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Do you know how to find a good campsite? If your answer is no then you are lacking one of the most important survival skills known to man.

Whether you are into the great outdoors or not, this article will be your guide on how to reside in the wild.

RELATED: 25 Top Camping Tips I Learned From My Old Man

The Four W’s of Finding A Campsite

1. Water

Campsite with orange tent and campfire on a northern Minnesota lake-How to Find A Good Campsite

Research says that we could last for more than a month without food. The absence of liquid though is a different story. Human beings deprived of drinking water will only last for four days tops. Famous civil rights figure Mahatma Gandhi lasted 21 days without food.

Some say the secret to his resilience is his almost superhuman willpower. No one would dare argue with that but people around him knew that what kept him going in the water.

So, what’s the point about this boring history lesson? The point is water, in our book, is the number one consideration in finding a campsite. In any given outdoor scenario, the first thing you need to assess is the H20 factor. Is there any source of water in the area? If there is, is it potable, and how stable?

Aside from these considerations, you also need to think about the potential water source in two ways. Number one, if there is indeed a water source, where is it located? The location will determine where you will set up camp.

The idea is how to find a good campsite where it will be safe from water-related damages. For example, never settle for a position where water could collect during a storm. It could be a dangerous predicament.

The best practice to avoid this potentially perilous situation is to survey the terrain. Identify the ground level so you could avoid low areas where flooding may occur.  As a rule, never set camp on an area prone to erosion. To check for signs of water runoff, examine if the dirt and leaves were pushed in an unnatural direction.

Number two, make sure that there is also a good source of clean drinking water. Once you identify the source, set your campsite at least 300 yards away from it. This will make potable accessible for drinking and cleaning yet far enough from pollutants like human waste. Treat your clean water source as an ally. Be close but not that much.

2. Weather

Camping tent with lake background-How to Find A Good Campsite

If you want to master how to find a good campsite, another “W” that you need to keep in mind is the weather. Camping or not, we all understand how the weather is a crucial factor in our chances of survival. In any given situation, the possibility of storms or any bad weather formation demands critical attention.

When identifying a campsite, gather every information you could muster about a specific area’s weather history. Is it a storm-prone area? Are there any records of flash flooding? By answering these types of questions, you can understand camping better.

You can survey the area to find the safest position to build your shelter based on frequent weather formations in the area. In wet and windy areas, you can plan and erect tents that can withstand inhospitable climate conditions. The key here is to understand your chances of adapting to specific conditions that may affect your daily grind.

The ideal location regardless of climate condition is somewhere between extremes. Building shelter in between high- and low-level areas is always a safe option. Avoid areas that are prone to erosion or landslides.

RELATED: Fire Safety Precautions When Building Campfires

3. Wood

Bonfire in campsite in Banff National Park-finding a campsite

Wood is your prime source of shelter and fuel when setting up camp in the wild.  You need wood to build a fire which is, next to the water, the life of a camp.

You need fire to cook food, for warmth, and for protection against predators. Try to be closer to trees or other sources of wood if possible.


Being close to the source of wood will help save you from unnecessary labor. Aside from chopping huge logs, you will also have to carry them to the camp.

Another rule is to collect as much firewood as you can. If possible, collect three to four times the amount you will be needing. It’s better to have more than to run short during wet weather.

4. Wild Things

cheering group of hikers jumping in sleeping bags outdoors in mountains during the sunset-finding a campsite

Wild things are a cause for concern when you are in an isolated area surrounded by forests.

This brings us to our last but equally crucial “W” in finding a campsite. Those who already have ample experience on how to find a good campsite know how wild things could be a factor when building a shelter.

Wild things include among many others, pesky insects, venomous snakes, poisonous plants, and predators. Survey the area and examine potential locations that could also be a natural habitat for intruders. Simple precautions like camping at least 15 feet above lakes or streams would help ward off insects.

However, avoid pitching tents directly near water sources. Predators out for some refreshments may frequent these spots. Areas with burrows and holes are also a no-no. These locations may be home to snakes, raccoons, or even bears.

Check out this How to Pick A Campsite Vid by Survival Know-How:

With these four W’s, we hope you learn how to find a good campsite on your next trip to the great outdoors. Position awareness is a battle strategy that has been practiced since ancient times. Master your terrain and you will never fail. Happy camping!

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What is so far the best campsite you have ever been to? Feel free to share your campfire stories in the comment section below!

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