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Going on camping trips is a good way of spending time with family and friends. There is something about the idea of being isolated in the wilderness, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and sleeping underneath the stars that makes for a good bonding experience. There are a lot of good memories that can be had from spending a night or two on a camping trip.
But inasmuch as we want to get the most out of our camping trip, we also have to consider the place that we choose as our camping site. It is not enough to just find a clearing, pitch our tents, and then proceed with roasting marshmallows and hotdogs over the campfire while singing campfire songs. The wilderness we camp in is home to a lot of animals, and we have to show our respect to the wilderness that is their home. Besides, some spots that may look like good camping sites at first may prove to give us the worst sleep of our lives come morning.
How do we choose a good campsite? A good campsite has an even surface that drains well and is well away from a flash flood zone. It is dry and breezy enough to guarantee a good night's sleep undisturbed by mosquitoes and other insects. A good campsite is also safe; this means that the campers can sleep soundly without fearing rocks tumbling down a slope or dead trees falling.
If you think you have found a good campsite, better check if it is perfect by lying down for a while on the ground. If the ground is firm and even enough and there are no visible rocks that will jab at your body and those of your campmates as you toss and turn in your sleep, then you can go ahead and pitch your tents. Do not set camp on soft soil or on meadows; the soil there is too fragile. You will want to disturb the ecosystem of the wilderness you are camping in as little as possible.
Always make sure that your tent is held down firmly by its stakes and that the guylines are taut. In case the wind blows strongly in the middle of the night, this will prevent your tent from being tossed and blown away. If possible, set up your tents so that the back is facing the wind and that your campsite has enough cover against the wind.
It is good to camp near water, but try to set up camp at least 200 meters away from water so your camp will not contaminate the water source. Avoid camping on game trails where you could scare the animals away from their drink.
Be conscious of the environment of your campsite at all times. Change to camping shoes as soon as you and your group have set up camp. Never go barefoot. Also, if you have to make a campfire, use already existing campfire rings and avoid making new ones. Use only dead wood for your campfires. If the environment is too fragile, better leave off making campfires altogether.
When you break up camp in the morning, make sure that you leave no traces of your campsite. That means no fires left burning and no garbage left behind.
Going on a camping trip is certainly a great idea, but always be conscious of the wilderness you are camping in amidst your fun.