How to Pitch a Dome Tent

How to Pitch a Dome Tent
Pitching a tent for the first time without instructions can be difficult. While every tent is a little different, all dome tents pitch much the same. Therefore, with a little organization and strategy, you should be able to pitch the tent with or without directions.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • All tent pieces (tent body, poles, stakes, rain fly, guy lines)
  • Tent box or a picture of the tent
  • Mallet
  • Ground sheet/footprint (optional)
Step 1
Get the tent box. If you do not have the box, search for a picture of the assembled tent. It helps to at least see the tent in its pitched form so that you can compare the equipment and better orient yourself. If it is an older tent, this might not be possible, but it does not hurt to try.
Step 2
Study the tent body. Look for the webbing and grommets used to connect the pole ends. Look for the sleeves or clips that attach the body to the poles. Some tents use color coding to make set-up easier (i.e., silver poles to silver webbing) so look for this. Check out where the doors, stake-out loops and guy outs are. Assemble the tent poles and determine how they will be situated on the tent. After spending a little while studying your tent, you should have a good idea of exactly how it will need to be set up.
Step 3
Assemble all your poles and hubs together. Most modern poles break down into individual segments held together by shock cord. To assemble, simply connect the segments together into the full pole or pole system.
Step 4
Put a ground sheet or footprint down, if you want to use one to protect the tent bottom. Lay the tent out how you want it to face. If you are confident in your placement, you can stake out the corners prior to assembly to keep the tent in place. If not, assemble the tent first, situate it and then stake it out.
Step 5
Begin attaching the poles to the tent. For a tent that uses clips, push each pole end into the appropriate grommet and snap the clips up each pole. For sleeves, push the pole up and through the sleeve from end to end, push each end into the grommet and repeat for all poles until the tent is freestanding. Double check that you have properly used each pole and have connected all clips.
Step 6
Connect any other poles. Some tents have support poles that connect between the main poles. Insert these and attach any clips.
Step 7
Stake the tent out if you have not yet done so. Position the tent just right and then work around in one direction and stake each loop out by pulling the loop tight and pounding the stake into the ground with the mallet.
Step 8
Install the rain fly. On a clear, warm night, you may opt for the breezes and stargazing provided by an open tent. However, if it is raining, cold or windy, you should install the fly right away. Align the doors on the fly with those on the tent, throw the fly over top of the tent and then connect the fly to the poles or tent body. Depending on the design, you may snap the fly into clips on the corner webbing, or you may need to connect the pole ends to the fly grommets. There may also be elastic on the underside of the fly to connect to the tent body itself.
Step 9
Pound the remaining stakes out through the guy-out loops of the fly to get it taut and rigid. Tighten any buckles or dials on the fly and make sure that it is good and taut.

Tips & Warnings

Find a good level area that is sheltered from draining water, branches and wind.
Be sure to clean off the area where you're pitching the tent.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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