Of all things to take care of when going camping, pitching a tent is considered one of the most important task and yet, one of the most difficult also. It can be especially hard for those who do not have enough experiences and practices. If you mess up pitching your tent, it will be very tiresome and time-consuming to try to get the task done again. On the other hand, if you success, you are likely to have secured yourself a safe and enjoyable camp.
The deciding factor for setting up a tent properly is choosing a location. Trivial it might seem but there are a lot of things to pay attention to, and if you fail to take notice of all elements, you have a very high chance to get yourself and your camp-mates into troubles. Therefore, you might want to take a look at these few key points before getting started.
1. Look for flat ground
As you can always guess about the first mentioned thing-to-do, this is the most important thing to keep in mind. You would want goodnight sleeps so that you can wake up in the morning, feeling refreshed and ready for all the fun to come, right? Therefore, avoid bumpy, rocky and damp ground, which often has a babbling stream nearby or is in the middle of thick, grassy prairie that might be very tempting to the eyes. Pitching a tent in those places is very hard and even if you can get it done, you will have to uproot it eventually to get away from uninvited guests that buzz about and sting you.
When you find a large and level ground, make sure to clear all rocks and tree branches from the arena and lay your sleeping bag and mattress out to test the comfort.
2. Keep away from hills
Many people get the wrong idea that in valleys at the bottom of hills, they get the protection of the hillside and trees against sunrays and wind. While that is true, you should only take your chance when it is the dry season (also not recommended, for weather varies over hours), or else you might wake up and find yourself in deep water, literally.
On the other hand, the top and middle of a hill is also not an ideal spot, for staying there exposes you to risk of stumbling and rolling down the hill. Also, high places can give way for wind to uproot your tent. If your campsite does not have level ground, you should go for the least sloping as possible. There, set up your tent in a way that when you sleep, your head gets positioned upward and your feet point to the bottom of the hill. That way, you can avoid rolling to the side of your tent.
3. Keep sun exposure in mind
Try to find place that is quite shady. Staying in a tent that is exposed to direct sunlight for a longtime, you might feel like meat in an oven. The sunlight might seem mild but you should never underestimate the heat, inside a nylon tent, the heat can make the air feel stuffy and unbearable. And rather than testing your endurance, you would want to save your water and stamina for some other activities.
In addition, sun rays can deteriorate your tent material, making it unavailable for more of your upcoming camps.
4. Be mindful of the wind
Look for places that have natural windbreaks. A cool night breeze can be quite annoying for it can keep your tent flapping all night. In places at a high latitude or altitude, a tent door facing the wind can prove to be disastrous, because it gives way for the wind to blow away all the heat inside your tent. Therefore, at all cost, make your tent’s door face away from the wind.
5. Need water supply?
You cannot always bring enough water for a camp that last a long time. Hence, you might want to pitch your tent as close to a stream or lake as possible to get more water when your own supply runs short. However, as already mentioned, being too close to damp places like stream or lake can get you a bunch of “companies” with buzzing sound and stingers or some other creepy creatures. Moreover, rains can make the water rise unexpectedly and you may wake up to the sight of yourself in the middle of a flash flood with your tent. So maybe not too close, all right?
6. Do not leave your mark behind
You should never take for granted all the beauty of nature. You have your environmental responsibilities. Also, many people other than you and your camp-mates want to enjoy the gift of Mother Nature too. Before going back to your own house, remember to clean up all your waste. Do not dump the trashes in the water or in some pits; take them to places for garbage disposal. Put out your campfire completely and get rid of all the coals and ash. In this particular case, leaving your “footprint” on earth is not appreciated.
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