How to put up a tent

If you're off camping, knowing how to put up a tent properly can really save you time and hassle once you get to the site. 

Tents come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and some are simpler to pitch than others. Each tent is different, so always follow your tent's specific instructions carefully.

How to put up a tent

Note: The guidelines below are intended as general advice only and your tent may be different - check the manufacturer's handbook for full instructions on how to put up your tent.

  1. Practice pitching your tent in the garden a few times before setting off, as it will become quicker and easier each time you do it. When you're heading off, ensure that your tent is the last thing you put in your car - it'll be the first thing you need when you arrive!
  2. Find a suitable spot to pitch. A flat space on high ground is best - don't camp in a dip as water can gather here. Check for any hard or sharp objects in the grass before pitching.
  3. Usually you start by laying the flysheet (outer skin of the tent) out flat, making sure the doors are zipped up.
  4. Feed the poles carefully through the appropriate sleeves on the flysheet, bend them up so they form the shape of the tent, and pin them into place. Some tents come with colour-coded or numbered poles to make life easier.
  5. Peg out the tent with the tent pegs and guy lines, using a mallet to drive the pegs into the ground. For most tents you should start at one end and then progress to the other, pegging each side as you go. The level of tension should be equal all around, and tight enough to prevent flapping, without placing too much strain on the structure & material.
  6. Ensure you peg each guy line so each one is taut - the lines will normally have sliders to help you get them tight.
  7. If you have a double-skin tent, secure the inner tent into place. Similarly, if your tent has an attachable rising groundsheet, then attach this using the toggles provided inside.

How to take down a tent

Normally you'll take down a tent in the reverse order of how you put it up but always refer to your tent instructions. Take care when removing tent poles from their fastenings, as the poles can spring up - hold onto them firmly!

Ensure that your tent is dry before packing it, otherwise, it could get damp and mouldy in the bag. If needed, unpack your tent when you get home and leave it out to dry fully.

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