1. Weather. Don’t rig up your tarp or lean-to on the edge of a forest and field or other major transition area. The wind will be more pronounced and lightning safety will be an issue during thunderstorms. Setting back your campsite even twenty yards into the forest will help minimize gusty winds. It may seem like common sense but you also want to avoid sleeping at the bottom of a canyon or arroyo not only due to flash flood concerns (yet backpackers still do this ever year in Arizona!) but due to the temperature gradient. These low regions will be much colder at night and are often animal highways.
3. Water. This is a survival priority for staying hydrated so set up camp a short walk away from a creek, lake, or waterhole. These areas will also provide opportunities for foraging, fishing, and catching crayfish which all come into play with a longer stay in the wilds or when attempting to live off the land.
4. Widowmakers. Pitch your tent out of reach of those dead standing trees! Enough said.
5. Wigglies. Mice, rats, centipedes, scorpions, fire-ants and other critters like dark, damp places and are often found in rockpiles, thick brush, and boulder fields. In the desert and in the Grand Canyon, the scorpions love hanging out under cowpies and the mule droppings by the corral! I always avoid downed, rotting logs and clusters of rocks as I’ve had too many encounters with creepy-crawlies in such places. If you are camping with your kids, tell them to be aware of such spots when gathering firewood and to always wear gloves as a precaution for venomous insects.
Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to catch up with us.
Enjoy the Wilds!