Itchalik: Caribou Skin Tent

Finding a Good Campsite

A good campsite depended on several factors:

  • firewood
  • shelter from extreme winds
  • a source of drinking water
  • access to game

These factors translated most often into large stands of tall willow, which grow along streams and rivers.

In the winter, camps were often set up in a clearing in the midst of the willows or on their lee side as protection against winds. Another advantage of setting up camp among the willows was that deep snowdrifts accumulated there, providing campers with plenty of snow to insulate their tents.

During the summer months the same willow stand might attract hunters to camp nearby, but they would pitch their tents in different places. Rather than camp among willows, where the ground is often damp and mossy and mosquitoes swarm, people would search out nearby areas where the ground is open, flat, and well drained. They liked elevated areas of ground such as glacially deposited terraces so they could have a wide field of view of the surrounding countryside. The winds helped keep insect pests at bay.