1- Allow plenty of time. Plan your day so you start looking for a campsite at least an hour—preferably two—before dark. Tired? Drop your pack before searching; you’ll be less likely to settle for the first spot.
2- Prioritize water. Yes, you can haul water if necessary. But a perfect site will have easy access to a creek or lake. (Always camp at least 200 feet from a water source.) We opt for, and recommend that you do as well, to bring a good water filter.
3-Scan for hazards. Avoid camping under dangling dead branches, in flash-flood zones, and where rockfall debris collects. Watch for signs of dangerous wildlife.
4-Stay high in the mountains when weather is good. Five reasons: Cold air collects in valley bottoms, breezy sites have fewer bugs, wind reduces condensation, the view is better, and you’ll get sunshine earlier.
5-Think: camp furniture. Boulders and downed trees make good tables and chairs. Ferns and brush can help you forge a great chair.
6-Face the sun. Pitch your tent door toward the east, if conditions allow, for morning light.
7-Be choosy. Make sure your tent is on a level surface where water won’t collect and where you have a decent escape route that you can use at night.