T here may come a time when you will need to camp somewhere not marked as a "campsite" or "campground". Here you are, after hiking into the woods, stopping by a creek or a woodland clearing; or maybe the side of a mountain. Whatever location you choose, you do not want the site you pick to ruin your outdoor experience. The "ideal" site for your camping area will have some trees for severe weather protection, a reliably close source of water, a reasonably flat grassy area, and enough space to be able to light a fire with no risk of turning the surrounding trees into an inferno. You will not usually find a spot with all these components within easy reach, but the more of them you have in your chosen site, the better your camping experience will be.
Try not to pitch your site where the danger of nature's changing conditions may affect you. For example, a great spot under a tree in nice, blue-sky weather may be dangerous in a thunderstorm, the stream bed you are next to may result in a flash flood if a sudden storm rolls through, or the boulder field above your location may let loose a few random projectiles.
The surrounding tree-line can offer some protection from the wind, wood for your cooking [http://www.birdseyeoutdoorsupply.com/cooking_supplies.html] fire and a degree of shade, but also continue to cover your camp with dripping water long after a storm passes along with the danger of branches or even the entire tree crashing down around you if the wind is high enough. Stay safe by using common sense, planning ahead, and keeping an eye out for weather changes. If you have no other choice than camping surrounded by a canopy of trees make sure the tree you select to pitch your tent under is healthy and sturdy enough to withstand.
The most important feature of your campsite is that it enables you to pitch your tent on the ground that slopes gently away from it. A slope like this will allow any rain runoff to go past your campsite and not drown your tent. After all, you do not want to wake up to a wet sleeping bag [http://www.birdseyeoutdoorsupply.com/sleeping_bags.html], surrounded by a puddle. Be careful though that if you pitch on too steep an angle you may end up curled at the bottom of your tent in the morning.
Now bed down and enjoy your night!