Life in Fallout 76 has been rough these past few days—at least that little slice called West Virginia. I’ve yet to visit any other states since the nukes fell. Enemies are everywhere, large areas of land are soaked with radiation, and there isn’t much clean water. Not all of these issues are created equal, though. While there are giant bugs and monsters roaming about, the biggest concern for newly emerged vault dwellers is how to set up a proper camp.
Camps (or rather, C.A.M.P.’s) are great assets in Fallout 76. Not only do they allow to store junk and craft items, they also provide food and water purification. They even make a handy a fast travel location. Basically, building and maintaining a C.A.M.P. is a vital part of the game. This might seem like a daunting task at first—especially if you never fooled around with the base building mechanics of Fallout 4. The good news is that it doesn’t take much know-how to start off on solid ground.
Where to Start Your Journey
First, I recommend completing the early tutorial-like missions. At least finish the quest called “Tentative Plans.” It awards the plans needed to construct basic C.A.M.P. structures and items, along with a decent amount of junk.
Once that’s done, you need a decent place to set up—typically far away from landmarks and other settlements. The game won’t allow you to camp too close to anything else. You should, however, set up somewhat close to major areas. That will give you a good quick travel spot between quests. Consider colonizing a zone with an easy, repeatable public event to stock up on experience points and loot, too.
You’ll know if the place is inhabitable by the C.A.M.P. item’s green glow. Pull up the Pip-boy and select “place C.A.M.P.” to see.
The first thing to build in any camp is a stash box. These containers are the only means of safeguarding junk found out in the wastes. Considering that these items are necessary for crafting, modifying or repairing items, and so on, you want to have a secure place to store them. Getting killed while carrying a large amount junk is the worst. Not only do you have to go back and retrieve your goodies, and possibly run into what killed you in the first place, you also have to contend with other players looking for a random bag of loot.
No. Build a stash box. Save yourself the headache. Once constructed, you can access any items there from any other stash in the world. Items are also accessible from the main C.A.M.P. device itself.
What Comes Next?
Your next priority is crafting stations. You should build a cooking station, followed by the weapons, armor, tinker, and chem workbenches. Because you’re just starting out, the first three will probably be the only stations you can craft for a while. No worries! Their services are beneficial for large portions of the early game.
The cooking station is super important, for instance, as it allows you to cook much-needed food and boil water. Eating meat from the surrounding wildlife is dangerous as is. Eating that meant raw is downright foolish. It’ll result in random diseases or infections like dysentery. The same goes for water and other liquids. Unless it’s boiled before consumption, drinking water from the local river leads to radiation poisoning.
The weapon and armor benches are next. Being able to craft new gear is nice; finding new schematics is always exciting. That said, the real reason you want these two workbenches is because they allow you to repair equipment. A broken gun is a paper weight, taking up precious space in your inventory. A quick repair will get it back in working shape. These workbenches will keep you going well into the late-game. They’re most beneficial early on, though.
Now comes the tinker and chem workbenches. The Tinker’s workbench is needed to craft ammo which… I mean, who doesn’t want more ammo? Not that Fallout 76 is stingy on bullets. They’re easy to find for most of the lower-tier weapons. That’s not the case for stronger rifles and pistols. The desire to create a surplus of a particular gun’s ammo, depending on your play style, warrants having this bench. The chem workbench comes later, due to its greater crafting requirements. You’ll be able to make aid items—stimpacks and such—early on, but it’s typically used to craft high-end stuff like fusion cores.
The last thing you need to craft is a sleeping bag. It’s nothing glamorous; just a means of sleeping to regain health and heal wounds. Just be aware that sleeping on the ground sometimes produces diseases (which dissipate over time).
Keeping Your C.A.M.P. Together
Houses are great for the occasional environmental danger, but that’s downplayed in Fallout 76. Toxic rainstorms are exceedingly rare. And unless you’ve started growing food, there’s no need to build fences. These things shouldn’t be set up until you’re ready to make a long-term settlement and have collected a large amount of junk.
Each of these items (give or take the chem workshop and house) is needed to create a decent base C.A.M.P. You don’t really need turrets. Enemies don’t attack often if you pick a secluded place. Not to mention rogue players prefer to use your crafting stations rather than destroy them. If something does get destroyed, though, you can repair it from the build menu. Or just select the C.A.M.P. device and choose to repair all structures.
At that point, you want to save layouts of your C.A.M.P. This is done by going into the build menu and switching to Modify. Then long press the Modify button to activate blueprint mode. From there, you have to highlight each structure so the next time you settle down, assuming a structure doesn’t get destroyed, everything will be placed in the correct orientation.
Blueprints are especially important right now, because Fallout 76 tends to delete players’ C.A.M.P.s after logging out. If that happens, you need to replace everything that was removed. But your stuff isn’t just wasted! Any bench or structure you crafted moves to the “stored” tab of your build menu. You can plop those suckers back down without spending the usual crafting materials.
The Pros and Cons of Workshops
How your C.A.M.P. grows depends on your play style and personal tastes. I personally lean on items that keep me alive outside of combat; getting plans to build a water purifier proved invaluable.
Local workshops—like the Grafton Steel Yard—might also help you plan your C.A.M.P. Once secured, by completing a quest that automatically appears after stumbling onto a workstation, these locations allow you to build certain structures and items sooner than normal. They even usually come with special resources you can’t get anywhere else.
I was able to fool around with different defensive items, crafting stations, and more without the fear of running through my personal stash. That information was then taken back to my C.A.M.P. for future planning.
Be warned, though. Workstations cost caps to claim and junk to spruce up. They also come under periodic attack by monsters. And despite all the trouble, you lose control of them when you log out. These are mostly for late-game players that can easily recapture their favorite spot—preferably with some helpful friends.
And that’s all for our Fallout 76 camp guide! Feel free to check out our general guide to multiplayer or where to find power armor. You never know what dangers lurk in the West Virginia wasteland, after all.