Base Camps. What Are They? & Why Make Them

– First If your just getting into outdoors activities and wilderness adventure? Then you may have heard the term Base Camp! Well what exactly is a base camp? Simple and yet a fair enough question.

A Base Camp is an area you choose in the bush that you can choose to store some extra gear that you may not generally want to take with you on just a day hike or a solo overnight stay in the woods. It’s generally an area you set up that would be more elaborate than a place you would only go once, or use just for a weekend never to return. It’s a place you call “home base” but it’s in the woods, it’s a place you put time and effort into, in order to create a home like atmosphere.

For example. At an overnight or weekend camp site! You know you will only be there for a night or even possibly up to a few days? How much work would you feel like spending at a site like that,

Just to make a cot off the ground to sleep, or to make the perfect fire pit you can comfortably cook your meals on, can take up to a days work of hard labour “each”.

So if you know you found a place that you will definitely be coming back to, time and time again, then you may not mind spending the extra energy in creating it to be a bit more comfortable for your stay. Each time you visit your base camp chances are you will modify, & make changes to better suit your wants and needs. Maybe a tarp or camp tent is fine for a night or 2, but may not be quite enough if used as a base camp.

A base camp is a permanent Forrest constructed structure.


You may take the extra time like I said above to make a bed/cot out of natural materials found in the area? Or a wooden table, or bench seat, or wind block to your fire pit? Maybe you go as far as making a completely enclosed shelter? In other words a base camp it’s a woodsy, home away from home.

The difference between an overnight camping spot vs what one would and should have at a base camp are the amount of items or tools you have with you. And weather the shelter is easily moveable or not.

For example if you are just going on a hike? You may just carry a pocket knife and ferro rod in a pouch on your belt. Or if your heading out for a night or weekend then you may pack a nap sack full of items, such as,

A full tang knife, cordage, fire starting kit, a bush saw, small hatchet, cell phone with GPS. Or local topographic charts and compass, food, and possibly even a tarp and or small tent with sleeping bag. (All basic gear)

All of these things can be stored in a nap sack for a day or even up to a week spent in the outdoors. Quite comfortably

But if you are planning a longer stay in an area? Then you may wish to consider on top of the above mentioned gear, brining a few extra items that you can store at a base camp. You will want to consider bringing a full size Axe, full size saw, possibly even a chain saw to make those bigger projects that much easier. A cast iron frying pan (which would be to heavy to lug around the bush for shorter stays, and even maybe you’d want to consider a drill with wood bits or a hammer and nails, or a portable wood burning stove for inside the permanent shelter if you plan on using it during the colder months of the year.

Even canvas tents have the ability to have wood burning stoves in them these days.

Lanterns are a great added bonus to have in a base camp area, and they have been used for centuries. There are many types to choose from such as kerosene, propane, candle lit . and battery operated lanterns. However I would highly suggest using any fuel operated lanterns outside in a well ventilated area because the gas used can be toxic and cause many health issues up to, and including death. Also candle lit lanterns, because of the open flame, for this reason I would only use battery lanterns inside the shelter you build/ bring.

Of course I may be going overboard with some of these suggested items but the more gear you have with you the easier living in the bush becomes. I’m all for going in with the least amount of gear needed to survive as an experiment or to test your skills, but why do it if you don’t absolutely have to. Unless of course that’s your thing.

Different lanterns and what they are best suited for? (Example is any gas lanterns should be in well ventilated our outside areas vs battery lanterns for inside the tent. Plus keep any hot lanterns away from pets and children.

Battery lanterns

Taking the time to make proper usable items like a cot off the ground, wood bench/stool, tables, and a fireplace / stove ideal for cooking with vs (just a camp fire area), or if you spend a lot of time in this spot then you may consider building both. A fire pit is just that, a pit used to burn a fire in.

sure you can use these as a means of heat to cook with, Infact that’s all I’ve really used myself, but an area specifically designed to cook food if properly constructed, can be a much more efficient way of cooking then just an open fire pit.

Natural built camp stove
Please remember to leave only the footprints you brought in with you when you leave or are done with an area. 

Almost all pictures in this blog post were taken from the internet and was intended as example photo’s none of the above shelters were mine.

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