April 19th 2013 | Comments

How to put up a tent

Warning this article may contain the words “erect”, “erection” and “pole”. None of these are laughing matters.

With the arrival of summer comes the urge to leave the comforts of the home and go and live under canvas on a camping trip. The gentleman, of course, is thoroughly prepared for a camping trip, and ensures that he has all the correct equipment before he leaves home.

In fact, it is wise to have a collection of tents, gas cookers, sleeping bag, water carriers, etcetera, just in case Johnny North Korea goes through with his threat to unleash his nuclear arsenal, blowing us back to the stone age.

how to put up a tent

The true gentleman rejects “glamping”, luxury camping where he rolls up in his Range Rover to a tent already erected with all mod cons laid on, right up to satellite TV and a sunken bath. You may as well book into a hotel and be done with it. Proper camping is a man in a field, putting up his tent in a howling gale, while his lady wife and miserable children huddle in the car saying “Why aren’t we in a hotel?” and other challenges to the gentleman’s way of doing things.

The most important part of erecting your tent is choosing the correct pitch. Find a flat area, and ensure that it is not likely to turn into a raging torrent of water should it rain heavily. Remove stones, sticks and any deposits left behind by farm animals and wild creatures.

There are different kinds of tents, some of which have built-in ground sheets, while others require the building of tent-pole frame. However, the principle is more or less the same.

Lay your tent out, achoosing where you want to put the door. This is incredibly important, as a) you don’t want the weather blowing in through the gap at all hours, and b) other campers really don’t want to see you scratching your parts first thing in the morning.

If it’s a frame tent, lift the canvas over the built frame and peg out. This will take you forever, as even the most diligently prepared roll of canvas becomes a mass of confused cloth within seconds, but you are done.

If it’s not, peg out the corners of your tent canvas. Then crawl inside the blighter and insert your pole in the correct aperture. This may take several attempts and will make you look ridiculous, so it is a job best deleegated to a small child. Once you’ve got your pole in the right place, it is time to erect your tent, and for this you may need assistance. With your camping companions holding your poles erect, peg out the rest of the tent base and any guy ropes that are required. Instruct your companions to let go of the poles, and in most cases the tent will not collapse. And with a space safely enclosed, add any inner tents before moving in your cooking and sleeping equipment.

Then, with your centre of operations established, it is time to stride out into the countryside, leave gates open, drop litter, set fire to things, and annoy farmers. Or, go home in a huff the second it rains.

A word of genuine warning: Under no circumstances light a barbecue inside your tent or under an awning. Barbecues – even when extinguished – release carbon monoxide gas, which will kill you UTTERLY TO DEATH. Is that cremated sausage really worth it?