When you go camping, you want to make sure you can have the best experience you can possibly have. In a situation where you’re in the wilderness, every small decision you make can change your whole holiday. One of these decisions is deciding where to pitch your tent. Whether you’re going camping for leisure or sport, there’s lots of things to consider when deciding where to pitch your tent.
The terrain is a big part when it comes to camping. A level, even ground is much easier when camping as it is one of the more comfortable ways to sleep in a tent. Sometimes the floor makes a big difference, even if you’re using different camping bed hacks so you can sleep better.
Along with being easier to sleep on, a level terrain is also easier to pitch the tent on, as the chances are that there are few rocks lurking beneath that could make hammering the pegs a challenge.
When choosing an even area to pitch your tent, make sure that there’s enough room for a campfire or other fixtures that you intend on setting up. Use your foot or a branch to clear the area of leaves or other debris that could cause discomfort if laid on.
Inspect the ground for any large roots if you’re in a forested area, as these can also cause disruption to sleep.
Try to avoid camping on hills as well, as the uneven ground can be hard to hammer pegs substantially into. Setting up at the base of a cliff can also lead to some potentially unpleasant conditions. The bases of cliffs are renowned for being the perfect shape for water to pool in, which would inadvertently also flood your tent if it were set up there.
Depending entirely on the reason why you camped and how much you’ve packed, camping near running water is essential in some cases. If you’re worried about depleting your water supply, make sure your campsite is within walking distance of a water source. It goes without saying that the water from the source may not be safe to drink, and it’s always best to boil your water before using it for any purpose if you don’t have a filter.
Even though camping within the vicinity of water is a good idea, camping too close could be potentially dangerous. Flash floods could cause a river or stream to burst their banks and could wash both you and your campsite away. Along with this, some campsites require their campers to stay within a certain distance away from rivers, due to risk of contamination of the rivers. Limiting the activity around rivers can keep them safe from contamination such as human waste, trash or other things that shouldn’t be introduced to the river.
Exposure to Wind
Camping in windy conditions is uncomfortable, especially when the wind is strong enough to put your tent at risk of flying away. If you’re camping somewhere at a higher altitude, the wind could potentially be stronger. Thinking about the potential for windy weather is useful if you’re planning on camping. Avoid flat, open spaces, where there’s no structures or trees to break up any wind. Whilst the base of a cliff may seem ideal, as discussed earlier, it also comes with its own caution. Making sure the entrance to the tent is pointing away from the source of the wind is also helpful when deciding where to camp. It will 1) stop the tent from flapping as much, and will keep it quieter, and 2) help the tent maintain its heat a little better. If you’re wondering how else to stay warm in a cold tent, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help.
Exposure to Rain
Tents are made to withstand wind, rain and snow. There are also additional ways to waterproof your tent, to help it keep the rain out even better. It is, however, ideal to keep your tent out of the rain as best as you can to ensure its durability and longevity. Finding a natural shelter such as a dense section of trees or a man-made shelter such as a gazebo or tarpaulin can provide some additional shelter from the rain.
Exposure to Sun
Keeping your tent in a position which keeps it exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time can make it very uncomfortable to stay in. Whilst tents can get really cold at night, their insulating properties can trap the heat from the sun inside and make it very hard to cool down. There are some ways to cool down a tent, but limiting its exposure to the sun is the most effective and reliable method.
Keeping your tent sheltered under trees or other (safe) natural shelters helps keep your tent cool during warm weathers.
Additionally, exposure to sun can help warm your tent up if the weather is cool. By finding an area with little shade or shadow, your tent will have more opportunity to warm up. There are other ways to warm your tent up, but keeping it in direct sunlight will warm it up much quicker in the daytime.
Think About Where You’re Camping
The terrain and environment of where you have decided to go camping will greatly impact the location you pitch your tent. Whilst fields are great for flat ground, there’s a chance that they will lack any natural shelter and thus you will have to bring your own to be prepared. On the other hand, a forest will be densely sheltered with trees and other natural coverings, but the floor may be uneven due to the roots of trees. Most campsites which are owned and maintained are chosen due to their terrain and environment, meaning that they are suitable to be camped on without a problem. If you aren’t camping at a designated campsite, these things should be considered either before going or once you arrive and are finding somewhere to pitch your tent.