Tips for Setting Up Your Tent

 The life of a tent can be prolonged by years if you put a little time and effort into taking care of it. This involves making sure the tent is set up the way it should be, packing it up neatly, and occasionally taking care of the tent at home.

 Many people think that it is very time consuming to take care of your tent, but the truth is that it is more about taking precautions when camping, paying attention when setting up, and packing the tent. This article intends to give you valuable tips and advice on how to find the proper campsite for setting up your tent.

A beautiful, nicely set up tent.

A beautiful, nicely set up tent.

Tips for setting up your tent

1) Find a slight slope for setting up your tent. A completely flat surface is not ideal, because you want the water to flow down the slope when it is raining. On the other hand you can’t sleep on a too heavy slope.

2) Make sure that your campsite is free of rocks and vegetation. Rocks and vegetation can tear up the floor of your tent. Not to mention that I have never had a good night’s sleep when sleeping on rocks.

3)  Lay down a tarp under your tent. They not only protect your tent from the above mentioned rocks and vegetation, but provide a surface where you can fold up your tent. It prevents dirt from getting into the tent when you fold it up. The little pieces of stone and wood can tear up the fabric of your tent while it rests in its storage bag.
A tarp will also provide additional cover against water in case the floor has a little hole in it that you might not have noticed. The tarp will make sure that your tent remains waterproof.

4) Cover your tent with a rainfly if your campsite provides no natural shades. The UV rays can damage the polyester fly of your tent. The fly is what makes your tent waterproof, it is the most important part of your waterproof tent. You should give it extra care. I advise you to apply a water repellent spray to the rainfly at least once a year. 

5) Don’t set up your tent under a tree. The dead branches can fall off and hit you in your sleep, which is a pretty unpleasant experience, to put it mildly. If you must set up your tent under a tree, because it is so hot that you can’t stay under the sun light, check the tree for dead branches.

6) Pick up the tent and shake it out before packing it up. This will make sure that stones and little pieces of wood are removed before packing the tent. Tiny solid pieces can tear the fiber of your tent.

7) Make sure your tent is dry before packing it. Rub the moisture off your tent with a dry piece of clothing. Packing your tent in wet condition will lead to mildew developing on your tent. 

8) If you forgot your stakes at home, or you can’t plug them into the hard ground, you can make artificial poles out of rocks and a bit of fishing line. Find as many rocks and cords  as many guy-outs your tent has. Tie the fishing line around them, and attach one rock to each guy-out. Locate the rocks far away from the tent so that the fly is taut. Leave about one foot (30.5 cm) of fishing line between the fly and the cord. Put an extra rock on each cord. This extra rock will push the fly closer to the ground, making it more taut, adding extra balance.

You can set up your tent using rocks if you have left your stakes at home.

You can set up your tent using rocks if you have left your stakes at home.

9)  Be cautious when putting away your shock-corded poles. Most modern tents come with shock-corded poles, as they are easy to pack, and take up very little space. However whipping them will tear the rope inside the poles, and put too much pressure on the pole itself. 

10)  Start separating the shock-corded pole from the middle rather than from the sides. The pressure would be bigger in the pole if you would separate the poles from the sides. However, it is not the end of the world if the pole breaks. You can buy replacement poles from Amazon.

11)   Fold the tent in different way each time. Weak spots would develop in the wall of the tent otherwise, leading to tears in the wall of the tent. 

Try setting up your tent in a spot free of rocks and vegetation.

Try setting up your tent in a spot free of rocks and vegetation.

Tips for cleaning your tent

12)  When cleaning your tent use a non-abrasive sponge with non-detergent soap. Avoid housing cleaning products such as bleach or spot removers. These products attract bugs with their odor. More importantly they remove the tent’s durable water repellent coating.

13) Don’t use a washing machine for cleaning your tent. The back and forth rocking of the washing machine can stretch the fabric, and even tear it apart. Even if the fabric of the tent is not destroyed, the water repellent coating will come off.

14) Never machine-dry a tent. The heat will stretch and eventually melt the material.

Taking care of your tent is not hard. You need to pay a little attention while you are camping, and you need to apply a few products every now and then at home. I encourage you to follow the above tips, so that you can enjoy your waterproof tent for years.

You can read our article about waterproofing your tent here.

Read about removing mildew and sealing your tent here.

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