How to Pitch a Tent: The Complete Guide to a Waterproof Hike

I have always loved to go camping ever since I was young. My first camping trip was with my daddy. I was only 12 but I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was during the deer hunting season and indeed one of the best times of the year to feat on some game meat.

During this time, my dad taught me a number of survival tricks that I could easily stick by in the wild. And while I was only 12, three lessons really stood out. They included how to clean my gun, load it, and take a shot. But more importantly, I was taught how to pitch a tent.

I found these lessons to be really important. Today, I am 32 and I have never looked back. When hunting, I take pretty clean shots from my gun – you should really see me in action. And when rigging my tent, I am the one guy who always comes on the very top of our team.

In this spirit, I have chosen to give you a simple guide on how to pitch a tent and maybe mention a few mistakes that many people often do when they pitch their tents. Take a look.

how to pitch a tent

How to Pitch a Tent

Pitching a tent is no brainer really. If you can follow these steps that I am about to give you until the very last one, I don’t see why you should have a cozy place to relax your muscle after a long hike in the wild.

Basic Tips

In order to pitch your tent, you will need a number of tools. These tools will help you to have a smooth experience and make your tent pitching a very easy process. Generally, most tents will come with the tools you need in their package.

However, if your tent doesn’t come with its set up tools, I suggest you buy the following tools and put them ready when learning how to pitch a tent.

  • Stakes: These will be used to set your tent in a stable and very upright position. They are very affordable and come in different sizes.
  • Rods: Most tents will come with their rods. However, if you choose to buy, make sure you look for the right size of tent rods too.
  • Ground Cover: This is usually a tarp that can be spread over the ground before your tent is pitched on top of it. Shop around a bit.
  • Snow Pegs: these are specially designed pegs for use on the snow. They are designed to hold the tent edges on the snow in place.
  • Hammer: A hammer is usually used to hit on the pegs and drive them into ideal depths under the ground so that the tent is stable.  
  • Mallet: This serves the same purpose as a hammer. It is however used on pegs that are delicate and which might crack under a hammer’s sledge
pitch a tent

With these tools ready, the very first thing that you will do when you want to pitch your tent is to locate the best area to set up the tent. A flat ground is often recommended as it will be quite comfortable to lie or sleep on.

Nonetheless, that shouldn’t bar yours from setting your tent on a slope so long as you can find a section of the hill that’s slightly even.

Once you have identified the ground, the next thing that you will have to do is to clean the area. Make sure that you get rid of any objects that might feel uncomfortable to sleep on and also those objects that might damage the tent.

Objects that can easily tear your tent including debris, twigs, metallic objects, dried leaves, and sharp stones are some of the things that you might want to get rid of pretty fast.

Now with the ground free of any uncomfortable twigs, you should lay or spread out the tent’s ground cover. This is often brushed out by some guys. However, if you need a much more comfortable touch, this will be a must do.

Ground covers also provide you with the best waterproof sleeping ground so that you can always have a dry and cozy feeling till morning.

Follow this process by taking the stakes of your tent or your tent poles and fastening them on the tent using the provided clips. Make sure that the tent poles are properly inserted into the corresponding flaps so that they provide the tent with the best shape and space when it is eventually set up.

The poles of the tent are usually designed to crisscross each other with an X. This will form the main frame of the tent when it is finally pulled up and dug into place.

With this done, it will be time to raise your tent off the ground. You should call someone to help you as this process requires some form of coordination.

To give your tent the best shape and space once you have raised it above the ground, you can always pull the taut of the tent gently.

Then once you get the best shape and enough room for you to sleep in, you can identify the best points to stretch the edge of your tent and drive stakes and pegs into the ground to hold them there.

Finally, you can add on a rainfly at the very top of your tent so that you get an extra guard against the sun rays, snow, and rain. And let me say this when setting up the rainfly above your tent, it is important to follow the instructions as set out on the manual so that you get the best results.

You can always recheck your stakes to ensure they are as firm as they are expected to be in the ground. It is the stakes that hold the tent in place and should they give in, your tent will flatten once more and you will be forced to start over again.

Here is a summary of how to pitch a tent.

  • Select a location
  • Clean the location and make sure it is free of debris.
  • Lay down the footprint/ ground cover.
  • Position the tent above the ground cover.
  • Layout tent poles and assemble them.
  • Attach tent poles using clips to the tent’s body
  • Stake out the tent
  • Attach rainfly (follow the tents instructions)
  • Start at the tent corners (make your floor perimeter taut)

Note: There are a number of mistakes that you should avoid doing when you are fixing your tent. See our next subtitle for every one of them.

Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching Your Tent

A stable tent is a joy to behold and one of the best feelings that you can ever have. It will give you enough room for you and your loved ones and also provide you with a cozy space to actually sleep in through the night. That’s why you must avoid these mistakes when pitching your tent.

Pitching a Tent with Doors Facing the Wind

This is the one mistake most newbies do. It is important to understand that if you keep the tent doors facing the wind, your tent might get carried away under heavy winds plus you won’t get optimal ventilation in your tent.

Going Without Threading the Tent Poles

Tent poles will give you the right tent shape that you need, enough sleeping room, and the best space for your use once it is lifted off the ground. This can only happen if you thread the poles properly (usually through the sleeves or using the provided tent clips).

Leaving Some Ground Clothe Extended

If your ground cloth has some part of its material extending way beyond your floor’s perimeter it is important that you tuck these sections that are spilling over in. This will prevent your tent from collecting any rainwater.  

Not Taking Their Time to Practice the Art

Few people will get it right from the very first trial. In short, it isn’t easy to learn how to pitch a tent properly without actually practicing over and over again. That’s why it is suggested that even after getting it right the very first time, you should practice becoming perfect – I did.

Tip:

Let me say something. I want you to understand that fitting poles into the flaps of a tent is pretty easy. Just take one end of the tent’s pole and pass it through the eyelet at every single corner of the tent before you continue sliding it through the remaining flaps.

Follow through the edge of the tent so that you get the right alignment. Some of the very best tents will leave you with additional plastic clips that you can use to fasten the poles along the tent too.

pitch a tent

Conclusion: It felt lovely when I pitched my very first tent without the help of my dad. I remember bragging about it for a very long time. I don’t regret it at all. And if there is a chance I would get back to that moment I would definitely take it.

This is one of the most ideal tricks that campers need to learn if they want to brave the cold of the night and the dust that might along the camping sites. Nonetheless, it is a cool feeling that’s gives you the strength to match up every muscle that you put in there.

Before you buy your tent, however, you should consider a number of things too so that you don’t get a raw deal. These will include looking at some user reviews, feedback, features, pricing, personal needs, color, and many other preferences too.

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