Learn to Camp

Setting up your Campsite

It’s a good idea to set up your campsite as soon as you arrive. This small investment of time will help ensure you have a comfortable stay and lots of time for fun!

How to set up a Tent

Before you go camping, consider setting your tent up at home. This is a good time to seal the seams of your tent, check for rips, and ensure all parts are present.

Choose a place to set up your tent:

Tent Placement Tip Why is it important?
Choose a flat area that’s relatively high ground. Helps keep rain from building up under your tent
Set it up away from the fire-pit. To avoid sparks hitting your tent (fire hazard).
Look up; avoid trees, particularly dead branches, as much as possible. In case of lightning storms, a tall tree can be a target for lightning strikes. Dead branches can fall in heavy wind.
Select an area clear of sharp sticks/stones on the ground. To avoid rips in the tent bottom or in air mattresses.
Consider other camping equipment you need to set up Be sure to leave space for other camping equipment such as a dining shelter
Leave space for tent lines to be pulled taut. This will keep the rain-fly from coming in contacting the tent roof and leaking.

Safety tip: tent strings are a tripping hazard. Be careful!

Overall, here are the two biggest things to remember when setting up a tent:

  1. Have Patience. Take your time and don’t rush. Tent set up will become faster with practice.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Each tent comes with a set of directions. Every tent is similar but different, so it’s important to use them.

Tip: using a ground tarp underneath your tent may help you stay dry and lessen the wear on the bottom of the tent. Make sure the tarp does not extend past the edges of your tent bottom as that will cause water to collect and pool up underneath the tent.

Setting up your Shelter

The shelter can be placed over the tent for extra protection or over the picnic table to create a dry / shady place to spend time. As with the tent, avoid placing the shelter to close to the fire.

If you are using a tarp shelter you will need to know a few basic knots. Tie your tarp as tight as possible to avoid flapping in the wind and always set up a sloped roof to allow water to run off.

Tip: If rain is in the forecast do not cook in your tent. This is a strong fire and carbon monoxide poising hazard, and the smells could attract wildlife in the night. You can consider cooking under your shelter if it is well ventilated, but check the manufactures instructions to ensure there are no warnings.

Setting up Your Camp Kitchen

Table

Nearly all campsites at Ontario Parks come with a picnic table. Use your table for food preparation, and dining. Consider adding a table cloth to your table.

Camp Stoves

Set your stove up on the end of the picnic table away from any flammable materials (e.g., tablecloths). Make sure the table is level.

Kitchen Gear

Consider storing your kitchen gear in a large plastic bin. You can keep this under the table along with your cooler.

Garbage

Set up a garbage bag that is out of reach of wildlife. You can tie the bag to a tree or keep it in your car. Do not burn your garbage. Always bag it and dispose of it daily in designated waste/recycling bins to avoid issues with wildlife.

Washing Dishes

Set up a wash basin on your site for dishes. Tie a rope to two trees to create a clothesline for your towels and wet clothing (do not use nails in trees as it can harm them).