How To Set Up a Campsite
Organising your campsite is key to having a relaxed experience. Once it gets dark, you don’t want to have to stumble around, tripping over random piles of equipment while you search in vain for this pot or that blanket. Camping is best enjoyed when everything has its designated place and is easy to lay your hands on when you need it.
The first thing to do after arriving at a campsite is set up your shelter and kitchen areas. Plan these spaces by laying your gear out on the ground. Try to keep your cooking, eating and washing up areas well away from your tent. Choose a flat spot on which to pitch your tent. Remove any debris, such as rocks or sticks, that could damage your groundsheet or make for an uncomfortable stay. Pace out the size of your tent, making sure you have plenty of room on all sides for the guy ropes. Camping in the wild instead of in designated campgrounds might mean you have to build your own latrine area. Make sure this area is well away from your camp. Be mindful about hygiene and any potential water contamination issues. Most importantly, leave no trace behind after your stay.
A fire pit is an essential for the full camping experience. Cooking on an open fire is one of life’s great culinary experiences, and the campfire will be your main source of light and heat . If possible, use an existing fire circle that past campers have left behind. If you need to make one from scratch, choose an area of about three metres in diameter that is free of flammable debris and grass – bare soil, sand or gravel is best. If you have a camp shovel, dig out a shallow circle, about one metre wide, and place rocks around the circumference of your pit to ensure your fire doesn’t spread.
Keep your camp tidy to cut down on animals in your campsite, and prevent you from tripping over things in the dark. You and your campmates should strive to develop good camp routines and habits, like washing up after eating and returning tools and equipment to their designated space. Keep all food and food waste in sealed containers that critters and insects can’t access. If your campsite has bear boxes or other storage containers on site, use them.
If you foraged for your wood, keep it handy in a designated area. Remember that freshly cut wood often needs to dry out. Proximity to the fire will help with this process, but be mindful that it can ignite if you’re not careful. Always put your fire out before going to sleep or leaving your site.
The ‘Homecamp’ book published by Hardie Grant Travel is available at bookshops nationally or online. Homecamp has also just opened a Melbourne pop-up store, stocking the book alongside their Flinders bell tent and other outdoor products.