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TOP TEN POINTS ON TENT PITCHING

Camping Out Under The Stars

The popularity of tent-based camping is as strong as ever, and today almost every holiday park across Australia contains dedicated tent sites.

Anyone who has pitched a tent before will tell you that the first time is always the hardest, and the simplest mistake inexperienced campers can make is to turn up to the campsite with no idea how to do it – especially if it's dark! So here are some tips to ensure the camping experience with your tent is as smooth and enjoyable as possible:

1 Practice pitching your tent before you get to the campsite itself. The backyard or even the living room are good places to start – but make sure you at least get the tent out of its bag and make sure that all the parts you need are in there! The most embarrassing and annoying camping experience comes when you get to the campsite and find you are missing vital bits and bobs – don't let it happen to you!

2 While you're at it, it is also worth testing your tent to check whether it is well water and hole proofed. A quick spray with a hose is usually enough.

3 Whether you are new to tents or if you have simply got the latest model, it is highly recommended you take a look at the instructions before you dive into pitching – or at least that you take the manual with you on your trip. And fellas, that includes you!

4 Especially if you are inexperienced, try to time your trip so you arrive at your site with plenty of daylight left. Pitching a tent for the first time in the dark is a recipe for disaster!

5 When choosing your site, you should avoid pitching in depressions or valleys where water could collect. As a rule of thumb, you should always expect rain when camping, so make sure you prepare for it. You don't want to wake up during the night in a puddle!

6 Pitching a tent in a shady spot can be a positive for your camping equipment, as the harsh Aussie sun can damage the fabric of your tent. But pitch under trees with caution, especially if you are expecting inclement weather conditions. Trees can act as lightning rods during storms and falling branches can also be hazardous.

7 Once you have chosen your ideal site, make sure you clear the area where you are going to pitch your tent of sticks and stones. A flat, clean site is the recipe to a good night's sleep!

8 When pitching, make sure you drive your stakes well into the ground, that you use all of the stakes that come with the tent, and that you position them as far out as you can pull the tent. A taut tent ensures you have plenty of room inside.

9 For most tents, the best way to go is to drive your stakes into the ground before using the rods to make the tent pop up into its proper form. This is a simple way to make the pitching process less awkward and time-consuming.

10 Finally, to ensure your sleep is as sound as possible, make sure you bring a ground cloth to place under your tent and something to sleep on, whether it is a sleeping mat or mattress. Don't spoil your camping experience with a poor night's sleep – be prepared!