Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pitching Your Tent

Here is some basic advice to ensure you get a good nights sleep in your tent:

If the tent is new to you or it has been some time since you pitched your tent it is always a good idea to set up the tent in your back yard or garage before you go. Take time to read the instruction manual that came with your tent and make sure you have all the parts to pitch the tent. This will help you to become familiar with or reacquaint you with the procedures to set up the tent in your own time. Checking you have all the parts also ensures you don't find yourself in the dark and wet campsite with out all the pieces you need to pitch the tent.

Picking your camp site:
  • Find an area that naturally shelters you from severe wind and protects you from the weather.
  • Never pitch your tent in the floodplain of a river or stream, if the water level rises your campsite and tent will be flooded.
  • Ensure overhanging tree branches are not dead. Dead branches could fall on your tent if wind or snow break them loose.
  • Check to make sure your camp site is not in an avalanche or rock slide path.
  • Check the site for animal burrows and ant hills.
  • Pick a campsite approximately 30 yards from the lake shore or river bank to avoid contamination of the water.

Prepare the camp site:
  • Pick up or sweep any branches, rocks, and any other debris from the site where the tent will be set up. Remember, whatever is on the ground is what you'll be sleeping on.
  • Fill in any low spots and cover exposed rock with grass, moss, fallen leaves and dirt to make an even spot to sleep on.
  • If you expect a lot of rainfall dig a drainage moat around your tent for excess water to collect in and then flow away from the tent.

Pitching your tent:

  • Pitch your tent so one of the entrances is away from the prevailing wind.
  • If you have to pitch your tent on a gradient, you will find it more comfortable to sleep with your head at the highest end.
  • Always stake the windward side, the side facing into the wind, of the tent first.
    • If the wind is blowing, use several heavy items, that will not poke a hole in our tent, to weight down the corners of your tent while you drive the tent stakes in.
      Stake the tent first, then put the poles in to raise the tent.
    • Adjust the position of the stakes, if needed, to make the tent as taut as possible and ensure the stakes are securely in the ground.  This will provide you with the most room and will keep the tent from blowing away in high winds.
Best of Luck with the Pitching!
                                                      - Backcountry Gear @ Gear&Gadgetry

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