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How to Pitch a Tent

tent camping this wayPitching a camping tent and building a campfire should all be part of the fun of camping. For beginners, assembling and pitching a tent may seem frustrating at first, but with a little practice you'll soon be "tent proud" inside your home-away-from-home in the wilderness.

Each popular tent model will have its own unique set-up directions, but here are some simple, basic steps that will help you set up camp quickly and easily:

Practice, practice:

It seem obvious, but getting familar with the process in comfortable surroundings will it make it that much easier when you're out in the wilderness. So ... before embarking on your first camping trip be sure to practice assembling your tent at home or in the backyard.

Also be sure to pack the tent instructions to bring with you, especially the first couple of times out. Even with practice, you may need to refer to the product manual for assembly tips.

(Below, check out tent assembly instructions for some of the more popular camping tents downloadable online.)

Picking the right camping site

Plan your camping trip carefuly, and always try to pitch your tent while the sun shines. This avoids fumbling in the dark as you unpack and then try to assemble your tent with a lantern or flashlight as your only available light source.

Choose a tent site that is relatively flat, and in a higher elevation than the surrounding area to keep your tent from flooding during a sudden downpour.

Look around to see if there are any hanging branches that threaten overhead. Inspect the entire surroundings for nearby anthills, wasp or bee hives, and if you notice any bear tracks nearby just .... keep .... moving.

Setting up a tent, step-by-step

tent parts diagram• Once you've picked a safe and secure area, begin by clearing the tent site of any pebbles, rocks and fallen branches to provide a smooth bed.

• Unpack the tent and sort out all the parts. Common tent parts include the ground cover, (also known as the footprint) tent body (or fabric), tent stakes, tent pole sections, and a waterproof cover called the rain-fly.

• Lay your plastic ground cover over the area where you wish to set up your tent. The ground cover should either be as large as, or extend beyond, the floor of the tent.

• Next, unfold the tent over the ground cover. Find the front of the tent so it faces in the most desireable direction.

• Begin assembling your tent by first driving in the tent stakes securely, making sure to pull the floor of the tent as taut as possible as you do so.

• Assemble the tent frame poles. Nowadays, tent poles are shock-corded and collapsible. with each section snapping into place for easy assembly at the campsite. Tent poles may also be color-coded to guarantee that you use all the different pole lengths correctly.

• Next, build the frame by sliding the tent poles through the outside sleeves of the tent body. (Some tent setups call for securing the ends of the poles in grommets at the base.) Attach the tent body to the poles with fastening clips....and you're almost done.

• Lastly, don't forget to attach the rain-fly over the top of the tent. Most assembly manuals will provide instructions for fastening the corners of the rain-fly to the base of the tent. Some tent setups will include additional clips or ties that attach to the tent poles.

For more information and additional tent setup tips check out specific assembly instructions as well related troubleshooting tips around the Web:

Tent assembly instructions for specific makes and models

How to assemble NORTH FACE 2-person camping and backpacking tent

EUREKA tent instructions

BIG AGNES tent faq & instructions

Tent assembly troubleshooting tips around the Web

How to pitch a tent in sand

How to pitch a tent in snow

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