Pitching a Tent on a Slope
One time, we were forced to pitch a tent on something of a slope. Truth be told, it was the steepest slope I’ve ever pitched a tent on. I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to make it work. I was not interested in sliding into my son all night and I certainly wasn’t interested in him sliding into me all night.
Well, I can say that I did a phenomenal job staking the tent to the ground. How do I know? Because, when I woke up in the morning, the stake was still in the ground and the tent lead had been ripped away from the tent. As you can imagine, the tent was falling down around us. If we weren’t three days from civilization it might have been funnier than it was…and it was pretty funny.
I think the key to a situation like this has to do with recognizing where the point of weakness is going to come. The first thing to do is recognize where the stress on the tent is going to pull most aggressively. In this case, we did a poor job of pitching the tent. The entire stress was on a single corner of the tent. If I were to do it over again I would point both of our feet downhill as directly as possible. That gives us two stakes on which to put the pressure.
But that’s not going to solve your problem, especially not if you are on a particularly onerous slope.
This is where an extra few stakes and some guy wires can really help you out. You may need to recognize that you will need to connect your tent in some creative places. obviously, you want to do your best to attach to the actual frame of the tent.
You should also be a bit more creative in staking the downward corners. Instead of pulling them away from the tent, you could consider staking them up under the tent. Then, you would have the pull the hill distributed against all four corners.
Of course there is another–sure fire–method that is the best secret of all. Don’t pitch your tent on a slope.