Know How

Campcraft Basics : How to Pitch a Tent

Sarthak Madan

Last updated: 02-11-2018

Bikat's CAMPCRAFT series provides instruction on the fundamental aspects of camping in the Himalayan wilderness. This article will help you learn the process of pitching a tent and making sure you sleep soundly through the night.

 

Here's How to pitch a tent!

 

Watch the video below to learn the basic process and read on further for more tips that will streamline the process.

 

PRE TRIP PREPARATION

 

  • First Use : If you’re using a tent for the first time, practice pitching it at home, so you don’t run into trouble on the trail.
  • Second Use : If you’ve used the tent on a previous trip, make sure it’s dry and clean. Inventory all the components and check them so you don’t end up with missing pegs or broken poles when you need to pitch your tent under a rainy sky.
  • Footprint : Although some tents have bathtub style floors with a heavy, waterproof fabric at the bottom, that area is also the most prone to abrasion and abuse. If your tent didn’t come with a separate footprint, invest in a good tarp that you can use to create a protective layer between your tent and the ground.
  • Repair Kit : Invest in a good repair kit that can help you make small repairs on the fly. It’s amazing how much rain can seep through even a tiny tear in the fabric and ruin a good night’s sleep. Don’t forget to pack your repair kit in the tent sack.

CAMPSITE SELECTION

 

When you reach your chosen campsite, take some time to select the right spot to pitch your tent. Consider the following things while choosing your spot -

  • Follow LEAVE NO TRACE Principles :
    • Camp at least 200 ft away from water sources to avoid contamination and allow access routes to water for wildlife.
    • In established and well trodden campsites, choose spots that have already been used for camping to keep the impacted area limited.
    • In pristine and less traveled areas, disperse use and distribute your tents in a way that it does not create new campsites. Anyone who comes after you should not be able to see that area has been used for camping.
  • Protect yourself from the wind and rain :
    • Identify the direction of the prevailing wind at night. When temperatures drop at night, air moves down the slope of a mountain. Try to find a natural wind block from this breeze - like a group of trees or a small hill.
    • Seek elevated spots, and avoid depressions, or potential drainage channels. When it rains, water will collect at local depressions, while elevated areas will remain dry.
    • Dig a trench. If you’re setting up your tent on a slope, dig a long, deep ditch around the tent so any rainwater flows around it and away from your camp.
    • Orient doors away from and perpendicular to the wind. This will prevent rain and wind from blowing into your tent.

SETUP TIPS

 

  • Stake out diagonally opposite corners first : This will secure your tent in windy conditions and reduce the possibility of creases in the floor, thus also maximising space.
  • If you’re camping in snow : Carry pegs/stakes specifically meant for snow.
  • Look inside the rainfly : You will find velcro straps on the underside of the rainfly that you can secure to the tent poles. This will strengthen, stabilise and help align the inner body and the rainfly.
  • Use guy lines : The outside of the rainfly has multiple attachment points at the corners. Use guy lines (easily available at outdoor stores like Decathlon), to stretch out your rainfly and make it taut. This will make sure you sleep through the wettest, windiest nights in the Himalaya.

POST TRIP CARE

 

Clean out and dry your tent once you’re back from your trip. Check all the components and inventory them. Make any repairs that may be required. Apart from ensuring your tent is ready for its next adventure, this will also increase the longevity of your tent.

Sarthak Madan

I work with Bikat Adventures as an expedition leader and technical content writer. Sometimes, I fly. Read more

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