5 mistakes everyone makes when setting up their tent

Avoid these common mistakes so you can pitch up perfect

A man setting up his tent on a hill
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Camping as a whole is great fun and a chance to make some unforgettable memories. But one of the not so fun parts is setting up your tent. Now, this isn’t just because the stakes are high for fallouts, but because there’s lots of mistakes that can be made which, ultimately could ruin your trip, or at least make it not as enjoyable.

None of us want this, so we’ve come up with list of the common mistakes people are most likely to make when setting up their tent, so that you can avoid them and pitch up perfectly. Happy camping!

Also, make sure you’ve done these 12 camping checks before you even set off on your trip, to ensure your camping gear is in tip top condition. 

1. Not setting up your tent beforehand

Two tents set up in a garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If your tent is brand new and you’ve never used it then, before you even set off on your trip, you’ll want to test it out and set it up in your garden. The last thing you want is to be figuring out how to set up your brand-new tent in the rain, or be at loose ends if you’ve forgotten the instructions. Not only that, but it’s a good idea – whether your tent is new or old – to inspect it anyway for any holes or damage. 

2. Not looking up

It's really important that you look up and check there aren’t any dangers above you before you start pitching. The last thing you want is to be camping under a bee hive, or for a tree branch to fall on your tent in the middle of the night, which may not just cause harm to your tent, but you too. 

3. Camping at the bottom or top of a hill

A woman camping on top of a hill

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You want to try and find level ground and avoid camping at the bottom of a hill, or on top of one. Why? Well, if you’re at the bottom of a hill and you run into a bad spot of weather, expect water to be trickling down to your tent. If you camp on top of a hill and find yourself in a similar situation you’re going to be completely exposed with no shelter. If you struggle to find flat ground though, just make sure you think about your sleeping position. You'll want your head at the highest point and your feet pointing downwards. 

4. Not seeking shelter

Wind can’t be helped while camping, but there are measures you can take to try and avoid it feeling like a mini earthquake. So, before you make camp, you want to figure out what direction the prevailing wind is coming from. Once you’ve figured this out, try and find shelter, whether that be a hedge, wall, or fence. These can act as a natural windbreaker and can prevent your tent from damage.

5. Not checking the ground conditions

Woman setting up tent popping tent pegs into ground

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's nothing worse than finding the perfect place to pitch your tent, only to find that the ground is rock solid and your tent pegs won't budge an inch, so you have to give up your beloved spot in search for a new one. Always check the ground conditions beforehand, not just for this, but for roots and stones too. These are just a one-way ticket to an uncomfortable night's sleep.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.