These days, improvement in the technology and design of tents has meant that, regardless of size, even a large tent should not take you more than 20 to 30 minutes to put up. You will see all kinds of different tent designs when you are on a camping trip. Backpack tents, dome tents and frame tents all come in different sizes but the important thing to remember, regardless of the size and design of your tent, is to practice erecting it and packing it away a few times in your back garden or yard before you take it on a trip. It’s also useful to practice putting it up in adverse weather conditions too, such as when it’s raining or very windy as you’ll never be sure what kind of conditions you’ll be faced with when you reach your campsite so it’s important to be prepared.
Each tent will come with its own instructions which you should follow but all tents, even large ones, will begin with the pole assembly. Unfold all of the poles and connect them all together. These days, most poles usually clip into place via an elastic cord (like a thin bungee cord) which, when unfolded, will all snap together. With a large tent, especially, particularly if there are several compartments to it, the poles will often be colour co-ordinated so make sure that you keep all the poles of the same colour together whilst remembering to keep the relevant poles separate for things like the awning or if your tent has a porch or vestibule, for example. Also, lay out the tent poles next to the appropriate material of the tent where they will be placed.
At this stage, you need to see whether the tent uses pole clips or sleeves. If it uses sleeves, thread the sections of each pole from one corner of the tent through to the opposite corner. After you’ve done that, you can place the poles into their appropriate pockets. Then you need to stake out the tent, making sure the floor area is pulled out evenly. If you’re erecting one of the older large frame tents, once you’ve got the ‘roof’ section of the poles completed, it’ll usually be more efficient if you can then enlist the help of one or two of your fellow campers to help you with the tent itself. The main things to remember with a frame tent when pulling the canvas over the top is to take things slowly as you don’t want the canvas to rip and also make sure that any doors, windows, porch areas are in the correct position.
Fly Sheet and Guy Lines
Once the canvas has been secured, it’s then time to put on the fly sheet ensuring that the fly doors match up with the tent doors. Before staking out the corners of the fly sheet, however, make sure it’s even on both sides. Whilst a fly sheet needs to be attached tautly to a tent, it should not be so tight that you overstretch the fly which could result in damage. Guy ropes can give your tent added stability and are used on some tents when the conditions are extremely windy or there’s a combination of wind and heavy rain but the larger your tent, the less likely you’ll need guy ropes.
Once you’ve completed this part, it’s always a good idea to walk around the entire perimeter of your tent and check that all the stakes are secure before starting to bring your belongings into the tent itself.