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Camping in a Tent - Things You Need to Know

Updated on September 28, 2011

We love tent camping! My husband, son and I learn so much each time we go. It would have been nice, however, to have known a few things before we got started. Here are my favorites:

  • After purchasing a new tent, practice setting it up and taking it down in the backyard before leaving on your first trip. Setting up a campsite takes long enough as it is without reading and rereading directions on which post goes where.
  • If you have any choice in the matter, pick as level a site as possible. It's no fun camping on a hill and awakening in the middle of the night all huddled in one corner because you slid down while asleep.
  • Before assembling the tent on your site, clear the area of twigs, rocks and anything else that might be "bumpy." You'll thank yourself later.
  • Invest in a ground cover or tarp to put under your tent before setting it up. Be sure that the edges of the ground cover do not extend beyond the edges of the tent. The ground cover protects the bottom of your tent from sharp objects, provides a layer of insulation and helps keep you dry in the event of wet weather.
  • If there is even a hint that you might have wet weather on your trip, bring a tarp to string over your tent. Bungee cords are wonderful things to attach the grommets on the sides of the tarp to tent stakes. No matter how waterproof a tent claims to be, it will probably leak somewhere.
  • To keep dirt and sand at a minimum in the tent, place a small doormat just outside the door and use it! We always take off our shoes before entering the tent, too, which really helps keep the dirt down. If it's raining, take off your shoes just inside the tent and place them on a plastic bag so the tent floor won't get too wet.
  • A miniature broom and dustpan are lifesavers for keeping your home-away-from-home clean.
  • Food of any kind in the tent is a big no-no. It attracts animals and insects. Even if trash from an indoor feast is disposed of properly, it's hard to get all the crumbs out. Most creatures are great sniffers - they'll find the crumbs!
  • Unzip several window openings - at least a little bit - even in the coldest and wettest weather. Condensation forms on the walls and ceiling of the tent while you sleep and you don't want to wake up with it "raining" inside the tent!



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