Us Brits love to camp but before you can enjoy the experience of sleeping under the stars you’ll need to put up your tent. Whilst your tent is likely to come with it own instructions here are some handy tips from the experts to help you on your way to a peaceful night in the great outdoors:
There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination only to find tent pegs are missing or poles are broken from your last trip. Pre-empt this by checking your kit before you set off. If there are broken poles you can normally buy replacement poles for your tent and likewise if there are missing pegs these can be replaced. Getting all the kit out is also great tent-packing practice!
If you are planning to camp somewhere other than a designated campsite be wary of large animal tracks and droppings. If you spot more than a few of these near your site, it could be a track for large animals. You don’t want to be caught unawares in your sleep by a herd of cattle moving from one field to the other!
You also want to be on the lookout for smooth, debris-free ground as sharp sticks and stones will be a major nuisance when you try to catch some sleep. Of course, you could always be ultra prepared and take along a small rake to clear the land yourself!
Even if you have a tent with an inbuilt groundsheet you should put another groundsheet under your tent. This will protect the bottom of your tent from damage, keep it clean and add an extra layer of insulation from the cold.
So first, you need to set up your ground sheet. Make sure it’s flat and taut before pegging down as you don’t want cold air pockets or water seeping under you at night! If the ground is wet at this point putting a groundsheet down also gives you a dry area to work on.
Unfold the poles and working from the centre out snap the poles together. Working from the ends can put extra strain on the elastic inside the poles that can lead to breakages and a possibly a few tears!
For most tents you will then need to slide the poles into the fabric tubes. A push rather than pull action is key here, pulling the poles can cause them to become detached from each other making it harder and increasing likelihood of damage to the tent. You should have something to secure the poles at the ends when in place- this could be a ribbon or metal peg. Try not to dig the poles in the mud!
Before pegging the tent down you will want to ensure the tent doors are facing away from the wind, as a sudden strong gust into an open tent could spell disaster!
Now the inner tent shell is up you will need to peg your flysheet into place securely and tautly, ensuring the sheet does not touch the inner tent. If they touch water and condensation will leak through the fabric and you’ll wake up sopping wet in the morning!
Most tents will come with metal pegs as standard but there are many other types for different grounds and conditions. Tent pegs should go into the ground at an angle away from the tent with the bent part facing outwards. This will not only give you extra resistance, if the bent part is in the ground there will be less chance of the peg twisting out in the wind.
If the ground is hard (you may wish to bring some spare pegs designed for hard ground!) you’ll have to give it some welly with your mallet. It’ll be worth making sure tent pegs are firmly in the ground so you tent is secure, they can be tripping hazards otherwise! Never try push a tent peg in with your foot, they can easily pierce through footwear. A peg puller is a handy tool to help get the pegs out that you might have pushed in to far!
Guy ropes are designed to add stability to your tent especially important if windy! These generally should follow the lines of the seams of the tent and not cross over. Peg the lines through the loop in the rope. The guy ropes need to be pulled out from the tent not pegged too closely. Use the tensioners on the ropes to pull them taut.
You should check the tension of the guy ropes regularly, especially if it rains as they tend to loosen.
Do you have any other handy tips for putting up a tent?