Top Tips for Building the Perfect Den

Top Tips for Building the Perfect Den

Setting up camp under the stars with your family can be such a rewarding experience… until you realise your den for the night is exposed to bracing winds, surrounded by waterlogged ground or on top of an ants’ nest!

But never fear, our friends at the Wild Kids Company have the tips you’ll need to make your overnight adventure a breeze.

children in forest wearing muddy puddles parkas

1) Location is key

The first building block of an enjoyable camping experience is finding the right spot. Make sure that your site is fairly sheltered from the wind and rain, so check the wind direction by throwing some leaves in the air and seeing where they fall. You’ll stay warmer and are less likely to end up smoked out by your campfire. Avoiding the high ground is a good way to ensure that the wind won’t put a dampener on your plans. It’s worth sparing a thought for what’s directly next to your site; it might be tempting to set up beside a pond or lake, however still water attracts a lot of biting insects and nobody wants to invite them into your den!

2) Check the ground

Another good reason to avoid setting up too close to water is that the surrounding ground can be damp (and therefore cold!). Damp ground can be a warning sign that the area is prone to flooding, and a wet sleeping bag means a cold and likely sleepless night! You should look for somewhere slightly raised but still flat enough to sleep on. It sound obvious, but check for on the ground is whether there are any nests or burrows nearby… It goes without saying that you and your family should be the only ones inside your den.

Boy climbing tree wearing fleece jacket muddy puddles

3) Check overhead

Next you should check overhead to make sure there is nothing else has made it’s home directly above you, be it a bird, bees or worse; wasps! A set on binoculars can be handy for this. The most important thing however is to look out for overhanging deadwood - dead branches that could easily fall and hurt someone, especially if it is windy. Be sure that any branches nearby are alive and sturdy.

4) Check the surrounding area

Lastly you’ll want to check what resources are available near your campsite. If you’re building a tarp shelter you’ll need strong trees to tie the lines to as with enough space in-between them for your shelter to sit, or if you’re in a tent you’ll need space for your guy lines at least. Having trees nearby is also great for if you’re planning to build a campfire as walking back and forth to fetch fuel can be hard work! A flowing source of water a safe enough distance from camp is useful for collecting water for washing, but make sure it’s sterilised and free of contaminants if you plan on drinking it. For more top tips on shelter building and more, as well as all the gear and equipment your wild kid will need to become the ultimate den master, be sure to visit Wild Kids Company and get your hands on one of our Den Adventure kits.
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