Before Setting Up Camp
Here are a few important suggestions before considering setting up your campsite.
Choosing the right place will not only protect you but make your life much easier when it comes to chores.
Things to consider :
- Widowmakers : In forestry, the term widowmaker or fool killer describes a detached or broken limb or tree top and denotes the hazards that such features cause, being responsible for causing fatalities to forest workers. WIKIPEDIA.
My simple definition is…a broken off limb that is hanging freely in the tree and could fall on your head and kill you if you camp under it!
So the first thing to absolutely look for are those big branches that could possibly fall on you. When seeing a potential campsite keep your eyes up in the air above your camp and before you settle down; make sure that danger is off your list.
Water source: The next important thing for me is water. Notice in your home how much water you need for different needs and tasks. It’s no different in the woods. When this important source is near you…what a difference it makes on saving time and energy.
Firewood: As for the water source; it should be important to you before setting camp to make sure there is a good supply of fire wood closely available. For those of you that have experience in camping you will understand the work that it takes to process this wood for your camp needs. So being that it’s close to you it will be a big plus. I don’t need to explain the importance of having a fire. It is up there with your water source.
Preventional hazards : As you choose your campsite you may also want to consider the potential dangers. I am thinking of two right now. Wind and water. If possible choose a place where you will not be exposed to wind. We could talk a lot about that but I am sure you understand the bad consequences that a wind can provide. Also make sure you do not camp too close to a river where you see a danger of flash floods. Make sure you avoid setting your camp where water could accumulate during a downpour or you will wake up in miserable condition.
Flash floods: A flash flood is a rapid flooding of geomorphic low-lying areas: washes, rivers, dry lakes and basins. It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a severe thunderstorm, hurricane, tropical storm, or melt water from ice or snow flowing over ice sheets or snowfields. Flash floods may occur after the collapse of a natural ice or debris dam, or a human structure such as a man-made dam. Flash floods are distinguished from a regular flood by a timescale of less than six hours. WIKIPEDIA.
That being said let’s talk a little truth here. We often here when choosing a campsite in a valley not to be too close to the river (or too deep in the valley) because of temperature. We know that it will be colder down the valley than higher up the mountain. So they say to camp higher to avoid the temperature drop. There is truth in that but let me explain why it’s not such a good idea to camp high.
The temperature is colder down for sure but what the thermometer does not read is wind chill.
If you camp too high and there is a wind chill; it will usually be colder than down in the valley. Plus being too high up (because of this wind) you will need more fuel to burn because this wind will burn up your wood at a fast rate.
I am having a hard time explaining myself with words 🙁 bear with me here please….
So the CONCLUSION is that you should choose (if you are in that type of area) to be not too high up the mountain to avoid the wind (which could make it colder and make you run for a lot more wood) and not too low (too close to the river) too avoid potential flash floods. Just high enough that you are out of the dangers but can still have easy access to water and fuel (firewood).
Ok, I just hope I was able to explain this without confusing you. My words don’t always understand my mind. Now!! Next one…
- Having a clearing for signaling fire: Obviously this is optional. Just in case though it is important to know if ever you are in a situation where you need rescue, it is important to have some type of clearing so that rescuers can easily spot you.
NOTE : Most of the time when you are going out to set a campsite you will not always be able to find and have all the things above and I understand that…Its reality!!
(Water sources and a high supply of fire wood are not always close together). But it does not hurt to always keep these important considerations in mind so that your experience in the woodland can be as pleasurable and safe, as it can possibly be, for you and the people with you. That should be your goal…
I also understand that this will differ in various terrains, conditions and seasons. It is just some general considerations that I wanted to share with you.
Take what’s good for you and leave the rest. It’s like a piece of chicken!! Eat the meat and throw out the bones!!
If you’re interested in seeing an effective way of making a signaling fire, here’s the VIDEO.