The Right Way to Pitch a Tent – Campground 3

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tent_campingYou might think pitching a tent is the easiest part of camping. It’s true, most are easy to set up—one person can get a tent set up in a matter of minutes, even without a lot of experience. However, the finer points of pitching a tent usually do not become apparent until it is too late. When a storm is raging, or after the animals have gotten inside and chewed everything up. There are steps you can take to make the tent more comfortable, so you have a chance of getting some sleep during the night.

Preparing the Campground for a Tent

The ground can be your worst enemy when camping. It’s cold, hard, full of rocks and is rarely, if ever, flat. If you are camping in a dedicated campground, the tent pad is likely mostly flat. However, it should still have a slope to it for drainage. Try to find the highest point of the area. If you can’t determine it, look at the area surrounding the site. The highest point of the tent pad will most likely match the slope of the terrain around it. Once you’ve determined which part of the tent pad is higher, make note of it for later. If your pad is completely flat, it will fill with water in a rainstorm. If this happens, your tent and everything in it will also get very wet. If you find yourself camping in a potential bathtub, see what you can do to create some drainage before the storms hit. Sometimes there are holes in the corners of the pad. You can also dig small, shallow trenches to help divert the water around you. It won’t take much to divert the rainwater.

Next, make sure to clear the tent pad of all rocks, pinecones, sticks or any other debris that can poke up through the tent. It will be very uncomfortable to have a rock under your tent floor, and you don’t want to risk putting a hole in your tent.

Tent Camping Poly Tarp

Poly Tarp for a Tent Moisture Barrier

Once your area is clear, I would suggest throwing down a moisture tarp. This is a piece of plastic that sits under your tent floor. It can smooth out the floor of your tent and it will also help to protect your tent from permeated moisture from the ground itself.

If there are no tent pads where you are camping, try to put your tent in a place that will leave the least amount of impact. Do not cut down any foliage or rearrange the area in any way. Find a spot to pitch your tent where it is out of the way of foot traffic, animal trails and natural water runoff. It also should be at least 15 feet away from your campfire. A good area to pitch your tent is near the base of a large tree, since the undergrowth is usually not as thick around their trunks. This will offer you a good place to set up the tent and offer an additional layer of shelter.

Now that you have chosen a great place to pitch your tent and have cleaned out the campground area for it you are ready to set up your tent.

The Right Way to Pitch a Tent – Setup

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3 thoughts on “The Right Way to Pitch a Tent – Campground

  • Patrick

    I appreciate you making this post. Out of all of my camping experiences I never used a moisture pad, and I always thought that you could use any means necessary to clear the ground so that you could pitch your tent. I will definitely refer back to this post before my next camping trip.


  • Grandma's Goulash

    They do make some tents that are very easy to pitch nowadays. But even the older models went up pretty easy, once you had a little practice. Taking precautions to keep things dry in a storm is an excellent suggestion. I usually stayed dry, but have seen many people evacuating in the middle of the night due to rain.