How to Set Up a Tent

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 23,985
    Camping expert Tim MacWelch of Earth Connection demonstrates how to pitch a tent.

    Tim MacWelch: I am Tim MacWelch and this is Rick Hueston of Earth Connection School of Wilderness Survival and Ancient Skills in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This is our video series on how to go camping. In this clip, we are going to show you how to put up a tent.

    Now every tent is a little bit different, but there are lots of things in common. Most tents these days have fiberglass poles; they are used as a structural support for the tent. We also have a main body of the tent, a separate rain fly which covers the tent to give you weather protection against rain, wind, sleet all that type of stuff and we are going to have a rope system to tie the tent down securely to the ground. So all tents are fairly similar. On the market today we have these fiberglass shock-cord poles that are all connected by a elastic cord inside of the hollow poles. These link together and form structural support for the tent.

    Now they are they are made to take some stress, but they do break. If you break a tent pole, you can still set your tent up, but you are going to have to get creative by tying ropes to the tent and then suspending the tent from trees or some other structure. So we have got our poles put together. We have three tent components in the bag. We have the main body of the tent. We also have a rain fly. This is a separate piece of equipment that covers the body of the tent and gives you protection from the rain. We also have a ground cloth that attaches to the tent and this will protect the bottom of the tent from damage and will also keep more of the moisture from the ground from getting up into the tent.

    So, we are going to take the main body of the tent and put that together first. Then we will add the ground cloth underneath of it. So we are going to insert these poles into the sleeves on the tent. These give your tent a framework and support so that they can stand by itself. Now all tents are free standing. Some tents require external support of some kind, either poles or tree or something to give the tent some structure. Now, this is the first part of our home away from home. Now, we are going to add the ground cloth or just going to put the tent over top of the ground cloth, let's rotate it around. Ground cloth can add years of life to the tent. The floor of the tent is one of the most abused items as we're always walking on it and the ground can be unforgiving. So we are going to wrap around our poles and insert the hook into the grommet.

    Now we are going to add the rain fly. The rain fly has a small fiberglass shock-corded pole which helps it stay off of the tent. Now an important factor about nylon tents is that any contact point between something outside or inside the tent and the tent walls during the rain will cause the rain to go through the nylon and your tent will leak. So it's important that we have the rain fly properly installed and minimize leaks. While you are setting up your tent, it's a really good idea to have all of your equipment consolidated in one spot, especially at night time or in snowy or sandy conditions where little items like these tent stakes can be lost.

    So we are going to take our tent stakes now and stake out the four corners of the tent. There is a loop here which we can use. We will pull the tent a little bit tight and plunge the stake into the ground at about 45 degree angle. The hook at the top will hold this strap from the tent. We can even step on it to make sure it's in there securely. When it comes time to pull this out, we can use one loose stake as a hook, grab it and pull it out of the soil to get it back.

    Now we have got our tent set up, we can finish out making our home away from home in the great outdoors by adding a sleeping pad. This is a Therm-a-Rest and it's a self-inflating sleeping pad. There is a foam core inside of two airtight waterproof nylon layers of fabric. Once we unroll it and open the valve, the air can flow in as the foam expands filling it with air, which will give us dead airspace and that equals insulation. So, when we sleep on this mat full of air, will be a lot warmer than if we were sleeping on the cold ground directly.

    So we will let this inflate by itself for few moments. We can also blow into that valve, add more air to the mat to top it off and make it more comfortable. Also our sleeping bag has been compressed into this stuff sac in order for sleeping bag to work, it needs to be fluffy. So we have to restore the loft of the sleeping bag by simply shaking it up and letting it expand for a little while.

    So that completes our home away from home. This is our tent, pad and sleeping bag, set up at our campsite. In our next clip, we are going to show you how to purify water with the filter and also with purification tablets.