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Advice on the best tent set up method.

I have an ALPS Mountaineering camping tent. 2 person. I did one  solo camping trip and had a very difficult time setting up the tent. (I did practice at home with no problem)   2 pole design.  I would get one pole up and then setting up the second pole the first would pop out of the ground.   I had to place large rocks around the pole to keep it in the ground.

Is the problem the tent, the operator (me), or the method. 

I want to do more solo camping but not if it takes me an hour to set up a 2 person tent.  

6 Replies


I have a REI 2 person tent and the method I have used is put the tips of the poles in the grommet on one side of the tent. Once those are in all the way I lay the poles in an (X) over the tent. Then bend the pole and insert tip in opposing grommet and lay to the side. Do the same to the other pole and grab the bent pole you laid down and lift up. Not sure how alps has the poles mounted at the crown but my REI has a hook that captures both poles. If it has that or something that captures both poles put poles into that and snap on the plastic clips. 

Another method is pre-stake the tent corners and this will help keep the tent pole tips captured on one corner while you bend the poles to the opposing corner. Once poles are up un-stake the tent and adjust the tent base and re-stake. 

Hope this helps!

Thank you.  Very helpful.


Hey @Carolyn54 what @SubaruSteve said is spot on. I have a ton of different tents and pre-staking and using any grommets on the tent to your advantage like he mentions, is definitely the way to go. 

good luck

@Carolyn54 - It depends on the the particular tent pole design but generally working to opposite corners one pole at a time works.  If the pole system is an X this will be the opposite diagonal corner but some pole systems work along a side so you need to understand that to pick the correct corner.

Lay the tent body out over the footprint if you use one.  Consider staking it out.

If the tent body uses sleeves to attach the poles you will need to insert the poles through the appropriate sleeves and spread them evenly. 

If it uses hooks instead or in addition then you attach these later. 

Stake one or more corners to prevent the tent from blowing away.  If you staked the footprint you reuse those stakes.   Do this as habit so you don't forget when it is actually windy.  With some tents staking the pole corners first makes thing easier.

Attach one end of the first pole to its tent body corner with the grommet or other attachment. 

Move to the other end of the pole and grab the tent body close to the pole attachment with one hand and then the pole with the other giving the pole a light tension to ensure the other end is still captured.

Push the pole so that it starts to bend and pull the body until you can attach the body to the pole end.  If you have staked the corners you can probably just push the pole.  You may have to de-tension the pole (let it go straight again) and adjust the sleeve position on the pole if it does not self position.

Repeat with the other pole.  The tent should now be standing.  If you didn't already, immediately stake a corner or more of the body to prevent it blowing away in a wind gust.

If your tent body hooks to the poles attach them.  Some tents have hooks that hold the separate poles together and cause them to stand up.  You should attach those ones first.

If you will use the fly place it over the tent,  arrange it and guy out as appropriate for the conditions.  Generally you need to stake out any vestibules or roll them back if you are not going to use them


Thank you for your thorough explanation.  Very helpful. 


is yours the mystique? 

looking at the picture, i'd say you need to lay the tent flat on the ground, stretch out the taps and stake them down, then do the poles, the adjust the ground loops as necessary.




REI Member Since 1979