfect campsites are rare so you might need to compromise a little on some of the items noted but near-perfect spots do still exist everywhere in Australia.

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