Unlike the newer Coleman family tents, which have bendable poles that perk up the frame of the tent to make them wide and easily accessible, the older versions need a bit more attention. No matter where you're camping, setting up a tent in the most efficient way may save you trouble in the middle of the night.
Find the location with the flattest surface to avoid sleeping on a surface that is not level. Then, ensure that the entire area that you are placing the tent on is clear of rocks that might pierce your back in the night. Taking these initial steps at the beginning of the process can guarantee you the best results and prevent you from having to set up the tent again in a different location.
Pull the tent out of the bag and spread it apart. Lay the tent on the ground where you want it to be and stretch it as much as possible on the ground. Make sure that your door is in the direction that gives you easiest access to whatever you may need, be it the toilet, your cooler or the fire pit. You should also take into consideration the direction of the sun, to avoid any excess brightness in the morning.
Grab the hammer and spikes. The spikes must be sturdy, but they do not necessarily need to be metal. Strong wooden or plastic spikes will do. Find each corner slot on the tent and drive a spike through it so that the slot is secured to the ground. Make sure the tent is stretched to its fullest capacity when you are doing this. Once the corners are secured, drive spikes through the remaining slots. There should be a total of eight slots. If you don't have a hammer, you can use the back of an axe, or a big rock to drive the spikes into the ground.
Grab the long wooden pole that comes with the tent, or find your own. The pole for a standard family-size Coleman tent should be approximately six feet high with an approximate one-inch diameter. Enter the tent through the door and place the pole vertically in the center, elevating the tent to capacity. There is a crevice at the top of the tent that allows various pole sizes to be secured. The pole will stretch from the bottom to the top of the tent, elevating the ceiling. It is important that the tent is raised to its highest capacity, otherwise there is a risk that it will collapse.
Take the four pieces of the square metal frame and enter the tent. Place each piece through the slots at the top of the tent to create the square. The square is designed to be the exact size that is necessary to stretch the tent to capacity.
- Pine Flat Campground near Sedona, AZ image by Kathryn Little from Fotolia.com