Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Camp proximity to Water


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Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
Camp proximity to Water on 09/19/2006 18:42:54 MDT Print View

So the rules say you shouldn't camp so close to water.

The rules are there for a reason: to prevent contamination and pollution of the water and minimize hazardous animal encounters.

However, for those who take the utmost care traveling in remote areas, is it such a no-no?

I adore being right by the water. It means a lot to me when I travel.

I minimize my presence. My cat holes are dug at least 300ft away (and downhill if it is a lake). I generally do not cook in camp or stay more than one night. I do not fish by my camp. I patrol for microtrash before leaving and follow other LNT principles. I generally camp near or above treeline.

So if done properly in the right places, is camping near the waters edge really that bad of a thing?

Discuss...

Edited by Summit on 09/20/2006 10:00:32 MDT.

John Lovell
(lovellj) - F - M
No on 09/21/2006 06:43:06 MDT Print View

In my opinion it's not a big deal in areas that are not heavily used. Do you think mountain men paced off a hundred yard from water to make camp? The prob is that some areas get used so much and that there are way too many out there w/o any common sense, and so they have to be told how to do everything.

Linsey Budden
(lollygag)

Locale: pugetropolis
camp proximity to water on 09/27/2006 00:17:33 MDT Print View

There are other reasons that keep me from camping close to water. It seems: colder with more dew, to be a gathering place for animals, a likely place for other people to be.

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
Always near water on 09/27/2006 05:10:34 MDT Print View

I never camp more than 10 feet from water!

Now that I have your attention, I should go on to say that I rarely camp beside creeks or ponds; in the east central states where I hike, that's where everybody camps with the resulting beat-up sites. Thanks to light-hiking gear and techniques I've learned here, my pack only weighs 15 pounds most of the time - which means it's no big deal to stop at the creek and carry 3 quarts of water (enough for an overnight) another half mile to the top of the ridge, where I camp alone, in an unbeaten spot, with a nice view and breeze. Water, safely stored in bottles, is never more than 10 feet away.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Camp proximity to Water on 09/27/2006 10:53:07 MDT Print View

A lake or river is almost always my destination, but, as aother have mentioned here, the sites get over-used. Water usually means bugs too. Many heavily used sites are ribboned off limits by the Forest Serivce so they can regenerate. The foilage next to the water is a filter for silt and biomass too. Mountain lakes only get a few months for a growing season (if that), so it can take a long time to repair the damage.

Have a pinic by the water and camp up the hill with a nice view.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Camp proximity to Water on 09/27/2006 11:09:13 MDT Print View

I'd think it's reasonable to draw a distinction between camping and sleeping. In areas where there are no specific rules about distance from water, it's often possible to sleep near water with "zero" impact. It's also sometimes the case that the only reasonable place to sleep is near water, but cooking and chores can happen elsewhere.

Come to think of it, long distance hikers often stop to cook dinner, then hike on for a couple of hours before bedding down for the night. Always amusing to come across a PCT hiker sleeping in the trail :-)

That's my $0.02, anyway.