Where to Pitch a Tent

Where to pitch a tent

In camping, it is important to quickly find a location for your tent to be able to set up and quickly store it as soon as possible. But is it then necessary to know where to pitch a tent without risk.

Don’s worry!

Here is our guide to finding the best spot for your tent.

Comply with regulations and the environment

First of all, the legislation on wild camping and short camping are very strict. So it is important to respect the authorized camping areas at the campsite and always ask the owners or read the agreement before setting up your tent on private land.

Camping is an opportunity to appreciate landscapes and nature. Therefore, it is crucial to minimize its impact on the environment during this practice. To do this:

  • Avoid disturbing wildlife: don’t leave food for wild animals, avoid making too much noise, especially around water points where animals drink, and respect nesting sites.
  • Leave no trace: pick up your rubbish, don’t destroy the flora, relieve yourself away from the camps, burn the toilet paper, bury your excrement and leave the site as you found it.
  • Respect the legislation concerning fire: check that it is legal to make a campfire on the designated site, burn as little wood as possible to leave as few traces as possible, and extinguish the fireplace before leaving.

Where to pitch a tent – step by step

During our first camping or hiking, we often look for the perfect place: a splendid view where we can admire the sunset and sunrise, flat ground, sheltered from the wind and near a point of water. In practice, it is difficult to find the ideal campsite. But that does not matter, the important thing is above all your safety and your sleep.

Here are the criteria to take into account when choosing the location of your tent.

Choose flat ground

At first, a flat area is best. This will prevent you from rolling while you sleep. Also, remember to level the ground before setting up your tent. Remember, the important thing is above all your sleep.

Indeed, the more comfortable you are, the lower the risk of dizziness while hiking.

If you have no choice but to choose sloping ground, direct your head upwards and your legs downwards if possible.

Choose a sheltered location

If you can, find a spot under tall trees. Indeed, foliage offers you great advantages for setting up your hiking tent: shade, less dew, less wind and warmth for the night.

Make sure the area is well drained

Choose dry ground to avoid waking up in a puddle. To do this, make sure that the ground is not spongy or within a basin or hollow. This type of terrain tends to accumulate water with the slightest rain.

Pay attention to the wind

The wind, in small quantities, such as a light breeze can be very useful during camping. It allows you to ventilate your shelter, avoid condensation and limit the appearance of insects such as mosquitoes.

However, winds that are too strong can ruin your trip and even prove to be dangerous. For this, prefer an area sheltered from the wind and tie your tent securely. Remember that in the mountains, thermal winds in the morning and evening can be violent.

Remember to orient your tent correctly. To do this, identify the prevailing wind and position the entrance and the apse of the tent back to the wind.

Pay attention to the distance from the water point

A water point can be very practical in camping, especially if you plan a hike over several days. Indeed, water can allow you to stay hydrated, do the dishes and laundry, and cook and bathe. However, pitching your tent right next to a water point can have negative consequences:

  • Presence of mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Flooding of rivers associated with heavy rains or thunderstorms.
  • Increased condensation can affect your comfort and your equipment.
  • Disturbance of the fauna which comes to drink.
  • Hazards: Like potential nocturnal visitors like bears in some places.

For these reasons, it is better to weigh the pros and cons before choosing an area close to water. In general, I prefer to set up my tent 5 or 10 minutes walk from an area of ​​water when possible. This allows you to avoid the majority of its disadvantages while being able to enjoy its advantages.

Prefer a discreet place

A discreet place can allow you to have more tranquility but also not disturb the inhabitants and animals of the horizon.

Camping tent mountain

The sites to absolutely avoid in camping

Certain areas are to be avoided during camping for your safety and sleep.

Do not settle in a ravine or depression area

Ravines or depression areas are more susceptible to flooding during heavy rains.

Avoid gorges as much as possible

When possible, avoid the gorges as weather conditions vary greatly.

If there are no other options, prefer to camp at the highest point of the gorge to best avoid flooding. If there is a risk of heavy showers, it is better to continue looking for another place to camp.

Refrain from camping on exposed ridges or hilltops

Exposed passages can be subject to heavy storms. It is best to avoid ridges or hilltops. If you have no choice and the weather conditions are bad, it is often advisable to descend and take shelter in the foliage and sheltered from rocks and possible landslides.

Do not camp under a lonely tree

Lone trees can attract lightning during thunderstorms. Thus, avoid choosing a camp under a solitary tree.

Pay attention to fragile vegetation

Always think about your impact on the environment. To do this, avoid damaging the flora to set up your tent.

Avoid valley bottoms

At the bottom of a valley, the condensation is greater and the katabatic air will persist until morning.

When to look for your tent location?

Don’t wait until nightfall to find a pitch for your tent. Indeed, the search can be long on some occasions and it is better to prospect in advance.

To do this, identify potential places before your hike or camp. Also, don’t set up your tent too early. Indeed, in the middle of the afternoon, your camping equipment will be exposed to the sun’s UV rays and could age hastily.

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