Camping in the lap of Himalayas is something each one of dream about and when it comes to camping in Ladakh or Spiti Valley, it becomes a more pristine dream 🙂 🙂 … Camping in Himalayas is considered to be one of the key adventure activities by the people with craze of adventure. And, I will say why not, when you have the luxury of a billion star place to stay right in the middle of nowhere with just raw nature surrounding you and your soul. Today, in this article, I will talk about some most important tips which you should keep in mind while camping in Ladakh or Spiti Valley or any other place in Himalayas.
There is usually a common confusion or question with almost everyone looking forward to camp in ladakh or spiti valley. Well, camping in places of trans-Himalayas such as Ladakh or Spiti Valley could be a little different than camping in the jungles or lower hills. There isn’t much luxury of water every where in places such Ladakh or Spiti Valley which are considered to be cold desert in Himalayas. Secondly, the high altitude takes a different toll on the body and acclimatisation becomes key factor to the success of your Ladakh or Spiti Valley trip. I am sure below mentioned tips will help you have a great camping experience in Ladakh or Spiti Valley and you can definitely apply them to other parts of the Himalayas too.
10 Tips for Camping in Ladakh & Spiti Valley
Given below are some of the tips for camping in Ladakh or Spiti valley or other parts of Himalayas that will help you answer many unanswered questions for you and knowing them may help you be out of trouble while camping in Himalayas.
1. Where can I do camping in Ladakh or Spiti Valley?
The first and foremost concern is where should I camp in Ladakh or Spiti Valley? Well, you can pitch your own tents or camps almost anywhere in Ladakh or Spiti Valley but I will suggest that you pitch them at a place where there are some dhabha tents put up by locals or where other camping guy pitch theirs or somewhere near some local house in village or in their garden/lawn.
All you will need is to gently ask them (villagers/dhabha guys/camping guys) for permissions. Most likely they will allow, other wise negotiate for small little tip or move on to some other such place nearby. This will give you immense sense of security too from loneliness (especially when you are a newbie) as well as wild animals.
2. DO NOT camp at restricted sites or wetlands
Though as I said, you can camp almost anywhere in Ladakh or Spiti Valley but keep in mind that camping is not allowed everywhere and there are restricted sites which mostly comes either under army secured zone OR under wetland reserves, ramsar sites etc.. Both the lakes in Ladakh, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri and Chandratal in Spiti Valley comes under wetland reserve and camping is not allowed at the bank of these lakes and treated as illegal. Hence, you need to pitch these camps away from the lakes where either other camps are there or at near by village. Sometimes, especially in Himachal, you have to take permission to camp in forest land. Please note without permission from forest department it is illegal to camp in the forest. So, do ensure you are aware of such sites.
I request each and everyone to respect the mother nature and follow the rules not your guts to camp at a forbidden land for both security and nature preservation perspectives. Try to condemn people doing it as well and ask them politely to respect the laws and nature to preserve the site. Seek help of locals in case you feel you may end up in trouble.
3. Choose a site where water stream is nearby and wind pressure is less
You should always camp at a place where water supply is in the vicinity and ensure that you select a high place from the stream’s level just in case the water level rises due to inclement weather or flash floods. Also, make sure you see there are no past signs of flash floods up there. Also, try to choose a place where you will be least hit by the wind.
4. Ensure that your camp is fastened properly & weather is clear in night
Little rains in Ladakh coupled with winds can uproot your tenting equipment if not setup properly. Hence, make sure you properly put up all the hooks and fasten the camp properly. Do ensure you have checked the weather and most of the days seems clear just to ensure you have a fearless sleep 😉 … Of course, in case you are in the middle of no mans land, there is nothing but to camp. However, if the weather is bad and you are in some village, you can always opt for some home stays just for that night. Better be safe than sorry, place will always be there and camping is to enjoy not to face nightmares 🙂 🙂 …
5. In case of camp fire, DO ENSURE you put it OFF completely with no ambers left
In case, you want to setup a camp fire please ensure that you DO NOT light up at places where there are thatched roofs in the vicinity. Do also ensure that you put it off completely before you leave the place.
6. Acclimatisation again is a key factor, stay warm and well hydrated
Acclimatisation does play a critical role in camping too. Setting up camp and then getting it off is an activity of exertion. You need to ensure that your body feels right and acclimatised before you under go exertions. If you do not feel well and are not acclimatised well, camping in the middle of no where may end up having you in deep trouble. So, please ensure proper acclimatisation and well being before camping. Manali – Leh Highway is a perfect example, where camping can be done anywhere on Manali – Leh Highway but you must be preferably at an altitude where AMS does not hit you. Till Darcha there is no issue and you can camp anywhere but beyond Darcha the whole highway runs at an average altitude of 14000 Feet almost until you descend down to Rumtse from Taglang La. There it is between to camp only around Sarchu and Pang to get some help in case required from the people around.
Staying warm and being well hydrated will surely help you acclimatise at a much faster rate.
7. Wash your hands properly and if possible carry a filter bottle
It is always better to wash or sanitise your hands every now and then because even a diarrhoea could become very serious when coupled with high altitude. Best way to stay away from it is to wash/sanitise your hands often and if possible try to carry a water bottle with a filter. Do carry medicines for stomach upset, diarrhoea and other basic medicines for regular illness especially for which you are vulnerable.
8. Carry the essentials while camping
It is always better to carry first aid, regular medicines, a torch, a flint, a camping knife and mosquito repellent. Not to repeat, you should have enough food with few buffer days including dry fruits. Lot of ORS packets or electoral packets for oral rehydration of minerals. For much more comprehensive list you may refer: List of Things to Carry for Leh – Ladakh trip
9. Ensure you do not leave any food open
In case you will leave the food open at night, it might attract wild animals which can end you up in trouble. Always try to pack up all food after cooking and do not leave it in open.
10. Leave nothing but footprints
Last but not the least, PLEASE, NEVER litter in the Himalayas and NEVER disturb the flora and fauna up there in Himalayas. Please take all non-biodegradable waste back with you and leave nothing but footprints. In addition to it, I request you to please read our: Tips for Responsible Travel in Himalayas
I hope the above tips on camping in Ladakh or Spiti valley or other parts of Himalayas help you be aware of common practices and know how on camping at such places. I am sure these will help you in your upcoming camping trip to Ladakh or Spiti Valley. Feel free to share it with your friends or family who you know will be going over for camping in Ladakh or Spiti Valley in upcoming summers. Do you know any other tips which you think will be useful to fellow travellers? If yes, feel free to share in comments section of the blog.