Dome Tent Instructions

by Martin Malcolm
A dome tent is a popular choice for hikers and cyclists.

A dome tent is a popular choice for hikers and cyclists.

Dome tents are quick to set up and light to carry, making them popular with hikers, cyclists and other travelers. A dome tent has an inner layer with an integrated groundsheet, and a waterproof outer layer that acts as a rain cover. The tent's flexible poles cope well with high winds. Its rounded shape allows rain to flow off and prevents buildup of snow, while offering plenty of headroom within. The tent is so sturdy you can even pick it up and move it without having to take it apart. This is a big advantage if you need to change your camping spot.

1. Clear the area where you plan to put up your tent of all stones, twigs or other sharp objects that could tear its fabric or injure anyone lying inside.

2. Remove the tent and all other items from the storage bag. Lay out the inner layer of the tent and the outer layer separately. Put the tent poles and tent pegs in individual piles. A neat and organized approach like this will help you keep track of the equipment and put up the tent as quickly as possible.

3. Spread the inner layer flat, with its waterproof groundsheet toward the ground and the tent entrance facing away from the wind. Push a tent peg through the ring at one corner of the inner layer and use a mallet to hammer the peg securely into the ground. Go to the corner directly opposite. Pull the fabric tight, then peg down that corner, too. Peg down the other corners in the same way and peg down any points along the sides where there are rings.

4. Straighten the individual sections of the tent poles. Each pole is made up of hollow tubes around an elastic-type cord. As you straighten the sections, the tubes snap together to form a single, long, flexible pole. Depending on the design of your tent, typically you should have two long poles for supporting the dome and one shorter pole for supporting the doorway.

5. Slide the two long poles through the sleeves or rings on top of the inner layer of the tent. On some designs, there are tie ribbons or Velcro strips instead of sleeves or rings. If so, lay the poles on top of the inner layer of the tent and attach them to it, using the ribbons or Velcro strips. In all cases, when you have finished, the poles should cross in the middle to form an "X" shape. At each corner of the tent there is a ring, plug or eyelet to receive the pole end. Bend the poles and push their ends into these fittings. The bent poles will now form a dome.

6. Lay the outer layer of the tent over the dome to form a rain cover. Use the tie ribbons, Velcro strips or clips on the inside of the rain cover to attach it to the tent poles. Pull the edges of the rain cover taut, to create a space between the outer and inner layers of the tent. This will stop any rain from getting inside. Anchor one corner of the rain cover by putting a tent peg through the corner's loop or ring and hammering the peg into the ground. Work from corner to corner and then along the sides, pegging down the rain cover just as you did the inner layer of the tent. This will keep the rain cover taut.

7. Slide the third pole, if there is one, through the sleeves or rings on the inner layer of the tent around its entrance. Bend the pole into an arc. Push the ends of the arc into the fittings at the base of the entrance.

8. Unwind any guy ropes attached to the rain cover, extending them about two feet from the edge of the tent. Put a tent peg through the loop at the end of each rope -- the ropes may be permanently looped or you may have to tie a loop yourself -- and hammer the peg into the ground using a mallet. Tighten each guy rope by pulling on the fitting that holds the loop. Tight guy ropes help keep the rain cover taut and give the tent greater stability in windy weather. Some designs of dome tents do not have guy ropes and the rain cover is simply pegged directly to the ground as described above.

9. Stow your belongings inside the tent; then zip it closed to keep out bugs, midges and other insects.

Items you will need

  • Dome tent, including poles
  • 12 to 14 tent pegs
  • Mallet

About the Author

British writer Martin Malcolm specializes in children's nonfiction. His books include "A Giant in Ancient Egypt" and "Poetry By Numbers." His schoolkids' campaign for the Red Cross won the 2008 Charity Award. A qualified teacher, he has written for the BBC and MTV. He holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of London.

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