Every adventure lover has one thing in common, an experience of camping in the wild. There isn’t anything better than camping right in the lap of the Himalayas. A lot of people are asking me about camping in Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley these days.
Hence, I thought why not share a detailed article on this topic of “Can I go camping in Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley?“
When it comes to camping in Spiti Valley or Kinnaur Valley, it is nothing but a pristine dream 🙂 🙂 … When traveling to Spiti Valley, camping is considered to be one of the essential adventure activities by travelers. It is trendy among backpackers and solo travelers to Spiti & Kinnaur Valley.
And, I will say, why not??
Who will say not to a camping experience when you have the luxury of a billion-star place to stay and that too right in the middle of nowhere with nothing but just raw nature surrounding you and your soul.
Today in this article, I will talk about some important tips which you should keep in mind while camping in Spiti & Kinnaur trip.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Can I pitch my camps in Spiti Valley & Kinnaur Valley?
The short answer is, Yes, you can plan a camping trip to Spiti Valley or Kinnaur Valley. there are many places in the entire Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley where you can pitch your camps and save yourself some money.
A common confusion or question among backpackers and travelers looking forward to camp in Spiti or Sangla – Chitkul region is if they can pitch their own tents.
Camping in Spiti Valley is certainly possible and thousands of people camp every year in Spiti & Kinnaur Valley. You need to take care of some points that will help you plan a better trip to Kinnaur & Spiti that lets you enjoy this adventure of camping in the remote Himalayas.
Well, the experience of camping in places like Spiti Valley, Kalpa, Sangla or Chitkul can be a little different than camping in the jungles or lower hills.
What are the limitations?
Firstly, Spiti Valley is a cold desert and finding water everywhere is a challenge too. You should keep in mind the nearby availability of water when camping in Spiti.
Secondly, the high altitude takes a different toll on the body and acclimatization becomes the key factor to the success of your camping in.
I am sure that the tips mentioned in this article will help you have a great camping experience in Spiti or Kinnaur and you can definitely apply some of them to the other parts of the Himalayas too.
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12 Tips for Camping in Spiti Valley & Kinnaur
Let us see some tips for camping in Kinnaur & Spiti Valley that will help you get the answers to many questions you might have and knowing them may help you be out of trouble while putting up your camps in Spiti & Kinnaur Valley.
1. Where can I go camping in Spiti Valley?
The first and foremost concern is where should I camp in Spiti Valley?
Well, you can pitch your tents or camps almost anywhere in 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 guys pitch theirs or somewhere near some local house in the village or their garden/lawn.
All you will need is to gently ask them (villagers/dhabha guys/camping guys) for permission. Most likely, they will allow, otherwise negotiate for a small little tip or move on to some other such place nearby. Sometimes paying for the meals at their dhabhas should be enough too.
Camping at such locations will give you an immense sense of security too from loneliness (especially when you are a newbie) as well as wild animals, especially when you are camping in Spiti Valley.
What are some places to camp in Spiti?
When traveling from Shimla – Kinnaur side, the Spiti valley starts from Sumdo region. You can either go further and camp in Giu village if you are visiting the 500-year-old mummy. Otherwise, you can camp at Hurling or Tabo campgrounds. After that almost anywhere you find a safe place either nearby a village or near some water stream.
If you are traveling to Spiti Valley from Manali side, then you can camp at places like Marhi before Rohtang Pass, Khoksar or Gramphu, or then between Gramphu to Batal or Losar almost anywhere you feel comfortable. Chatru and Batal both have dhabhas and similarly, Losar village is a good bet too.
Once you reach Kaza, you can pitch your camps in almost all the nearby villages like Rangrik, Kibber, Langza, Hikkim, Tabo, Pin Valley, etc.
Dhankar Lake is another great option for you to pitch your camps and enjoy solitude.
Rewa camping site at Rangrik, 7 km from Kaza, allows you to pitch your camps at very nominal rates. You can get in touch with Tsering +919495133253 or Chhering +919459259930.
2. Where can I go camping in Kinnaur Valley?
Coming on to Kinnaur Valley, again people do ask me where should I camp in Kinnaur Valley?
I will not repeat what I explained in point number one that you can camp anywhere in Kinnaur Valley like Spiti. So, follow the same advice and pitch your camps nearby local villages or dhabhas unless you are interested in wild camping.
What are some places to camp in Kinnaur?
Almost all the villages of lower Kinnaur Valley including Sarahan, Sangla Valley or Rakcham, Chitkul, Kalpa, you can enjoy camping. My favorite place to camp in Kinnaur is between Rakcham to Chitkul, somewhere along the river. Otherwise, you can go over to Roghi village ahead of Kalpa and pitch camps.
As you move up towards the higher Kinnaur region, again there are many places like Ribba, Jangi, Puh, Nako, and Chango where I will recommend that you can camp in the villages.
3. DO NOT camp at Chandratal & other sensitive zones
In the previous part of the article, I did say that you can camp almost anywhere in Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley. However, you need to keep in mind that Chandratal Lake is a wetland reserve and camping is not allowed at the lake. It is considered illegal to camp at the banks. You can only camp at the designated camping sites about 1.5 km from Chandratal.
Other than the Chandratal lake, some restricted sites mostly come either under an army secured zone where camping is not allowed. Please be careful when camping between Jangi to Puh to Hurling.
The sections like the nearby region of Sumdo, near Khab and Puh. This section comes under the Inner Line are for foreigners as well. So, better respect the sensitive zone and if required camp somewhere in the village only, if required.
Hence, you need to pitch your camps away from the Chandratal lake where either other camps are set up.
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. We need to protect our Himalayas.
Try to condemn if you see people trying to camp at Chandratal lake and ask them politely to respect the laws and nature to preserve the site for upcoming generations. Seek the help of locals if you feel you may end up in trouble.
4. Camp near a water stream and where the wind will hit you less
Firstly, camp in Spiti & Kinnaur at a place which is near some water stream but at the same time, a bit higher from it just in case the water level rises due to inclement weather or flash floods. Make sure you check the site for any past signs of flash floods around it.
Secondly, you should choose a camping site where the wind will least hit your camps. You do not want to scuffle in the middle of the night and see your camps rooted out.
5. Check overnight weather before camping in Kinnaur & Spiti
If possible check for overnight weather and camp in Spiti or Kinnaur only if you see clear weather. You will have no option other than to camp only in case you are in the middle of the Kunzum Pass to Rohtang Pass section. However, if you are near a village and you see that the weather is not conducive then it is better to stay in a homestay in Spiti.
Better be safe than sorry. The place will always be there and camping is to enjoy nature not to face nightmares 🙂 🙂 …
6. Make sure camps are properly fastened
Light rains in Spiti Valley & Kinnaur Valley, along with some strong winds can uproot your camps if you do not set up your camps properly. Hence, make sure you properly install all the hooks and fasten the camp properly. You should check the weather just to ensure you have a fearless sleep when camping on your Spiti trip 😉
7. Put off your campfire with zero ambers
If you set up a campfire in Spiti Valley, please ensure that you DO NOT light up at places where there are thatched roofs in the vicinity. Do also ensure that you put the fire off entirely before you leave the campsite guaranteeing there are no ambers left at all.
One little ignorance can prove life-threatening and damaging for the locals.
8. Stay warm, hydrated & acclimatized
Acclimatization does play a critical role in camping in Spiti Valley too. You do exert your body while setting up the camps and taking them off again. Your body must feel right and acclimatize to minimize the chances of getting hit with acute mountain sickness.
If you do not feel well, camping in the middle of nowhere may end up having you in deep trouble. So, please ensure proper acclimatization and well being before camping in Kinnaur & Spiti region.
Manali to Kaza Road is a perfect example, where you can go camping anywhere. But you must prefer it only when traveling from Kaza to Manali at an altitude where AMS does not hit you. Even in the high villages of Langza, Kibber, Komic, or Hikkim, you should only camp if you feel alright.
Traveling from Kinnaur to Spiti, staying warm and being well hydrated will surely help you acclimatize at a much faster rate.
9. Keep your hands clean and carry a filter water bottle
You should always carry a hand sanitizer with you to keep your hand clean. Sometimes even small medical issues like diarrhea can easily become a serious problem when traveling to remote areas like Spiti Valley and Kinnaur.
Similarly, carrying a filter water bottle will keep such infections at distance and allow you to enjoy your camping experience in Spiti and Kinnaur in a worry-free way.
Do not forget to carry medicines for stomach upset, diarrhea and other basic medicines for a regular illness especially for which you are vulnerable.
10. Carry the essentials while camping in Spiti
It is always better to carry first aid, ongoing medicines, a torch, a flint, a camping knife, and mosquito repellent when camping in Spiti & Kinnaur. Not to repeat, you should have enough food with few buffer days, including dry fruits.
Carry lots of ORS packets or electoral packets for oral rehydration of minerals and also check the List of Things to Carry for Spiti Valley trip
11. Never leave your food open
Open food attracts nearby animals, and some can be quite dangerous too like bears and leopards. Hence, you must always keep your food packed in proper sealable packs. After dinner at night, make sure you wrap all your food items so that it does not emit any smell to attract any unnecessary visitors.
You do not want to get in the tussle with some animals in Spiti Valley or any other parts of Kinnaur Valley 🙂 🙂
12. Leave nothing but footprints in Spiti & Kinnaur
Last but not least, PLEASE, NEVER litter in the Himalayas and NEVER disturb flora and fauna up there in the Himalayas. Both Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley are eco-sensitive zones and pollution is the last thing we all want to see the end of these majestic places in Himachal Pradesh.
Hence, DO NOT little and carry a refillable water bottle to avoid carrying those throwaway plastic bottles which generate a lot of pollution.
Please take all non-biodegradable waste back with you and leave nothing but footprints. In addition to it, you must be aware of the Tips for Responsible Travel in the Himalayas.
I hope the above tips on camping in Spiti & Kinnaur will help you be aware of standard practices and know-how to go camping at such places in the Himalayas. These tips should help you answer any questions about your upcoming camping trip to Kinnaur & Spiti Valley.
Feel free to share this article with your friends or family who you know will be going over for camping in Spiti.
Do you know any other tips which you think will be useful to fellow travelers? If yes, feel free to share in the comments section of this article below or in case you may have any questions do not hesitate to leave a comment.