Trekking Tips Part 2: campsite selection

1. Needless to say select a site that is flat, level and dry. After all the aim is to have a good night’s sleep.
2. Avoid sites with a tall grasses and undergrowth. Although such areas look beautiful and scenic, but the tall grasses hide the branches, stones and uneven underlying surface beneath them. Not to mention it is a potential fire hazard and home for various pests and reptiles.
3. Near Water: Almost all pictures of landscape involves a house near a stream/water body. But building a temporary accommodation near them can be tricky for an amateur. A) Oceans (and large rivers like Ganges) are prone to high tide. So if you have not accounted for it, then water would seep into your tent and wake up exactly at midnight. Ponds/Lakes also should be avoided because of 2 reasons. Firstly water means pests and secondly you might be right in the path of the animal movements. Most large animals are habits of creatures and would drink for the same spot irrespective of your claims on the territory.
4. The ideal spot should be at a certain elevation from the surroundings (so that the water drains away) on a terrain that is flat. Remove any pebbles, undergrowth/twigs.
5. If camping in the desert/snow then take wind direction into account. Also it would not be a bad idea to sleep in a area where you don’t get buried under by the morning.
6. If a level ground is not available then sleep in the incline such that your head is at the elevation relative to the feet.
7. You are there to enjoy nature and not destroy it. Hence please use a pre-existing site so that the damage to the nature is minimal. Also once you are done, please pick all the litter and bury it/carry it back. (Don’t burn it, most forest fires are a result of un-attended camping fires)
8. Last but not the least. Be far far away from bon fire. Most portable tents are made of synthetic material and even a casually flying ember can burn big holes in your tent even before you can bat a eyelid.
9. Protect against dew: The minute precipitation in the night can cause a lot of inconvenience and even breathing problems. Hence please cover the vent at the top of the tent.
10. It’s never a bad idea to spray some pesticide on the site before unfolding the tent.
11. Take good care of the tent flooring. Good modern portable tents have a plastic sheet sewed to the tent. Please make sure there are no holes/cracks. Also cover the holes/cracks and even the stitching seams with a plastic tape.
12. Secure the tent. Even though the whole things looks steady, it’s as light as a kite and it can fly. The harness and stakes are given for a reason. Use them.