The selection of a campsite is extremely important and you should allow plenty of time for this.
If possible, choose a flat campsite that is:
On well-drained ground above flood level
Sheltered from wind – in the bush or in the lee of ridges and rocks
Sheltered from dew
Close to a water supply
East-facing to catch the early morning sun
Avoid campsites that are:
Under dead trees or large epiphytes (plants that grow on branches), which might fall in windy or wet conditions
Under possible rockfall
In avalanche paths (between June to end of January)
On mosses that may fill with water during rain
In a river bed, on an island in a riverbed, or in a gorge where rising waters could flood your camp. (You should check where water level rises to by looking for debris caught in bushes or trees. If you must camp in a gorge, work out possible escape routes.)
When it is very cold, you may want to choose a campsite above the valley flats to avoid the coldest air that will gravitate there during the night.
Pitching your tent
It is best to pitch your tent with the door facing away from the wind. If you have to camp on a slope, you’ll probably sleep best with your head uphill, so pitch your tent facing uphill or downhill, rather than across the slope. Practice pitching your tent at home before you head into the outdoors to see how it works and check if there are any damage or missing items.
Watch how to pitch a tent in our video below.
Enjoying your campsite
You can make your camping experience feel like home with a few simple tips and tricks. We have outlined some good places to get you fed and rested!
Cooking and Fires are a welcoming and essential part for your camping atmosphere, however it does have its risks. Find out how to choose the right cooker and cook safely outdoors on our Cooking Page.
Learn how to Sleep Well in the in a tent with this video. It will show you the tips and tricks to stay warm and create comfort in your tent.
Pack up your campsite
Avoid damage to native plants when camping. Modern equipment, such as lightweight tent poles and sleeping mats, means that we do not need to cut poles from foliage to make shelter. You can watch and learn more about how to do this well on our Environmental Care page.
TOP TIP: You should dry your tent as soon as possible after use. If you have to pack a wet tent, shake it vigorously first. Don’t walk on a tent that is lying on the ground, as you can damage the fabric.
What to do next
Continue your preparation with our online resources, there is still plenty to learn to ensure for a safe and enjoyable trip!
Look for places to camp with apps
Plan My Walk App| You can search for campsites, huts and tracks as part of planning for a tramp in our free app.
Campermate App | With over 100,000 points of interest, no matter where you are in New Zealand, you can use CamperMate’s detailed maps (online and offline) to find campgrounds and accommodation, awesome things to see and do, petrol, ATMs, WiFi, dump stations, public showers and a whole heap more.
Explore our resources
Get more skills |Navigation, River Safety and more essentials in ourSkills Section
Watch our how-to videos |There are plenty more and useful tips in our video section
Read our manuals | Access the NZ Bushcraft Manual and other digitised resources here