I remember getting tips on how to select a campsite when I first went in and picking up a few pointers along the way. All the tips were tied to conditions. An east facing site will allow morning sun to dry things of so they can pack for early travel and give afternoon shade. A north point has best chance of wind if the bugs are bad.
I am curious if these tips are based in fact or legend and to pick up some tips you folks have found worthy of passing on.
Campsites on the east side of medium to large lakes can be crap shoot. Gorgeous sunset views etc,,,, but can really battle the wind and be windbound on those days with a strong westerly wind. I tend to try avoid them as experience has shown the wind to win out as other sites have nearly just as good scenery.
"What good fortune for governments that the people do not think."
— Adolf Hitler
The only thing I have to add is that I usually seek a more sheltered (wooded) site in the cooler seasons of spring and fall. You don't want to be on an exposed rock campsite if it's cool, wet, windy, or a combo of these conditions.
During the hot season, I want some shade from tall nearby trees.
Awesome walleye fishing right next to camp or from shore. If you see a camper at a really small/rough site and it's early in the day, there's a reason they're staying there. Or solitude, I love going to the bwca and not seeing another person for days.
Many times somebody made the good choice before you, and the site is taken. So...take the site that is open. If you have choices, apply the criteria mentioned above. I try to take sites that I cannot easily be windbound in. During buggy times, I like some breeze, however. But...be careful what you ask for!
Field glasses can sometimes save you a long paddle to an occupied campsite.
First, no bear sign; second, check the latrine. After that, like Corsair, I look for a good tent pad - I prefer grass, but level is more important. I personally like elevated sites for the view, even if I have to carry everything up there.
As others said, the direction it faces depends on the wind and the season as well as personal preference.
Since I spend limited time canoeing I look for campsites out of the wind. The east or southern sites are always my first picks to provide protection from the winds. Fishing is important to me so I want access to water even on the windy days. I like a sheltered tent site with bid pines and decent kitchen.
In theory sites located in lower/swampy areas will experience more skeeters than sites on high rock faces or sites surrounded by tall wooded hills. I always try to avoid sites near the white lowlands on my Mackenzie maps.
PS- Tent pads have always been my first concern, but I'm hoping to make that a worry of the past this year with my new BB Warbonnet hammock.
"The world we've made scares the hell out of me. But there's still a little bit of heaven in there, and I want to show it due respect." ~Greg Brown: Eugene
quote vinnie: "If it's unoccupied it works for me"
Same here. A couple times (if the empty camp was not so hot), one canoe started to unload while scouts were sent around the bend with binoculars to see if option #2 was occupied). Depending on what time of year and how popular the area is; the time of day dictates our urgency.
Things I check: Good bear hang options No lightening trees (extremely tall, lonely trees sticking above others) Lat in good repair Good tent pad (no overhanging limbs, fairly level surface Place for shelter in case of bad weather A good landing is a bonus
I try to find a sight that is sheltered from wind swept areas of the lake. My main goal is fishing, so I need a spot that I will not be forced to stay at camp on windy days. I also like a area that has a great view of the lake. I also look for an area that will have a little breeze to keep mosquitoes at bay in the summertime. It is also a plus to be able to view the sunsets.
What I consider my ideal campsite will change drastically based on how tired I am and how bad the weather is.
If its storming and I need to get off the lake or if I'm completely tired out then any site will look like the Hilton.
If I have the time and energy to scout a little for the best site then I look for a few things.
1. Good tent pads - a good nights sleep can make or break a trip 2. Tree - places to hang tarp, places to hang food, and no widow makers 3. Wind - I'd like some breeze to keep the bugs off and to keep cool on a hot day but I also want a protected area to land the canoe. Campsites on points are perfect for this. Catch a breeze from multiple directions but you can go to either side of the point to launch or land a canoe. 4. Views - I'd like a good view but really every where you look is a good view in the BWCA, its just a matter of what view you like better.
A decent set of binoculars will also save you a fair amount of paddling when scouting sites, well worth the extra weight. My wife was questioning me when she saw me packing them for our first trip together. She didn't see any reason to bring them, she thought I was going bird watching or something. When we were scouting campsites in the wind she saw pretty quickly why I brought them. I could position the canoe out of the wind and quickly scout a bunch of sites on the opposite shoreline to see if they were occupied which saved us a bunch of paddling. For this reason I also leave something brightly colored out hanging near the shoreline so people can see from a distance that the site is occupied. Hoping to save people a little paddling if i can.
I like a good exposed point...with a tent pad that's somewhat sheltered. I'll also take an overly exposed site to one that's overly sheltered. Wind is more often than not a good thing for me...I'll take a windy paddle out (of course, being wind-blown sucks) over a safe paddle that's from a "stagnant" campsite.
quote bhouse46: "I remember getting tips on how to select a campsite when I first went in and picking up a few pointers along the way. All the tips were tied to conditions. An east facing site will allow morning sun to dry things of so they can pack for early travel and give afternoon shade. A north point has best chance of wind if the bugs are bad.
I am curious if these tips are based in fact or legend and to pick up some tips you folks have found worthy of passing on."
Summer: High western exposure site with a rock peninsula to deal with bugs and heat.
Spring winter autumn: tight protected site with an eastern exposure to protect from wind.
Its usually just my brother and I so we can make do with whatever tent pads the site has to offer. A nice big fire area is what makes it for us. So, nice seating, a little bit of open space is nice, but you also need your good bear bad tree as well. We really love fishing so slip bobber fishing from campus is a big bonus and thats usually off of points or island sites so thats what we try to get if we can.
I like a campsite that has some good trees for my hammock, after the blowdown it has been hard on some sites to find trees. Good fire ring and a cooking area is nice, landing not too rocky, food hanging trees, Fishing from camp.
quote carmike: "I like a good exposed point...with a tent pad that's somewhat sheltered. I'll also take an overly exposed site to one that's overly sheltered. Wind is more often than not a good thing for me...I'll take a windy paddle out (of course, being wind-blown sucks) over a safe paddle that's from a "stagnant" campsite. "
I like a site with a lot of exposed rock. You get a nice breeze in the evening that keeps the bugs away. Having the tent pad back in the trees a bit is good though.