Quick Tips for Tent Location in the Mountains by PSE’s Emily Anderson
By Emily Anderson
Choosing the correct spot to pitch your tent may seem like an easy task, but there are several things you should consider to get the best rest possible out in the field. I know from experience that after climbing above timberline, finding that perfect spot for a tent can quickly become a tiresome task. However, it is worth the effort to pick your spot wisely. If you settle for the wrong piece of ground, you may end up tossing and turning all night, which will in turn affect your performance in the following day’s hunt.
Here are some quick tips when looking for the perfect tent location:
- LOCATE FLAT GROUND: This may seem obvious; however, this simple task can sometimes be extremely difficult on the side of a mountain. If you are on a slope, even the slightest degree, you will find yourself fighting gravity all night long and will most likely end up rolled up on one side of your tent. A word of advice: Make sure your tent is anchored down! You will also want to angle your tent strategically. In my opinion, it is better to have your tent parallel to the hill with top part slightly angled up. That way you will ensure that all the blood doesn’t rush toward your head, and you don’t wake up with a massive headache.
- CONSIDER THE TYPE OF GROUND: A ground cushioned with a layer of forest duff is much more comfortable than rocky ground that is usually found just above timberline. If you are at a high altitude, consider looking for an area just where timberline breaks where pine trees may provide some softer ground cover. Depending on where you are at, there may also be grassy saddles where the top of the mountain seems to roll over to the other side. Often they will produce flat, areas to pitch a tent. However, the velvet-like appearance of the grass covered hill may be a little deceiving. It is usually very rocky ground under all that grass.
- BE AWARE OF THE WEATHER: Yes, you read that correctly. You should consider the weather when pitching your sleeping spot. If you are fortunate to find an open, flat, non-rocky section of land, keep in mind that if this prime real-estate exists in the wide open on the top of a mountain, you may be in for a surprise if a thunderstorm rolls through. The wind can get ferocious as it whips across the top of a mountain. For this reason, if you aren’t sure what type of weather is expected that evening, it might be better to opt for a slightly less ideal camping location if it provides some protection from the weather. Of course, I wouldn’t suggest pitching your tent under the tallest tree on the mountain either due to the very real danger of lighting.
- PICK YOUR SPOT STRATEGICALLY: Consider where you will be hunting the next morning. Pick your tent location so that you can easily slip into the best location at first light. Pay attention to game trails in the area. E.g., make sure your not camping right on top of a well traveled path. Locate where you think the animals you are hunting will likely be feeding in the morning. Will you be able to glass the area without being seen? Are you out of the way enough? How long will it take you to get to where you need to be that next morning?
That’s my quick list of tips for finding the perfect spot to pitch a tent. Hopefully you will find one of these tips helpful when the time comes for finding a spot to sleep in the great outdoors!
Emily Anderson’s hunting journey began shortly after she got married. She enjoys the passions for the outdoors, hunting and fishing as a team with her husband. She established www.FromTheDraw.com as a way to share her stories as a female hunter. Emily lives in Colorado which allows her to hunt elk each September in the Rocky Mountains. She is now a PSE Staff Blogger and will be posting daily about her experiences and views on archery and hunting.
Keep your eye out for the #elktour DVD over on huntography.com! Watch PSE’s Emily Anderson and Dustin Jones hunt elk DIY style on our amazing public lands in the Western United States. Huntography also films a deer hunting DVD called #deertour which you will be able to watch PSE’s Will Jenkins hunt whitetails. Huntography…filming America’s hunters, one at a time!