How to Put a Tent Together: The Basics (Plus Helpful Tips)

Learn about the six person cabin tent.

Learning how to put a tent together is an important step before you leave for camp. If you have just purchased a tent, for example, do take the time to put it up in your backyard before you go camping.

The Basics on How to Put a Tent Together

Every tent is a bit different from the next one. However, there are some common traits found in putting up a tent across the board. Putting a tent up is also called pitching the tent. Learning to build a tent is a useful skill. The following steps will help you to build your tent, though you should follow any directions provided by the tent manufacturer first, if possible.

Packaging and Inventory

Before doing anything else, remove all items from the package the tent arrives in. It is critical to take the time to ensure that all pieces of the tent assembly are available to you. This generally includes several poles and a large sheet such as a tarp made of plastic or cloth. Some tents also come with a fly, which is an additional tarp that will stretch over the top of the tent to protect it.

Assemble the Poles

The poles will form the frame of the tent. Each tent has a unique shape, which is why it is helpful to read the directions provided with the tent. You need to know the shape of the tent to be able to fit the poles together. Some are cone shaped others are domes, house style or even pyramid shaped tents.

The poles will fit within each other snugly but you should not have to force them unless they are bent. Some will lock into place while others just fit snugly together. Construct the tent frame as much as is possible.

Assemble the Tent Body

Some tents have a design to allow the frame to receive coverage with the actual tarp or tent material. However, most of today's new tents come with small pockets that you will slide the frame into. These pockets usually run along the edges of the tent, such as at the corners and along the bottom of the tent. The tent material will tighten up as you insert the frame into each portion of the tent.Once you have the frame placed inside these pockets, each frame piece will lock into place with an adjacent one. This usually occurs at the corners where two pieces interlock together to add stability. In many cases, just assembling the tent in this manner will create the shape needed.

Attach the Fly

Some tents come with a fly, which is a large tarp that is placed over the top of the tent after it has been constructed. The fly keeps rain off the tent itself, adding a layer of protection to the tent and to you when you sleep inside. To attach the fly, simply connect the fly tarp at the points on the tent where there are attachments located. The fly forms a tight covering several inches over the top of the tent itself.

Tips for Building a Tent

When you learn how to put a tent together, you will find that the practice is simpler when you are constructing it rather than reading how to do it. The following tips can help ensure that the tent is correctly up.

How to Put Up a Tent
  • A tent may or may not have several compartments within it. If it does have added "rooms" within the main tent, there may be additional framing to do once the outside frame is in place.
  • Putting up a tent is easier when there is more than one person doing it. Many tents are designed for two people to put them up.
  • Do clean the tent and allow it to dry fully before rolling it up and storing it in its original packaging. If you do not do this, the tent could be damaged.
  • If you have a difficult to assemble tent, visit the manufacturer's website to find further instructions on assembling the tent.
  • A properly assembled tent may still need waterproofing to ensure that it does not allow rain to penetrate it.
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How to Put a Tent Together: The Basics (Plus Helpful Tips)