• The right campsite. Scott Goodwill/Unsplash
    The right campsite. Scott Goodwill/Unsplash

Any outdoors bible will tell you a good campsite and correctly pitched tent makes the difference between a great night and a sleepless one.

Here are some top tips to get your campsite just right.

  • If you’re camping beside or near a river, look for a flat area above the highest level that the river is likely to reach. A high tide mark is easily found by looking at the trees along the river’s edge where leaf litter, broken branches and other detritus has been deposited by previous floods.
  • Always camp above the high tide mark, especially when heavy rain is expected, as rivers can rise and fall dramatically in a few hours, prompting a midnight swim and unexpected house renovations.
  • Don’t camp above an eroded bank on a bend in the river.
  • Look for easy access points to the river's edge to collect water, and, in some regions, where dangerous wildlife enters and exits the water.
  • A dry riverbed or other watercourse may be a bit harder to spot so pitch your tent on slightly elevated ground with good run-off. Whilst extra height may provide better drainage and a great view, remember that…
  • In the High Country, the wind has a propensity to increase, occasionally bringing rain as it rises over hills and mountain ranges. Find a site on the leeward side of a land feature to avoid a buffeting if the wind increases during the night. A sheltered spot under a large rock overhang, at the edge of the bush, or beside a large fallen tree will provide shelter from the wind, rain and dew, and reflect heat back from the bush telly. Look overhead to make sure that nothing will fall on you in the night.

Site layout – tips and tricks
Once a site has been selected, survey the area where the tent or ground sheet is to sit, looking for sticks, stones or any other sharp objects that may tear or puncture your tent or self-inflating mat. The edge of a clearing may provide a good spot as the overhanging bush line offers some protection from dew and rain but have a look around the trees for any that may come down in the wind.

  • Pitch your tent with the doorway facing away from the prevailing wind. This means that it won’t become a giant windsock when you unzip it and saves the indignity of climbing a tree to retrieve its tattered remains. When facing this way, smoke from an open fire will blow away from your tent.
  • In windy conditions, cookers, whether gas or liquid fuel, are hard to light and perform poorly, leaving you with a meal of rough-textured freeze-dried and a cold cup of tea. Cooking in a sheltered doorway will increase your culinary success.
  • Be aware of the impact that your choice of site may have on the environment around you. All personal hygiene, other than having a wash and brushing your teeth, should be undertaken at least 50m from the edge of a waterway.
  • Gather firewood and store it upwind from your fire pit. All fires – where permitted – should be lit on bare or cleared ground, at least three metres in all directions from foliage or other combustible materials.
  • Place extra food a safe distance from your tent in an airtight container to stop it becoming an animal’s midnight snack. A few rocks placed strategically near the bank in the gentle flow of a stream will provide a cool-ish refrigerator for any food that needs to be kept cool.
comments powered by Disqus