How to Set Up the Perfect Campsite for Camping

how to setup the perfect campsite

In this hectic rushed World that we live in, there is perhaps no better escape than to get back to nature through camping. The benefits of camping can be numerous for your health and vitality. After all what better way is there to recharge your batteries than to take a deep breath of fresh air while staring into a crackling fire.

Before you sit down by that inviting comfy campfire though, there are few things to consider so your camping trip goes off without a hitch.

To help we have compiled the below list of tips and tricks to help you set up the perfect campsite.


  • Look for high ground, while it might be perfectly sunny right now keep in mind that a heavy thunderstorm could put your campsite underwater or at least make it a muddy mess.
  • Look for a shady spot, in the summer heat a little shade can go along way in keeping you cool. Just be aware of widow makers aka dead tree limbs that could fall, look for nice healthy trees to camp under.
  • If you’re camping in a campground be aware of your neighbors, if you think they may not appreciate camping etiquette, best to find a new site and save yourself the hassle.
  • Additionally, if camping at a campground bear in mind the general wind direction. The last thing you want to do is be sucking down your neighbor’s campfire smoke all day and night.


  • Make sure to bring the right sized tent for your camping party. If the tent is too small you might be in for an uncomfortable night’s sleep, like sardines in a tin. On the opposite end though picking a tent to large means unnecessary hassle and longer set up and teardown times.
  • When thinking about shelter don’t forget about all the gear that will need a place inside the tent as well. Consider looking for a tent that has a vestibule that will allow you to store gear outside the tent, which will leave more room for movement and people inside.
  • When setting up your tent keep in mind the direction of the wind, making sure not to have the tent downwind of the campfire smoke.
  • Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to shelter, there are many new options out there as opposed to the standard tent such as hammock camping.


  • Make sure that the sleeping bag you are using is appropriate and rated for the weather that you will be camping in order to avoid an uncomfortably cold or hot night.
  • While the right sleeping bag is important sometimes the foundation underneath can be even more important, a good inflatable or pad underneath your sleeping bag can make all the difference sometimes between a restless night or a good night’s sleep.
  • If camping with children make sure you are using a sleeping bag size appropriate for them, as opposed to your old hand me down. Doing this will help them stay a happy camper which in turn will make you a happy camper.
  • Don’t forget about seating at the campsite, there are many options out there if using camping chairs keep in mind the space they take up and look for rugged quality. Also if extra seating is needed a log on it’s end makes a great seat.



  • Setting up the campfire should be the next important item on your to-do list after the shelter is taken care of.
  • Don’t forget your fire starters some cheap and easy ones to consider are cotton balls with a small amount of petroleum jelly on them stored in a ziplock bag, or dryer lint filled cardboard toilet paper holders, or even fire starter sticks which can be purchased at most stores.
  • Separate firewood into piles by size so you always have just the right wood close at hand when it’s needed.
  • If bringing your own wood to the campsite make sure to bring enough and perhaps a little extra for contingencies. When considering the amount of wood to bring consider the temperature outside, typically more firewood will be used in colder weather, also the type of wood you are bringing will make a difference on the burn rate, for example, hardwoods will burn slower than other types of wood.
  • Some tools that will make starting and maintaining the fire a lot easier include heat resistant gloves, a small folding shovel, and a sturdy tree branch for a fire poker.

Campfire Safety

  • It’s important to set up a fire break around your campfire for safety and to control the wind on the fire, setting up a ring of larger rocks packed in with dirt will do the trick.  Check out what Smokey Bear has to say about campfire safety.
  • Don’t forget to be a responsible camper by making sure that your campfire is completely out before leaving the campsite.
  • If camping with children it’s important that you teach and they understand fire safety, explain what you are doing while building and maintaining the fire. Also, a good rule to establish is the “one poker” rule, which keeps kids away from the fire and the fire poker in an adult hand.

Campsite Lighting

  • When the sun goes down it’s still important to be able to do things around the campsite, so make sure to bring several light sources including lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps.
  • If you want to go low tech for lighting around the campsite consider a kerosene powered lantern or even a few candles. If you choose this source for lighting though, extra caution needs to be exercised when dealing with the open flames, heat, and fuel source.
  • To add a fun atmosphere to the campsite and if electricity is available, consider adding a few strings of party lights or cafe lights to the campsite, as they make a fun addition and provide much-needed light to a dark campsite.


Camping Food

Camping Food

  • When preparing meals at the campsite it’s best to keep things simple with minimal steps involved, keeping in mind the rustic conditions the meals will be prepared in.
  • Use as many shelf-stable options a possible for cooking, by doing this you will free up cooler space.
  • Cast iron is your friend when cooking in the wild as it is both durable and versatile to cook on.
  • Look for cooking utensils with multiple uses to keep things simple and to save precious space in your camping gear.
  • Do not use non-stick pans at your campsite as these pans can release a toxic chemical when used over a campfire.
  • Invest in a good pair of protective gloves to prevents burns and heat when cooking.
  • Prep anything at home that you can for your meals beforehand, to make cooking at the campsite much easier.
  • Consider block ice for your cooler opposed to crushed ice as it will last longer.

Camping Water

  • Make sure to bring or have access to enough water to stay hydrated, as well as to clean up, and for cooking.
  • When it comes to water at the campsite especially potable water, it’s a good idea to have ample containers to store the water you will need for the duration of your camping trip.
  • Gallon jugs make a great source of water for the campsite. They provide a good amount of water but are still easy to move around and can be bought just about anywhere.
  • Also don’t forget about personal water storage needs that can be accomplished through water bottles, water bladders, or water bags.
  • If you are hiking into your campsite or it is not feasible for you to bring all the potable water you will need for hydration a good option to consider is water filters or purifiers, there are many different ways to go with water purification from hand pump filters to water treatment drops.

This list of tips and tricks should go along way in helping you set up the perfect campsite. Happy Camping!!!

Jason Kidd

Jason is an avid lover of camping, hiking, and well just about anything outdoors. He is both a writer and editor for Outside Pulse and has been camping and hiking for over 20 years.

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