Bad Weather Tent Pitching - Winter Skills Guide 2010/11/06

Pitching a tent on a warm summer’s day without rain or wind is a great pleasure, for instance you can take your time and have a right laugh with your camping buddies. However as winter is just around the corner these days will become harder to find! This month I appeared in Trail Magazine. I detail how you can avoid a nightmare time out on the hills but most importantly with any skill set it takes practice.

Guide Bad Weather Tent Pitching

Choose the right area on the map and on the ground.

I always aim for somewhere scenic, sheltered, far above any farm workings and close to water. Once you arrive at your destination look for a nice flat area that is sheltered by the landscape and is not marshy, boggy or in a ditch as it will collect water. If it is really coming down then have a look around for a good spot, rather than rushing to the first one you see that may end up being a soggy nightmare waiting to happen!

Preparing the pitch

Before you unpack your tent, make sure there are no sharp thorns in the area of your soon to be erected haven from the elements. The last thing you want is to puncture the bottom of the tent. You should already be standing on pretty flat ground, but if you happen to be on a slight slant, make sure your head is at the top of the slope.

Inner first pitching tents

Keep the fly rolled up to stop it blowing away, have your pegs in your pocket and peg out the inner as you go along, keeping your rucksack on top of it to keep it from blowing away. Make sure you peg it out completely before inserting the inner poles, as it will act like a sail in the wind! Stick the fly over the inner and secure everything as you go along.

Outer first or pitch as one tents

Place rucksack on one end of the tent and sit on the other half. This prevents the tent from blowing away. Then peg from one side to the other to completely secure the tent, insert poles to finish the job. Easy.

Insert pegs at 45°

with the point you stick into the ground facing towards the tent. Peg all the guy lines out.  Have the lines facing into the wind for minimum drag and aim to put tension in them as well.  Tighten all the outer straps to again reduce flapping; these will be just above the eyelets to where the outer joins the inner.

Include a micro towel in your rucksack.

This will let you mop up any rain that may have sneaked its way inside. Try to keep your back to the wind at all times, as this prevents the tent material from giving you a nasty smack! And if heavy rain does put a dampener on your hike, just think, you always remember the bad ones.

- Sunny

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