101 on pitching a tent

23 October 2019

Hydro Tasmania’s camping and recreation sites are dotted all over Tasmania. You can view them all on our interactive recreation map. Once you’ve arrived at your preferred location you’ll need to get cracking on setting up your campsite. To help you get the most out of your camping experience, we asked a couple of our engineers to apply their dam-building knowledge to pitching a tent.


Stage one: Feasibility


Going on holiday without pre-planning can put strain on your mental and physical wellbeing. Follow these simple steps to conduct your own pre-camp feasibility study:


  1. Visit hydro.com.au/things-to-do to find a site that fulfils your weekend dreams. You can search by your preferred activity (walking, fishing, kayaking etc.) or facility (boat ramp, toilets, picnic area etc.).
  2. Check the weather forecast and, if you plan on using our waterways, be sure to check the latest water levels.
  3. Conduct a thorough screening of all the people and equipment you plan on taking to the bush. Nothing ruins a camping trip faster than not being prepared for a snorer or waking up in the middle of the night and realising your tent is not waterproof.



Stage 2: Design


Remember the six-P-principle: prior preparation and planning prevents poor performance:


  1. Conduct an environmental impact assessment. Make sure you don’t inadvertently lay your swag out on a jack jumper nest or set up camp in the line of falling tree branches.
  2. Undertake a geotechnical investigation of the foundations of your site. If the soil is too hard you won’t be able to sufficiently anchor your tent (get the pegs in the ground). If it’s too soft you won’t be able to get enough tension on your guide ropes to ensure the structural integrity of the tent (you’ll wake up in a potato sack).   
  3. Conduct a thorough topographical assessment to ensure optimal use of landscape. Sleeping on a slight slope is ok but nobody likes sleeping with their legs higher than their head. And never pitch downhill of the toilets. Protection from the wind can also be beneficial.
  4. Contract jobs to those with expert skills. Whilst creativity and a disregard for instructions is a must for campsite cooking (who doesn’t like a deconstructed apple crumble made of tinned peaches?), taking a cavalier approach to tent construction is not advised.



Stage 3: Construction


This is where you really get to show off your engineering skills:


  1. Prioritise the most important tasks, like finding a good spot for the esky.
  2. Prep the area by clearing debris from your site. Remove anything that could damage the tent floor or poke you in the backside whilst sleeping.
  3. Properly secure all equipment. If it’s windy, peg down the tent corners first, you can always re-peg your tent in its final position later.
  4. Don’t rush. Rushing increases the risk of not looking cool, calm and collected.



Stage 4: Maintenance


Poor tent maintenance, just like poor dam maintenance, can rapidly affect functionality, style and comfort:


  1. Ensure appropriate security protocols are in place. Keep the flyscreen zipped up. Similarly, store your shoes upside down and off the ground to help them remain dry and free of wildlife.  
  2. Conduct routine site inspections. Before heading to bed or off for a paddle, check that everything is appropriately covered. Toilet paper, for example, should never be left out; it's not going to do the job if it’s soggy.
  3. Keep your workspace clean and tidy. Make sure all food is properly packed away. If an animal can see/smell your food they are more than likely going to try to eat it.


And don’t forget the golden rules for any camping trip pack your sense of humour, take only pictures, make lots of memories and leave only footprints.  


Most importantly, have a wonderful time immersing yourself in nature, and please help us look after these special places by leaving no trace of your visit.


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