There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a place to pitch your tent when on a camping trip.
A lot of beginner campers could find it overwhelming and exhausting when trying to find the perfect spot to set up camp.
Choosing your tent location
We’ve collected a list of things you need to know before choosing your tent location. We’ll go into more detail with each of the 10 “Must Know” things to get you better prepared for your next trip.
1. Choose a Flat Surface
A flat surface will ensure better sleep compared to sleeping on an uneven surface where rocks and other hard objects may be sticking up the ground.
Choosing the right spot could spell the difference between a good night’s sleep under the skies and a nightmare where you keep tossing and turning to avoid those pointy things sticking up off the ground.
2. Go For Higher Ground
If you could find a spot that is higher than the rest of the surrounding areas, has a nice flat surface, with some natural ground cover like grass, sand, or pine needles.
You just found the right spot to prop up your tent. Higher ground means lesser chances of getting flooded in case of rain.
3. Don’t Pitch Your Tent Under a Tree
While it may be tempting to pitch your tent under the shade of a tree, you run the risk of falling branches hitting you on your topside.
You do get the benefit of sunshade, but the price of getting hurt with tree debris hitting you is not worth it.
In camping circles, trees are given the ill-deserved name of “widowmaker” because many campers have fallen victim to falling branches.
4. Avoid the Hills
A common mistake made by neophyte campers is thinking that hills are a great place to camp because it shields you from the elements such as the wind and the sun. If there is a sudden rainfall, chances are you are getting waterlogged inside your tent.
If you can’t find any better alternative, make sure your tent is placed so that you are lying with your head higher than your feet. If you sleep sideways along the slope, there’s a chance that you could roll downhill in your sleep.
5. Maintain a Good Distance From Other Campers
It can get pretty crowded, especially during summer where campers come out in large numbers. One of the main purposes of camping is to connect with nature, enjoy nature, and move away from your usual daily grind, so where possible, find a place away from other campers.
As a rule of thumb, have at least 5 meters between your tent and the closest neighboring tent. This should give you ample space to enjoy your camping experience without encroaching on other camper’s space.
6. Allot Extra Space Around Your Tent
When looking for a place to pitch your tent, make sure to allow extra room all around your tent. This extra space will come in handy, you should need to place stakes in the ground to help secure your tent.
This space can also be used to prop up a folding chair if you feel like lounging or reading a book. This could also be a designated area for your extra camping gear that you might have brought along for the trip.
7. Access to Toilets
Toilets should be located a good distance from where the tents are pitched to minimize the potential foul aromas drifting in and out of camper’s tents.
8. Managing Wind and Rain Effects
If you can find the time to survey the campgrounds prior to setting up camp, you can find optimal places to pitch your tent. If a cliff, a stand of trees, or a hillside is available, these could act as a natural windbreaker to mitigate or minimize wind disturbance.
Just make sure you don’t camp too close to the hillside and run the risk of flash floods hitting you while you’re sound asleep. The stand of trees should be a good distance from where you pitch your tent to avoid getting hit by falling debris.
If strong winds are blowing while you’re setting up camp, stake the 4 corners of your tent to hold it in place while you secure the rest of the guy lines. This ensures that the tent is held securely in place and maintains its proper shape and form.
Another thing to consider is door placement or where the tent doors are facing. Make sure the tent is set up so that it is facing away from the wind direction.
9. Practice Pitching Your Tent at Home
This is another one of those pre-trip things to do. By practicing at home, you have a feel for the entire process of pitching a tent.
This will give you cues like how long the whole exercise is going to take. Also, this is another good way to check if your gear has all its parts and accessories intact.
Doing this will also expose any possible mishaps that could happen at the actual campsite, thus giving you the heads up and avoid making the same mistakes on site.
10. Find a Site Near a Water Source
Water is a very important resource in any situation. This is also true in a camping situation. If you could camp near a body of water, like a lake or river, you can have a good supply of water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
If there is none, you will have to bring extra rations of water for all your needs mentioned above. Don’t camp too close to the river, though, because you have the tendency to contaminate the water source.
This is a big no-no when it comes to campground rules and regulations. You also run the risk of getting hit by a flash flood if you camp too close to a body of water.
These pointers are by no means the definitive checklist for camp goers. Instead, these are mere guides or tips to help you decide if a certain campground is something you might be interested in or not.
Checklists are not strict rules, but rather a good reminder. By ticking these 10 bullet points, you have a better chance of a good, if not great, camping experience.
It takes the guesswork out of the equation and thus ensures that you have a better chance of success even before leaving your home.