We’ve all seen the carnage: crumpled tent skeletons piled up next to trash cans on the beach after a heavy storm, twisted metal and hundreds of dollars sown the drain. How many times have you said, “Nahh, it’ll be fine.” while setting up the tents on gameday when someone asks if we’ve staked the tents down?
It only takes one good gust to destroy a lot of equipment, and possibly cause some pretty serious injuries. By taking a few minutes to secure your tents, you can ensure that your tailgate is still standing after the big storm.
Take the Time to Stake
First of all, be sure to stake your tents down. All of the EZ-Up style tents come with enough stakes to get the job done. You’ll need to make sure you have a hammer or mallet with you in your equipment list. Stake all four corners down, and make sure that the head of the stake is as far down as possible. This prevents any wind gusts from loosening the stakes easily.
If you have more than one tent, snug them up against each other, and strap them together using wire ties. In our case, we strap all four tents together. This basically makes your setup a larger, heavier airfoil, with four times as many anchors in the ground.
“Drop” the Tents if Needed
When the big storm and heavy gusts hit, pay attention to how your tents are responding. They should be ok. If you are really getting concerned about them getting airborne, lower each tent to its lowest setting – all the way down. This effectively is reducing the amount of wind that can get up under the tents. If it’s a heavy storm, like we experienced at the Auburn-West Virginia game last year, you may spend a decent amount of time inside a “dropped” tent – there is still room under them to sit in a chair, believe it or not!
Collect New Replacement Parts
Even though you are going to take care to prevent wind from destroying your tents, they do break and wear out over time. Storms and wind provide a constant supply of replacement parts. Once the storm is over, look around campus for the skeletons of destroyed tents. There are always a few destroyed, mangled tents abandoned after a big storm. Carry a small socket set with you in your car, and examine the destroyed tents. Usually, there are only a few parts that are completely destroyed. There are plenty of pieces that are in good condition that can be scavenged to serve as future replacement parts for your own tents.