Is It Safe To Camp Under A Tree?

I remember the first time I went camping, I looked in detail at where I was going to set up my tent, got out all the poles and rods, spend 30 minutes (okay, more like an hour…) setting up the tent to then look up and notice a giant tree above me. I’d totally forgot to account for the tree.

It’s not safe to camp under a tree as during even slight winds items such as fruit and branches can drop to the ground where you’re camping. Camping under a tree increases your risk of being hit by lightning or your tent setting fire as a result of a nearby lightning strike.

It’s therefore suggested that when camping you pitch your tent at a distance of at least 15 metres from any nearby trees. However, you may want to increase the distance depending on the size of the tree as this can impact the distance in which branches and fruit can fall.

What Happens If You Camp Under A Tree?

Since you are outside, you will be exposed to all sorts of birds, insects, and creatures that lurk around. The risk of them hurting you is more significant if you stay under a tree.

You could have ants crawling into your camping gear and equipment, which would be unpleasant to anyone. Also, bees, snakes, or any other nasty creature might be around trees, and they could sting or bite you. Venom from these creatures is dangerous and could be fatal if not treated quickly.

Furthermore, when rain falls, lightning comes with it in most cases, which is not good for campers, especially those under trees.

On campsites, trees grow tall because they compete for sunlight with other trees, thus making them prone to lightning strikes. If struck by lightning, a tree might fall and have a devastating impact on a nearby camper. It can start a forest fire, and campers sleeping under the tree can be set on fire, which is an outcome nobody would like to see.

Additionally, plants produce their food through a process called Photosynthesis that makes use of sunlight and carbon dioxide in the air. However, at night, plants respirate through their leaves, thereby releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

It is common knowledge that carbon dioxide in high concentrations is harmful to humans, so camping under trees, especially at night, is not advisable.

Trees with plenty of leaves are usually associated with higher carbon dioxide levels, but it is noteworthy that people might not be drastically affected by it, nevertheless, prevention is better than cure. 

While it is nice to have rain on a day you have planned to relax on, it is troublesome when it comes to camping. Apart from the fact that rainwater can make its way through tents or sleeping bags, campfires can get extinguished.

Moreover, when you set up your campsite at the foot of a tree, leaves can trap drops of water falling from the sky. This water would keep dropping unto your campsite long after the rain has stopped falling. This is inconvenient and ruins your camping experience, so if you have a choice, avoid it.

Are There Myths About Superstitions Under Trees?

Some people believe that sleeping under trees can attract some supernatural beings to you. Although there is no proof of this, it is widely believed, especially among Indians.

They feel that anybody that sleeping under the tree would be pressed to the ground by ghosts.

It is not clear what led to this belief, but some think it is from sleep paralysis some individuals experienced while falling asleep under a tree.

However, since people believe in the saying that “it is better to be safe than sorry,” they tend to avoid sleeping under trees incase there is a slight that the superstition has some truth in it.

What To Consider If Camping Under A Tree?

If you are thrilled by the idea of camping under a tree, ensure you are safe by doing all you can to identify all obvious signs that a tree might be hazardous.

Any tree that has a slight indication that it would not be left standing in the near future should be avoided at all costs. Also, ask yourself the following questions before proceeding to camp under a tree.

Is The Weather Favourable?

Check out the weather forecast for the time you would spend camping and pay attention to the predicted rainfall.

Furthermore, note if winds are expected to be strong because they can blow branches off stress; check if there is a high probability lightning would accompany rain that might be expected to fall.

Lightning tends to strike down trees, and you do not want to be present during a catastrophic event like that. 

Is The Tree Still In Good Condition?

Please stay away from any tree that has a significant portion of its trunk exposed either from impact with a vehicle, attacks from wild animals, attempts by a human to cut the tree, and so on.

This shows the tree is relatively weak, and the exposed part might harbor harmful biological organisms that might be infectious.

Additionally, if the tree is leaning to one side, stay away from it because you never know when it will fall over. If branches are weak, they might fall unexpectedly, and nobody wants that, so stay away and stay safe.

Even if the tree does not look like there is anything wrong with it, if it is the only one of its kind in a particular area at the campsite after the rest of its kind has been cut down, it might be best to stay away from it.

This is because the tree must have been used to less windy conditions that resulted from surrounding trees receiving some of the wind.

However, now that it is alone, it might not withstand strong winds for long, and you do not want to be there when the trees’ strength is being tested.

Does The Tree Bear Fruits?

It would be best to stay away from trees with fruits growing out from them, especially if the fruits are heavy. When these fruits drop, the impact might be great and have severe consequences not expected on the camping trip.

Sleeping under such trees puts the individual in harm’s way. Furthermore, ants and crawling insects tend to be attracted to fruit-bearing trees, so you should avoid them.

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