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Pitching The Perfect Tent

By Ryan Merrifield

Posted: 20th March 2015 14:48


If there’s one thing that the Boy Scouts got right, it’s their motto of ‘be prepared.’ And we all know that they learned enough about tents (and knots) to last a lifetime, so perhaps they’re on to something.

·         Put the tent up in your garden before you go

You might feel like you know it all, but come festival time, would you prefer to be struggling with tent poles and ground sheets and what bit of identical-looking plastic goes where – or sitting smugly back with a cold can and a perfectly prepped tent? Yeah, that’s what we thought.

·         Count all your bits and pieces

If you’re missing even one tent pole, you’ll basically be lying under a waterproof sheet for the night.  We’ve all seen the lopsided tarpaulin creations that some festival-goers suffer the weekend under, but making sure you’ve got all the parts goes a long way to prevent this unfortunate syndrome.

·         Check the size

It says four-man, and there are four of you – no problem, right? Well, sometimes you’ve got to question who it is that takes these measurements, because most supposed four man tents will be a squeeze for three people at best! Once all your stuff is in there you’ll definitely be getting a cramped night’s sleep, so if you can get a bigger tent (or smaller friends) you’ll be a lot more comfortable.

Location, Location, Location

·         To smell, or not to smell?

The closer to the toilets you are, the shorter the midnight trek will be.  But remember the smell will only get worse as the festival goes on – be considerate of your nose.  Be aware of heading too far away, next to the outer barriers, though.  It’s so far from those dreaded long-drops that a lot of people (sorry boys, but it’s nearly always you) will choose to do their business in the bushes instead – equally unpleasant for the surrounding campers.

·         Look before you leap

Or pitch, I suppose.  That small stone will feel like a boulder at 5am when it’s sticking into your back, and is that mound of grass actually an anthill?

·         Avoid the well-trodden path

Thousands of people taking the same route day after day will churn up the mud like nothing else, which isn’t too pleasant when it starts to encroach on your campsite.  Plus, drunken wanderers have a tendency to lose their balance, and you don’t want it to be your tent that suffers the consequences.

Essential Tenting

·         Don’t be a trip hazard

Guy ropes are useful, but when there’s hundreds of tents cramped up together, they just get in the way.  You’ll trip over them – or your inebriated friends will – so often that they end up useless anyway, so save yourself the bother and just leave them out.

·         Claim your territory

If one of your group is arriving before everyone else, get them to take all of the tents and pitch them in a circle, while there’s still space to do so.

·         Secure your castle

You might want to rush the pitching so you can get on with enjoying the festival, but taking a little longer over the necessities will make your whole trip much more comfortable.  Hammer all the tent pegs in firmly, make sure the groundsheet is neat, and that there are no gaps that the water can get in.  Your tent is your palace.

·         Practice good tent maintenance

Okay, you can do what you want; we’re not telling you what to do.  But if you take off your muddy wellies before you climb in, keep the door zipped to stop bugs climbing in, and avoid eating or drinking anything sticky or crumbly in there, you’ll thank yourself for it.  Or not.  Whatever.

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