Explore America's Campgrounds
If you're a bargain camper heading on a front-country or campground-based camping trip, you might consider investing in a hi-tech tent. They're relatively lightweight and easy to pitch – all you'll need is a set of stakes (which should come with the tent kit) and a mallet or hammer.
You can find hi-tech tents at most big box stores, often sold under those stores' house brands. These tents use nylon for their walls and fly and mesh fabric for the windows, which allows for air circulation while also keeping out bugs. They're a solid, simple option for most camping trips. Here's what you need to know to assemble your hi-tech tent:
Do not store the tent wet.
Start out with a clear area at your campsite. Clear out rocks and debris from the spot where you plan to pitch your tent, then pull out the tent and support poles from the storage bag. Spread out the main body of the tent where you plan to assemble it.
Put together the aluminum support poles by sliding the rod blanks – the breaks in each pole that allow the poles to fold up for storage – into each other. Avoid bending or stretching the shock cords during the assembly process. Once you're done, set the assembled poles off to the side.
You'll notice that the top of the tent has a line of sleeves where the support poles go. Thread the poles through these sleeve guides – you might need a friend on the other side to help guide the pole through to the very end.
Once you've guided all the support poles through their sleeves, they should form a star shape that radiates from the center of the top of the tent.
At the bottom of each sleeve guide, you'll find pole grommets, or little pockets for the ends of the support poles. Push the tips of the aluminum poles into these pole grommets, which should be located at the base of the tent.When you're done with this step, you should notice the tent starting to take its final shape.
As previously noted, your hi-tech tent kit should have come with stakes provided. Remove these stakes from the storage bag and push them through the stake loops attached to the tent, which should be located near the tent pole grommets at the base of the tent. Insert the stakes into the ground – you might be able to do this with your foot, if the ground is soft enough, but if not, remember to bring a hammer along with you.
Don't forget the rain fly, which comes with the hi-tech tent to protect it from rainfall. Spread the rain fly over the top of the tent, threading the vestibule pole through the sleeves that line the rain fly. Connect the vestibule pole to the main tent at the grommets located above the tent's door.
Take care when breaking down your tent to remember all the pieces and store them properly. Remove all the stakes from the ground and pull out all the support poles from their sleeves. Roll up the tent and insert it into the storage bag.
Fold up the support poles and place them and the stakes into the pole bag, then slide the pole bag into the tent storage bag. Finally, stuff the rain fly into the storage bag, as well.
- Do not store the tent wet.
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.