How to Set Up a Canvas Tent

How to Set Up a Canvas TentCanvas tents have a number of virtues. Their fabric is durable, water-resistant, and remains relatively cool in the summer sun. A variety of cheap, two-man canvas tents that are perfect for camping are readily available on the surplus market. While most canvas tents lack snap-to tent poles and pop-up capability, even the most old fashioned canvas tent is still simple to set up.


Difficulty: Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Canvas fly tent (includes support poles, stakes and lines)
  • A helper or a heavy rock
  • Hammer
Step 1
Examine the proposed campsite. The tent site should be level, well-drained and have enough soil or sand to drive your tent stakes into. If your campsite does not meet all three of these criteria, move to another location.
Step 2
Spread out the floor and top of the canvas tent on top of each other on the ground. The tent fabric should not be bunched up and the guy line (the cord running through the top of the tent) should be free of obstruction or entanglement.
Step 3
Pick which support pole you wish to use first and drive it into the ground with a hammer, either immediately in front of or behind the tent. Continue to drive the pole into the ground until it is firmly planted in the ground and the top is on a rough level with the height of the tent. Tents of this kind range from 4 to 7 feet high, so exactly how far to drive the tent pole depends on the canvas tent you have.
Step 4
Anchor the guy line with a big rock or some other heavy object, or have a friend hold it down for you. Draw the guy line tight over the top of the first pole, hook it with a tent stake, and drive the tent stake into the ground.
Step 5
Drive the second tent pole and repeat the process of drawing the line taut over the top of the pole and anchoring it with a tent stake. If you drove in the first pole in front of the tent, drive this one in immediately behind the tent. The guy line will now be suspended above the tent floor, with the tent's canvas top hanging from it and the tent poles.
Step 6
Pull out and secure the corners of the tent by anchoring their loops with tent stakes.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.