Your campsite will be the base of operations for your whole camping trip. It’s where you begin and end your day, where you go to rest, recharge, and unwind. It’s also the first challenge that you have to deal with.
Setting up your campsite is the first task that you have to accomplish when you arrive at your camping location. To make your camping trip comfortable and more enjoyable, there are some gears that you need to bring with you and you also need to know how these equipment work. Otherwise, your dream of a perfect camping trip may become a nightmare.
To ensure you get to experience the camping trip of your dreams, we’ve put together some tips for setting up camp that you can easily follow.
When you’re packing for a camping trip, you should make sure that you’ll bring everything you need. It’s very annoying to discover that you’ve forgotten something important when you’re already in the middle of the woods and nowhere near a store to buy the item that you forgot. To help you avoid this situation, we came up with a list of all the camping items you’ll need for the great outdoors.
Tips for Pre-Trip Preparation
It may look easy to set up camp, but not everyone is a camping pro. However, everyone is competent enough to pitch a tent.
Find time to practice setting up your tent in your yard or in the living room a few days or weeks before heading out. Not only will this help you get a hang of what goes where but it will also help you set up your tent faster, so that you will not waste any precious time fussing around with your gear while at the campsite.
2. Choose the perfect location
Before heading out on a camping trip, you have to carefully research the location and know how you’ll get there. That is to make sure that you do not overstretch yourself to reach the camping spot, or worse, not reach the spot at all.
Picking a spot where you can set up your tent safely is crucial. Look for a relatively flat and reasonably dry ground near yet not too near a water source, ideally not exposed to the wind, and free of any sharp objects that may rip your tent.
In the front country and backcountry, consider the following:
- Existing trails and campsites;
- Camps 200 feet away from lakes and streams;
- Keeping your campsite small and doing your activities away from vegetation;
- Walking in a single line in the middle of the trail, regardless of whether it is wet or muddy.
In pristine areas, you should consider:
- Avoiding areas where impacts are starting;
- A Disperse use to prevent creating trails and campsites.
To prevent wind-related problems, you should consider the following:
- Do not camp near damaged trees as they can be blown down.
- Look for natural windbreaks.
- If you are camping in a location with a hot climate, face the tent door toward the wind for cooling the inside.
- Although orienting the smaller side of the tent toward the wind will help reduce resistance, you must orient the tent in such a way that the side with the strongest pole structure is facing the wind.
To prevent water-related issues, you should consider the following:
- The tent doors should face away from the wind to prevent the rain from blowing in.
- Seek higher and relatively dry ground to prevent moisture in the air from forming condensation inside the tent when temperatures drop.
- Sites under trees create a warmer and more protected microclimate that can produce lower condensation levels.
- Do not camp in low areas that are between high areas because of the cool, damp air that settles there and the rain that can also gather in that area.
Tips for Pitching a Tent
Remove debris and anything that can poke your back and rip your tent. Although you do not have to dig into the ground to clear everything, if you feel like it needs major work, just pick another site.
2. Stake down tent corner if it’s windy
Stake down the tent’s corners when laying out your tent to make it easier to pitch in windy conditions. Then, re-stake your tent in its final position later on.
3. Slow down
When setting up the poles, you should take your time and carefully unfurl and attach each pole section because these can get easily chipped or damaged.
4. Stakeout Techniques
- To allow you to slip a tie-down cord, leave just enough stake exposed.
- If you drive the stake into the ground in a fully vertical position, you will get maximum holding power.
- Use a large rock if pushing the stake with your hand or foot is hard or pack a stake hammer.
- Pack extra stakes just in case.
- Pack sand anchors or snow stakes for those kinds of environments.
5. Stabilize with Rainfly Wraps
Depending on the tent you have, you may find several Velcro wraps on the underside of the rainfly. Secure each one around the nearby pole to strengthen and stabilize the tent.
6. Fly Tensioning
Most rainflies have straps that you can use to cinch at the tent corners. Make sure they are tight and even, and recheck the fly tension every night as you crawl in because the changing weather can affect its rigidness.
- Do not over-tension the first fly corner upon your initial setup. Instead, wait until it is fully on, and then, evenly tense all the corners.
- To inspect the tensioning, check whether the seams on the fly are aligned with the seams and poles of the tent. If they are not in line with each other, re-adjust the tension and align them.
- Re-check the rainfly tension after the rain or after it gets wet as some fly materials stretch when damp.
If your tent comes with guylines, use them for stability, especially in strong winds. Attach them to sturdy loops or guyout points in strategic locations around the fly. Although guylines are optional, they are still helpful when the weather is unreliable.
To maximize stability:
- Attach guylines at the guyout points on the side where the wind is coming from;
- And uniformly add guyout points around the tent to stabilize the tent equally.
The heart of your campsite is your tent. No matter how comfortable your camp may be, if you do not have a good camping tent, your camping experience will not be as satisfactory as you want it to be. If you want to invest in a good tent, check out our article on the best tents for camping where we listed and reviewed the top tents available in the market today.
Which way should your tent face?
Determining in which direction your tent should face depends on various factors, such as the location and climate. Set your tent up in such a way that it is facing away from the wind or rain.
Some campers choose to set up their tents eastward to let the sun shine on their tents at sunrise, while others choose to pint them toward the west to either watch the sunset or allow themselves to sleep in for a few extra minutes or hours in the morning.
Sometimes, choosing where your tent should face will depend on your personal preferences. However, you must consider the weather conditions and location to build a more comfortable camping setup.
Other Camping Tips
Waterproof your tent
To keep yourself and your gear dry, you should waterproof your tent with the correct waterproof spray before heading out.
Carefully read instructions
Read instructions instead of grabbing everything and winging it as you will just create confusion, which could also damage the tent’s parts.
Make an inventory
Make an inventory of the tent’s parts and other gear you need to avoid forgetting and accidentally leaving some of the parts at home or at the campsite.
Make a footprint strategy
Buy a custom-sized groundsheet or footprint to provide extra protection, even if your tent’s floor can already withstand water, wear, and abrasion. Footprints are used to catch and pool rainwater under your tent. You can also make your own by buying a tarp and folding it so that it is a size smaller than your tent.
A camping trip requires a lot of research and preparation, especially if you’re a beginner embarking on your very first outdoor excursion. Setting up your camp is the very first challenge that you have to overcome in any camping trip. Your entire camping experience will benefit greatly if you do this task properly.
To help you achieve the camping trip of your dreams, we’ve gathered everything that we know about camping and came up with the tips and tricks that we shared above. We hope that you’ll be able to put these advice to good use and experience an amazing time in the great outdoors.