How to Set Up a Tent

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The first step in setting up a tent is reading the instructions, after which it helps to practice in order to get familiar with the materials. Learn about the importance of location when setting up a tent with help from a recreational kayaking instructor and outdoor adventurer in this free video on setting up tents.

Part of the Video Series: Camping & Backpacking
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Video Transcript

So you just bought this camping tent. How do you set it up? Well contrary to popular belief you probably should read the directions before it really matters. One of the things that I use to do if somebody were to come on a backpacking trip with us or a camping trip with us is I would give them the tent long before they were going to need to set it up. Have them set it up, work through the processes. As they got comfortable with setting up this new tent then I would blindfold them. Have them do it blindfolded in tough situations, because that is probably when you are going to need to set up this tent. It is going to be dark, it is going to be windy, it is going to be raining what not. So get really comfortable with how to set up your new tent long before you are going to need it. So get familiar with how the poles go together, where the junctions are, how they all fit. Most of the poles on a tent today are shock loaded so you don't really have to worry too, too much about how they all go together. Now this is not a really great quality tent or anything like that, but it goes together extremely easy. These are fiberglass poles, not the best in the material market, but they certainly work real well. And then what you do is on your tent fly or on your tent body there is usually a track where those poles are just going to slide right in through the material. Put all the poles in place, and that is going to create the shape of your tent. Now another thing to consider when you are setting up your tent is where it is. Making sure that there is nothing overhead that can fall on you at night. I was one time in Rocky Mountains came along a hiking trail, and a tree had fallen over somebody's tent during the day. There was a note on it from the ranger saying, "Sorry about that, glad you weren't home." So look around you make sure that there is nothing that can fall on your tent in high winds or storms or something like that that could hurt you. Another thing is think about water. Where is the water flow for the area? If you are pitching your tent in a low area, and you like water beds that is great. Most people don't like sleeping on or in water so pick a high or raised area that is going to be out of a main water area. So again spend a little bit of time looking at your area thinking about where you will want to sleep. The last thing to consider is, to consider rather is what is underneath you. Are you sleeping on rocks, are you sleeping on roots, are you sleeping on tree stumps. Find something that is comfortable. And of course put a tent, a ground cloth underneath your tent, make sure that the tarp is not sticking up from the edges of the tent so that water can drip off your fly, and go onto that rain cloth, and come up underneath your tent. Thanks very much, happing camping.

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