How to Assemble a Dome Tent

How to Assemble a Dome Tent
If you're not accustomed to assembling tents, pitching a dome tent for the first time without instructions can be a challenge. The following are basic set-up steps for this type of tent, though they won't be a perfect match for every single tent, since tents all differ in design. With the basic process, though, you should be able to set your tent up in a logical, thorough manner.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Lay down the tent footprint first, if you have one, then the main tent. Pull the tent out and determine how the poles are integrated into the body. You should see either clips or sleeves, which serve to connect the tent to the poles. Check for color-coding that some tents use to show which pole goes where. If there's no coloring, look carefully and determine how the poles are set-up.
Step 2
Build all the poles. Standard aluminum, fiberglass and composite poles feature a number of short segments that are connected with shock cord. To build the full pole, simply push each segment together with the segment or hub next to it.
Step 3
Begin with the largest poles that create the main dome structure of the tent. When assembling a sleeved tent, insert each main pole into the sleeve and push it through to the other end. Directly underneath the sleeve on the tent's base you should see a grommet or connection point of some form to hold the pole end in place. Connect the pole end into this device, then gently bend it into shape and connect the other end into the connection point on that end. Do this for every pole that you've installed into the sleeves and you'll have a freestanding tent. This process can be easier with one person on each end.
Step 4
Assemble the clip tent. Clip tents require a slightly different strategy. Insert the end of the pole into the grommet, carefully bend it toward the other end and insert that end into the grommet. Repeat for other poles or pole ends until you have the pole-based "skeleton" of the tent. Then begin from the base and clip all of the clips onto the pole. Again, this task is easier with more than one person.
Step 5
Install any smaller poles. Some tents use smaller poles for support or to create extra space. Install these as required by your tent.
Step 6
Position the tent exactly as you want it. Then stake it out using the stake-out loops on the base. Be sure to get each stake-out good and taut.
Step 7
Put the rain fly on. If there's any chance of cold, rain or wind, you'll likely want the rain fly on at night. Drop it onto the tent, align the doors and even it out on all sides. There will be some form of clips on the bottom of the fly and possibly on its underside that will line up with connection points on the tent. Install each one. Pull the fly tight, if there is hardware to tighten it. Then guy it out using the guy lines to get it firm and taut.

Tips & Warnings

When you pack, take the tent materials out and verify that each component is there. Even one piece of missing equipment can hinder you from pitching the tent.
If possible, include a picture of the pitched tent with your supplies so that you have some reference.
Look for a spot that's away from hill bases to prevent water running downhill into the tent. The spot should also be as level and clear as possible and shouldn't be near low tree branches that can sway into 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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