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How to Pitch a Tent (without filing for divorce).

They say moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do. If that’s the case, then moving into a tent near a beach for your summer holidays must rank right up there.

When you move house, the house is there – already built – waiting for you to furnish it. When you go camping you need to construct your own house and everything that goes inside it – tables, kitchen cupboards and even your bed.

The trick to a good camping holiday is to ensure you stay long enough to make all this effort worthwhile.

  1. Before you leave: this is THE MOST critical step to success – aside from checking that all the parts of the tent are present and correct. Make sure the following items are the LAST things you pack (so they’re the first things you unpack):
  • a six pack of beer (or refreshment of your choice) packed in a chilly bin
  • one large packet of chips (or similar treat) per child
  • child entertainment devices – such as bikes, swingball or a cricket set.
  1. On arrival unpack the above items. Give the kids the chips and whatever entertainment you have packed for them.
  2. Crack open a cold beer (after all, it’s probably been a long drive). Survey your site and figure out how the tent should be positioned, taking into account prevailing winds, sunrises, and how much privacy you need (good luck with this last one).
  3. Unpack tent and figure out which end is the front door.
  4. Lay tent out the way you want it, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Or if you’ve pitched your tent before – try to remember which poles go where.
  5. If the kids ask to “help” give them a storage cupboard to construct. It will either keep them busy for hours, or make them disappear so quickly and for so long you’ll wonder whether you brought them with you.20151227_175620
  6. Once the tent is up and has been completely pegged out, unpeg it all, pick it up and move it the half metre it needs to be exactly where husband thinks it should be.
  7. Tell husband you need to go and check on the kids while he re-pegs the tent and gets all those pesky ropes and things sorted.
  8. Crack open another cold beer and congratulate each other on a job well done.
  9. Unpack the mountain of gear that will make up the inside of your tent. Set it out beautifully like something that would feature in a camping version of House & Garden – with a place for everything and everything in its place.20151228_103700
  10. Appreciate your good work for the 2 minutes you have before the kids arrive and turn the place into the utter shambles it will remain for the rest of the camping holiday.20151228_092907


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