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How to Use Tent Guy Ropes

Updated March 28, 2017

Guy ropes or lines (also called guyout lines) attach to tent guy loops and help keep the tent secure in high winds, prevent the tent fabric from sagging and secure the tent to anchors. There are many ways to use guy ropes, limited only by available anchors and prevailing winds. Incorporate guy ropes with your tent for a more efficient and weather-resistant camp.

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  1. Tie a thin cord through the tent's guy loops, which are typically found on the tent's rain fly. Follow the seams on the fly down toward the ground to find the loops. As a general rule of thumb, use two guy ropes per side of the tent.

  2. Tighten the cord out from the tent walls and tie it to stakes, then plant the stakes in the ground. You can also tie the cord to trees, poles, rocks or overhangs. Secure the side of the tent facing the prevailing wind. Use simple square knots so the guy ropes may be tied and untied quickly if the wind changes direction.

  3. Tighten guy ropes when leaving the tent in the morning. Tents can sag over time due to fabric stretching and gravity. Use a plastic rope cord "slider" to tighten guy ropes. The rope cord goes through the slider. When you pull down on the slider, it tensions the rope cord; when you push up, the rope cord is loosened. You can also use a clove-hitch or other friction knot to tighten a guy rope. Hitch knots work by taking slack in the rope and forming an enclosed loop that can be used to remove the slack.

  4. Roll guy ropes after use to prevent tangles and knots. Extend the little finger and forefinger and wrap the guy ropes around them, making a figure eight. Double the figure eight over and wrap the loose end twice around the waist of the figure eight.

  5. Tip

    Always bring an extra 10-foot length of 5mm nylon cord into the backcountry to use as a guy rope if needed.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cord
  • Tent
  • Stakes or other stable anchors

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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