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:
- 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.
- The campsite straddles a game trail. During the night, numerous foxes, badgers and other nocturnal creatures scuttle through, or around, the camp.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Several trees have fallen across the area. They form natural windbreaks and even provide concealment from casual observers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.