Is this the best way to pitch a tent?
To help you prepare for your trip(s) away, we thought we’d offer a bit of advice and help on one of the most common issues that anyone encounters when going away camping with the family – especially if you’re a bit of a novice…
- It’s quick
- It’s easy
- It eliminates a lot of heavy lifting
- If done correctly, it ensures for a well pitched tent
- After some practice, some tents can even be pitched by one person
Before we get started, a proviso.
If you want to, you can peg the groundsheet down at the corners to keep it’s shape and stop it moving around too much under foot.
Needless to say, if your tent has a fully sewn in groundsheet, avoid this step and just lay the whole thing flat on the floor, like in step three.
Step Three: Flysheet
Take the flysheet and lay it out flat on top of the groundsheet, with the front door facing forward, so you have the groundsheet covered.
Step Four: Corners
Peg each of the four corners of the flysheet, try and get them lined up so they are nice and square. Don’t worry about this too much as they can always be adjusted later on.
Step Five: Middle Pole
Here’s the key bit. Thread the middle pole through the sleeve. Just the middle one. On tents with an even number of poles, just choose one of the two middle pole sleeves.
Next, ensure all tension straps are fully loosened. The tension straps are located on webbing near to where the ring and pin system is also located, just below where the pole sleeve opens at each end. Partially unzip doors and windows to avoid creating a vacuum that can prevent you lifting the tent.
Attach the pin into the base of one end of the pole, then walk around to the other side and do the same again, so there is tension in the pole.
If it’s not already, stand the pole up.
Here’s how it’ll look.
Because you’ve got the front and back corners pegged in, the tension in the material will allow the pole to stand upright.
For tents with steel poles. Where poles are divided into three sections, the best way to get that middle pole stood up first is to thread the middle ‘ridge’ section through the sleeve, then attach the leg on one side and attach the pin to the base (the pole should stand). Then, walk round to the other side of the tent, attach the other leg to the middle section and then to the pin on the other side – the tent should stand on the middle pole.
Now that you’ve got that first pole in, thread through the rest of the poles as normal, starting from the middle and working your way out. The beauty of this is once you’ve got the middle pole in and standing, because it’s pre-bent and in it’s ‘natural’ position, the other poles will thread through and attach without too much trouble.
You may find that the trickiest part is getting enough slack in the material to allow you to attach the pin on the other side once the first pin is attached. Using this method makes this part of the task much easier, but if you’re still struggling the help of a friend or fellow camper to help feed the sleeve material towards the end you’re trying to pin is valuable, to give you the slack needed to secure the pole to it’s ring and pin system.
This method eliminates that big heavy lift you have to do at the end to get the thing upright if you’ve already threaded all the poles through while the tent lays flat on the ground.
What you’ll have now is the tent fully stood up, pegged in at the corners, without anywhere near the heavy lifting that would have been required.
If you have a tent with a zip in groundsheet like the Bear Lake then this is the time to zip it in. Do it before you tighten the tension straps and attach the guylines, otherwise the material will be too taught to zip the groundsheet in.
Once the groundsheet has been zipped in you can peg out the pegging points on the underside of the groundsheet, if your tent features them. This will help to ensure the groundsheet is evenly distributed and further even out any creases.
Tighten all the tension straps at the bottom of each pole, where it connects to the ring and pin system.
Step seven: Attachments
Now go round and secure all the attachments. The Bear Lake 6 comes with a zip on canopy. Ensure that is zipped on properly and then thread the pole through and attach to the pins like you did on the previous poles.
Ensure the clips are attached to the poles, creating a stronger bond between flysheet and frame.
Next, if you didn’t leave them in after the last trip, attach the inners.
If you like, you can open all the curtains, toll them up and use the loops to attach them so you can keep them neat and tidy.
The tent should now look something like this:
Before you unravel and peg the guylines into the ground, ensure that the tent is aligned properly, and looks relatively straight from front corner to back corner. Adjust the poles so they line up – you should be able to just lift them and move them a few centimetres either way to line them up. You may need to adjust the corners you pegged in earlier.
Once you have the poles aligned you can then start pegging them in at the base. There will be a loop for you to peg into. Start from the second pole from the front of the tent (not the canopy), this way you can pull the pole across from front side of the tent towards the back side ensuring that the material is taut from one pole to the next.
Make sure that you have all doors and windows zipped close before you peg and guy the tent out fully. Otherwise, you may find that you’re unable to close the door if you’ve secured the tent and the guylines are pulling on the material. Closing doors and windows first prevents this from happening.
After that, peg in the all the pegging points along the bottom edge of the flysheet, tighten up the tension straps at the bottom and evenly on each side, then begin unravelling the guylines and peg them in one by one. If possible, try to draw them out in line with any seams on the tent and always account for the wind, angling them accordingly. Keep them long enough to do their job effectively, but not too long as to take up too much space and cause a trip hazard for others.
When pegging, push the pegs in at approximately a 45 degree angle to ensure they remain in the ground securely. As you see below:
Finally, peg all the way round and you should have something that looks like this:
The method has several advantages. Firstly and crucially, it’s easy. It takes away a fair portion of the heavy lifting and helps the poles through the sleeves a bit easier.
Secondly, if done correctly, the method results in a good pitch, where the flysheet looks good, the groundsheet is even with few creases.
Thirdly, using this method, it is possible to pitch large tents on your own. Although to the inexperienced individual, we wouldn’t recommend it. It is possible to pitch something like an Outwell Vermont XL by yourself.
Hopefully you’ve found this method helpful if you’ve been struggling on a good method to pitch the family tent when you go away. If you have any questions about the process then please don’t hesitate to ask!
Check us out online @ http://www.tauntonleisure.com/.
Take a look at our range of tents on display in the real world, handling the best (and worst) that mother nature can offer at out Sanders Tent Show at Sanders Garden World, near Brent Knoll.