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Tent Camping Tips

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schessl | Green Wave Forum News
Published Monday, June 22, 2009

Tent Camping TipsWhether you are off to a remote corner of Everglades National Park paddling the entire length of the Wilderness Waterway or a single overnight at one of Florida's wonderful state parks, you'll want to get the most from your tent camping experience.

Why settle for a rough night in a leaky tent filled with mosquitoes and no-see-ums when you can camp in comfort and style? Before heading out to explore the great outdoors review these helpful tent camping tips from Green Wave Forum:

Before you go:

  • Buy a tent one size bigger than you need. Two people? Get a 3 or 4 person tent so you will have enough room to move around and to store a few items inside at night.
  • Repackage meals from original store containers to save weight and space.
  • Collect all ingredients and items for a single meal and put them in a gallon size self-sealing (ziplock) bag. Be sure to label the bag, for example "Saturday Dinner-Spaghetti".
  • Bring extra tea bags or instant coffee - they don't take much room and it is nice to have a cup of Joe while sitting around the campfire.
  • If you are camping in a remote area, pack at least one extra day of food and water for emergency use.
  • If you have a new tent or haven't been camping for a few years, try setting up your tent at home. This way you can learn how to assemble the tent correctly and check for missing or worn parts.
  • Use a ground cloth. It saves the bottom of your tent from punctures and keeps the tent much cleaner. Be sure the ground cloth is a few inches smaller than the tent floor to avoid flooding when it rains.
  • Beach camping? If you have a portable sun shelter and have the space in your boat, bring it along. It's nice to have a place besides your tent where you can find shade.
  • Bring a few feet of duct tape for quick tent and campsite repairs.
  • Be sure to bring dish soap and rag for after meals cleanup.
  • Did you pack your first aid kit? Always bring one along even if you are camping in state parks or commercial facilities.


  • Arrive early in the day to give yourself plenty of time to set up camp and make dinner before dark.
  • Find a good place to pitch your tent. We've written an article on finding the perfect campsite to help.
  • Put a small mat in front of the tent's doorway to wipe your feet or leave shoes outside of your tent to keep the tent floor clean.
  • Lay out sleeping bags and pads/mats as soon as you get the tent setup. This way the bags can decompress and air out.
  • If your tent has a separate rainfly, install it even if it doesn't look like rain in the forecast. Not only do you get protection from the elements but it offers privacy.
  • Locate your flashlight and put it next to your sleeping bag in the tent. That way you'll know where to find it as the sun goes down.
  • Do not store food in your tent. Keep in a sealed container in your kayak or canoe, hang food from a tree or if you are car camping, put it in your car.
  • If you are planning on having a campfire, be sure to keep the immediate area free of combustible materials. Check out our article on how to build a campfire.
  • Unless it is raining, keep at least one tent window open to allow for air circulation and for moisture to escape. Make sure the window has good quality mosquito netting to keep the bugs out.

Breakdown of your campsite:

  • Do not touch the inside of your tent in the morning when the sides are wet /damp or during rainstorms. This can cause leaks.
  • If the weather cooperates, open doors and windows to let the tent dry for a few hours before packing.
  • After packing, if you are in an undeveloped campsite use a stick or fallen branch to "erase" the footprint of the tent.

So there you have it. More than 20 helpful tips for your next camping trip. If you have tips of your own, please add them in the comments area below.

Last update Thursday, July 07, 2016

Related Articles

Ten No Cook Camping Meals (7/6/2009)
Your First Kayak Camping Trip (7/1/2009)
Camping Equipment Checklist (6/30/2009)
Top 10 Florida State Parks – Kayak/Canoe/Camp (6/30/2009)
Don’t be a Camp Tramp – 10 Important Rules (6/30/2009)
Buying a Tent (6/26/2009)
Sleeping Bags for Florida Campers (6/26/2009)
How to Build a Campfire (6/19/2009)
Choosing the Perfect Campsite (6/18/2009)
Camp Cooking Tips (6/17/2009)

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You are in the public comment zone. What follows is not from Green Wave Forum; it comes from other people and we don't vouch for it.
evergladesdave on 7/7/2016 11:46am
Try an Everglades overnight kayak camping tour. Come kayak, explore and truly experience the REAL Everglades! You can find complete details on all of the trips at Let me know if you have any questions.
Dave K.
quincypair on 8/22/2013 8:59am
Our cook is getting on and standing up to cook is much easier than on one's knees. When kayak camping, we can't carry our canopy, and finally found at Piragis in Ely, Minnesota the perfect kayak tarp made in Minnesota. It's a 10 x 10, like our canopy, and weights only 1 1/2 pounds and can be set up in several ways with the center reinforced and looped for more conventional set-up with loops (better than grommets) along the sides. It comes with sealant for the seams which you have to put on yourself. Folds up in a compact bag which fits easily into the hatches. It's used on their outfitting trips into the Boundary Waters and we first saw it at the Outfitters on Apostle Islands -- they were packing the larger versions.

We had been planning to make an escalating tent pole in varying diameters to fit into each other in the eventuality we found a lightweight tarp. That was before we hit Piragis -- they have a nesting pole 8 inches long which was just the ticket. Why don't we use our paddles? You can't stick one end of the paddle into the ground for more support and we don't want to chance breaking the paddle in a strong wind. for catalog.
quincypair on 3/26/2013 5:23am
If you're camping, comfort may be a paramount thing if you're expect to be looking forward to your next camping trip. And that can be done if car camping. If paddling and camping, particularly in a kayak, think backpacking. Water weighs 8 pounds per gallon and can't be dehydrated. On multi-day trips one has to reduce weight somewhere and that's on gear. Our camping,cooking and eating gear weight 25 pounds -- almost all backpacking gear with sleeping bags for 40 degrees. Add another 2 pounds for 20 degree sleeping bags. We have a backpacking tent with two openings (we value this more and more). As backup always carry a water filter (the best you can afford) for multiday trips. And SPOT, a satellite emergency device, is recommended if you wilderness camp and paddle a lot. Cell towers are not built where there are no people. And dehydrated food is better than freezed dried which is wayy to salty, even if your paddles are hot and sweaty. And just a little wafer of good chocolate (wedged where it can't melt and not recommended for hot days) makes a great dessert and it doesn't take any space. One of us now needs more caffeine than tea in the morning, so we buy 50 packet-size VIA Starbucks Coffee packets from Amazon. Nescafe also has these handy little coffee packets, but the Starbucks Via has such aroma and even the non-coffee drinking one loves its smell in the morning. Nestle has cappucino packets (about 10 times the size of the Via) which the other brings for cold mornings. The only decent tasting ones are European (Greek, preferably), which one can sometimes get from Amazon. The Mexican cappucino (Nestle has a multi-national consumer base) are too sweet and probably has less coffee and we used to be able to get it at Walmart until we discovered the made for the Greeks cappucino. The advantage of getting 50 packet sizes (if you camp a lot) is that you can get it in Italian Roast, non caffeinated Italian Roast,, Starbuck Blend and Colombian.
golf1here on 3/23/2013 11:44am
I to tent camp but like/need to be comfortable. I hate having to crawl in and out of a tent , struggle with tent poles, and not being able to stand up to get dressed. I found the perfect solution. It is called the Standing room 100 tent. I found it on Amazon. It hangs from one of those back yard shade canopies. It is 10x10 and has almost 9' of head room! It also has two doors so you can put two or more together. This tent is big enough for a queen size air mattress, a table, and two chairs with still enough room to walk around.
quincypair on 7/16/2012 1:14pm
We need to add that a canopy can make a tenting-car trip far more enjoyable. We were given a used canopy which was slightly damaged and it made our camping so much more comfortable: providing shade and rain protection for the picnic table, allowing one to add nonfood items on the picnic table during the whole camping trip. We then purchased a rapid shelter (from REI) using one of our discount coupons. We liked it so much that we bought another for a not-for-profit so their staff could have sun protection when they did outdoors presentations, displays, etc., gave another one to a son-in-law for a birthday gift. The first time he used it was at a family tent camping trip for our grandkids school. It rained -- the parents all congregated under the rapid shelter; I guess the kids all got wet. Rapid shelter cost more than many similar products, but it is exceedingly well supported and buttressed and it has withstood strong winds and strong rains. It is faster to set up our than our tents and sleeping gear -- about 5-7 minutes. After tents, sleeping bags, cooking stove, recommend getting a canopy.
quincypair on 3/6/2012 9:45am
If you're paddling and tent camping, you don't want a tent any heavier or any bigger than you need.
A good, sturdy (what you pay is what you'll get) canopy for over the picnic table will save a lot of problems when it rains. You can buy separate side flaps (4 is not necessary -- driving rains usually come from one direction, 2 probably.) for side rain protection. A 10' x 10' covers the usual state parks picnic table and then some (folding chairs).
We don't like dry milk, but we buy individual size non-refrigerated milk cartons to use with our breakfast cereal. You can get them regular or organic, 2%, fat-free in the canned milk, dry milk section at Publix. Parmalat, in larger cartons, is also available. We used to buy the larger Parmalat, but when open it needs refrigeration, so we wasted a lot of milk.
Re: storing food stuff away at night. I'd add, keep a spot open in your car to store all the food items. Our last camp trip, when we realized that we had not stored the food away (even though in plastic carriers with tight lids), we decided that making room for those carriers in the mess we had left in the car was too much and left it to chance. We were awakened from deep sleep by the sound of rattling plastic cartons. The raccoon had eaten the hand of bananas, tried to take off with most of the oranges (in an open box) and was wrestling with the smaller of the plastic containers on the ground.