Choose the location of the tent
Find a suitable place. Choose a place wide enough to be able to assemble your tent. If you are in a national park, make sure you are in an authorized camping area. Also make sure you are not on private property and follow local camping regulations.
Find a flat place where you can set up the tent. Take out the stones, branches and all other debris that are on the place where you chose to pitch the tent. If you are in a place where pine trees are found, you could make the floor a little more comfortable by covering it with pine thorns.
- Avoid setting up your tent in a ditch or in a hole in general. A place lower than the rest of the land will be filled with water in case of heavy rains. Even if your tent is airtight, you will find yourself in an uncomfortable situation when it start to float. The ideal site is flat and slightly elevated compared to the rest of the land.
Pay attention to the direction of the wind. Position the side of your tent where the door is in the opposite direction of the wind, to prevent the tent from swelling and the wind from creating tension on the walls.
- Try to protect yourself naturally near the trees, especially if there is a lot of wind. Get closer to the trees so that they block the wind.
- Avoid camping in dry rivers in case a sudden flood occurs and avoid camping under trees, this can be dangerous during storms, as branches can fall on your tent without warning.
Determine the position of the sun when it rises. You could anticipate the position of the sun in the morning so as not to wake up badly. In the summer, the tents can turn into an oven, which means you could wake up sweaty and in a bad mood if you put your tent in full sun in the morning. The perfect place to pitch your tent is a place that will be in the shade in the morning to wake you up gently at the time you have chosen.
Organize your camp properly. Set up the tent away from where you are going to cook and where you are going to do your needs, being careful that the wind does not blow from these areas to your tent. If you make a fire, make sure that it is far enough away from the tent, that sparks do not set it on fire and turn it off completely, in the evening before going to bed.
Setting up the tent
Put a tarp on the floor before setting up the tent. When setting up your tent, it is important to place a barrier between the ground and your tent to avoid moisture build-up. You should have a good quality plastic or vinyl sheet at the same time as your tent.
- Fold the tarp to give it the same area as the tent, but slightly smaller. One piece of the tarpaulin must not protrude from the tent, otherwise water could seep under it if it starts to rain. Fold the longest sides and slide them under the tent.
Spread out all the rooms in the tent to have them in front of your eyes. Most modern tents are made of light nylon, poles and stakes, while older tents, such as those of the soldiers, were made of a more complicated system of poles and blankets. You need at least the tent itself and its poles, the method of assembly is usually the same.
Put the tent on the tarpaulin. Find the bottom of the tent and put this side on the tarp. Orient the windows and door in the direction you want. Lay the tent flat and focus on the poles.
Assemble the perches of the tent. Depending on your type of tent, the poles could be assembled with elastic cords or they could be numbered for you to assemble yourself. Take the poles and lay them on the tent laid flat.
Insert the perches of the tent into the corresponding flap. Most base tents have two poles that intersect in the shape of an X to form the frame of the tent. In order to hold them on the tent, you should as a rule insert the tip of each of the poles into a carnation that ends up at each corner of the tent and slide the pole into small flaps at the top of the tent or attach it to small hooks that hang from the top of the tent.
- Follow the instructions that came with your tent or look carefully at your tent to understand how the poles fit in it. All tents are different.
- View Decahlon videos for mounting all models of Quechua/Arpenaz tents
Raise the tent. You will need to be coordinated, which is why it is better to have a partner for this stage. Once you've got the two poles into their carnations and flaps, they should be bent, rigid and lift the tent to make it look like something you could sleep in.
- You will have to coax some tents. Pull on the corners to be sure that the floor forms a square and the poles do not move.
- Depending on the model of your tent, there could be small hooks attached to small ropes on the structure. Hang them on the poles that make up the basic structure of the tent, once you have lifted it. Attach all other necessary parts to the tent.
Attach the tent to the ground. Once the base of the tent forms a square on the tarpaulin, use the metal stakes that you will pass through the carnations in the corners and sink into the ground. If you are in a rocky place where the ground is very hard, you will surely need to use a hammer or a heavy object to push the stakes into the ground. It is very easy to fold some tent stakes, so be careful during this stage.
Add rain protection, if you have one. Some tents are sold with rain protection, which consists of a second layer that settles above the tent. Some of these protections attach to the structure of the tent and are more complicated than others, so read the user manual to learn how to install your rain protection.
Tidying up the tent
Dry the tent in the sun before storing it. If it rains while camping, it's important to let the tent dry well both indoors and outdoors or you'll end up with a moldy tent the next time you want to go camping. Hang it on low branches or on a clothes rack when you arrive home to dry it, then store it again until next time.
Wrap each of the rooms and store them individually. If you have a bag in which you store your tent, it may seem difficult at first to fit everything into it. There is no safe way to store your tent and it is always better to fold it the same way it was folded when you opened it. Lay down all the rooms, the tent and its protection from rain, fold them lengthwise, then roll them as tightly as possible and put them in the bag.
Do not fold the tent each time in the same way. It is important not to form folds on your tent, as they will turn into weak points and holes may form in the fabric. Roll your tent and stuff it into its bag, but avoid folding it so as not to form folds.
- The next time you go camping, it's better if you have a crumpled tent rather than a folded tent with big holes. Remember that the tent is not a fashion object, it is a shelter from the elements.
Put the stakes and poles last in the bag. Once you have tucked the tent and protection into the bag, put the stakes and poles on the side. It's a safe bet that there won't be much space in the bag, so be careful not to tear the tent with the stakes or poles.
Open your tent regularly to ventilate it. Sometimes a lot of time can pass between two camping trips. It is always better to open your tent from time to time and ventilate it in your garden to make sure that there is no mold left in the fabric or that mice have not taken up residence there. There is no need to wash it, take it out, stir it and put it back in the bag in a different way.
Camping in the rain
Consider your vacation or shipping destination. Are you going to a region experiencing regular floods? If so, expect it to rain and get ready. For other camping destinations, also expect to experience one or two rainy days and prepare accordingly. Before you leave, look at the weather forecast for the area where you are going to camp.
Choose the right tent. If many criteria come into account to choose a tent, you will also have to think about specific points when preparing for the rain:
- the external canvas of the tent will need to cover the internal structure sufficiently to prevent mud splashes from becoming a problem.
Make sure that the seams of the tent are actually airtight. This will prevent water from seeping in from all sides!
- The floor of the tent will have to go up to the sides, a bit like a bathtub, including at the entrance. If the floor of the tent falls back or is simply sewn flat to the walls of the tent, the water will enter.
- The coating of the tent will have to be waterproof (read the product labels carefully to find out about this point).
- If you are camping for a short time and the proximity to your camping comrades does not bother you, you can choose a small tent. If you are going to camp for 3 days or more, for your mental health, choose a larger model!
Set up your tent correctly. If you need to set up the tent in the rain, start by installing a tarp above you so that the rain doesn't turn your tent into a bathtub before you can finish mounting it. For more protection, also install a tarpaulin on the ground, under your tent. This floor mat should not be visible under the tent: then fold its sides so that the water flowing along the tent is not retained by this tarpaulin. Otherwise, the water could be redirected between the tarpaulin and the floor of your tent. Some tent models can be mounted with the inner part of the tent already attached to the outer part, so that the inside of the tent is not wet. If the rain is heavy, try to first install the waterproof outdoor part, then settle underneath to mount the inside of the tent.
It is not recommended to dig water drains around your tent. The new tent floors do not let water in, even if you place them in a large puddle. Digging the ground, you would damage the terrain and leave it in pitiful condition for other campers. Nevertheless, if you are camping on sand or gravel, you may need to dig around your tent. And in case your tent still allows the water to penetrate, take a tarp to place on the ground inside the tent in order to stay dry.
The location of your tent is very important. Spot slopes, angles, hollows, too soft terrain and avoid pitching your tent. Instead, look for the highest location on your campground. Choose your location carefully, because a place that seems quite suitable in good weather could turn into a pond in the rain! Avoid places with signs of previous flooding (earth flows, debris, bowl areas, etc.). Water can be channeled to these places and flooded in a few minutes in case of heavy rain.*
Use a tarpaulin to cover your tent and/or as a doormat. If possible, attach a tarp to trees, stakes or any other high element of your camp (even to your car), in order to create a "roof" above your tent. Make sure that the edges of the tarp protrude from those of the tent and let the water fall past the tent. This will prevent the rain from falling directly on your tent. This solution is usually the easiest to set up if you go camping by car. You can also place a tarpaulin on the floor, at the entrance of your tent. You will put your wet shoes and jackets there rather than having to tuck them into your tent. Otherwise, remember to bring plastic bags in which to place your shoes full of mud. Use sticks or other water-resistant elements as racks: place them at the entrance of your tent and place your wet jackets in them to dry. Then choose a waterproof, quick-drying jacket and invest in a good sweater or two so as not to get cold.
Make sure your tent is sufficiently ventilated. As you spend time in your tent, the moisture in your breathing will condense into small drops, which could then fall back on you and your belongings. To limit condensation, you will need to make sure your tent is ventilated. The more airy it is, the less wet it will be inside. Tents with awning are then ideal, because you can leave them open even when it rains.
Keep ultra-absorbent towels handy to wipe off any traces of water inside the tent. If, despite all your precautions, water enters your tent, wipe it with these towels, wring them out and hang them so that they dry. In order to stay dry, mop up the water as soon as you see it. It will also be time to get out of your cozy sleeping bag and find out where this water comes from: maybe you will have to adjust the tarps or circulate more air?
Bring the right equipment.
- Keep a spare outfit in a waterproof bag, just in case, by misfortune, all your belongings are soaked.
- Keep a pair of flip flops or slippers at the entrance of your tent. Pack a pair of easy-to-put on and take off shoes that you'll wear when you're at camp. Plastic boots may be very convenient for walking in the camping area, but for hiking, don't forget your walking shoes.
- At night, remember to tuck the rain coats inside the tent. Perhaps the evening is sweet and starry, but a thunderstorm could arise in the middle of the night and, if you have left your jacket on a tree or in your car, you will blame yourself in the morning. If you're going camping by car, always pack an umbrella or two.
- Pack light hand warmers and gloves. Even in the summer, light, waterproof gloves will prevent your hands from freezing when you go up and unmount your tent in the rain.
Carefully disassemble your tent. If possible, disassemble your tent under the tarpaulin and put it away before going out in the rain. If you continue your camping outing in a dry place, go up the tent as soon as possible, so that it has time to dry thanks to the sun and the breeze: you will spend a dry night. And if you have the luxury of abandoning the campsite and retreating to the hotel or going home, take out your tent as soon as you can in order to dry it. If you have to, take it out in the hotel parking lot. Never leave a wet tent in its cover or mold would develop.
Remember to buy a tarpaulin to put in your tent. You will thus protect the floor of your tent from tears and prevent water from entering it. Nevertheless, make sure that the tarpaulin is entirely under the tent,as edges that would protrude might hold water around and below your tent.
Large resealable plastic bags or airtight bags will be your best friends. The shoes, socks and anything you can fit in these bags will remain dry,despite thunderstorms that could flood your tent.
A "four seasons" tent is designed for winter and will not necessarily protect you better from the rain. These tents are designed for snowfall and strong winds. Using this type of tent in the summer, you would wear heavier equipment than necessary. These tents are also less ventilated than the "three seasons" tents.
Also remember to bring small wood in a resealable bag. If it rains, the small wood you would find on site will be soaked. If possible, keep your wood in the car. If you do not have small dry wood, use a knife to remove a layer 2-3 mm thick of wet wood tips. The inside of the wood will be dry. To get large dry wood, cut logs the size of your forearm into quarters or halves. Inside, the wood will be dry. Also remember to look for wood at the base of the trees, just at the foot of the trunk: this is usually where the soil remains the driest.
Place a double tarpaulin inside your tent. This will protect the floor of your tent and keep you dry. Use very long metal stakes to secure your tent at the four corners, in case the wind start blowing hard.
Make sure your tent is properly attached to the ground. It will have to be tense enough so that you can bounce a coin from it. If the tissue hangs, the water will form puddles in it and begin to seep inside. If your tent needs to be stretched, do not stretch it to the point that the outer part touches the inner part or water could seep into the tent. Be aware that as soon as the inner part touches the outer part, condensation will form: so avoid touching the tent inside or leaning on it.
The more waterproof your equipment is,the more comfortableyou will be. Make sure your sleeping bag is waterproof or waterproof. Use waterproof mattresses. Also remember to use silk sheets, because silk dries faster than cotton. If you're going camping by car, be sure to bring pillows and bed linen that can dry quickly.
If you are camping on a lot with showers and they are hot, take the opportunity to warm up. You will probably be covered in mud after setting up the tent in the rain and a good hot shower will help you regain your good mood. If you do wild camping, bury yourself deep in your sleeping bag,you probably did not go camping anyway to take a hot shower!
If you are going camping by car, park your vehicle so that it protects you from the wind. If you have a tailgate, get a special tent that you can attach to it (just be sure to turn off all the lamps in your car, so you don't run out of batteries). You will have more space to settle down while waiting for the rain to stop.
An umbrella may not seem very useful in camping,but it will be very valuable when you have to go back and forth from the tent to the car,fight to start a fire, readjust the tarpaulin of your tent or try to protect your baby from the rain.