6 awesome places to pitch a tent

Kathmandu ambassadors Alesha and Jarryd are professional photographers, writers and founders of adventure travel blog NOMADasaurus. They’ve been exploring the world together since 2008, searching for culture and adventure in off-the-beaten-path destinations.


Being outdoors is good for your soul, and there’s no better way to appreciate the world we live in than a night camping under the stars.

But it's just not for home. Camping is something you can do on your travels — there's a lot of amazing and unique destinations around the world where you can pitch your tent. Here are six awesome places to put on your wish list.

1) 'Door To Hell’ In Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan in Central Asia is one of the most closed-off countries in the world, so just getting the chance to visit is already an adventure in itself.

The nation is known for its eccentric and unusual capital city made of white marble, Ashgabat, but hidden away in the desert lies another curious attraction.

The Darvaza Gas Crater is a huge sinkhole that formed in 1971 when a drilling team was searching for methane and the earth beneath the rig collapsed.

Toxic gas began leaking into the atmosphere, so engineers decided to set it alight and burn off what they thought was just a small pocket of methane. It has been burning ever since.

Seeing the gaping scar in the middle of the desert is unbelievable, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled across an active volcano. But imagine how unbelievable it would be to camp next to it?

There’s no fence, entrance fee or gate to protect you from the huge crater, so make sure you pick a spot far enough back from the edge to be safe (and upwind from it).

One thing for sure, you’ll have quite a story when you get home and tell your friends you found one of the world’s most unique places to pitch a tent.

The door to hell
The door to hell

2) In The Heart Of Torres Del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine in Chile is an absolute must-see for any lover of the outdoors.

Home to the famous W Trek (and the longer, more impressive O Circuit), this captivating national park is the crown jewel of Patagonia, and is filled with jagged peaks, epic glaciers, dense forests, glistening lakes and tumbling rivers.

It’s also home to some of South America’s best campsites, which makes this park one of the best places in the world to pitch a tent.

The park rangers restrict the number of people who can camp every day so you need to get in early and make a booking during peak season, but once you do, you’re just about guaranteed to have Instagram worthy pictures from right outside your tent.

Torres Del Paine National Park
Torres Del Paine National Park

3) On Antarctica

Antarctica is one of the most exclusive travel destinations on the planet, with less than 30,000 people getting a chance to step foot on the continent every year.

Of those 30,000 people, a very small percentage have the opportunity to actually spend the night on land rather than on a ship, which is usually only reserved for scientists and hardcore explorers.

If you sign up for a small-group expedition with an adventure-focused company you may be offered a night to sleep in a tent or bivvy sack right on the snow beneath the clearest skies in the world.

It might not be the most comfortable — or warmest — evening, but nothing gives you bragging rights quite like being able to say you camped on Antarctica.

 
A night under the stars is next level when you camp in Antarctica
A night under the stars is next level when you camp in Antarctica

4) Anywhere In Mongolia

That’s right, anywhere.

Mongolia is a very unique country for campers, as it’s actually completely legal to pitch your tent anywhere. Even in the heart of the capital city!

Besides the relaxed laws for camping, it’s also an incredibly beautiful country, with rolling steppe, enormous fresh water lakes and gorgeous mountains in the west. Help keep it beautiful but leaving no trace if you do decide to camp.

Make sure you have adequate supplies with you, as trying to find a fully-stocked store outside of the big towns is next to impossible, but once you’re prepared you’ll be ready for a camping adventure like no other.

Wildflowers in Mongolia
Wildflowers in Mongolia

5) Freedom camping spots in New Zealand

Few countries boast the kind of diverse, pristine and beautiful landscapes that can be found in New Zealand.

Arguably the world’s premier adventure destination, the camping opportunities in New Zealand are second-to-none. With spectacular views everywhere, you’re sure to find an epic place to pitch your tent.

Freedom camping is permitted on public conservation land, except in areas where it is expressly prohibited or restricted to self contained vehicles. Check out the New Zealand's Department of Conservation to find out the perfect place to stay.

6) In some of the biggest caves in the world in Vietnam

If you really want to experience something different, why not consider sleeping underground?

Deep in the jungles of Central Vietnam hides a series of limestone caverns that in recent years have been discovered to be some of the largest in the world. In fact Hang Son Doong, meaning 'Mountain River Cave', is the single biggest cave ever found!

By signing up for an expedition with the company Oxalis, in the town of Phong Nha, you can get the opportunity to spend a few nights inside some of the caves, including Hang En pictured below, which is the third largest cave in the world.

If you squint you'll see the tiny tents in the Hang En campsite, Vietnam
If you squint you'll see the tiny tents in the Hang En campsite, Vietnam