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How to Find a Good Campsite (Tips from Experienced Campers)

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If you’re ready to try camping for the first time or if you’re a veteran camper who’s looking for new ideas, then this article is here to help. We’ll give you some helpful tips on how to find a good campsite and share some tricks that experienced campers use when they’re out in the wild.

campsite sign

Types of Camping

There are three main types of camping: backpacking, car camping, and RV camping.

Backpacking

Backpacking is when you carry all of your gear in a backpack, and hike to your campsite. This is the most strenuous type of camping, but also the most rewarding, as you get to explore the wilderness up close.

Car Camping

Car camping is when you drive to your campsite and set up camp there. This is a great option if you want to camp near interesting attractions or amenities, such as a lake or hiking trails. Without a doubt, using campsite finder apps or KOA.com are great ways to find a good campsite.

Apps such as Tentrr.com allows you to filter for location, amenities, and type of campground. It’s worth checking out all the camping gear to make your adventure more comfortable, such as comfortable camping cots, such as Helinox Featherlite Cot and REI Co-Op Kingdom Cot 3, camping chairs, especially since you can’t bring these with you on a backpacking trip. Car camping also allows you to pick the types of tents for your group size.

Whether you prefer a rooftop tents such as Thule Tepui Foothill Tent, dome tent like Mountain Summit Gear Campside 6-Person Dome Tent, or Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 4 Tent with 2-doors, you have options.
Private campsites for rent have also grown over the last few years with sites like www.tentrr.com making it easy to find a perfect campsite at the tips of your fingers.

Campers with rooftop tent

RV Camping

RV camping is when you camp in an RV, which is a motorhome or campervan that you can live in while on the road. This is a great option for families or groups who want to travel together and have all the comforts of home with them.

If you want an affordable one, there are trailers and campervans under $10,000 that won’t break the bank. Also, consider renting an RV from Outdoorsy.com or Rent a campervan from EscapeCamperVans.com if you want to dip your toe into the RV lifestyle, without committing to long-term ownership responsibilities.

Check out the amenities and facilities

camper in tent using binoculars

If you’re staying somewhere without running water, you’ll need to plan your toilet trips carefully. Toilets usually aren’t something you want to smell. Some campsites have toilets with proper plumbing and are cleaned regularly. Others have compost toilets that are raised above the ground and don’t smell as bad as you might think.

It’s worth checking out how the toilets are run on the campsite you’re considering staying at or bringing your own portable toilet, like CleanWaste Go Anywhere Portable Toilet Seat. If there is running water, you’ll need to plan how to use it efficiently.

Most campers use their water carefully and try to use as little as possible. You’ll probably have one water tap and one shower per group, so make sure you plan to use water wisely when using portable camping showers.

That said, read our article on how to make a camping poop kit, if you like to be prepared.

What to bring on a camping trip

There are a few key items that you should always bring on a camping trip, regardless of where you’re going or what kind of camping you’ll be doing.

These items will make your trip more comfortable, safe, and enjoyable.

  • Tent: A good tent is essential for any camping trip. Make sure to choose a tent that’s the right size for your group and that’s appropriate for the weather conditions you’ll be facing.
  • Sleeping bag: A warm, comfortable sleeping bag is a must-have for any camping trip. Choose a sleeping bag that’s rated for the temperature range you’ll be encountering.
  • Camping stove: A camp stove will allow you to cook hot meals on your camping trip. If you plan on doing any backpacking, be sure to choose a stove that’s lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Lantern: A camping lantern is great for providing light at night. Choose a lantern that uses LED bulbs for long battery life.
  • First aid kit: A first-aid kit is always a good idea, especially
Coleman 2-Person Sundome Tent, GreenHyke & Byke Eolus 30 F Hiking & Backpacking Sleeping Bag - 3 Season, 800FP...Gas One GS-3400P Propane or Butane Stove Dual Fuel Stove Portable Camping...
Adventure Medical Kits Family First Aid Medical KitLE LED Camping Lantern Rechargeable, 1000LM, 4 Light Modes, 4400mAh Power...TETON Sports Celsius Regular Sleeping Bag; Great for Family Camping ,...

What to avoid

muddy campsite

When looking for a campsite, there are a few things you should avoid.

First, steer clear of sites that are too close to roads or parking areas. The noise from traffic can be disruptive and make it difficult to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.

Consider the terrain around the campsite you’re thinking of staying at. Grounds that are too rocky, covered in debris, marshy, or muddy won’t be an ideal spot to pitch a tent. Make sure you check the ground before you pitch your tent, so you don’t get any nasty surprises when you lie down for the night!

If the ground is too wet, you may have to find a patch of higher ground or pitch your tent in an area that’s not as muddy. Some ground is covered in thorns, nettles, and other prickly plants that can be painful to walk barefoot.

Second, avoid sites that are too close to water sources like lakes or rivers. Not only can the mosquitoes be a nuisance, but you also run the risk of flooding if there is heavy rain. If you’re camping on a flood plain or near a river, you’ll need to know if the ground is sloping. This will help you stay safe, especially if the ground is very soft and spongy!

Camping next to a river means you need to know how wide the banks are and may need to move if the water starts rising. But if you’re camping on hard ground, you may not have a problem

Finally, avoid campsites that are in areas with high levels of human activity. If there are lots of people around, it can make it difficult to relax and enjoy your time in the great outdoors.

Plan your route before you head out

Hiking with map

When you’re picking a campsite, it’s a good idea to find out where the best routes in and out of the area are. If you’re driving to your camping destination, make sure you know any potential traffic hazards, weather conditions,or fire dangers.

However, if you are flying in order to get to your camping destination, find out if the airport has travel alerts. Find out what the TSA airline rules for carry-on or checking camping gear, trekking poles, butane canisters, ice axes, backpacking saws, and hiking crampons. In addition, check your airline’s rules on how large of a backpack you can carry on or need to check. Depending on your ticket fare or the size of the plane, your pack may not be allowed with you.

Measure your backpacking pack ahead of time will help prevent any surprise fees to check your bag when it doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment.

Know Campsite Rules

campsite rules

Some campsites have rules in place to keep everyone safe and happy while they’re there. If you’re pitching your tent near other campers, follow campsite etiquette. However, if you’re staying in a more remote location, you may not have any rules to abide by, besides the Leave No Trace Rules.

Also, if there are rules on the campsite, it’s important to abide by them and keep the peace. Rules may include quiet hours or a curfew time for noisy kids. It’s also worth finding out what to do if there is a fire or medical emergency.

How to find a good campsite?

When looking for a campsite, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are tips and tricks on how to find a good campsite:

  • First, consider your camping style. Are you looking for a rustic experience or do you prefer more amenities?
  • Next, decide what kind of scenery you’re hoping for. Do you want to be surrounded by nature or do you prefer a more developed area?
  • Then, research different campsites in the area you’re interested in. Read reviews and compare prices.

Share your hiking hacks and how to find a good campsite below. Where is your favorite campground? Are you a car camper or backpacker?


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