5 Common Mistakes When Pitching a Tent

Whether it is your first time camping or you are an experienced camper, you should never give less attention to pitching a tent. You might be aware of what needs to be done, but familiarizing yourself with the common mistakes others do, will help you avoid them.

5 Common mistakes when pitching a tent

Here are the common mistakes most beginners make when pitching a tent. Read through to avoid them when camping!

1.     Not picking the right place to pitch the tent


Many people assume that they can pitch a tent anywhere on the campsites. But, this is far from the truth. You have to consider the pitching ground, proximity to the water source and campfire, the surrounding sauna, and your potential neighbors.

Here are the 4 mistakes people easily make when it comes to picking the right place:

●       Not finding good ground

Tent camping means you have to sleep on the ground, which is tough enough. A quality tent and good sleeping bag help, but it might not help much if you do not find good ground.

Apart from ensuring the ground is free of roots, branches, and rocks, it should also be flat and a bit high. The low ground can be a disaster if it rains; even one inch of rainfall is enough to fill up your tent. If you are afraid of damaging your tent floor, then consider investing in a footprint or tarp.

●       Pitching tent near campfires and water source for comfort

You want some comfort near campfires and water sources, but I am sure you don’t want to risk your tent being on flame due to flying embers or carried by floods. That is why it is advisable not to set a tent near campfires and water sources. Ensure your tent is at least 200 feet away from dangerous elements.

●       Creating an Inadvertent Sauna

Many beginners pitch a tent anywhere, even under direct sunlight. If you do this, you will return after a day’s long activities to an unbearable amount of heat trapped in the tent. This can be uncomfortable, and it takes time before temperatures normalize.

So, to avoid the problem, pitch the tent where there is shade, either under high trees or natural outcropping of rocks. However, this will not have a big impact if you don’t have a summer tent.

●       Not scoping your potential neighbors

Once some campers set their eyes in a place, they don’t mind knowing their potential neighbors. This mistake could make your camping experience uncomfortable or that of your neighbors. Think about whether you want to catch some sleep in the morning. If so, avoid pitching your tent near families with young kids.

And, if you plan to stay up late with some music or near campfires, pitch your tent away from families. This way, you allow them to sleep without interruption.

2.     Not looking up

Many campers focus on the ground so much that they forget to look up when pitching a tent. The reason you should look up is to ensure there are no spider webs, beehives, and other things that may pose a risk. Importantly, check that there are no window makers (loose overhead debris, e.g., treetops and limbs that can fall any time) and, if any, avoid the place.

It is easy to spot the window makers, but you might be awoken by falling tree branches if you do not look up. Besides destroying your tent, any window maker is a treat to your life. Many people die each year during camping due to falling branches. And, this is because of not looking up.

3.     Not giving yourself time

Many beginners are always in a hurry to pitch the tent just to get it over with.  That is very wrong and a big mistake to make when pitching a tent. Leaving any minor detail can be a disaster in waiting. Do you want to wake up at night to a falling tent? Imagine having to redo it in the darkness? I am sure you do not want that to happen to you.

Always take more than enough time to set up your camp. Pay attention to all the little things that need to be done. Even experienced campers take all the time they need to ensure the tent is set up right.

4.     Not staking your tent

Mistake number 3 some campers make is not staking up their tent. Even after taking their time, some feel staking the tent is overdoing it. No! Staking your tent is necessary to ensure it can stand up even in extreme situations. Imagine waking up to a gushing wind, and your tent is blown away!

Remember, you are out in the wild, and waking up to set up an already destroyed tent is not worth it if you can do it right from the start. Apart from the tent, staking your tent protects you and everything in it.

5.     Not assessing the sun

Some campers, especially beginners, pitch a tent without caring whether it is summer or winter.  Setting the tent under direct sunlight can heat your tent during summer. This can make staying inside uncomfortable and even dangerous to you.

However, setting the tent out of the sun in the winter makes it extremely cold. This can be unbearable, especially at night. Find how the sunlight hits your tent during different times of the day. Set it based on how your morning is, as it dictates how the rest of the day will likely be.

Key Insights & Takeaway!

Pitching a Tent

You should never take the issue of pitching a tent lightly, as it makes a difference between bad and good times in the wild. Knowing what to do is important, but understanding the common mistakes to avoid is even more essential.


Ally is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent most of his free time backpacking through South America, Iceland, Vietnam, and Europe. He loves sharing his experience through blogging. His mission is to get more people in the mindset of protecting our planet by sharing its beauty.
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