Following are a few basic steps that apply to Alps Mountaineering tents.
Tip: If you're setting up your tent for the first time, do it at home in your backyard, rather than at the campsite in front of your friends and family.
1. Location - Always look over the area where your tent will sit and remove any sharp objects that may damage the floor. If the area isn't completely flat (and it rarely is) position the tent so your head will be uphill. If there's a chance it will rain while your tent is up, try not to place it in a low spot that could collect water.
2. Pole Assembly - Locate and assemble all of the poles. If the fly or vestibule has a separate pole(s), lay them aside so they don't get mixed up with your tent poles. Make sure all of the pole sections snap completely together. The elastic cord inside the pole sections will basically do this for you, but as the poles become a little dirty and used, they sometimes do not slide completely together.
3. Poles to the Tent - With the pole sections completely together, you are now ready to place them on the tent. Open any windows so that you can get air into the tent when it's time to set up the poles. Check to see if the tent uses any pole sleeves or if there are just pole clips. If there are pole sleeves, thread the pole sections from one corner of the tent to the opposite corner. Place all of the poles into the sleeves before putting any of the pole ends into the pole pockets. With all of the poles threaded through the sleeves, place one end of one pole into a pole pocket, then the opposite end of the pole into the pocket, and then repeat the process for the other poles. As you'll see, your tent is now basically set up. If you don't have any pole sleeves and only clips, just put the ends of the poles into the pockets and clip the tent to the poles.
4. Stake out the Tent - Stake out the tent on your "cleaned up" site. Look inside the tent to see that the floor pulled out evenly. If there are "wrinkles" running from one corner to the other, you've pulled the tent too tightly in that direction. Reposition the stakes until the floor is even and flat.
5. Put on the Fly - Place the fly over the tent, matching up the fly doors with the tent doors. Before attaching the buckles at the corners, make sure they're all loosened a little bit so you don't over-tighten the fly. The fly obviously needs to be tight, but over-tightening just stretches your fly and you'll eventually be "out of adjustment".
6. Add Guy Lines - Depending on the conditions, you may need to add guy lines. If it's windy, may become windy, or may rain, it's best to add the guy lines. The most important guy lines are the ones on the side of the tent where the wind is blowing. You may actually decide it's more important to place 2 ropes on the key guy-out points on the "windy side" so you can secure them with 2 different stakes, rather than placing a rope on the "back side" that may not do as much good.
7. Stand Back and Admire - It's always a good idea when you're finished to take a few steps back and look at the good job you just finished!
Your tent really doesn't require much, so long as you keep it clean and dry.
1. Clean up - After each trip, set your tent up and check for excess dirt and debris. If it did get dirty, use a damp sponge and mild soap to clean it. Never use a washer or dryer! Let it set up until it has completely aired-out and dried. Never store your tent wet!
2. Preventive Maintenance - Especially if you've used your tent in a lot of rainy weather, you may want to clean your poles to keep them sliding together easier and through the pole sleeves more smoothly. While cleaning is enough, a little car wax (or anything to keep them "slick") can't hurt either. The zippers are also pretty maintenance free, but a little silicone spray on the teeth (not on the fabric) will keep the zippers running more smoothly.
3. Storage - A cool dry place is best. Avoid a location like your attic that may get really hot, because the heat can damage the coating.
4. Use - Something that may cause the most harm to your tent, and you'll never "see it", is UV damage from the sun. Just don't get lazy and let your tent set up all week in your backyard as it's drying out from your last trip. These extended exposures to the sun will weaken your tent and fly sheet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to seam seal my floor or fly before I use my tent? No, you don't. All of our tents come sealed from the factory. You should be able to take your tent right out of the bag and be able to use it without any water leaking into your tent.
2. Should I use a ground cloth with my tent? Using a ground cloth will no doubt prolong the life of your tent floor. You can "sweep" your area as much as you can, and there probably will still be some small stick or stone that may punch a hole in your tent floor. Using a ground cloth is no guarantee against these small punctures, but will certainly help. Our warranty does cover defects, but not wear and tear, so whatever you can do to prolong the life of your tent floor will obviously benefit you.
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