Let’s sleep in the tent tonight!

It’s a wonderful experience to relax under the sky full of stars or in the fragrant pine forest. But looking for a suitable place for tent while traveling can be quite difficult. A large part of our seventeen-month trip consisted of finding an appropriate camping place. As we traveled with low budget, not always we could afford to sleep in hotels. In the largest cities, usually the rescuers were bus and train stations, but outside city rush nature was the one delighting us with green areas for the tent. However – if at the beginning we were used to build the tent wherever, later on we learnt the main conditions for a safe camping.

1. Find a suitable tent!

Tents are now quite diverse and the choice is wide. Of course, it’s better that the tent takes up less space and is not difficult to put together. However, material and color are especially important. Yes, we also had ordered a dark-green tent from the Chinese shopping giant Aliexpress, but the tent came to us bright orange. Surprisingly, with this particular tent we still managed to travel around the World. Only once local people were too interested in it and cut our tent open with scissors while we were sleeping. It was pity that the indigenous also took our sewing accessories – that forced us to sleep in the leaky tent for a couple of days. At least no creature crawled into the tent those nights.

Also the material is important for both harder surfaces and rain. If the tent is not waterproof (even if the Chinese claim it is), raincoats can be a great help – cover the tent with those and you have been protected yourself from having wet feet.

2. Explore the surroundings!

This, of course, does not apply for paid camping sites, where the men with flashlights take care of everything. We can advise how to find the right, free-off-charge camping place for your own. One of the most important conditions is always to thoroughly explore the surroundings. If you have in mind a green grass field or palm beach, a good time before pitching up the tent it’s necessary to observe what’s really going around. Of course, you cannot predict when and whether a thief or dissatisfied policeman will come, but still you can evaluate the overall situation. For some time just sit and observe the “contingent” that walks around. If there is a lot of curious eyes and suspicious types, they certainly won’t disappear later. In this case, look for a quieter spot.

3. Explore the site itself!

It’s better to look for a camping place while it’s still light outside, because at night some important things can be left unnoticed. You should check whether the beautiful greenery does not hide some grass sprinklers, which also have surprised us one night by sprinkling water from the bottom of our tent. You should see if the grass doesn’t consist of sharp spines, which later will hurt your sides. Check the land from which suddenly a bunch of ants can appear. And they will definitely try to get into the tent. And not all the countries have large, friendly ants. Sometimes the insects are so small that you cannot even guess what has bitten you during your sleep.

4. Take in consideration your location!

It is important to know where you end up in the end. If you set up the tent on the beach by the ocean, it’s important to remember that the water level is often rising at night, so don’t build the tent close to the shore, so that you don’t wake up in a giant bath.

In countries with snakes – for example, in the south of Mexico – the locals themselves will advise you to look for a place above the ground, because these reptiles feel the heat coming out of the tent and can try to join. Of course, at the beginning we didn’t know that – nothing prevented us from staying on the ground and nothing bad happened, but this is a thing worth considering. You also should remembered that tropical countries are hot and humid – sleep with an open tent, bet never leave the mosquito net open!

In turn, in the mountains, you can really freeze in the tent – remember that at a very high altitude, it’s not possible to make a fire!

5. Set up the tent carefully!

It’s better to pitch the tent in already explored area when it’s dark – it’s less possible that unexpected passerby will spot it. You can also put some sticks around the tent – if someone decides to visit you at night, breaking brunches under the curious feet can wake you up from sleep and allow you to prepare for the unexpected guest. But before that, after the tent is built, you need to take some time and listen what’s going on around, because maybe someone just waits until you get into the tent. This happened to us as well – one guy was waiting for us in the shadows in Argentina, but at that time we had already learnt how to take care of our safety, and we could surprise the youngster ourselves!

In turn, in the mountains, you can really freeze in the tent – remember that at a very high altitude, it’s not possible to make a fire!

6. No delicious dinner in the tent!

Although it seems that camping fits together with campfire and barbecue, it is not at all wise. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t eat near the tent or inside it. Animals have more developed smell than us – even if it seems that all the yummy aromas have gone away, they actually remain long and attract furry guests. Fortunately for us, this happened only once, when the boar made its evening walk near our tent. From that time we promised ourselves never to eat in the tent or near it.

Also, the food itself should not be kept in the tent. In the United States, for example, there are special stone boxes for placing the food. An alternative is to put the food in a bag and pull it up in the tree. Of course, there is a risk that someone will eat the content of the bag, but at least you will protect yourself.

7. Always be ready!

In the tent, we kept the pepper spray and the knife, until airport staff didn’t take it away from us when we flew to Kyrgyzstan. Before going to sleep, think about ways to protect yourself, if anything happens. Sometimes it’s safer when one stays awake while the other is sleeping if there are two of you. Although often long hikes with heavy backpacks are so tiring, that it’s not even clear if someone had visited us during the night or not.

8. Do not stay in one place for several nights in a row!

Of course, there are safe parts of the World and it would not be difficult to stay by lake in Latvia for a whole week! However, you should remember that there may be someone with not very good intentions and that someone might notice permanent residents of the tent, far from communications, in the forest or in the jungle. And that someone may also start thinking how to use such a situation. So let’s not give anyone a reason to overthink and change the sleeping place!

In general, we could devote poetry and fame songs to our tent – it gave us home in all parts of the World. Surprisingly, it lasted for so long! It was sewed, soaked, ripped and again sewed, it served us a year and a half! And we brought it home to Latvia with small grains of sand from every corner of the World.

Of course, it was not always easy for us to find a comfortable camping place. Sometimes it was so difficult that we were just happy to be able to sleep horizontally. No, we did not have any yoga mats or mattresses. Only a tent and sleeping bags. Sometimes it was hard, uncomfortable, but after all – oh, without this experience we could never appreciate how good it is to sleep in a bed!


Well, we hope that these suggestions will help a nature lover, a slightly more extreme traveler who is ready to take a step outside the campsite and decides to think about his own safety. Good luck!