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First, clear any rocks or debris larger than a golf ball. Next, check if your site is even (if it seems negligible you can place something flat—like a map or empty baggie—on the ground and pour a little water on it; note if the water dribbles to one side). You always want your head uphill. If your space is flat, arrange your tent’s cross section into the wind. If the weather is calm, take advantage of the morning sun by pitching your tent’s front door to the east. Photo by: Ally Jarjour,Emily Jean Thomas, and Tyler Austin
To avoid frustrating searches in the dark, remove everything you won’t need for the night from the tent; keep it in your pack outside or in the vestibule. Place what you’ll need within arm’s reach of the door. Photo by: Ally Jarjour, Emily Jean Thomas, and Tyler Austin
To prevent stinking up your tent with an interior clothesline, try hanging stinky or wet gear outside (preferably) or, if it’s raining, in the vestibule. Photo by: Ally Jarjour, Emily Jean Thomas, and Tyler Austin
Try lighting up your space by affixing your headlamp to the ceiling hook. You can also place it in an empty Nalgene and hang the vessel from the ceiling for mood lighting. If mosquitos or other unwelcomed insects are swarming your space, try burning some sage. This is a natural repellant. Photo by: Ally Jarjour, Emily Jean Thomas, and Tyler Austin
Pack your next day’s outfit in a stuffsack to use as a pillow. Place the clothes you plan to wear at night in your sleeping bag to avoid cluttering your tent (and to keep them toasty). Photo by: Ally Jarjour, Emily Jean Thomas, and Tyler Austin
Once you’re ready for bed, move your essentials (headlamp, book, flask, etc.) to a corner near your pillow (corner pockets are useful), so you aren’t digging for your things in the middle of the night. Your tentmate will appreciate this. For the same reason, make sure your bag’s zipper is angled toward the door so you can slide out without disrupting your partner. Photo by: Ally Jarjour, Emily Jean Thomas, and Tyler Austin