How to Colour Code your tent for quicker setup at the campsite.
By having colour coded tent poles, your setting up at the camp site will be extremely helpful. It will not only speed up the time in which you pitch your caravan full tent, but it will also take the guess work out of what goes where. It will also help you from loosing your cool, yelling at the kids, and getting aggravated with mommy! The colour coding of each pole of your tent or gazebo can and will make camping a lot easier. There’s nothing worse than having to mess around in the dark trying to find what poles go where. It sounds like a small, irrelevant detail, but wait until you’re pitching a tent in windy weather, or in the rain.
Follow my advice given here, and take the frustration out of putting up your tent!
When color coding your tent setup, didn't bother color coding each pole: just color code the main tent, awning or gazebo poles.
It’s a simple concept, and easy to do. It will be a lot easier and less frustrating if you set up your the main tent, awning or gazebo at home first and colour code the poles, before you set out to the caravan park.
1. First make sure that you have a roll of each colour electricians PVC insulation tape: 1 roll of each colour. E.G. Yellow, Green, Blue and Black.
2. Spread out the ground sheet, in front of the caravan, and then spread out all the poles nearby. Not on the ground sheet! This is where you will lay out the basic framework of the tent.
3. Do NOT try to slide the tent roof bolt rope yet into the tent channel. This comes later: after you have got the tent poles figured out.
4. Figure out which pole you think goes where. Lay them out on the ground sheet so that you have what you think are the centre roof section, the roof side sections and what you think could possibly be the uprights.
5. The roof center poles will be adjustable poles and so will the two side poles be that connect to the pole sockets at the front and rear of the caravan side. These adjustable poles are so that you can tension the roof tent.
6. Identify the side upright poles: there should be four poles all of the same length and they will be shorter than the two centre uprights. To easily identify them, there will be a rubber grommet at the bottom of each pole. The side upright poles should be one piece poles – and not adjustable poles. The two centre uprights each will be in two pieces so as to be adjustable, also with a rubber grommet at the base of each pole. They should both be of the same in length.
7. You should now have a bit of a “Floor plan” of all the main poles.
8. There should be a bag of three, four and five-way pole connectors. Place these pole connectors where they should go on the “Floor plan.” See the schematic above. On the schematic, the pole connectors are shown in red. EG; 2w, 3w, 4w and so on.
Follow the above “Tent Pole Guide” schematic for placement of tent pole connectors.
a. The two-way connector is for the short roof pole that goes into the bracket fitted in the centre of the caravan’s side. This will be for the tent center ridge roof pole. (This will form the peak of the tent.)
b. The five-way connecter is for the tent roof centre pole that also holds the centre upright pole, and the one section fits through the roof front for the centre pole of the awning. (There will be a “hole” in the tent roof for the one pole connector section to go through to hold the awning roof ridge pole.)
c. The four-way connectors are for the side roof, upright and awning poles. (Again, there will be a “hole” in the tent roof for the one pole connector side section to go through.) There will also be one for the awning center pole.
d. The three-way connectors are for the outside awning side and upright poles.
e. Once you have got, what you think, all the roof tent poles laid out, and you are satisfied that they are correctly laid out, can you now pull the tent roof bolt rope through the tent channel on the side of the caravan. Make sure that the side walls ARE NOT attached to the roof. Un-zip them if they are. It will be easier to fit them later once you have got the roof up with the correct tent poles in place first.
f. First make sure you have the roof “top-side-up” and that the small weather flap extension is on the outside (topside) of the roof. This extension forms a weatherproof cover over the tent extrusion where the caravan and tent roof meet. You can now pull the tent through the extrusion with someone helping you.
g. Ensure that the reinforcing strip in the centre of the tent roof (this is the center pitch of the roof) is aligned with the center socket where the short roof tent pole and the two-way connector fits, and that the sidewall zips on either end of the roof are both the same height from the floor.
h. Position the weather flap in place over the top of the caravan, and pull the canvas roof tight. Now peg the weather extension guy ropes in place on either end of the caravan.
i. Lift up the roof center of the tent and insert the short centre pole (with the two-way connector at the top) into the bracket provided on the caravan’s side wall.
j. Fit the centre ridge roof pole to the short upright with the two-way connector and connect the center upright pole using the five-way pole connector on the other end. Do not tension the roof center. Keep a small bit of slack in the roof – it’s easier to handle! One section of the five-way connector must go through the slit in the tent roof to meet up with the patio center roof pole on the other side. Adjust to a semi-raised height and tighten the bottom of the upright pole to lock in position. You can raise the roof to its correct height later: this just makes it easier to work with for now whilst at a semi-raised height.
k. Fit the side roof poles into the sockets on the side of the caravan, with the poles passing through the sleeves at the side of tent roof. Fit the four-way connectors on the other end of the roof side poles to connect the side pole legs and inner apex poles. The inner apex poles join up to the roof side poles and the roof center pole on either side of the center pole. One section of each of the roof side pole four-way connectors must go through the slit in the roof to meet up with the patio side roof pole on the other side.
l. Assemble the inner apex poles by passing them through the sleeves in the tent. (One either side of the centre upright pole.) Connect the apex poles to the roof ridge pole (that is to the center five-way connector) and to the roof side poles (the four-way connectors that also hold the side upright legs).
m. Fit the patio center roof pole to the center five-way connector. Fit a four- way connector to the roof patio pole so as to hold the front patio pole upright (leg) in place.
n. Fit the patio end poles to the four-way connectors of the roof side poles with a three-way connector on each end so as to hold the front patio side poles and uprights (legs) in place.
o. Fit the patio front poles to either side of the center patio pole four-way connector to the side pole three-way connectors to create the rigidity required.
p. Before you pull the tent tight, you can now colour code the roof poles and upright poles according to the colour code diagram shown on the above “Tent Pole Guide” schematic.
q. Wrap a short length of the coloured tape at either end of the appropriate pole, and also to the tent pole connectors should you desire.
r. Fit the tent side and front walls, and then pull the tent tight. You can adjust each tent centre poles and side poles by releasing the tension of the pole, extend the pole as far as possible, and then twist the pole to secure. Thereby pushing the tent roof tight.
s. The tent center pole can now be adjusted so that the center of the tent roof is at the right height and nice and level.
t. Peg down the sides of the tent using the rubber rings supplied as they will increase the strength and will improve the tension of the tent.
u. Securely fasten the tent guy ropes holding down the tent upright poles.
Pitch your tent, properly, and take good care of it.
In the “Good old days” it was simple!
So why not keep it simple today?
Now your tent is complete! You will now have taken out all the hassles of pitching your tent in future. Follow the same basic procedures with the tent patio awning as well as your gazebo.