Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:41 pm
You never know what Fest weather will be like. Your camp set up could be in hot sun, humidity, rain, darkness, whatever! You can help yourselves a lot with some advance planning.
TENT: Absolutely test your tent before you go. Put it all up, make sure you have all the pieces. The land is very sandy, with few rocks: bring longer stakes than the stubby ones that often come with the tent--- your local hardware store has bins of loose nails, and you can get a handful of 6-8" nails that work well in sand. Test the tent for waterproofing: a Michigan summer rainstorm can be like a bathtub faucet full blast! Zip up your tent and give it a thorough hosing down. Apply seam sealant to a dry tent as needed. If your poles are tricky, try marking with colored tape, bundling together with rubber bands, or whatever will make it the most efficient to sort out once in the woods.
SITE: Take time to just sit and observe, once you think you have a site you'd choose. Look for animal burrows (I had a critter trying to surface under my tent at 5 am), wasp flight patterns (can nest in ground or hole in tree trunk-- learned that the hard way too); look hard at the branches in the big trees overhead, and avoid loose dead branches that could come crashing down in one of those storms. As you do this, you are also advised to take another big drink of water or juice, maybe have a granola bar, anoint yourself liberally with mosquito repellant. Consider where the water will run during a rainstorm. No trenching allowed, but you can lay a log crosswise upslope from your tent. Look for the flattest place you can find. Mark your site with a bright banner or scarf or such in a nearby tree, visible from a distance: others will arrive and the look of things will change!
PACK water, snack, mosquito stuff in an easily accessible part of your luggage. Also have handy some 3-mil "contractor" bags (black trash bags but the 3 mil heavy ones only): these can cover your stuff if it's raining.
LAYOUT: You are supposed to leave at least ten feet between tents. People will come later and set up, maybe very near you. (why they recommend earplugs!) Don't pull up or cut any ferns, but you can walk them over flat (they recover later). Decide which way you want to face and how you'll approach your tent, stepping down a path in the ferns if needed. Put down a footprint tarp, feel around for lumps under it, and once the tent is up, make sure NONE of the tarp sticks out from under the edges of your tent (a sure way to channel rain under your bed...).
ONCE you are set up, make sure you have zero food in the tent that is not in super-raccoon-proof packaging: better even then to have it outside your tent: they are amazingly adept at getting into tents and food containers. Catch your breath, and then look around for someone to help! You will have an instant friend, if you help a gal wrassle her tent up, or watch her kid while she gets set up.