In general, when you arrive at the campsite reception, they get information on the size of your tend (the approximate length and width) because the price per night may change according to it. Afterwards, they show you the areas dedicated to tent camping that are, typically, open pieces of ground on which you can freely choose where to pitch the tent.
Choosing the right spot
– Search for an even and flat surface (no holes, no stones/branches). If you find a nice and soft lawn, your back will thank you.
– Avoid sleeping too close to the toilet: there are comings and goings of people all the day and night long and it’s noisy.
– During the summer, avoid areas fully exposed to the sunlight .
– Prefer areas near picnic tables, if the campsite has some of them.
– Look for areas close to at least one tree on which you can tie a string for hanging out the laundry or the damp towels.
– Avoid places right next to any waterways: too much moisture.
– In windy places, it would be better to find a sheltered spot, e.g. in the shelter of an hedge.
– Consider your neighbors and keep the distance from those who could bother you.
Before setting up your tent
Once you have found the right spot:
– Reduce, as far as possible, all sorts of terrain roughness and remove stones/branches that can damage the groundsheet of the tent. Moreover, sleeping on the stones is not very pleasant.
– Choose in which position you want to place the tent. The advice is to direct the entrance so that when you open it, neither passers-by nor the neighbors can see inside. In the case, you are not able to find a flat area, it is obviously better to direct the tent so that when you sleep, your head is higher than the feet.
Setting up the tent
At this point, you can finally set up the tent (the procedure obviously varies according to the type of tents but we can give you some general recommendations):
– Firstly, you have to fix the groundsheet and a trick to do it in the right way is to plant in the ground the first peg at one corner of the groundsheet and then the one diametrically opposite and, subsequently, proceed to fixing the other two pegs. When you fasten the groundsheet to the ground do not overstretch it, because when you pull up the tent, the strains increse and you can tear it.
– Drive the pegs into the ground not vertically but at an angle of about 45° to give stability to the tent.
– In very windy places, anchor adequately the tend to the ground using all the pegs available.
– When the soil is very stony, quite often the peg do not enter into the ground. As soon as the peg hit a stone, extract it and try again in another spot otherwise the peg will fold up.
– Do not leave the stakes only partially planted.
– If one of the rope of your tent is anchored in an area where the people can pass by, point out their presence (e.g. tie something on them).
If you have a double skin tent:
– The inner skin and the outer one must not come in touch otherwise the rain will penetrate inside for sure!
The tent is set up and now?
– Do not enter in the tent with your shoes on beacuse you can damage the groundsheet of the tent. Leave the boots in the vestibule, if you have one , or put them in a bag in the tent.
– A dry sleeping bag is essential for travellers. So, unroll the sleeping bag only when you’re going to sleep. Do not leave it spread out in tent for all day long because in the evening it will be soaked .
– In a tent is better to keep everything in order. So, take out from the backpack only what you need in that moment and then put it back. Especially in the evening, when it gets dark, it could be challenging to find what you need and in these cases the forehead flashlights are really useful.
– If you are plannig to come back to the campsite when it’s dark, remember to bring a flashlight with you.
– Do not leave food or dirty pots outside the tent, because some animals can fest with them and spread the remains all around as we’ve seen in the campsite of Saint- Malo, France (see photo below).
– Sleep with your head away from the entrance where there are more airstreams.
– Do not put valuable objects near the entrance at night.
– When you put the backpacks in tent, beware that they do not push the inner skin in contact with the outer one for the same reason explained before.
If you have bicycles:
– We remove the seats and then we park the bicycles in the dedicated grids of the campsite, when they are present; otherwise, we tie them at a tree or pole, as close as possible to the tent.
Drawings of Giancarlo Brunetti