Tents and Other Equipment

How to use a Tent

Setting up a Tent

Step 1 – Lay down the tent and its components: Most modern tents are made of lightweight nylon, all-in-one tent poles, and stakes, while older army-style tents often feature more complicated poles and cloth coverings. Due to this it is important to lay down and account for all the tent components. When laying the tent find the bottom side of the tent and put that side down and orient the windows and door of the tent in the direction, you'd like them to face. Lay it out flat and turn your attention to the poles.

Step 2 - Connect your tent poles: Depending on your particular tent, they may be connected with bungee ropes, or they may be numbered and require that you connect them yourself. Put the tent poles together and lay them across the flat tent.

Step 3 - Insert tent poles into the corresponding flaps in the tent: Most basic tents will have two tent poles that cross each other to form an X that will form the basic frame of the tent. To fit them into the tent, usually you'll put the end of the pole into an eyelet at each corner, and slide the pole either through small flaps on the top of the tent, or attach plastic clips on the top of the tent to the pole.

Step 4 - Raise the tent: This will take some coordination, so it's usually helpful to have a partner for this part. After you've fit both poles through their connection spots, they should probably bend of their own according, straightening up and raising the tent into what looks basically like something you could sleep in.

Step 5 - Stake the tent to the ground: When you've got the tent square on the tarp, use the metal tent stakes to fit through the flaps near the ground at the corners and push them into the ground. If you're in rocky or particularly hard ground, you might need to use a tiny hammer or other blunt object to hammer them in a little. Some tent stakes are pretty easy to bend, so be careful as you do this.

Step 6 - Add on the fly sheet, if you have one. Some tents come with an extra rain guard, called a fly sheet. It's basically another sheet of material that covers the tent. Some have corresponding tent poles and are more elaborate than others, so read the instructions that come with your tent to learn how to put it together if you have a complicated one.

Packing up a Tent

Step 1 - Let the tent air dry in the sun before packing it away. If it rains while you're camping, it's important to let the tent thoroughly dry inside and out before packing it away, or you'll have a mildewy surprise next time you want to go camping. Hang it up on some low-hanging branches, or on the clothes line when you get home to let it dry out thoroughly, and then pack it away securely for next time.

Step 2 - Roll up each item separately and pack them individually. If you've got a stuff-sack in which to pack your tent, it can seem difficult at first to get the whole thing back in there. There's no secret way to fold a tent, and it's usually better to roll them up as opposed to folding them, anyway. Lay each item--the tent itself, and the fly sheet-and fold them lengthwise, then roll them up as tightly as possible and insert each into the sack.

Step 3 - Add the stakes and poles last. When you've got the fly and the tent in the bag, stuff the poles and the stakes carefully in on the side. It'll likely be pretty tight in there, so be gently and don't catch the poles on the edge of the tent and rip it.

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