How To Pitch A Tent Like A Pro

Pitching a tent like a pro can make all the difference between getting a good nights sleep and having a complete nightmare. Follow these top tent pitching tips for a peaceful and comfortable camping experience.

Preparation At Home

  • Familiarise yourself with your tent if its new or if you haven't used it in a while. The best way to do this is to pitch it in your garden - space dependent obviously!
  • If the weather is going to be inclement, does your flysheet need to be re-proofed? Waterproof fabric treatments these days are designed to degrade, so don't presume your tent is going to stay waterproof forever. 
  • Have a quick check of seams on the groundsheet and flysheet. If they are looking worn or torn then you can refurbish them with a seam sealer.
  • Check that you have enough pegs and that any bent ones are replaced. 
  • Put a mallet in your peg/pole bag so you know where it is.
  • Colour code your poles with electricians tape to save time at the campsite.
  • Ensure you zip up the doors.

Choosing Your Pitch

  • There’s something quite relaxing about camping near water but beware of mosquitoes and boggy ground.
  • If you cannot find some shelter behind a rock, wall or hedge, pitch your tent so the entrance faces away from the prevailing wind
  • Try to avoid pitching in a dip in the ground or at the bottom of a slope – rainwater runoff and cold air creeping downhill may disrupt a good night’s sleep.
  • Avoid pitching under a tree – unlikely though a lightning strike or falling branch might be, the drips from above will drive you mad long after rain has stopped
  • Try and pitch on level ground, otherwise you may wake up scrunched in the corner.

Clear The Area

  • Check the ground for rocks and holes masked by grass or vegetation. These can damage your ground sheet and will be uncomfortable if laid upon.
  • Give the ground a quick prod with your peg. If it's stony or difficult to push in, think about moving to a slightly different location.
  • If there is any litter on the site, pick it up and take it with you.
  • On popular campsites broken glass can be very difficult to see in bright sunlight. Get your eyes to ground level and just have a quick scan along the grass. It shouldn't be a problem if all campers were conscientious, but then...

Pole Assembly

  • If you've already colour coded your poles then this should be a breeze.
  • Lay them out away from your pitch area to prevent confusion.
  • If there are different sizes, place them in order they should be used in the tent. 

Tent Setup

  • Most modern tents come with an integrated groundsheet. If not, peg this out first. If there is dry vegetation or leaves on the ground, pack it under it for a free natural mattress.
  • Unfold your tent fully and align with your pitch taken in to account wind direction and any slopes. 
  • Peg out the two corners of the tent that are nearest to the wind direction. This not only stops your tent from blowing away, but should also prevent it from billowing. 
  • Feed through the poles smoothly. Try to avoid snatching at them as this often leads to them being caught in the fabric sleeve. 
  • Frame the tent with the poles working from the pegged down corners forward. If the tent is too tight for the poles to enter their holding bays, then check you have the correct poles for a start. If they are right then try feeding some of the pole sleeve in the other direction. Sometimes they get caught and need a bit of adjusting.
  • Peg down guy ropes at the front and back of the tent. This should provide ample stability for the rest of the tent to be pegged down without the worry of it collapsing.  
  • Depending on the weather, not all guy ropes will need to be used. 

Final Checks

  • Check the stability of the tent by giving it a gentle shake. 
  • Guy lines may need adjusting once everything is pegged out
  • Ensure that your tents is adequately ventilated. Open a door but keep the flynet closed.
  • Store the bags that your tent was packed in somewhere accessible.  Leave redundant pegs and the mallet with them in case of emergencies.
  • Before you place any kit in the tent, have a quick feel of the internal floor area for any unforeseen bumps and dips. These can then be avoided when setting out your sleeping area. 
  • If there are any holes that were missed during your inspection at home, use a tent repair kit for instant waterproofness. 

Becoming a tent-pitching pro comes with practice and familiarity with your equipment. Take the time to learn the setup process, and don't hesitate to refine your techniques over time.

1 comment

Thanks for the good advice.

John Cowan September 27, 2023

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published