I've been camping and backpacking with my family pretty much since I was born and I've put up my fair share of tents over the years. All tents are different, but one of the most basic and popular designs is the dome tent. They usually have 2 or 3 poles for the tent and sometimes 1 or 2 for the rain fly.
In this instructable, I will be showing you how to assemble this specific, 2-person, 3 pole dome tent, but the same general idea can be applied to most other dome style tents.
Step 1: Pick a Location
Find a flat spot that it free of large rocks and branches that is big enough for your tent to fit. If there are smaller rocks, twigs or pine cones on the ground, move them out of the area to make a smoother surface for sleeping. Your back will thank you!
If you want shade so you don't roast in your tent every morning, try to find a spot that is sheltered by trees.
Step 2: Tarp and Unfolding the Tent
Lay out your tarp on the flat piece of ground you have chosen. It helps if your tarp is near the size of the footprint of your tent, but it's ok if it's a bit smaller or bigger. The tarp protects the bottom of your tent from getting damaged and also will keep you dry if the ground is damp or if it rains.
Unfold your tent over your tarp and locate the poles, rain fly, and stakes. For now, set aside everything except the tent and lay that on top of your tarp as flat as you can. Don't worry about the location of the door or anything, you can arrange it more easily one you have the poles in!
Step 3: Assemble Poles
Take your poles out and separate them from each other. They might be a bit tangled but they shouldn't be too hard to separate. They probably come in short sections held together with an elastic cord running through the center that holds the pieces together securely once you fit them together.
Step 4: Attach Poles to Tent
Your tent poles might attache a little bit differently but usually there should be some tube of fabric for the tent poles to slide through. Attach one end of the poles to the edge of the tent. Our tent has grommets that the ends of the poles fit into.
Step 5: Pop Up the Tent!
This step can be easier with two people, but it can be done with one person. To get the tent to stand up, start with one of the poles at an end that is not already attached to a corner of the tent. Bend the pole up enough that you can connect the unconnected end to its corresponding corner and repeat for each pole. By the last pole this might be more difficult because the tent will be stretched tightly up to retain its shape.
Step 6: Rain Protection
To keep yourself as dry as possible, put the rain fly on your tent and use paracord to pull it taught so that when rain drips down, it won't land directly on your tent. Make sure that your tarp is tucked underneath the tent so that water doesn't land on it and run underneath, and flood your tent! Also, digging shallow trenches to help divert rain water can help avoid flooding.