How to erect a dome tent

Updated July 19, 2017

Dome tents are useful for all types of camping. Extra light dome tents allow backpackers to walk far into the wilderness while still enjoying the comfort of a secure shelter at night. Car campers can erect large dome tents that take up little space in their vehicles. Domes are also much easier to set up than their large canvas predecessors. They are made of lightweight material and supported with flexible poles that give the dome tent its shape.


Choose the area where you will erect the tent. A flat surface is best. However, if rain is in the forecast, erecting the tent on a slight slope will prevent water from collecting around the tent.

Clear debris from the area. Remove any sticks, rocks, lumps or other objects that could cause discomfort or puncture the tent floor.

Lay down a tarp on the area. The tarp will keep the tent floor dry in case of rain. This is not necessary if your tent has a tarpaulin base.

Assembling the tent

Lay the tent over the selected area with the door facing the desired direction. If rain is possible, adjust the tent so the door is facing away from the wind to avoid exposing the inside of the tent to moisture.

Assemble the tent poles. Dome tent poles come in sections connected by an elastic cord. Unfold each section and lock it into the adjacent section. Continue this process until one long pole is formed. Repeat this action with the other poles.

Feed the tent poles through the guides on the top of the tent. Guides are sleeves or clips that run the diagonal length of the tent.

Connect the poles to the corners of the tent. Each corner has either a pin or metal ring that corresponds to a sleeve or pin on the pole ends. Insert the pins into the rings or sleeves beginning with the adjacent corners on one end of the tent and repeating on the opposite end of the tent. Connecting the poles to the last two corners of the tent will raise the tent fabric and form the dome frame.

Stake the tent to the ground. Pull each tent corner tight before driving the stake. Use a mallet to drive stakes at an angle through the loop at the corner of the tent. Insert the stake so it leans slightly away from the tent and pinches the corner of the tent to the ground. Leave enough of the stake's head above ground to allow removal later.

Rain fly

Spread rain fly over the top of the tent. Adjust the fly so the front is over the door of the tent.

Feed the rain fly tent pole (normally the shortest pole) through the guides on the fly's bottom side.

Pull the fly's side ropes outward and stake to the ground. Ropes may be adjusted for length. Longer ropes create a wider fly cover over the tent.

Things You'll Need

  • Tent
  • Tent poles
  • Tent stakes
  • Tarp
  • Level surface
  • Mallet
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About the Author

Jim Jansen has been writing articles since 2005 and has been featured in publications such as "The River Watch," and also contributes to and LIVESTRONG.COM. He has a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Michigan State University. Jansen specializes in outdoor recreation and environmental topics.