My Perfect Campsite


By: Chuck Fitzgerald

It's the time of year to beat the heat and head for higher elevation. For many people that means loading up the RV, grabbing the boat and finding a campground by the lake. My idea for the perfect getaway means loading the truck with our camping gear and our two Labrador Retrievers and getting as far away from the pavement as we can get. While these two styles are quite different, they are both perfect. Let's take a look at what makes a campsite perfect for me-and perhaps for you.

To start with, there are two general types of campsites, the first being established campsites. These campgrounds exist for all sorts of campers and their camping equipment ranging from large motor homes to small designated patches of grass for bicyclists. Finding this type of campsite is fairly easy to do. On the internet, one can find hundreds of informational websites with campground information for virtually any area on the planet. Favorite campgrounds are typically found in national, state and county park systems and are available for a nominal daily fee. They are usually found near natural features such as lakes, rivers and scenic areas. Campgrounds often cater to specific types of campers, for instance some campgrounds are kid and pet friendly while others are not. There are many advantages to established campgrounds such as running water, electricity, activities and other modern conveniences. With minimal research, you should be able to find the perfect campground for you or your group.

A second general type of campsite is referred to as a primitive campsite. As the name implies, you won't find any of today's modern conveniences at a primitive site and to those who prefer this type of camping, that's the whole point. Primitive camping is my favorite way to camp. Some primitive campers carry everything on their backs and set up camp when they are done hiking for the day. I like to drive right up to my primitive camp site so that I can take along a few of my favorite things. In either case here are few things I consider when looking for the perfect primitive site. Number one is shelter. Shelter from the wind, rain, sun, noise and other campers are important to me. I also want a spot that is elevated, level, durable and clean. I don't care much for insects and I enjoy a nice fire in the evenings.

So where is my perfect campsite? I won't tell you exactly, but it's at 7,600 feet elevation just 10 miles from the south entrance to the Grand Canyon and is only 3 miles from the pavement. It sits in the Kaibab National Forest amidst countless Ponderosa Pines, has very few insects and cannot be seen from the dirt road which is only 200 feet away. The area has an abundance of elk, deer, firewood and natural running water. From a nearby hill I have a great view of the Grand Canyon. I've camped here many times and I don't think anyone else has used this spot in the past ten years. Now that's perfect!

Perhaps your perfect campsite has a swimming pool, electricity, a convenience store, a club house and sewage hookups. That's awesome. Camping takes on different looks for different folks and the key to getting the most out of your outdoor times is knowing what you like and going after it. Do a little research before heading out and be sure to go take along someone you care about. You'll be guaranteed to have a great time. Use this information and you'll Get It Right The First Time. Get Outdoors!

Chuck Fitzgerald is the owner of Arizona based BackCountry Toys, an online specialty store with the Best Gear Out There and dedicated to helping outdoor enthusiasts to Get It Right The First Time with timely educational information. Please visit http://www.BackCountryToys.com/ to find great gear and to receive the Fact & Tip e-newsletter, "FreshAir." (800) 316-9055.

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