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Patrick Kelley

6 Ways to Create the Ultimate Base Camp

6 Ways to Create the Ultimate Base Camp

When you’re camping, your base camp is everything. Especially when you’re on a long camping trip, base camp should be your home away from home, and it should be a place where you feel comfortable and safe. If you’re about to head out for a camping trip, take some time to ensure you have the ultimate base camp so that you’ll enjoy every minute of your trip.

Here are 6 ways to create the ultimate base camp:

  1. Choose a solid location. Be smart here. Your location should be mostly level -- never set up camp on the side of a mountain or hill, and always make sure your tent is completely level with the ground. Your base camp should be a little bit higher than the rest of the terrain around you so rainwater drains away from you. You never want to be sleeping in a puddle. If you can, find a spot (or clear it yourself) free of rocks, roots, pine cones, foliage, and other items that could give you a bumpy ride.
  2. Think about convenience. Keep in mind you’ll actually be living in this spot for a few days. So take comfort and convenience seriously. If you want a spot close to a bathroom (whatever that may look like), then do it. If you want a spot with a great view, go for it! If you want to be close to a trail so you can get an early start on your hike the next morning, who’s stopping you? Think about your purpose for this trip and make sure your base camp reflects that.
  3. Storage. Have you ever left base camp for the day, only to return to your clothes and gear soaking wet from a rainstorm? Let me tell ya, it ain’t fun. Prepare in advance so you don’t have to deal with sopping wet underwear for the rest of the trip. Pack an extra tarp and create a lean-to shelter or even just cover up your stuff so it’s safe from water and other elements. Store your gear, clothes, dry firewood, food, etc. -- anything that you can’t afford to get wet.
  4. Cooking. Make sure your base camp has plenty of room for a good fire, as well as space to eat. If you’re bringing a stove, make sure you have plenty of room to set everything up without smoke and spills from your stove getting too close to your tent. If you love cooking, especially grilling, don’t be afraid to go a little overboard here -- you want to feel right at home, and you want to enjoy your meals. Stock up now on cookware and all the delicious necessities.
  5. Bathroom. Everyone’s gonna do this one a little differently. Some folks simply need a camp shovel and some toilet paper. Others prefer an actual bathroom. Whatever you choose is fine, just make sure you’re prepared. If you decide to go the good old fashioned shovel route, designate a specific spot for your bathroom use. If others are in your camp with you, make sure they all know where the “bathroom” is as well, so there’s plenty of privacy over there. This should go without saying, but always make sure you dig a shallow grave for waste at least 200 feet away from water sources.
  6. Cleaning. There’s not much worse than a campsite that gets downright disgusting. Yes, you’re camping, which means a lot of hygiene rules go out the window, but that doesn’t mean you should totally abandon your hygiene and risk getting sick. Check this article for most common camping mistakes and how to avoid them. Something as simple as a “welcome mat” in front of your tent where you can take off and wipe off your dirty shoes is a great start. Also consider packing some hygiene items to pack in your DOPP kit to help keep you and your party clean and healthy. 

If your base camp doesn’t feel like a home away from home, it may take some time and effort to get there -- but it’s always worth it. Check back for more gear soon (hint, hint) that may help give you the ultimate base camp.

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