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.
Why Is It Important To Pick The Right Campground?
It is critical to ensure that you choose the right campground as there are several risks to setting up camp in the wrong area.
This can range from minor inconveniences to endangering your field group due to your choice of area in which to set up.
The first risk to set up your tent in the wrong area could be potential instability in the setup of your tent.
Pitching a tent is a tedious enough task when you do not have to worry about possible environmental influences that will destabilize your tent.
If you were to choose a campground in which there is an excess of mud or snow, it would be far harder to keep your tent well-grounded, and you may have to reposition yourself halfway through your trip.
While this may not seem like the worst outcome possible, it is still very annoying to have to reposition your group and all of your supplies halfway through your trip.
In addition to being a nuisance, you will lose a good chunk of your limited time camping if you have to reposition your group and every bit of your supplies.
Another risk of positioning yourself in the wrong campground is that you can be fined by park rangers for using an inappropriate campsite.
In addition to penalizing you financially, you can damage the environment and possibly endanger animals, and in certain cases, you can risk the safety of your group due to the threat of these animals.
As you can see, there are many risks to setting up your campsite in the wrong area.
Whether it will simply inconvenience your group or put you in danger depends on the forest or park in which you are camping and the many wild denizens that can inhabit these areas.
Setting up your camp in the wrong area is simply a risk that you should not take for the sake of your group and the surrounding environment.
Picking The Right Campground
The first aspect to look for when setting up a proper camp site is to ensure that you are allowed to camp in the area in the first place.
Park rangers and other authorities will fine you if you do not have authorization to camp.
When it comes down to setting up your tent, you need to look for firm, flat ground, as the uneven or marshy ground will make it much harder to establish a stable tent.
An unstable tent has a risk of collapsing while you are inside of it, resulting in an unpleasant surprise, especially if it occurs during the middle of the night while you are sleeping.
It is also important to ensure that there is enough drainage in the ground surrounding your tent, in the case of rain.
If you choose to camp in an area with improper drainage, you will possibly experience minor floods in the event of heavy rain. Even if you do not have to deal with flooding, the land will remain marshy, and your tent will begin to sag on its supports.
Another important aspect is to ensure that your campsite is adequately protected from the wind. If you set up camp in a windy area, your tent may be carried away by the wind in the case of improper anchoring.
Excessive wind can also cause you issues regarding your campground even if your tent is properly anchored, as it makes it far harder to set up your tent.