How to Set Up a Tent

When camping the tent pitching process is often a source of amusement, agitation and argument. Here is my guide to pitching a tent – and a big tent at that.

1.Appoint a leader to organise the pitching process. Someone needs to take control, the person who takes control will be knowledgeable, assured, bossy, increasingly stressed and eventually resented.

2.Take the tent out of the car, you will find it located at the back of your boot, underneath your clothes, sleeping bags, chairs, cool box and dog.

3.Get the kids to find a suitable place to pitch the tent. Ideally they will be looking for somewhere flat and free from sharp objects (which could put a hole in the tent and are uncomfortable to sleep on if you are unlucky enough to have to sleep on the ground.)

4.Unpack the tent from the bag. Check you have the outer, inner (s), frame and pegs. You also need a mallet so send the kids searching for a brick to act as your mallet. When they come back with a twig, resist shouting at them since it may upset them and their productivity will drop.

5.Whilst the kids are looking for a brick choose a new place to pitch the tent. If they ask why you decided to pitch the tent here rather than there, resist telling them the real reason (that you are a control freak) and amaze them with your technical knowledge of mole hills, tree hazards and flooding risks.

6.Without using a patronising voice, start instructing your assistant (wife) to put the frame together. When your assistant says she does not know what bits go where do not shout, it will not help. Use your spatial skills to recognise what shapes go where on the tent plan and do it yourself. Failing this a trial and error method, although slow, can work over time. Some nice tent companies have colour coded the poles so that you know what bit joins to what. Whatever method you decide to follow, only erect the roof of the frame and keep the legs of the frame bent at the knees.

7.Shout at the kids to stop messing around and try to be useful.

8.Inform your assistant that it is not your fault that the tent instructions are rubbish.

9.Get everyone to drag the outer over the assembled frame (with its legs bent at the knees) feel proud that your family have worked as a team and use this moment to apologise for losing your temper.

10.Lift the tent corner by corner, straightening the legs. Implore your assistant to stop being so weak.

11.With your tent up, align it so that it looks square. Whilst doing this notice that it has begun raining and your sleeping bags and clothing are getting soaked. Drop everything and throw it all in the car.

12.Leaving the kids in the car to play (or fight), continue by pegging the outer to the ground. Pull out the guy ropes and peg these out as well. Before starting hammering with a brick it might be a good idea to empty the car again and find your first aid kit.

13.Having pegged down the tent notice that you left the tent door open. Try to close the door, when it does not close re-peg the tent. Blame the wasted time on your assistant.

14.Take the sodden inner into the tent. Unroll and gradually clip the inner into position, starting from the least accessible corner and working toward the most accessible. You are almost there, so take this opportunity to kiss and make up.

15.With the tent up, all that needs doing is the ground sheet, cooker, table and chair and bed areas. The kids can really help now, so do not blow it by shouting at them for flattening the car battery whilst they have been messing around in the car, besides you'll need everyone to search for the dog.

Campers will tell you that putting up a tent can be quite memorable, but if you prefer a simpler camping holiday without the hassle consider a camping holiday with Go Camping UK.