Pitching tents - How to set up a camping & hiking tent
Pitching a tent begins with finding the best tent location available to determine where and how to pitch a Tent. The method of setting tents up will depend on your tent type, so the first thing to do is to read your tent manuals for exact instructions.
Finding an ideal location
Pitching a tent
Select a safe and secure place to pitch your tent, well protected from natural weather forces (wind, rain and sun).
Tent location should be higher than the vicinity to prevent water from entering.
Avoid mountain and hill tops (high winds and lightening) as well as low lying areas (water logging during rains).
Find a location surrounded by natural obstacles – it will provide barriers to the sun, wind and rain. Trees and rocks are ideal.
A source of water (streams, rivers, etc.)in the vicinity is useful for cleaning up and washing dishes.
Pitch your tent on an even surface of smooth soil or grass that allows you to easily secure your pegs.
Make sure the tent has been pitched firmly and evenly to withstand high winds.
Determine the wind direction and make sure your tent doors and vents are aligned along the direction of the wind. This will aid ventilation and prevent condensation.
Create a cooking area at least 30 feet away from your tent and in such a direction that the smoke and sparks are blown away from the tent and not towards it.
Never cook inside your tent. It can lead to hazards like fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, besides damaging your tent.
Surviving a rain storm is an art form in the wilderness. If your rain fly is properly secured on your tent and all your windows are zipped up you should be able to withstand some downpours. If the rain is heavy, you may want to tie the sides out to make the rain fly tauter.
The guy lines can be staked to the ground or to nearby trees (this is what that extra nylon rope is for that came with your tent originally).
A cheap plastic tarp can also be a lifesaver in these kind of weather conditions. String up the tarp above your tent for added protection. Neoprene seam sealant is a great tool for preparing for the rain in advance!
Having to cram a dusty hot tent into a tight flimsy bag and potentially damage to the tent. If the original storage bag falls apart or is way too, tight of a fit, you may want to find a big old zipper sack. A duffel bag or old garment bag works. These can be found easily at any thrift store or sporting goods store.
Remember not to store food in your tent if you are camping in a Wildlife park or in a Forest area. Bears and wildlife have a great sense of smell. Plus cook downwind or away from your tent all together. In the middle of the night after a long day hike, you are finally getting some much needed sleep and nothing worse than having a bear rip through that thin tent wall after a left over energy bar. No toothpaste, no deodorant, no lip balm, NOTHING that has a scent.
The old adage, "Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you" is an important truth to live by for campers, hikers and backpackers.
Throughout a long day of hiking, you'll want your backpack to be well-fitted, comfortable and able to withstand the constant punishment of scraping tree branches, rubbing against rocks and enduring the elements, whether they be harsh sunlight, torrential rain or blinding snow.
Follow the Gear Care suggestions below and you'll have a backpack that will take care of you and give you years of service because you take care of it.
Taking the time and effort to properly and carefully place items, especially sharp or hard-edged items such as a stove, cookware or tent stakes, within the pack will benefit you in more ways than just maintaining your backpack. Distributing the load equitably will help your pack stay balanced, making it easier and more comfortable on your back as you are hiking. Making sure you pack those hard-edged and sharp items carefully will avoid having them poke you in the back while wearing the pack, but will also keep them from poking into the backpack material and causing wear spots or, even worse, ripping holes in the backpack.
Carry a Small Repair Kit
When NASA launches a space shuttle they have redundant back-up systems in place, just in case a primary or even secondary system should fail. As we trek out into the wild, it would behoove us to have at least some small ability to make repairs while in the great outdoors. Bring along a couple of extra clevis pins and split rings, a heavy duty sewing needle with upholstery thread, a small can of silicone spray and a roll of universal patching material, otherwise known as duct tape.
Keep the Inside Clean
It can happen to the best of us; no matter how careful we try to be, we find food items spilling into the pack, or something melting and making a sticky mess when it escapes a badly sealed zip-lock bag. As soon as you discover such a problem, clean it immediately and as thoroughly as possible. Food particles or liquid stains can cause the pack fabric to wear prematurely. Almost as bad; if you set the backpack down and take an afternoon nap, you could awake to ants or worse crawling into and through your pack, enjoying the snack you left for them. When returning from a hike, empty the pack completely, shake all the loose items out and, if needed, wipe down the inside with a damp cloth to remove crumbs or stains.
Keep the Outside Clean
On the trail, be careful of tree sap, plants that secrete liquids or even the rare occurrence when your backpack becomes ground zero for bird droppings. At the first sign of any type of stain, use a damp cloth to clean off as much as possible to minimize damage to the pack fabric. Back home use a mild soap to thoroughly clean any stains, but be careful not to ruin the fabric's waterproof coating. Dry completely in a cool, airy place to avoid dampness causing mildew.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Take care of problems while they are small and, preferably, while you're at home. Sew any small rips or tears, patch any worn areas of fabric and tape seams that may be loose. Check high-stress points such as the hip belt, suspension stabilizers and shoulder straps for wear or separation. Keep zippers clean and free of obstructions such as stray threads or items that could damage the teeth, and spray with silicone spray to keep them easy to zip and unzip.
Store The Backpack Properly
Keep your backpack in a cool and dry storage area to keep mildew from forming and to extend the life of the waterproof coating on most packs.
Camping Stove Safety
The best way to learn about a new camping stove is to read the manual that came with it. Once you've done your reading, practice lighting your camping stove in the backyard before you take it into the backcountry.
Use only the fuel(s) that your stove is designed to burn. For liquid fuel stoves, don't use old fuel that has been stored for a long period of time.
Fill the stove or fuel bottle only to the safe fill line.
Ensure the pump is well-lubricated and functioning.
Check for leaks before lighting.
Never cook inside a tent or in a confined space. Fire and carbon monoxide poisoning are significant hazards.
Clear away any flamable debris near the stove before lighting.
Empty your stove before you store it.
Always fill your stove (or change the fuel canister) outdoors, never inside a tent or cabin.
To avoid lighting spilled fuel, don't light the stove in the same place you filled it.
Don't refuel your stove while it is still lit – this is extremely dangerous. Take special care with alcohol stoves, they make no noise when burning and can burn with an almost invisible flame. Wait until your stove is stone cold before storing. Always store the stove and fuel away from food, such as in a side pocket of a pack. Many manufacturers offer padded sacks or special stove cases for this purpose.
Take the time to test fire a stove at home. This way you will know it works and can learn in a controlled setting your stove's particular quirks and features. Another advantage, you are only a phone call away from either the manufacturer or your local specialty store if you encounter any problems--not the case if the problem is discovered in the high mountains.
Water (from condensation, typically) and debris (from careless opening and closing of a fuel canister when filling, most likely) can clog a fuel line. Use a fuel funnel outfitted with a small screen to prefilter fuel going into their stove. Also, before filling a fuel bottle, always check it for debris and water.
Never use old fuel. Fuel stored in a stove's fuel tank for more than a few months begins to break down which results in impurities that will clog a stove.