Setting Up Camp: Tent

The camping season is just getting underway now and many of you will be going camping for the first time this year. For those of you who are new to camping, you may want to consider some of these points when setting up your tent: 

Know How To Set Up Your Tent: If you have just purchased a new tent, set it up at home first. This way you will know how to set up the tent and that there are no missing parts or defects. 

Where to Place Your Tent on the Campsite: Select a spot that is higher and relatively flat with minimum stones, roots, and other debris. A slight slope around your tent is good because rain can drain away from it. If there is a slight slope, position the tent so that your head is on the highest spot when you sleep. Do not put the tent on a low basin-shaped spot, as water collects there during heavy rain, and you may get flooded. 

Clear the Area: Remove any sticks, large stones, and other debris from the spot where your tent will be set up. This will improve your comfort level while you sleep and minimize damage to your tent. 

Tarp: If you are hanging a tarp over your tent, then consider positioning the tent between nearby trees to facilitate the process. If you hang a tarp over your tent, do not anchor the tent with stakes or load your sleeping gear into it before hanging the tarp. This way you can reposition your tent to ensure that it is centred directly under your tarp. 

Fire-Pit and Campground Road: Ensure that the tent is away from the fire-pit and campground road for safety. Many beginners make the mistake of placing their tent too close to the fire-pit or road. 

Shore Up The Tent: Once you are satisfied with the positioning of the tent, shore up your tent with all of the stakes and guy-ropes provided. The stakes and guy-ropes are provided for a reason: to stop your tent from blowing down. I remember one trip to James Bay where I set up my three-person dome tent carelessly and did not bother staking it down because I wanted to get on with exploring James Bay. The campground was on an island, and when I returned after several hours of touring, the tent had blown over, and I found it twenty-five metres away in someone else’s campsite. 

Ground Sheet: A ground sheet can be used to reduce cold and dampness that rises from the bottom of the tent. If you use a ground sheet, place it inside the tent, on top of the tent floor. This way, any rain falling on the outside of the tent will drain into the ground and you will have an extra layer of protection beneath you, inside of your tent. You can fold the ends of the ground sheet up along the inside walls of the tent to protect sleeping bags and pillows from rain that may seep in through the tent walls. I can always spot the new campers at campgrounds because many of them place a ground sheet or tarp under their tent with the edges of the tarp protruding out from the perimeter of the tent. When this is done, the campers will surely get soaked from the underside because the rainwater running down the side of the tent will collect on the tarp under their tent; it cannot drain into the ground and will therefore seep into their tent. 

Tools and Accessories: Have the following tools handy when setting up your tent.  An axe – use the back end of it to hammer the stakes into the ground. Spare stakes and guy-ropes as these can easily break or get lost. Duct tape for small repairs to framing poles, tent fly, tent and tarps. If a framing pole breaks, you can wrap duct tape around the broken section; this may help to keep the pole operational until you can replace it or get a new tent. Likewise, the duct tape can repair small holes in the tent. 

The tent in these photos is a “Columbia Bugaboo”. This is a good, medium priced tent that sleeps four comfortably and still has space for clothing bags. You can see a wide selection of tents by clicking the following link:

For more on camping see The Camp Tripper. The Camp Tripper includes: trip planning, reservations, gear, meals, setting up camp, activities, breaking camp, maintenance of gear and many tips for memorable camping trips in Ontario. The book is very reasonably priced and small enough to fit in the glove compartment of your vehicle. Here are four reasons why you might prefer to order it in e-book (electronic book) format:

  • The e-book price is 37% less
  • No shipping costs, which saves you even more
  • Instant delivery to your computer or hand-held device
  • Eliminates paper and saves trees

This book is currently only available in online bookstores.


About Patrick Dzieciol

I have authored and published "The Camp Tripper - The Secrets of Successful Family Camping in Ontario" If you want to get in touch with me, please drop me an email at:
This entry was posted in Book, Camping, Gear, Ground Sheet, Setting Up, Tent, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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