Where you camp can make or break a trip. Learn how to pick wisely

Campsites are crucial. They’re the places that usually stand out as your fondest memories of a trip. But they can also be dreaded nightmares—places where bugs ate you alive or nuisance critters kept you awake all night.

  • The perfect scenario is to have a scenic spot nestled in some trees to protect you from high winds, but still open enough to snag a breeze to keep the bugs down. The trees will also help you set up a tarp.

  • Ideally the site faces west-southwest to catch the morning sun as well as the last rays of the evening glow.

  • Don’t camp in a low-lying area where water will collect. A slightly higher elevation will also reduce the dampness forming in the tent at night and the amount of dew covering the fly in the morning.

  • To minimize the risk from lightning, avoid pitching the tent on large mounds of rock or near a large tree with a network of tangled roots.

  • It’s always nice if there’s a fresh water supply nearby, and a good supply of wood for the evening campfire.

  • Make sure there’s no stagnant water close to the site—a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Also look for evidence of bear activity such as fresh scat or rocks and logs that have been overturned.

  • Tall grass attracts ticks and chiggers while sandy areas are popular hangouts for ants.