Camping skills: how to pitch and pack an inflatable tent
Ever wondered how to put an inflatable tent up? For camping beginners, or those who just want to brush up on their camping skills, help is at hand – just follow our easy guide to pitching and packing an inflatable tent.
Pitching your inflatable tent
1. Read the instructions Most manufacturers have detailed instructions on their websites and even a video to guide you through the pitching process, so make sure you follow these thoroughly and use all the available advice.
2. Lay the tent out flat Remove from the bag, unfold the tent, find the door, and place it where you want it. Lay it out flat and peg down the corners.
3. Find the valves and attach the pump Different brands will have the valves in different places on the tent. Some have a single valve, others have one for each beam. Depending on your model, the pump fitting will either screw in, click in or push into the valve. Check that the fitting on your pump matches the valve on the tent.
4. Start inflating Make sure you don’t pump too much air into the beam – ideally use a pump with a pressure gauge.
5. Push the beams into shape As the air fills the beams they will need a little help to form into the correct shape. If it’s a bit breezy you might need a helping hand here – especially if you’ve got a large or heavy tent.
6. Peg out You might be feeling a bit pegged out and pooped after all that pumping! Of course, we really mean you need to peg out the groundsheet and the side walls, checking for creases as you go along. Insert any poles for canopies, etc.
7. Peg out the guylines Unravel the guyropes and peg them loosely round the tent before tightening them up.
8. Relax! Fifteen minutes later and you’ve done it - the inflatable tent is up and it's time to start enjoying your camping experience.
Packing up your inflatable tent
Most campers will be familiar with the packing up blues. You collapse the tent and roll it up into the tightest pack possible, but it still won’t go back into the bag from which you unpacked it just a few days ago.
The temptation is to sling the wretched thing into the boot and head for home. But with a little extra care, you should be able to get the tent back in its bag in no time. Here’s how...
- Unpeg all the guys and keep the pegs all together in one place. If it’s windy leave a couple of corner pegs in until the last minute.
- Use other pegs or an extractor tool to lift any pegs that are stuck fast.
- Roll up the guyropes nice and tight.
- Partially zip up the door, leaving a gap for air to escape from inside the tent.
- Collapse the tent with the poles in place or deflate if it’s an inflatable model.
- Remove the poles: taking out ‘pins’ attaching them to the foot of the tent. Give them a wipe if they are damp or dirty.
- Straighten out the fabric and fold it into thirds.
- Get the bag and measure it against the folded tent. Fold again and again if necessary until they match up.
- ‘Squash’ the air from inside towards the door end.
- Lay the pole bag across the width of the folded tent and start rolling from the closed end.
- Keep as much tension as you can on it and if you aren’t happy it’s tight enough, start over again sooner rather than later.
- Keep rolling, using your knees to expel any air, or use any spare children to push the air out. If you’ve got it tight enough, the pack should fit comfortably into the bag.
- It can be easier to put bag to tent rather than tent to bag.
- Zip up the bag, and use your knees to squash the two sides of the zip together. Using your fingers to keep the material away from the zip jaws can help.
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