10 Campsite Characteristics

Not all campsites are created equal. While some are unremarkable, others have one or more characteristics that set them apart from their brethren.

Use the table below, to determine a campsite’s notable characteristic:

  1. The campsite is prone to flooding; if it rains heavily while the party camp here, they are in for an unpleasant surprise after a few hours. Alternatively, the ground could already be waterlogged.
  2. The campsite straddles a game trail. During the night, numerous foxes, badgers and other nocturnal creatures scuttle through, or around, the camp.
  3. The PCs have found a sheltered dell complete with a small spring bubbling out of the ground that fills a shallow pool of fresh water.
  4. One of the trees standing at the campsite’s fringe is “dead standing”. If a high wind hits the campsite, the tree could topple to the ground.
  5. The campsite follows the contours of the land and is long, thin and undulating. Although mainly flat, it stands between two precipitous slopes. It is invisible from the nearest trail.
  6. Several trees have fallen across the area. They form natural windbreaks and even provide concealment from casual observers.
  7. A fire recently raged through the area. Nothing remains but scorched earth, blackened stumps and so on. A single forlorn oak—bark blackened and leaf-stripped—survived the conflagration.
  8. Boulders and rubble lie strewn across the area. There is barely anywhere large enough to comfortably lie down. It takes hours of effort to clear a space to pitch the party’s tents.
  9. A crumbling wall of ancient origin bounds one side of the site. Overgrown with weeds and brambles, the moss-covered stones look as old as the world.
  10. The campsite is a small hollow atop a high, steep-sided hill. The summit commands sweeping views of the surrounds. It is a highly defensible position, virtually impossible to approach unobserved.


This article appears in 20 Things #21: Wilderness Camping.

Get the PDF

For more free content, check out our Free Resources page.

If you’d like to support Raging Swan Press, please join our Patreon campaign. Pledge what you want. Cancel when you want. Get cheap books. Even a $1 pledge is epic and helps us pay our freelancers a decent rate!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

One thought on “10 Campsite Characteristics