June 11, 2024
200 Foot Campsite Rule

There are many unwritten rules when it comes to camping, and the 200 foot rule is one of them. What is this campsite rule, and do you really need to follow it?

Over 40 million Americans go camping every year. That’s a lot of people wondering around in the forest, which means the potential for natural habitats to be destroyed is higher.

To enjoy the outdoors while keeping it preserved, there is a set of guidelines for campers. The most important campsite rule is the 200-foot regulation.

If you plan to go back-country camping, it is your responsibility to leave no trace. The forest should never know you were there.

Use this guide to understand what is expected from you when you set up camp.

What Is the 200-rule?

Most parks will tell you that you must follow the 200-rule when camping. The 200 means feet and the rule depends on the activity. It is enacted to keep you safe, the area clear of contamination, and your presence in the forest noninvasive.

But, how long is 200 feet? Imagine a football field. It is 360 feet, so 200 is a little more than half of the field.

Where Do You Pitch a Tent

One of the first things that you do when setting up campsite is to find a spot for your tent. When you don’t have a designated campsite assigned to you it can take some time and be quite tricky.

Before you go stepping through the shrubs and making your own trail, look for a side trail that someone else has created.

This may lead to a campsite that you can use and that is also 200-feet from the main trail.

Storing and Cooking Food Campsite Rule

There are two ways to safely store your food when camping. Both require you to keep all food 200-feet away from your tent. This is to avoid fury visitors, especially bears when they get a whiff of your food.

You can buy an alpine food storage container that is critter-proof. Or you can hang your food from a tree.

If you hang your food, make sure it is 10 feet from the ground and 6 feet from the tree’s trunk.

When cooking, it is best to have a separate camping kitchen tent to ensure no scent remains near where you sleep.

How to Use Nature’s Toilet

One of the most important campsite setup ideas that you might find at Camping Forge blog is to have a predetermined spot for going to the bathroom.

Your bodily fluids can attract animals, leak into rivers and streams causing contamination, and be a mess for other campers. Be sure to bring tools like a shovel and biodegradable toilet paper.

Then dig a hole at least 6 inches deep that is 200-feet away from your tent and any water. Bury your excrement when finished.

Getting Clean While Camping

Water from bathing can also contaminate bodies of water, so be sure to be 200-feet away from rivers and streams when washing.

Also, use plain water or natural soap to ensure that it doesn’t harm plants and animals.

Enjoy Leaving No Trace

If you love the outdoors then this campsite rule makes perfect sense. It not only ensures that you leave nature intact, but it also makes the experience fun. You won’t have to worry about harming others or being in an unsafe situation.

For more tips on how to enjoy nature visit the outdoors section of our blog.