Camping, Hiking and Traveling in Montana
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Hike Index
H=Hike   C=Camp   V=Visit     S=Ski

Livingston Area
  Elephanthead Mtn. H

Paradise Valley
  S. Fk. Deep Creek H
  Pine Creek H,C
  George Lake H
  Passage Creek Falls H
  Crow Mountain H

Big Timber Area
  Boulder River H,C,V
  Natural Bridge Falls H,C,V
  Big Timber Creek Falls  H,C,V
  West Boulder Meadows H,C
  Twin Lakes  H,C
  Prairie Dog State.Park   V

Bozeman Area
Chestnut Mountain H
  Goose Creek H,S
  Mystic Lake H
  Lava Lake H

Central Montana
  Little Belt Mountains H,C,V,S
  Castle Mountains H,C
  Central MT Railroading V
  Cooney Reservoir C,V
  Crystal Lake H,C,V
  Judith Mountains V
  Judith Gap Wind Farm V
  Moccasin Mountains V

The Yellowstone River
  Upper Yellowstone Floating
  Yankee Jim Canyon

Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness
  Anvil Lake H,C
  Beartooth Lake H,C,V
  Beartooth Highway V
  Island Lake H,C,V

Western Montana
  Painted Rocks Rec Area V,C
  Salmon Lake State Park V,C
  Warm Spring Ponds  V

Selecting a Tent Site for Camping

     Selecting a tent site is a very important but often overlooked part of a good camping experience. If you don't have a good tent site to start with there is little you can to end up with a comfortable night's sleep. At a minimum, you want a site that is level and relatively flat. Try to avoid a site that is slanted in any direction. Sometimes you cannot help but erect your tent on a sloped surface. In this case, make sure that tent site allows you to set up the tent with head to foot being uphill to down. Try to avoid a site that has any tree roots, rocks or other hard objects protruding from the ground. These hard objects make for a bad night's sleep.

     Make sure the tent site is not in an area where water collects. It should not be at the bottom of a low or hollow spot. Check to make sure that your tent is not under a dead or damaged tree. While it is rare, every year there are accounts of people being seriously injured by falling trees. Make sure the tent site is not in a pathway ? for humans or wildlife. This is something that a lot of new campers don;t recognize as often trail areas are flat and level and look like good tent sites. Also, think about where the sun will be as you set up your tent. If you are an early riser it's nice to have the morning sun get your tent early but if you hope to sleep in it is best to have morning shade on the tent. Of course, sunlight is also heat so keep this in mind as well.

Camping Index
Montana Campgrounds
Selecting a Campsite
Selecting a Tent Site
Selecting a Tent
Sleeping Bags & Pads
The Camp Kitchen
Selecting a Camp Stove
Water Supplies

     Once you've selected the exact location for your tent, spending a couple of minutes preparing the tent site is a good idea. The first thing to look for are any large easily movable hard objects that will interfere with a good nights sleep. Things like sticks, pine cones and small rocks are easily moved and make a big difference. Sometimes you will find a tree root or a large rock that sticks up and cannot be moved or worked around. The only options you have in this situation are to align tent so that the problem spot is in an place where you will not be sleeping directly on it. The other option is to find something to level the ground around the protruding obstacle. If you want to try to level the ground, look for leaves or loose soil. By covering the area around the protrusion with leaves or dirt you can help to smooth the spot so that it lessens the discomfort caused by lumps under the tent. Remember, the flatter and more level you can make the ground under your tent the better you will sleep at night.

     Selecting a great tent site is something that you will learn to do as you gain experience camping.I often spend time looking at tent site possibilities before I select a camp site. In a developed campground you will find a lot of variation in tent site quality between different sites. Make sure that you have a good tent site before you claim a campsite. There is not much you can do to have night time comfort if the tent site is not a good one.

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