How to Set Up a Trekking Pole Tent?

How to set up a trekking pole tent: A camper next to his ultralight trekking pole tent at the last moments of a sunset

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If you’re choosing new gear for a backpacking trip, you’ve probably encountered trekking pole tents. These cool shelters are gaining popularity among outdoor enthusiasts for good reasons.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how to set up a trekking pole tent the right way. Join us as we explore the steps to achieve the perfect pitch every time.

Key Takeaways

  • Anchor corners first, then insert pole tips through floor loops and extend to proper height to create structure.
  • Stake out vestibules, re-tension corners, and guy out sides for stability. Leave gaps for ventilation.
  • Make final adjustments to ensure even tension all around. Avoid overtightening which can damage the tent.

Overcoming Worries about Set Up

Setting up trekking pole tents demands more effort compared to traditional tents. Properly staking and tensioning for stability is essential, which can be time-consuming, especially after a long day on the trail.

These tents need the right amount of tension and strong stakes to stay in shape. If any part of the tent’s support system isn’t working properly, it can make the tent unstable, cause it to lose its shape, and fail to keep you dry in the rain.

And if you make the tent too tight, the fabric might tear – trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way.

Thus setting up a trekking pole tent might seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance, it can be a fairly straightforward process and a valuable skill to have.

TIP: If new to trekking pole tents, a single-walled design may be easier to set up. Consider this option if you don’t already have an ultralight trekking pole tent.

How to Set Up a Trekking Pole Tent: Step-by-step

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to prepare your trekking pole tent for a cozy night in the wild. Don’t forget to practice these steps before you head out on the trail:

Step 1: Clearing the Campsite

  • Find a good place for your tent. Pick a flat area that’s clear of rocks and sharp objects. If you’re unsure about where to place your tent, take a look at our guide on selecting the ideal campsite.

This is crucial to ensure you get a good night’s sleep and keep your tent safe, especially if you’re not using a footprint (groundsheet).

Step 2: Preparing the Tent Site and Staking the Corners

  • Once you’ve found the right spot, lay out your tent to form a square or rectangular shape (depending on your tent’s design) and secure the four corners with stakes. Insert the stakes into the ground at a 45° angle to ensure a taut setup at these attachment points.
  • If your tent has a double-walled design, concentrate on securing the inner part. The rainfly should already be over the inner part but not fastened down yet.

This initial step makes your tent stable and firmly anchors it to the ground. If you’re using a groundsheet, it should be placed under the tent at this point but not fastened to the tent stakes.

Step 3: Utilizing Trekking Poles

  • If you’re using a trekking pole, extend it to your preferred length, which should be around 43-51 inches (110-130 cm). Put the pointy end of the pole through the designated loop attached to the bathtub floor.

To figure out how far you can extend your trekking pole, just check the tent maker’s website or the papers that came with your tent. In this case, the length of the pole should match the height you need.

Step 4: Tensioning and Securing the Tent

  • Place the pole’s handle in the tent’s upper apex pocket, being careful not to extend it too far. Your tent will take on a sturdy pyramid-like shape.

Ensure that the tip of trekking pole stays securely in the ground, and be cautious about preventing the pole tip from touching the tent floor material directly.

Step 5: Staking out the rest

  • Now that you have the main structure set up, secure the main guyline in front of your tent. Then, you can fasten the vestibule doors to the stake point as taut as you can.
  • Re-tension the corner pegs and peg out any intermediate points along the sides of the tent.
  • If your tent has a double-walled design, before you can follow these instructions, connect the edges of the rainfly to the same stakes you used to anchor the inner. Ensure these points are secure, but don’t make them overly tight. The goal here is to create an equal gap between the outer fly and the inner tent all the way around to avoid any misbalanced tension.

This step makes sure your tent stays steady and safe. Keep in mind that all the lines should naturally come off your tent, following the fabric’s flow.

Step 6: Final Adjustments

Take a look at your tent. Is it all straight and even? If not, you can use the tension adjustment points to correct any problems. Also, if you think you put some stakes too near or too far, you can redo them.

When it’s chilly, you may want to lower any gaps near the ground, but remember to leave some space for air to circulate; otherwise, you will get condensation problems and it can make your night less enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

In the realm of outdoor adventures, where weight is crucial, trekking pole tents have revolutionized backpacking and hiking. Over 90% of experienced hikers and backpackers prefer these tents for their lightweight and versatile design.

But it’s important to know that there are trade-offs, like the extra effort needed for setup.

Yet, with our step-by-step guide, you can master the pitching process and enjoy the benefits of trekking pole tents. Practice caution, as I learned from my experience, where overtightening led to damage after a week of use. Remember, if it feels too tight, redo the step.

If you are feeling a bit confused, we recommend this video for clarification. Best of luck on your adventures, and remember, practice makes perfect.

Interested in an ultralight trekking pole tent? Check out our TOP 5 guides that cover the lightest tents on the planet.


What type of tent is mostly used by backpackers?

Backpackers often prefer lightweight and durable tents designed for their specific needs. Trekking pole tents, especially those with a single-wall design, are a popular camping choice among them due to their ultralight design and ability to withstand various weather conditions. These tents, supported by trekking poles instead of traditional tent poles, offer the perfect blend of weight savings and durability, making them a top pick for adventurers seeking a reliable shelter while conquering challenging terrains.

Are trekking pole tents good in wind?

Trekking pole tents are generally good in windy conditions. Their streamlined shape and sturdy materials make them resilient against gusty winds. The use of trekking poles as support adds to their stability, ensuring they can withstand windy environments commonly encountered by backpackers and mountaineers. However, it’s essential to set up the tent correctly, securely stake it to the ground, and position it with the tent’s head into the wind for optimal performance in stormy conditions.

Can I use any type of trekking poles for a trekking pole tent?

When choosing trekking poles for your shelter, ensure compatibility and durability. Ideal poles for trekking tents are adjustable aluminum or carbon fiber ones designed for backpacking. Look for flick locks or twist locks and extended grips for a secure fit in tent pockets. Using non-specific poles can compromise stability; stick to adjustable poles from reputable brands for optimal performance. With the right poles, these shelters offer a balance of weight savings, strength, and weather protection on the trail.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when setting up a trekking pole tent?

Set up trekking pole tents carefully for maximum stability and weather resistance. Avoid common mistakes like staking too loosely or tightly, misusing trekking poles, and neglecting seam sealing. Stake corners at 45-degree angles, distribute pole tension evenly, and avoid overtightening guy lines. Extend trekking poles to the right length, insert them vertically to prevent floor abrasion, and orient the tent opening perpendicular to the wind for maximum sturdiness and ventilation. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for seam sealing. With practice, you’ll master the setup and enjoy the benefits of these compact ultralight shelters.

Are there any maintenance tips for prolonging the lifespan of a trekking pole tent?

Maintaining trekking pole tents is essential for their durability and longevity. Seam seal new tents, promptly repair leaks, and choose campsites wisely. Use a footprint to protect the floor, clean off dirt after each use, and avoid touching the inside with dirty hands or shoes during assembly. Ensure the tent dries fully before packing to prevent mildew. When storing, place it in a breathable bag, avoiding tight folds. Clean with mild soap and sponge, reapply waterproofing spray as needed, and regularly check for wear and damage. With proper care, including conscientious storage practices, your trekking pole tent can serve as a reliable backcountry shelter for many seasons.

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