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What Terrain to Choose for Camping and Survival

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Dramatic sky over mountains in summer. Reach the top of the hill. Travel in wild terrain | What Terrain to Choose for Camping and Survival | featured

Subsistence, regardless of the situation, relies heavily on terrain. Outside the comforts of an urban setting, choosing the right location is a matter of life and death. This article will reveal some of the secrets on how to pick the best camping spot for survival.

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Picking the Best Terrain Types to Survive

Considerations in Identifying Suitable TerrainA scenery of rock formations and different kinds of plants at the canyon-terrain

Camping is like a survival boot camp. Yes, it is fun and a cool way to bond with family and friends. But apart from being a jolly activity, camping trains you to hone your survival instincts. One instinct that needs exercising is the ability to determine strategic terrain.

The ability to identify topographical advantages for survival is embedded in our DNA. Since prehistoric times, we developed this capability through experience as prey and predator As modern conveniences became easily available, this particular skill got obscured.

In narrowing down the criteria on what can be considered a great place to camp, there are a few considerations. By identifying these considerations, we can have a more systematic method in choosing a survival-friendly topography. Below is a rundown of factors that are also benchmarks in terrain selection:

7 Criteria in Choosing the Best Terrain for Survival

1. Defense WorthinessAn ancient defensive wall that runs along the crest of a mountain on the seashore-terrain

In Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, the ability to hold a strategic position is a crucial factor in winning a battle. In the battle for survival, having the advantage of location increases your chances of winning against the odds. The terrain you will choose should be defense-worthy.

Defense-worthiness means that you should be able to have the upper hand against attackers. It has been proven in combat that occupying an elevated position gives one the advantage against advancing enemies from below. Whether we are talking about humans or predatory beasts, being on a higher ground allows you to see and eliminate them with better vantage points and efficiency.

2. Proximity to ResourcesSpectacular view from a boulder. Hiking Mount Indregardsfjellet-terrain

Food and water are basic resources necessary for sustenance in any situation. In the wild, being able to have the best access to these resources is vital. One should be capable of gathering food and water with relative ease.

The farther you are from the source of sustenance, the more time and energy you are most likely to consume. This is detrimental to your survival in the wild since you need to conserve energy and use time on other equally important endeavors. And being far from your basic resources also makes you prone to attack by predators.

3. Weather ResistanceStone cave interior with small river surrounded by tropical vegetation of Brazilian rainforest-terrain

The terrain that you will choose should also be strategic enough to withstand floods and storms. Experiencing adverse weather conditions in the wild is a nightmare. People who have lived to tell the tale will attest to this. This is why it is crucial to pick a spot where you are well-protected against strong wind and heavy rain.

Speaking of rain, flooding is most likely to happen after a few hours of non-stop downpour. Avoid setting up camp in any place near water or ravines. The chances of escaping an onslaught of raging water are small when you are in these locations. So instead of low-lying grounds, go for elevated places.

4. Accessibility to Fuel SourcesA tree in the middle of the trail that splits off to the left and to the right in the forest-terrain

When you are in the wild, the only fuel that you need is wood. Aside from using it to build shelter, wood is also needed to build fire. Fire is everything when you are in the wild. You need it to cook your food, keep you warm, and defend yourself at night against predators of all types.

It is highly advised, therefore, to consider settling down in a location with easy access to wood. However, it does not necessarily mean that you should set up camp right in the middle of the woods. A place just right at the edge of a forest, for instance, is more advisable. This will give you a better vantage point and view of attackers as opposed to a spot covered with thick trees and foliage.

RELATED: The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Lost in the Wilderness

5. Concealment Capabilitya stone entrance to the cave. karst failure in the ground. dark black hole deep in the cave-terrain

Cover and concealment in the wild are important. This gives you protection against potential attackers, especially during nighttime. The ability to not be seen during an attack increases your chances of plotting an escape.

Choose a location that has ample natural structures for defense and concealment. This could be a place covered with huge rocks, trees, or vegetation. With a good cover, you also make yourself more capable of seeing and neutralizing attackers.

6. Accessibility to an Exit Routecave-in-the-forest-in-Europe-terrain

When threatened, our basic instinct is to either fight or escape. The latter is a much-preferred option particularly when the odds of winning are against you. Choose a terrain that allows you to plot a quick and easy retreat during an attack.

Even before setting up camp, you should be able to survey the topography of the campsite. This will help you identify the best possible escape route as well as an accessible rallying point in times of danger. The rallying point needs to be accessible yet also far and safe enough against attackers.

7. Proximity to Potential AlliesMale showing his friends Milky Way over camping. Guys are sitting by the campfire-terrain

There is strength in numbers. In choosing a terrain for your camp, it is also advantageous to be near potential allies. When we say allies, we are referring to friendly villagers, natives, or even co-campers. Again, preparation is key to this.

Survey the terrain beforehand. Find out if there are other people in the area. If positive, get acquainted with these people and establish an alliance. Their presence would be of great service during emergencies such as an accident or an attack.

Check out this terrain selection tip vid by Simply Hike:

The chances of you finding a terrain that will meet all these criteria may not always be high. The point, however, is to at least find a location where most of the considerations mentioned above are present. Happy camping and be safe!

What is the most important criterion that you would consider in choosing a campsite?

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