I went camping recently, and when I pulled the tent out and unrolled it on the ground I realized that I had no footprint, no stakes, and no idea what I was doing. It was a good thing the tent came with directions, even better the directions included images, but best of all I was camping with a girl scout and she knew exactly what she was doing. It had been years since the last time I went camping, and then I just stood around while my parents assembled the tent. For anyone else in a similar situation, here are some tips:
- Use a footprint. It will help keep water from seeping through the tent, and it well help protect the tent from tears due to rocks, pinecones, branches, etc.
- Make sure you have a rainfly.
- Use a pole set that is shock-corded.
Find a spot to camp that is flat and make sure it’s relatively free of sharp objects and rocks that will poke into your back while you attempt to sleep, and if you have to, kick all sharp objects out of the way. Scope out your surroundings and make sure that if the wind blows it won’t rip your tent around. Also, make sure you aren’t under any loose branches that will fall on you, and ensure that your tent door is easy to access in case you have to get up in the middle of the night.
Lay your tent on the ground and set your poles out, usually the poles follow the seams on the tent. At the corners of the tent there will be places to secure the poles. Remember to attach the poles to the pole clips on your tent.
Next, attach the rainfly. Normally there are buckles at the corners of the tent to attach the fly to the body of the tent. This way, if you open your vents water won’t get inside.
Inside your tent you can store gear in a gear loft that connects to the top, middle of the tent (if your tent comes with one). Also, some tent doors will pack into a pocket or have a way to be secured to keep the door from getting dirty when it’s open. Some even have jingle free zippers for a better night’s sleep. If you have a mud mat, even better, it will keep the inside of your tent nearly spotless. Some tents come with a vestibule where you can store some of your gear.
All of these cool features are worthless if you enter the backcountry without them, so before you ever leave home just double-check and make sure you have everything. Don’t be like me.
If you need a tent for just yourself or even eight check out tents from Marmot, Big Agnes, The North Face, Kelty, Sierra Designs, Eureka, and Exped at RockyMountainTrail.Com. We also carry tent accessories.