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How to Pitch Your Tent


If you’re thinking of going camping, you’ll need to know how to set up a tent. We’re making it easy with step-by-step directions.


Before heading out into the front- or back country, you’ll need to know a few things. One of the most important is how to pitch a tent. While this skill isn’t too difficult, you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re doing before you are in the woods struggling to get your home away from home situated--especially if you’ve arrived to your site in the dark.

Read on for step-by-step directions for how to set up your tent.

1. Prepare Prior To Your Trip
2. Where To Pitch
3. How To Pitch
4. Pitching Pop-Up, Inflatable & Pole Camping Tent (Video)



1. Prepare Prior To Your Trip

If you’re hitting the trail tomorrow, take some time to set your tent up at home today. When you’re in the comfort of your own home, there's less pressure to get the tent up right in a certain amount of time. You certainly don’t want to be learning as the sun is setting and the rain has just started to fall.

You’ll want to start by reading the instructions that come with your tent and making sure you have all the parts you need. Although it’s not always the most fun, by reading the instructions you can save a lot of headache and make sure you don’t damage your tent. Also, you’ll be able to pick up a spare part if it turns out anything is missing.

Lastly, you’ll want to decide on your footprint. While tent floors are made to stand up to water and wear, when you’re outdoors the ground can be rough on a tent. A footprint was made for this dilemma. It’s a ground sheet that offers an extra layer of protection for you tent. They are smaller than your tent floor so rain doesn’t pool under your tent.

Don’t want to spend the dough? You can also buy a Tyvek(r) sheet to make your own footprint. You’ll want to make sure you cut your sheet so it’s smaller than your tent.



2. Where To Pitch

First and foremost, you’ll need to follow the Leave No Trace principles:

  • Seek out existing campsites, if possible. If none available, disperse use to prevent the creation of new campsites--that means avoiding places where you see impact beginning.
  • Camp 200 feet (70 large steps) away from water sources.
  • Keep campsites small and in areas without vegetation.

Next up, choose a spot that will help protect you from the wind. Try to find natural windbreaks like trees or hills between you and the breeze. You’ll want to look upward, and not camp near damaged trees that can be blown over. Place the side with the strongest pole structure toward the rain. And if it’s hot, position a door toward the wind for cooling.

Rain is another consideration. Higher, drier ground is a good spot to start. Trees offer a more protected, warmer climate. Try not to camp in low areas between high areas--that’s where cold, damp air settles. Lastly, position your doors away from the wind so the rain doesn’t blow in.



3. How To Pitch

Now that you’ve learned how to set up your tent at home and chosen the perfect campsite, it’s time to get to work. First clear the debris from your tent site. Next lay out your tent body and stake down the tent corners if it’s windy. When you’re pitching your tent, go slow with poles--they can get tweaked or chipped if you’re rushing. Lastly, when you put the rainfly on, cinch the straps at the tent corners to get the right amount of tension.

Pro tips:

  • You’ll get maximum hold if you push your stake in vertically.
  • Leave just enough exposed to slip the cord over the stake.
  • You can use a rock to push stakes in.
  • Pack extra stakes in case you lose or damage one.
  • Not camping in dirt? Bring sand anchors or snow stakes.
  • Use the Velcro wraps on the underside of your rainfly to strengthen your tent.
  • Tension all corners of your fly evenly.
  • See if the seams on the fly line up with the seams and poles on the tent body--if not, readjust the tension.
  • Check the fly after it gets wet--most stretch.
  • Attach the guylines (lines that provide extra stability) on the windward side of the tent--although attaching all of them makes your tent withstand even more wind.


To put your tent up properly, you must:

  • Stretch the tent on the ground by the loops at the bottom so it is stretched properly without any creases. Making a perfect well stretched rectangle is often a precondition for the tent taking shape correctly.
  • Contrary to what we all tend to do instinctively, the guy ropes (or halyards, or strings) which are intended to improve wind resistance must not be stretched too tightly.
  • If you stretch your guy ropes too tightly, you crush your tent, and reduce its height, making the door larger which leads to the risk of broken zips, the possibility of rain water infiltrating, and more discomfort caused by condensation forming in the folds on the roof, etc.
  • Dig your tent pegs in properly: The tent peg should be dug in at 45°, facing away from the tent so that it stays in the ground and does not "jump out" at the first gust of wind.

You might also like:

How To Choose Your Camping Tent | Sports Advice


4. Pitching Pop-Up, Inflatable & Pole Camping Tent

Arpenaz family 4.1 - easy setup

Air Second family 4.1 tent -easy setup

Quechua 2-second Pop Up - easy setup

Quechua 2-second XL air - easy setup

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