Camping is one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, you can’t enjoy this amazing outdoor activity if you don’t know how to set up a tent.
While straightforward for some, learning how to set up a tent is often more challenging than it looks. And this fact is especially true if it’s your first time. When you’re all alone at your campsite, it could be a struggle to pitch your tent. If you don’t do it right, you will not have a decent place to sleep and relax.
Fortunately, even a beginner can set up a tent. All you need to know are a few key steps. Soon enough, you’ll be enjoying the beauty of nature instead of crying over a tent pole you don’t know where to put.
What Is a Tent?
It would be logistically impossible to take your home while camping. Although you can’t have your plush bed, comforter, and pillow in the middle of a clearing, you can have something that comes close -- a tent. A tent is made up of sheets of fabric and other materials attached to poles and frames.
Tents have been used as portable homes for many years, especially by nomads, disaster victims, soldiers, and campers. The main purpose of tents is to provide users a temporary shelter.
Given the popularity of tents for recreational purposes, we focus on small and light types of tents, which are usually used by backpackers. Most of these tents are so compact they can easily fit in any bag.
Types of Tents
There are many different kinds of tents available that offer distinct features and limitations. Here are the most common types of tents you can find on the market today.
- Dome tent with spacious interior allows you to move comfortably
- Easy setup in only 10 minutes
- WeatherTec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep you dry
One of the most popular types of tent follows a dome structure. Knowing how to set up a tent is crucial if you have this type of tent. This tent is known for its flexibility thanks to its pole that can easily bend into a half-circle.
The flexible poles of this tent cross in the middle. Its sides are more vertical, which gives better headroom space and a bigger floor area.
Basic ridge tent
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When you think of a tent, this type of tent may be the picture that comes to your mind. Basic ridge tents have a pole at every end, and some models have a cross pole or ridge which holds its shape.
This type of tent is a popular choice for campers thanks to its incredible stability, especially in harsh conditions. Although it is stable, you may not like the space that it offers. There is limited headspace to allow you to stand, so it’s not a top choice for family holidays.
Geodesic and semi-geodesic
- Simple to snap together connectors that make durable geodesic domes quick, fun and easy to build.
- The kit contains everything you need except for the sticks.
- Scaleable – choose the size that suits you
The term geodesic refers to the shortest route between the world’s two points. This idea applies to a tent whose pole crisscrosses over its surface to form triangles. This structure helps balance the stress to make it more stable in extreme weather conditions.
Geodesic structures are the best tent to take while mountain climbing. So if you plan to pitch your tent in more extreme climates, keep an eye out for this tent.
How to Set Up a Tent the Easy Way
Sleeping outdoors doesn’t have to be tough. Now that you know the importance of this camping must-have, it’s time to learn how to set up a tent.
When setting up your tent, always take your time. While an experienced camper may be able to set up a tent in a few minutes, someone just learning how to set up a tent may need close to an hour.
If you rush any of the important steps, you may end up with an unsecured temporary home. Just make sure to pitch your tent before night falls so you can have shelter to protect you from the wind.
Before setting up
Setting up a tent is an art form. When learning how to set up a tent, keep in mind that you will get better in time. You are bound to run into some troubles on your first try, but that doesn’t mean it would be a bad experience.
Don’t set up your tent just yet. You first have to complete these preliminary steps before you can successfully pitch your tent for the night.
Ensure you are carrying all supplies
You’ve been planning a camping trip with your closest friends for months. You've booked everything, and everyone is up for a weekend of adventure. After an exciting five-hour ride to the site, you roll out your tent and realize that your pegs are still in your garage back home. This nightmare is what you want to avoid.
And make sure your tent accessories are in good working condition. Make sure that your best tent stakes, tarp, and other supplies are ready to go.
While this step may seem pretty obvious, you’d be surprised at how many campers have forgotten to bring pegs or poles for their tent on their camping trip. Before you leave your home, make sure everything you need is in your bag.
Check your tent
You need to examine your tent with the same intensity you may check your child’s skin for problems. Before going on your camping trip, examine your tent in your garage or yard, and check for leaks. You can do this by lightly spraying it with your water hose.
Although it takes some time and effort, it will prevent hassles as you are camping. If there’s a leak, tape or seal the area before camping.
Examine the campsite
Before setting up your tent, observe your campsite first. Check to see if the ground is flat enough to be your base. Pick a wide and open space where you can pitch your tent. If you’re camping in a national park, ensure that you are setting up in a designated area. If not, double-check to be sure you’re not pitching your tent on private property.
Remove all rocks and debris from the site you choose to pitch your tent. If you’re somewhere with pine trees, you may even use the leaves to serve as a soft layer underneath your tent. Never set-up your tent where there are hollow areas since water may accumulate there if it rains.
You should also check out where the sun casts its light and which way the wind blows. Also, be on the lookout for beehives, cobwebs, and trees around your site. The last thing you want is to have a tree branch fall on top of your tent.
Placing the tarp
The first step in learning how to set up a tent is to place the tarp on the ground. This step will serve as the protective layer between the ground and your tent so that it won’t gather moisture. Fold the tarp until it reaches a smaller size than your tent, just enough so it won’t hang beyond your tent’s edge. If your tarp is larger, it may accumulate rainwater.
Laying the tent
Now, you’re finally ready to break out your tent. Put all the components of your tent on the ground, including poles, stakes, and the fabric itself. Then, lay the bottom side of your tent on top of your tarp. Check to find where the door and windows should be positioned.
Moving on with tent poles
This part may be intimidating for some people, but it’s actually very easy. Depending on which tent you have, connect it to your tent poles or bungee ropes. Ensure that you connect every single one. Then, lay the poles together across your flat tent.
Most tents come with two poles that connect to form an X in the middle. Insert the pole through the flaps on the corners and the top of each tent. Then, attach the clips to secure it. If you’re unsure of how to do this, you may check the instruction guide that came with your tent to see how the poles fit the proper way.
Raising the tent
After you’ve inserted the poles, the next step in learning how to set up a tent is raising it. This step may be hard to do if you’re on your own, so if you have friends or family with you, ask for their help.
When the poles are inserted in the right spots of your tent, they will bend. This effect makes your tent stand up tall so you can sleep in it. Pull the tent’s corners apart and ensure that the poles are untangled until it aligns with your square tarp. Attach the necessary structural components of your tent, such as plastic hooks, to make it stand up.
Securing your tent
Now that you’ve gotten your tent perfectly aligned with your tarp, insert the stakes on the flaps near the ground and push it firmly. This step is particularly easy to do, but when you find yourself in hard ground, use a good hammer. Keep in mind that some stakes bend with pressure, so be careful. You don’t want to break it.
The next step to secure your tent is to add a rain fly. This sheet will cover your tent to protect you from any rain that comes your way.
Part of learning how to set up a tent is knowing what to do after you’ve used it. In this section, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about how to care for your tent.
Drying your tent
Don’t pack your tent right after you’ve disassembled it, especially when it rains. Give your tent time to thoroughly dry, especially on the inside. This way, you won’t have to deal with mildew and foul odor next time you use it. To dry your tent, simply lay it on the ground or hang it in a branch.
Packing up your tent
After you’ve dried your tent, it’s ready for packing. And don’t worry. It’s not difficult to get your tent inside its sack. Lay your tent lengthwise on the ground. Then, roll it up as tightly as you can instead of folding it. The accessories should always come last when packing. Place them gently on the side.
To avoid creases in your tent, don’t fold it the same way every time you go camping. Creases will weaken your fabric and may cause structural issues. Try your best not to press sharp creases as you are rolling it up. Don’t worry if your tent gets wrinkly next time you set it up. At least you’re sure it doesn’t have holes.
Airing out your tent
If you don’t use your tent for a long time, set it up in your yard to air it out. This way, the moisture sticking to the fabric will dry. This step will also ensure that there won’t be any insects in your tent.
Ready to Go Camping?
See? Learning how to set up a tent isn’t as challenging as you thought. Even if you’re not an outdoor person, you can easily do this when the situation calls for it. Whether you need a tent for an overnight music festival or a weeklong camping trip, knowing how to set up a tent allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Once you’ve got your tent ready, you can finally toast some marshmallows, listen to the calming sounds of nature, and sleep soundly.
So do you have any additional tips on how to set up a tent? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured Image Via Pixabay