How to set up a tent campsite simple & fast

How to set up a tent campsite simple & fast


Tent camping can be one of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors, it’s simple and requires little investment to have a great weekend with friends, family or bonding sessions with your children.

Once you have the basics like a tent & Sleeping bag you’re going to need to know how to set up a simple campsite.

After many camping trips around Australia with my husband and some research, I’ve found the basics for you.

How to set up your tent campsite

1. Preparing The Site Ground

  • First things first you need to find flat level ground and remove all rocks & sticks. This is to ensure a good night’s sleep and to prevent rips in your tent floor. You can sweep the ground with a live branch with leaves to clean your tent sit.

2. Make Sure You Have Space To Move

  • You want an area at least 4 meters by 4 meters this will depend on the size of your tent but a rule of thumb for a 2 to 3 man tent is about 4 x 4 meters. This gives you a nice space around your tent to work, sit or build stuff. However, if you have a very large tent allow for a 2 meter clearance all the way around it.

3. Watch Out For Tall Trees

  • Make sure if you’re in a wooded area that has tall trees, you check that the overhanging tree branches look alive and are not dead. You don’t want to wake up with a heavy log on top of you or worse not wake up at all.

4. Setting Up The Sleeping Quarters

  • Now you can pitch your tent, you should follow the Instructions you would have received with your tent. for it’s best set up method. Then unpack your sleeping bag and place the other nick nacks you brought along for your camping trip inside and around your campsite.

How far Should your cooking station and campfire be from your tent?

cooking campsite

This is just a tip because there is no way to give you a correct answer but be as safe as you can when setting up any fabric near an open flame. My tips for this are with a clam mild wind sorta day thinking in mind.

If you’re using a small gas stove for your cooking you should be OK to cook within 2 meters of most tents. It’s best to try to keep at least 2 meters away from nylon tents to avoid your tent catching on fire.

However, if your planning to cook with a campfire I’d increase this distance for a further 9 or 15 meters. Keep your campfire at least 30 to 50 feet away from your nylon tent would be the safest idea.

Should you set up a shower area and how far should it be from your tent?

This is optional and personal preference, Gross Fact Time: I’ve been known to go a day reluctantly without a proper shower when camping, it is doable.

If you do decide on setting up a shower station I’d recommend it be far enough away that your tent doesn’t get too much water around it. A distance of 10 to 15 meters is good but this is just a tip.

You just don’t want to be tracking mud into your tent and sleeping bag. Alternatively, you can shower in a river, creek, stream, waterfall or billabong.

When doing this you should use eco-friendly bathing products to ensure nature is not affected by normal shampoos and soaps.

Watch this video of the 10 best camp showers.

How far should you keep your food from your tent?

This is subjective and depends on what country and region you’re going camping in.

For example

If in bear country in the USA you should probably have your food in a bag suspended from a tree at least 100 yards or 91 or more meters away from your tent.

In a backcountry camp, place sleeping areas at least 100 yards away from cooking and food storage areas. Avoid aromatic foods such as bacon and fish. Never place food inside your tent.

However if in Australia you could get away with it inside your tent.

This answer would require you to know where your camping local wildlife that could be present and some further research. Sadly no one answer would work for everyone.

Only thing I’d suggest regardless of where your camping in regards to food Is, dispose of your rubbish and try not to leave unsealed or open packs of food out in the wind or where ants and bugs could crawl in.

Take a peek at this video for 3easy breakfast camping meals.

How far should you keep your toilet from your tent?

portable camping  toilets

Though there is no actual real distance a camp toilet should be from your tent you should consider the smell and make it a distance away you won’t smell it.

There are some things you should consider though. Making sure your toilet is 150 to 200 feet (45.72 to 60.9 meters) away from trails or water sources is something you should practice when camping.

However, after research, I could only find a new Zealand government website with information on how far a toilet should be set up from water sources or trails. visit that page here!

So I’m guessing this is dependant on local laws and customs. Though I would assume it would be similar generally.

The numbers I’ve mentioned above are from an article I found on the topic, check it out here on how stuff works. this other article I found also backs their numbers up pretty close the 3 P’s.

The main idea here is to keep the feces out of water. Over time, the decomposing feces will percolate into the soil before reaching water sources. As for trails would you want to step in a poo hole.

If you’re digging a hole to take your number 2’s, you should dig it at least 6 or 7 inches deep, 4 inches wide and once you finished cover it over with leaves and dirt.

Is it OK to wash your dishes in a river, creek or stream?

No matter where you go your always gonna get some dirty dishes after eating. If it’s not dishes, it’s rubbish, that you will need to take with you when you leave your camp and head home.

If you do find you have dishes you’re going to have to clean them outdoors. There are two things that need to be considered when washing dishes or disposing of the dirty dishwater

you shouldn’t wash up at a water source and you really should use eco-friendly cleaning products, when washing dishes in or near a river, creek or stream this ensures nature is not affected by the chemicals in the cleaning products. This is put simply of course.

It shouldn’t really need to be said but make sure the water your washing your dishes in is clean.

Here’s a helpful video about washing dishes outdoors.

Some Tips to save you headaches while camping.

  • I strongly suggest setting your tent up more than once and pack it up again at home before going camping. This will make setting your tent up while camping a breeze. It will also allow you to do other things like relax and enjoy your life.
  • You wouldn’t think folding a sleeping bag up and stuffing it in the tiny sack that’s provided with it would be rocket science. Sadly it can sometimes be harder than you think, practicing this a few times before you go camping will be beneficial. If not for time’s sake, do it for your soul’s sake lol.
  • While you’re setting up tents at home and folding sleeping bags, you might as well play with all your camping gear. There is nothing worse than getting to a campsite and noticing you either forgot something, something doesn’t work the way you thought it did or worse doesn’t work at all.

To Summarize .. .

You should now know how to set up your campsite. You also have a general idea of what a campsite could look like. this post will also give you an idea of what your campsite area will look like, making choosing your location to pitch a tent just that little bit easier.

Keep in mind these are just a few beginner tips and bits of information I’ve learned along the way. They should keep you out of trouble.

We really hope you enjoy your next camping trip. write a comment or leave a rating of how helpful this post was, to let us know if it helped you.

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Hi, my name is Becca I'm a mum and wife and I love camping with my family. I started this blog to share great information about tents and camping.

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