Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first timer. you are far more likely to enjoy your camping holiday (and stay warm and dry) if your tent is pitched safely and securely.

When you buy a new tent, we would always recommend that you do a ‘test run’ in the safety and privacy of your garden, before you take it away on holiday and pitch in front of a (more experienced) audience. This will also allow you to check that everything is included and as it should be, and give you the chance to make any adjustments or dash to the camping store before your holiday.

The chances are your new tent is a dome tent or tunnel tent, using either fibre glass or stainless steel poles, or is an inflatable tent with air beams instead of poles. Most tents follow a similar principle, but it’s worth doing your homework in advance. Ask the retailer for advice on pitching your particular tent, or watch an instruction video online to see how it’s done.

Before you pitch

When you arrive at your campsite, take a few minute to choose your pitch. A flat pitch will be more comfortable to stay on (if you’re on a slight slope, make sure that your door is downhill to prevent rain coming in, and either sleep across the slope or put your pillow on higher ground than your feet!). Slightly soft ground makes for easier pitching (but avoid waterlogged ground) and consider overhead hazards, traffic noise such as nearby roads, railway lines etc.

Decide what amenities you want to be close to (play park, toilets…) and consider things like wind direction and shelter from surrounding hedges. Trees can provide lovely shade on hot sunny days but can also drip rainwater or sap noisily on your tent, will attract birds and have uncomfortably bumpy roots underfoot. Check out the views, choose your neighbours and how much privacy you want. Think about the size of your tent, where you want to park your car and where you could safely sit and cook outdoors (never cook in your tent).

Pitching up

  • Pitching a tent is normally a two person job, so recruit a willing volunteer.
  • Before you unpack your tent, check the grass for leftover tent pegs or sharp stones or twigs that could cause damage to your tent footprint or groundsheet.
  • Try to leave a reasonable distance around your tent to allow for guy lines, and create a little privacy between neighbours.
  • Peg out the four corners of your footprint or groundsheet and the four corners of your tent base. To make sure it’s square, peg one corner first, then pull tight to the opposite corner, before pegging corners three and four. Pegs should be inserted at a 45 degree angel into the ground, pointing inwards towards the tent. Use a mallet or rock to drive in the tent pegs (if you tread on them you’re likely to bend the peg or hurt your foot) and insert them all the way into the ground to avoid being tripped over or trodden on.
  • If your tent has poles, take care when inserting the poles of your tent. If they snag or get stuck, gently reverse the pole before sliding it back in again to prevent fabric tearing. It is easier to push your poles through rather than pull, to prevent the poles becoming disconnected or damaged.
  • Raise the tent as per your tent instructions and secure the poles into either a metal eyelet or securing pin at the foot of the tent. If the tent fabric is too stretched or too loose, check your poles to make sure they are assembled correctly.
  • If your tent is inflatable, there may be one single inflation point and valve, or it could have a separate air tube for each beam of the tent. Follow your manufacturer guides for the best way to inflate your tent.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are zipped shut before settling the final position of your tent.
  • Peg out all the remaining pegs to secure your tent. The tent fabric should be taut but not stretched.
  • Attach the guy lines supplied, pegging them a reasonable distance from your tent with the adjustable slide about a third of the way along the guy rope. Be careful not to pull your guy lines out too far as they are more likely to be tripped over int he dark, although many guy lines are now fluorescent colours or you could mark with reflective tape. Guylines should be pegged in line with the seams of your tent and adjusted as required throughout your stay.
  • If your tent has separate inner tent ‘rooms’, you can connect these now along with any additional groundsheets or tent pegs. Many tents allow for these rooms to remain attached when you pack the tent away, so it could be that you don’t need to remove these at the end of your first stay.

Read our tips on how to properly store and take care of your tent here: 'How to take care of your tent'.

CD logo 2019 icon white

Find a Park

Search for your ideal park and visit their website to find out more.

  • Rowlands Wait Touring Park

    left quotesright quotesWonderful site was exactly everything we look for in a site, dog friendly, children friendly nice little play area, lots of space, clean facilities. Walks from site were a bonus and in an ideal location for tourist activities. Highly recommended and were made to feel very welcome by the helpful cheery owners.

    5 StarsLinda Tyson

  • Bingham Grange Touring & Camping Park

    left quotesright quotesJust got back from another great stay at Bingham Grange, couldn't fault a thing, food in restaurant was top class and loads of it, wonderful friendly staff and great amenities. Loved the pitch, so well maintained. See you again soon!

    5 StarsBrian and Anne Willows

  • Silver Sands Holiday Park

    left quotesright quotesOur favourite family holiday. We've been returning year after year, camping as a group of four families. The site is beautifully clean and tidy, nothing is too much trouble for the amazingly helpful owners and the location is perfect for exploring one of the most stunning parts of Cornwall. We love this place!

    5 StarsJo Cooper

  • Manor Farm Caravan Park

    left quotesright quotesWent last year, can't wait to go back. Lovely little place. Hidden gem. Tina the owner is lovely, comes to see you before you leave. It’s the perfect little retreat. Love it.

    5 StarsEllen Candlin

  • Disserth Caravan and Camping Park

    left quotesright quotesHad a lovely long weekend at Disserth this summer. The site has everything you could need and it sits in a wonderful peaceful little valley. The wildlife is amazing and we saw many red kites. We will definitely be going back next year.

    5 StarsRon Edwards

  • Holme Valley Camping and Caravan Park

    left quotesright quotesAmazing campsite, really well looked after. The kids playground, river for paddling, duck pond and picturesque walks make this one of the best I've been to in the UK. Huge thanks to whoever runs this place.

    5 StarsRowan White

  • Halse Farm Caravan & Camping Site

    left quotesright quotesThis is an excellent campsite. A friendly and informed welcome in the heart of Exmoor. The site has great facilities and stunning views. WiFi was free and provided a good signal. Don't be put off by the farm tag it's all well managed and separate from the camping area. Overall an excellent campsite and one we will visit again.

    5 StarsNathan Burden

  • Forest Glade Holiday Park

    left quotesright quotesSuperb hidden gem of a site with just enough to keep all the family entertained while so being a good Base to explore the rest of Devon from. Friendly and helpful staff and a really enjoyable holiday.

    5 StarsJohn Cowell

  • Westermill Farm Holidays

    left quotesright quotesWent last year, can't wait to go back. Lovely little place. Hidden gem. Tina the owner is lovely, comes to see you before you leave. It’s the perfect little retreat. Love it.

    5 StarsEllen Candlin

  • Plas Gwyn Caravan Park

    left quotesright quotesFantastic place! Home after lovely weekend, fantastic place to take the caravan for few days. Great site well looked after clean and tidy. Friendly place to stay. Close to Caernafon, Llanberis plenty to see and do, Will be going back again in the spring.

    5 StarsRachael G

  • Tanner Farm Park

    left quotesright quotesI love this site. It's set in beautiful surroundings and there are useful shops just down the road in the village, although I wouldn't touch the Chinese takeaway there with a barge pole (had food from there once and it was vile). The pitches are an excellent size and the park definitely doesn't feel crowded. All facilities are clean and well maintained.

    5 StarsAlan Smith

  • Polruan Holidays

    left quotesright quotesMy favourite campsite and one I return to often! Very friendly, clean and well maintained. The owners are very helpful and welcoming. I can't recommend this place enough. Wonderful spot for relaxing. Great location for walkers too. Right near the coast and across the estuary from the usually busy Fowey.

    5 StarsMatthew Batten

  • Loch Ken Holiday Park

    left quotesright quotesA lovely family friendly campsite. I imagine it's quieter out of season but even during the bank holiday weekend the facilities were clean. Very good facilities for all, great parks for the kids, rope swing, walks and spectacular views. Site is on the loch which is lovely. Recommended.

    5 StarsMat Bailey

  • Riverside Holidays

    left quotesright quotesFantastic site with beautiful surroundings and right by the river. The site is well kept and the wardens are fantastic and will always go out of their way to help you. Also a good base for exploring the south coast. We stay numerous times a year as always made to feel so welcome.

    5 StarsRachel Price

Follow us

Come and join us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.