Should You Pitch A Tent Under A Tree?

Should You Pitch A Tent Under A Tree?

After a thrilling day of camping or hiking, it’s time to pitch a tent, so you can rest, and you see a sturdy tree for shade, and you wonder is it safe to pitch your tent under the tree? 

Pitching a tent under a tree is a good idea, to avoid sunlight and for great shade. However, there is a need for precautions, as branches tend to fall due to rain or storms. Also, trees act as lighting rods during thunderstorms. Do not camp under a dying tree, or trees with fruits. 

There are benefits to tenting under a tree, but there’s a need to factor in a few risks. This article would explain when and where is safe to camp under a tree and elucidate how to avoid most of the risks. 

Is It Safe to Pitch Your Tent Under A Tree?

There are safety precautions to factor in when camping and hiking, tenting safely is a major one. It sounds good to pitch a tent under a tree, seeing you camping out with nature, and trees are a part of nature.

But you also have to consider the weather, falling objects or branches, lightning, and the condition of the tree. 

It is enjoyable to pitch a tent under a tree as it comes with certain benefits. There’s no need to deal with direct sunlight during the day, as it acts as a shade. The tree can provide cover for your tent during light rain or the relaxing breeze that comes with tenting near a tree. However, there are certain risks to avoid, when tenting under a tree: 

It is important to know the weather forecast, to direct you where is best for you to pitch your tent. If there’s the possibility of rain, storm, or strong winds, steer clear from tenting under a tree. 

Inspecting The Tree

Should the tree look sick, or have dying branches, or loose limbs. It is better not to pitch your tent under it, as you cannot predict when a loose or dead branch could fall. With this said, it is best to pitch a tent under a healthy tree in mild weather. (i.e no wind, storm, rain, or snow).

Always access the condition of the tree, you can do this, by looking at the base of the tree and assessing its branches, vines,  and leaves.

If the ground of the tree is littered with fruits, pine needles, or acorns. Do not camp under that tree because there’s bound to be falling debris or objects.

It is highly harmful as about 100 people die from falling branches in the U.S each year. 

Pitching Your Tent

Pitching your tent under a solitary tree at the edge of a forest is not advisable and it increases the chance of being struck by lighting. Instead, settle deep into a densely grown forest, to reduce the chance of being struck. If the weather seems windy, a tent under a young/short healthy tree, to avoid falling branches harming you or your tent.

This method works because there are a lot of trees in the area, for a stronger hold against the wind or lighting. The risk of being stuck in the middle of a dense forest is very low (as 1 in 500.000), as lighting usually strikes single trees or at the edge of a forest.

Therefore settling deep into a densely grown forest is better, as there is a more protective shield, saving your tree from being hit. Also exposed places like hills, riverbanks, or mountain crests, should be avoided as they are open fields for winds, storms, or floods. 

In case there are weather problems, and you cannot pitch a tent under a tree, you can tent under a densely grown forest, under a short healthy tree to avoid falling debris or branches. Or can tent under dry low ground (i.e valleys, bottom of hills), but be careful with flooding. 


Should you decide to pitch a tent under a tree or not, depends on how you are willing to accept a little bit of risk.

Falling debris or small branches may sound non-harmful, but it leaves you with certain health risks, should you not pay heed to it. 

It is always best to check the weather before pitching your tent in a location. also, should a lighting or wind start, opt to settle under a short healthy tree, in a densely grown forest. Tent away from your campfires, cooking rings, and open places. 

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