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How to Select a Tent Site

Posted by Darren Bush on 6/18/2013 to Camping Skills & Tips

After a long day of paddling, traveling, portaging, slogging through muskeg, or whatever it is that takes you from Point A to Point B, the tendency is to select the first piece of ground that’s level, throw down the tent and get some shut-eye. This is a bad idea.

You’re going to spend a lot of time at your campsite, even if it’s only eight hours. If you’ve ever spent a sleepless night, trust me, eight hours is an eternity. Here are some ideas you might consider to make your night better as well as keeping the environment undamaged.

Consider the Slope


A slope of a degree or two may not seem like much, but try to find an area that is without slope. If you can’t, sleep so your head is higher than the rest of your body. Sleeping with your head down will give you a splitting headache. Sleeping with slope on one side will cause you to slide downhill over the night, crushing your companion, or you’ll slide off your mattress and find yourself cold and shivering in the corner.

Consider the Drainage

It’s pretty standard to not set up your tent at the bottom of a slope that will collect rain and send it down into your tent in case of a storm. It’s also standard not to sleep in the lowest part of the camp. Beyond that, what can you do? If you’re camping on sandy soil, then you’ll be better off as moisture will percolate down before it can get through the tent floor.

Consider the Traffic


You might ask yourself, “Are the other areas that have less visitation?” If you’re on a route that is heavily used, you might consider paddling another mile and finding a more isolated place. You’ll enjoy it better, and you won’t have an impact on an already-stressed environment.

You might also ask yourself, “Can I be easily seen from the water (or trail)?” If so, you might consider moving a little father from the water (or trail) so as not to spoil the view of fellow travelers. And as long as we’re talking about it…

Consider Color…


Not that you can change the color of your tent while you’re traveling with it, but you can make a better choice when purchasing tents. We sell tents with muted color schemes, so they’ll blend in a little better than the bright orange dome tents you see sometimes. Yechh.

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