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tent tips, practice too 
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Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:41 pm
Posts: 77
Location: WA
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!
k) If you have a small tent (like 7x7 or less) , you can add a layer of waterproofing for a buck: "disposable" drop cloth from the paint department of hardware store, just over everything, clipped with clothespins.

-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.
-A doormat can be a flat cardboard box, a piece of landscape fabric.
-While you're collecting cardboard, check the Store or Kitchen area for small boxes not yet broken down: they help keep things organized in your tent: shoes, bedside items, papers, etc etc.
- you might want a clothesline, but make sure it isn't a hazard to folks walking in the dark. Big safety pins can keep stuff from blowing off it.

In use:
The most vulnerable parts of a tent are the floor and the door zipper(s). Zip very carefully, take your time, Keep floor clean.
Keep wet stuff out of the tent if at all possible: parkdirty laundry, wet clothing, umbrella, shoes etc outside (but under cover).

After Fest:
Return any borrowed cardboard to the recycling areas on Saturday (Don't overload recycling on the last day.)
When you get home, put up your tent to get it totally clean and dry before storing it.

Hope this is useful to some folks! Happy camping.

Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:02 pm

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:15 pm
Posts: 281
Location: midwest
Very nice tips there. I'm a pretty experienced camper, and I do many of those things, but I can imagine lots of those tips are things someone inexperienced might not think about till too late!!

Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:40 pm

Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:57 pm
Posts: 119
Good stuff! I have used the same excellent tent for years, but I'm going to use your marking idea for matching things up this year. That will make it easier and quicker. Thanks!


Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:44 pm

Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:07 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Portland, OR
If you camp close in, you can't really leave 10' between your tent and the one next to the weekend there will be someone in that space! ;o)

Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:53 pm

Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:11 pm
Posts: 28
Location: Iowa
I think it was my third year, a new camper with a teeny tent set up her tent near us and I didn't notice at the time that it was downhill so of course it rained and her tent was completely flooded....we felt badly for her and helped her get it moved and let her stay in our screen tent until it dried out.


Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:56 pm

Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:11 pm
Posts: 385
Location: Miami Beach, Florida
Awesome ! I will read and re-read this before I leave on Saturday.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:57 am
Profile WWW

Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:41 pm
Posts: 77
Location: WA
Glad I can still be helpful.

-- "Colleen", a worker since 1992 who "aged out": the physical demands of working in the hot humidity, camping, trucking gear, seem to have gotten beyond what I can do at 68, and the expense of coming as a Festie (and the strangeness of not being in the worker world I inhabited for 13 years) makes that unlikely. But I learned a lot in all those years of flying in, and camping there for 2-4 weeks each time, so I'm happy I can at least share some tips. I miss the trees, the women, the music, the stars, the Woo. I remember fondly the hundreds of kidlets we cared for in Sprouts over many of those years. I often worked the night shift and it was wonderful to sit "guard" over a carpeted tent at 11 pm, with just the "twinkle" lights, with a dozen children sleeping in cribs and on mattresses, with clean sheets and blankies (in the woods!), adjusting the mosquito nets on the cribs, tucking in a kicked-off blanket, awaiting the grateful moms pick-ups ("Amanda played a lot with Leo, they built a store in the playhouse and liked it when Angie read them the book about fire trucks.") ("Lake has a bandaid on his leg, but he's not hurt: he wanted it when his friend needed one too.") Though I do remember with a smile the sight of a little mouse scampering down the line of sleeping was, after all, the Woods.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:39 pm

Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:50 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Minnesota
That is soooo sweet. You paint a lovely picture, colleen.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:55 pm

Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:26 am
Posts: 32
Location: Vermont
Colleen- thank you from a super appreciative mom:) whos kid's first childcare experience at 9months was at Sprouts.

Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:08 pm

Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:57 pm
Posts: 119
It makes me very sad that you are not able to attend now that you are no longer able to be a worker! Thank you for your many years of service!


Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:49 pm

Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:41 pm
Posts: 77
Location: WA
I'll be with you in spirit: may you have mild temperatures, no rain in the daytime, considerate neighbors, and warm enough clothes for Night Stage. And season it all with shooting stars, sweet smiles from strangers, and helping hands when you need them. Amazon Wimmin .......RISE !

Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:03 pm
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