Most people drop their backpacks or start unloading their gear soon after they arrive on-site, and this makes perfect sense, right? I mean why not get all of the hard work out of the way so that you can relax and start enjoy your time? However, there are a also couple of really good reasons for taking a break instead of getting right to work, and they are worth thinking about before you start out on your next trip.
Most people are in the zone, and riding on adrenaline when they find their spot and drop their gear. They're still in go-mode, and while this may seem like a time to take advantage of the momentum, it's also really easy to make a lot of little mistakes that you'll end up paying for later. This little break helps you to clear your head, transition from “getting there” to “now what”, and taking some time to unwind allows you to calm down, look around and soak in your surroundings. You can assess the quality of the site, think about where you want to put things, and identify potential issues that you will have to deal with.
Test the Ground
Take some time to lay down and let your body relax. After a few minutes, move to other spots until you find the perfect place to pitch your tent. Chances are that once your body is in a more-relaxed state, you will be able to identify problem areas, such as lumpy soil, divots, protrusions, slopes and other possible annoyances that you may not otherwise notice right away. This can help you to find the best spot while reducing the chances of having to keep relocating or re-positioning your tent later on when you're really tired.
Boost Mood and Improve Judgment
As our bodies release chemicals that are the byproduct of stress and physical exertion while we rest, we will start to feel better and think more-clearly. This can go a long way with helping us to slow down and start setting up camp without making a lot of little mistakes that would otherwise lead to more work.
Of course, resting right away is not for everyone, and it's also not the most practical option in many situations. However, if you can take advantage of the opportunity, chances are that you will be able to set up camp more-efficiently and have fewer issues that need to be corrected as time progresses. Give it a try the next time you're camping, and discover whether or not resting before unpacking makes it easier for you to settle in.