What is the correct way to pitch this pup tent?

As shown below, there is so much slack along the edges that the sides nearly lie flat on the ground. When it rains, puddles form on the flat spot; and those puddles eventually find their way into the tent.

The guy ropes on the sides don't have enough angle to hold the sides of the tent up. In fact, it looks like I would need to have those guy ropes angled up to allow rain to run to the ground (instead of puddling on the sides).

It may not be clear from the photo below, but the seam between the dark green tent bottom and the light green top is about 4" above the ground. But, that is only helpful if I can keep that 4" lip nearly vertical.

(To be clear, water sheets off the top of the tent just fine. The only problem is where water collects in puddles.)tent with original guy wires -- front view

In response to several helpful comments:

Replacing the short side guy lines with 2.5 meter guy lines and making the front and back guy lines crazy tight (as tight as I could without puling the stakes out of the ground) helped a lot; but not enough that I would trust it on a rainy night. It takes a lot longer, but water still puddles up along the seam between the bathtub bottom and the sides.

I knew that Ozark Trail was a budget tent, but I didn't think they made "play" tents that were simply unsuitable for actual use. Why bother with a bathtub bottom and waterproofing if it can't keep water out regardless? (For what its worth: I've had this tent since grad school. I didn't buy it recently.)

tent with 2.5m guy line -- side view

  • 1
    Have you tried pegging the side guys much wider? Are the poles adjustable for length? Because honestly the whole thing looks far too slack, like they're too short
    – Chris H
    Jul 21, 2022 at 16:35
  • Additionally replace the cords that attach to the centre sides, to at least double their length. That will pull the sides out at a better angle. Jul 21, 2022 at 17:54
  • two decades ago, when I used this kind of tent, they had additional fixation points on the upper corners of the floor that are pulled out with cords such that the pulled-up sides are upright.
    – arne
    Jul 22, 2022 at 12:17
  • 1
    shouldn't the ridgeline be way more taught?
    – njzk2
    Jul 22, 2022 at 16:47
  • @arne I looked for those in the picture, but couldn't see any. They'd help, even if pulled out and down as mine did decades ago
    – Chris H
    Jul 27, 2022 at 21:28

2 Answers 2


Apart from lengthening the guys on the side panels to get a better angle of pull, the tent can be tightened by raising its support poles.

I use castor dishes in my tent to raise the poles a little bit, and the added bonus is that it spreads the weight at the bottom of the pole, where it touches the groundsheet. So there is less likelihood that it will damage or even pierce the groundsheet. If more height is needed, you can put a bit of packing inside the dish.

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But at the end of the day, don't expect too much from a 'play' tent.

  • 6
    Those cups will also help if the ground is very soft and the poles dent it. I used 35mm film canisters with a stack of coins in for a similar reason once
    – Chris H
    Jul 21, 2022 at 18:22
  • 3
    The last sentence is really the key point. This is purely a play tent for children. If the OP is using this in any conditions other than perfect dry weather with no wind, they're automatically making a mistake. Even using it at night is dodgy unless the weather is really good.
    – Graham
    Jul 22, 2022 at 13:16
  • The tent is somewhere in the middle: It's not a "play" tent; but, it was quite inexpensive. I certainly don't expect it to keep me perfectly dry in a severe storm or downpour; but, it seems odd that it can't even handle a typical Michigan summer rain.
    – Zack
    Jul 22, 2022 at 17:28
  • But still, if you want a tent for children that has weather protection, it should be of no less quality than a tent for adults that is fit for purpose. What you have looks very much like a 'play tent', that is, "let's play at camping". But it is unsuitable for actual camping. Jul 22, 2022 at 17:35

The 2nd picture makes it clear that the end guys, like the side ones, are (set up) far too short and not tight enough. They should pull the ridge tight so that there's no slack fabric anywhere. They shouldn't be too steep, so that they're pulling against each other.

If your pegs are pulling out, and they're already right down to the ground and at 90° to their ropes, you need better pegs for that soil - V pegs would help, but you can also use 2 of your existing pegs per guy rope, forming a cross that's perpendicular to the rope. A common error is putting pegs in vertically to the ground. Peg and tighten the end guys before pulling the side guys tight.

  • I'm not seeing how pulling the guys tighter will fix the problem. There is no slack above the loops that attach the side guys to the tent. Although the ridgeline dips, the fabric (especially at the apex) is quite tight. Even long side guy lines pull the loops down, which creates the slack in the lower part of the tent.
    – Zack
    Jul 27, 2022 at 21:14
  • 1
    There's no slack above the side guy attachments because you're pulling the fabric down with those guys. Many tents of that style, for many years, didn't have side guys at all. They're good in double skin tents for holding the 2 layers apart, and in single skin they give a little more space. But the end guys should take out nearly all slack first. There are badly designed tents out there that never go up taut (and similar things, like the drive off awning I have for my camper van). Perhaps this is one of them. But try without the side guys before giving up
    – Chris H
    Jul 27, 2022 at 21:25
  • You can also double up the end guys - either one long and one steep on the centreline, or 2 quite long forming a V shape. The latter can make getting in and out easier, as well as being stronger in the wind
    – Chris H
    Jul 27, 2022 at 21:27

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