Picking a spot at campgrounds where everyone parks in a lot and walks to their prefab camp is a no-brainer. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We mean the real O.G. camping, out in the woods where no man dwells. In that case, it’s not so simple to pick a camping spot, actually. There are few things which you may want to consider before setting up your tents. Here they are:

1. Consider You Terrain. Just because you’ve found a picturesque spot doesn’t mean you’re read to rock. First, you need to see how level your chosen spot is. If you’re really roughing it, you’ll be mighty sorry you didn’t choose a more level spot when your attempts at boiling water yield painful scaldings instead of delicious coffee. Building a fire on slanted ground is no picnic, nor is sleeping. And speaking of sleeping, that’s another consideration to keep in mind when you choose a camping spot. Ask anyone who has ever spent the night sleeping on hard, rocky ground how important a good sleeping spot is. Take the time to make sure your camping spot is legit.

2. Wildlife and Vegetation. The probably requires a little advanced research. After all, you don’t want to find out your chosen camping area has a high rate of human-bear encounters by running into a Mama Grizzly on your trip. Do some research, call a park ranger, and get the straight dope. You’ll be glad you did, because those animals can be tough customers. But animals aren’t the only threat. Plants can be problematic, too. While you more than likely won’t encounter any Man-Eating Flytraps out in the wilderness, bushes of Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac can be problematic. Especially when nature calls. Things can get real ugly, real fast. Not to mention itchy, too. Have someone who knows what to look for find a good spot that won’t ruin what should be a fun trip.

3. Access to Main Roads. Now, part of the appeal of camping is “getting away from it all.” We get that. Meeting Mother Nature on her terms is great, but it pays to be careful. In the event of an accident that a first aid kit can’t handle or an allergic reaction that an allergy shot can’t fix, you need to get to the hospital in a hurry. Camping way out in the woods is great and all, but not being able to get the help you need is bad news. Be aware of the quickest way to get back to civilization so that you can save the day, should the need arise.

4. Natural Disasters. Look, no one can predict an earthquake weeks in advance. And it probably won’t make much of a difference in the event of a disaster if you camp in one spot versus one a hundred yards away. But there are things you should watch out for. Namely making camp at the base of any hills, cliffs, or mountains. A little wind or rain can set off a mudslide, avalanche, falling rocks, and other inconvenient events. Also, an excess of dead or rotting trees can be dangerous in heavy wind, rain, or snow. Exercise some good judgment, take your time, and find a suitably safe spot.

5. The View. It’s not all about safety and logistics, right? We’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you to take time to find a spot that’s going to yield the best view. Whether it’s a picturesque spot by a lake or a camp in the middle of the autumn foliage, a breath-taking panoramic view can enhance a camping trip like nothing else. People may forget about the bugs and the weather, but they’ll never forget a gorgeous sunset near a mountain range. Take the time to stake out the best spot!

-Stu Moody