Lastly, you’ll want to decide on your footprint. While tent floors are made to stand up to water and wear, when you’re outdoors the ground can be rough on a tent. A footprint was made for this dilemma. It’s a ground sheet that offers an extra layer of protection for your tent. They are smaller than your tent floor so rain doesn’t pool under your tent.
Don’t want to spend the dough? You can also buy a Tyvek(r) sheet to make your own footprint. You’ll want to make sure you cut your sheet so it’s smaller than your tent.
First and foremost, you’ll need to follow Leave No Trace principles:
- Seek out existing campsites, if possible. If none available, disperse use to prevent the creation of new campsites--that means avoiding places where you see impact beginning.
- Camp 200 feet (70 large steps) away from water sources.
- Keep campsites small and in areas without vegetation.
Rain is another consideration. Higher, drier ground is a good spot to start. Trees offer a more protected, warmer climate. Try not to camp in low areas between high areas--that’s where cold, damp air settles. Lastly, position your doors away from the wind so the rain doesn’t blow in.
Now that you’ve learned how to set up your tent at home and chosen the perfect campsite, it’s time to get to work. First clear the debris from your tent site. Next lay out your tent body and stake down the tent corners if it’s windy. When you’re pitching your tent, go slow with poles--they can get tweaked or chipped if you’re rushing. Lastly, when you put the rainfly on, cinch the straps at the tent corners to get the right amount of tension.
- You’ll get maximum hold if you push your stake in vertically.
- Leave just enough exposed to slip the cord over the stake.
- You can use a rock to push stakes in.
- Pack extra stakes in case you lose or damage one.
- Not camping in the dirt? Bring sand anchors or snow stakes.
- Use the Velcro wraps on the underside of your rainfly to strengthen your tent.
- Tension all corners of your fly evenly.
- See if the seams on the fly line up with the seams and poles on the tent body--if not, readjust the tension.
- Check the fly after it gets wet--most stretch.
- Attach the guylines (lines that provide extra stability) on the windward side of the tent--although attaching all of them makes your tent withstand even more wind.