Should you pitch a tent under a tree?

Should you pitch a tent under a tree
by jcomp -

One question that is a high debate topic in the hiking industry among new hikers i.e should you pitch your tent under a tree? well, there is some information on the web about this topic but I find that incomplete. I have done my best in this article in providing the best information about pitching a tent under a tree.

The information is totally my personal experience as I have also slept under the tree many times, not only while hiking but also because I belong to a small town or I can say a village, and sleeping under a tree was common there in the early days. But sleeping under a tree in a day and in the night and that in the wilderness is completely different. So, if you are confused if you should pitch a tent under a tree or not, then keep reading this article.

Should you pitch a tent under a tree? 

No, you should not pitch your tent under a tree as it involves many dangers such as falling off branches, lightning, etc. Moreover, it also depends on the wilderness or the time of the day you are planning to pitch the tent. 

There are various reasons why you should avoid pitching your tent under, and some of that you already know. But today I will tell you every possible thing that can happen if you pitch a tent under a tree. Moreover, I will also discuss how to prepare and get the right place to pitch your tent. 

Reasons why you should not pitch a tent under a tree

Suffocating at night

Many of you may don’t know but sleeping in a tent under a tree at night is not a comfortable experience. When sleeping under a tree at night, you may feel suffocated or experience less oxygen around you.

Well, if you have ever slept under a tree you will know that. There is science behind this, why a person feels uncomfortable at night under a tree.

If you don’t know that, don’t worry today I will tell you the process that goes behind it. If are not into science then you can skip this part.

Science behind it

When the sun is up in daylight there are two processes that go side by side in plants, the first is photosynthesis and the second is respiration.

In photosynthesis, the plant inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen in the air. The complete opposite process runs along with it which is respiration, in which plants take the oxygen and excrete the carbon dioxide.

Both the processes take place when the sun is up in the day. Moreover, because of sunlight, the photosynthesis process is high, which means the level of exhaled oxygen is also high in contrast to carbon dioxide.

However, this changes at night when there is no sun. At night, only the respiration process takes place in plants and because of no sunlight photosynthesis process is not possible.

This makes the plant emit carbon dioxide in high amounts. The less percentage of oxygen and high carbon dioxide in the air is the reason why we feel suffocated inside a tent under a tree.

The main reason for sophistication is the high amount of carbon dioxide. Our body does not have the ability to take that amount of carbon dioxide in a short time.


There is nothing more fearful and dangerous nature force than lightning in the world because of its strike rate. On average, around 1,800  thunderstorms happen at any given moment.

There are some fearful yet amazing facts about lighting you should know. Each strike of lightning is somewhere 5 miles long. Besides that, what makes lightning so dangerous is the temperature and volts of charge it carries.

The temperature of a lightning strike is greater than 50,000 degrees(F),  and it produces an electric charge of 100 million volts.

After knowing these facts, it is easy to avoid pitching a tent under a tree. But why the tree? Well, the reason why lightning falls on trees is because of their height, trees are tall, and stand, alone, near water or high mountains or point, are easy prey for lightning.

Moreover, when lightning strikes a tree, it sometimes completely kills the tree biologically.

After a strike, if only one side is injured while the other still looks good, that means the tree may survive, but that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, light strikes and the current passes all the way down to roots which may cause hard damage to trees and it may fall.

In that case, sometimes you don’t even get time to escape if you are sleeping. So, this is why it’s always a bad idea to pitch a tent under a tree, especially when the weather is bad or unpredictable.

Fall of limbs or branches

You may already know this but falling branches is not a big thing in the wilderness where bad weather and high winds are common.

You should avoid pitching your tent under a tree if you don’t know about trees that much. Branches and fruits suddenly fall from trees either because of the wind or because of the variety of the tree. Even when the weather is pleasant, still it’s dangerous under some trees.

In general, there are some trees which you should avoid just by seeing, these are – maples, ashes, oaks, elms, and beeches. These tree limbs most often fall suddenly.

Besides that, you should also look for trees that are old and mature and trees that grow beyond their capabilities. One requires a great amount of knowledge on plants if he wants to pitch a tent under it.

Poisonous trees

While some people might don’t know but there are some trees that seem fine at one glance from outside but are poisonous to humans and animals. This is also the evident reason why you should not pitch a tent under a tree if you don’t know about trees.

Though it is rare to find such trees while camping but still rare is also a case. If you don’t know what trees are poisonous to humans then I have a list for you.

  • The Manchineel
  • Cerbera odollam
  • Conium maculatum (Hemlock)
  • Hura crepitans


Trees and birds have a house bond relationship with each other like we have with our homes. If you are familiar with birds than you know birds have this tendency of crapping on the top of anything. And if you plan to pitch your tent under a tree that thing will bring your tent.

Moreover, squirrels which also spend most of their time on trees love to eat your food by entering inside your tent when you are unconscious in your sleep.

Can you pitch a tent under a tree in daylight? 

I will always suggest avoiding it in any case but sometimes you don’t have a choice if you are in the wilderness and surrounded by trees. Then there are some things you should look for before pitching a tent under a tree.

Check the weather

Firstly, you should make sure the weather conditions are right for you to pitch a tent under a tree. Check in the sky if the weather looks clean and you see stars.

But this is not the right way if you are not familiar with the place and if the weather is unpredictable there. So you should always check the weather forecast and use your experience to make the right decision.

If you ever feel that there is a slight chance of bad weather like mild winds or rain, then you should avoid pitching your tent under a tree and look somewhere else. I would suggest you prepare In advance, check all the weather conditions, and know-how predictable is the weather there, before even planning your trip into the wilderness.

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Choose the small tree on the low point

The second thing to look for if you have no choice rather than pitching your tent under a tree is the place. Check if the tree is near water, standing alone, if it is then, you should avoid that place.

Moreover, you should also avoid the trees that stand in high points and that are alone because they attract lightning easily. Instead, look for trees that are small and stand in a group of trees.

Before that, you should also check the branches of the tree, if the tree branches are long and horizontally upward that means they are more likely to fall in case of a high thunderstorm.

You are with adults only

If you know that you have to pitch your tent under a tree then make sure you are not with kids or childrens. Because children are less mature and usually sleep unconsciously. Your work is more difficult if you are with kids.