Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:41 pm
BEFORE you leave home, practice putting up your tent.
-Check that it's all there: body, poles, rainfly, stakes, groundcloth.
-Note how many stakes you'll need. The ones that come with tents are often flimsy aluminum or chunky plastic. Unless you are flying, I suggest getting long nails at the hardware store, like 8" long. Michigan is sandy and you need length if there is any pull on the stake, or it comes right out.
-Note your guy lines and bring bits of colorful ribbon or flagging tape to mark them so nobody trips over them in the dark.
-Marking the tent with a Sharpie can be useful, to note the door side, or whether to refold it in thirds or quarters, etc.
-If helpful, you can mark poles and sleeves with colored tape, if matching up the right ones is tricky. With zigzag-folded poles, a rubber band around each folded pole keeps them from tangling.
-Ground cloth. If you don't have a dedicated "footprint" piece with your tent, you'll want a tarp or piece of plastic. Needn't be a tarp: Visqueen sheeting sold in an inexpensive roll at hardware store works just as well and is lighter.
-Once it's all up in your yard, check it for waterproofness. If it's an old tent, you may want to seam seal it before testing it. It should be able to stay dry inside with a hose poured over the whole thing. Of course make sure it's totally dry before packing it up again.
-Arrive at your site with access to your water, mosquito spray, and sting first aid.
-Check your site well. Just sit there for a while. In haste I have pitched my tent
a) over the exit hole of a burrowing animal (who surfaced at 5 am the next morning, wanting out)
b) right in the path of a wasp whose home was a hole in a right-there tree (and who stung me)
c) under a dangerously balanced dead branch high up above me
d) in the path of rain run-off: do not trench, but you can lay a dead branch across the ground up hill from your tent.
-Prepare your site
a) Ferns. Do not cut or pull. Just step them down, bending them at the ground. They will recover after Fest.
b) Other brush: don't break or cut trees or bushes, find a place where this isn't necessary.
c) Leave at least ten feet from any other camp site.
d) Remove debris from where your tent will be: lumpy branches, etc.
e) Fly your tarp if you're doing that.
-Put up your tent
f) You want FLAT. If there is any slope at all, you want your head uphill.
g) Lay out your ground cloth - Visqueen plastic sheet, old plastic shower curtain, tarp you have cut to size when you practiced at home.
h) Put up your tent. Consider asking a neighbor for help - a good way to make a friend.
i) Crawl in and feel all over the floor for lumps and foreign matter underneath and eliminate it.
j) MAKE SURE your tarp doesn't stick out beyond your tent: in a rain, the water pours down the outside of the tent, onto the tarp edge and thence to the low spot under your tent, which is typically under your butt!
-Mark your tent site with a bright scarf, flag, etc in a tree up high enough to see when there are lots more tents up.
-Protect your tent floor. A small rag rug, or flattened cardboard from the recycling pile, will protect the floor and make it easier to clean.
-You might also want cardboard for a doormat outside your door and some not-broken-down boxes from Store or Kitchen for organizing inside your tent: shoes, bedside items, water bottles, etc.
-If you put up a clothesline make it high enough not to be a hazard to people walking in the dark.
The vulnerable parts of a tent are the floor and the zipper(s): be careful with the door zip especially.
Keep wet stuff out of the tent. Store dirty laundry, wet clothing, umbrella, shoes etc out of tent but under cover, if feasible.
Always assume it might rain while you are away from the site. And over night.
Return any borrowed cardboard to recycling by Saturday.
After you strike camp, very carefully pick up every last little bit of litter, anything in trees or bushes, absolutely every bit. Replace any logs etc you may have moved.
Once home, set up tent again to be sure it's totally clean and dry before storing it.