Ask yourself a question: “How hard is it to make a logo with Adobe Illustrator”? Well, it’s not that hard if you have certain skills, knowledge, or experience. But it would be hard if you don’t have any of these.
It’s the same thing with setting up a tent. It depends on your previous experience, a tent model, the terrain, the time of day, and on the most important thing: the user manual. If you have one, you are blessed; if not, you need some of the skills. But let’s go further with this.
Small and simple tents
If you’ve never ever tried to set up a tent, or never watched someone doing it, then you’ll need some time. There are a lot of camping tents with a simple designs, made mostly for sunny weather. These types of tents are the easiest to set up. Usually, they come with the poles, the stakes, the ground cloth (or a footprint) and only one layer of waterproof material.
One of the most important things is to find a perfect spot to raise the tent. Look for a flat and clean surface if possible. If not, try to make it flat and clean. Remove all rocks (you will thank me later), sticks and all other debris from the ground and don’t place the tent under the tree if there are any chances for rain (for safety reasons).
Basically, you need to follow these steps:
- Set a plastic tarp (it will protect your tent from moisture and possible scratches)
- Put a footprint above (if you have it, if not – continue to number 3)
- Put a tent on the tarp
- Connect all poles (usually, they are all connected with the rope)
- Insert those poles into the tent
- Pull up the tent
- Set the stakes properly
- Your tent is ready
These are just basic steps, they can differ from the type of tent, but usually are the most important.
Now, remember I told you these are the easiest tents to set up? I lied.
Pop Up tents
If you have a pop-up tent, then everything goes super easy. They are super fast to set up (a few seconds) and easy to fold up. These are the types of tents you want if you don’t want to lose time on setups. It’s great to have an extra waterproof layer to cover the tent. It’s commonly known as the rain fly. Some tents have it by default, but most of the light tents don’t.
My favorite one is a Mammoth Camping Tent, it’s very similar to the first tent with the pull-up option I had (McKinley, they don’t sell that model anymore). I like it, cause it’s effortless and fast to raise as well as to fold up. And, best of all, you don’t need the footprint or the rain fly for this model. It has all built in. You can place it wherever you want. Make sure to check Amazon for the current price of this tent and get more information.
Big tents are usually more complicated to set up, but you don’t buy one only for yourself. Most of the time, you will have a couple of people to help you with the setup. Your wife, kids or your friends, depends on who you are camping with.
The process is almost the same as for the small and simple ones, but with more poles, stakes, and ropes. If you have an experienced guy with you it will go much easier. Anyway, I would always recommend looking for the user manual for the type of tent you have, before going anywhere. Google will help you with that, and you will save yourself a lot of time and effort.
When I was younger, I went camping with my family, my uncle, and my cousins at the Garibaldi Provincial Park, next to Vancouver, Canada. There were eight of us and we had a tent for six people. Luckily, we were kids and we managed somehow to squeeze ourselves together with our parents.
So, next time, my uncle bought two tents, each one for six people (just in case, he said). That was the first time I was actively helping with the setups. And it was really exhausting, even though I was older then.
I was trying to find the same model on the internet but without any luck (will try to find some photos if there are any still somewhere). While I was searching for the model we were using many years ago, I found a new model that will be most suitable for first-time campers, with big families or with a lot of friends. The name of this model is Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin and you can find it on Amazon if you follow this link. The best thing about this model is that you don’t need any previous knowledge of how to set up a tent. It’s waterproof, big enough, and it’s made of high-quality materials.
I hope my article helped you with your question. Remember, nothing is hard if you are persistent. If you need some exercise you can practice in your backyard, even in your living room (if it’s big enough). Or you can just go with your friends, or take your family on a one-day vacation in nature and use that time to practice.
You can even make a game of it. Start counting the time you need to set up everything or play with your kids. I’m sure they would appreciate the time spent learning these things for years that will come.
As someone once said: “Repetition is the mother of all learning”. Think about this, and you will become an expert in setting up a tent. Or even a grand master of that skill. And one day you will catch yourself sitting in a shade and drinking a cold beer while someone else is doing the hard work.