Inner First Pitch Tents. How Can I Keep The Inner Dry Whilst Pitching?

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Inner First Pitch Tents. How Can I Keep The Inner Dry Whilst Pitching?

It's an age-old problem. How do you pitch an inner pitch first tent in the rain?

Here in the UK, the perception is that it's always raining. Though that is obviously not true, It can seem like it when trying to pitch a tent on a wet and windy hillside. For this reason, an outer pitch first tent has always seemed preferable, because it allows you to insert the inner tent undercover of the flysheet. 

However, these opinions are a carryover from days gone by. Tent designs have moved on, materials have changed and innovation has changed the landscape regarding which method is better.

When I say better, I mean best suited to your requirements. As there is no one best solution.

Before we start, I'll clarify what do I mean when I talk about inner and outer pitch first tents.

An outer pitch first or flysheet pitch first is where you would normally push the tent poles through a sleeve that is sewn onto the outer side of the flysheet.

How to pitch an inner pitch first tent in the rain

These poles would then attach along the bottom edge of the tent. Giving the tent some structure. Some tents are free standing, meaning that they'll hold there basic shape without being guy roped out. Others will need to be guyed out in order to be a tent. Typically, semi-geodesic and geodesic designs are free-standing, and tunnel tents are not.

Flysheet or outer pitch first tents allow the user to pitch the flysheet and then crawl inside to attach the inner tent, usually by means of a toggle and loop system. This means that the inner tent can be kept dry whilst pitching. As long as you keep the inner tent dry whilst pitching the flysheet. Some flysheet pitch first tents allow you to leave the inner attached to the flysheet. This means that you can pitch the whole thing as one unit.

An inner pitch first tent means that the inner or sleeping compartment is pitched first. This is done either using pole sleeves as before or with plastic or metal clips that attach to the poles. The flysheet is then placed over the whole structure and secured.

Traditional inner pitch first tents.

Traditionally, the inner tent would be sleeved, which meant that the tent would have no structural rigidity until the inner tent section was up. This would mean that the inner tent would get wet if it was raining. However, with modern designs, this is not always the case.

Modern inner pitch first tents.

Due to something clever thinking, inner pitch first tents don't have to be. You could pitch them flysheet first. I'll explain.

A lot of modern lightweight tents come with a footprint groundsheet. This is used to protect the underside of the inner tent's groundsheet which is made of lightweight material. This extra groundsheet might add a few extra grammes to your load, but it does enable you to pitch the flysheet first on inner pitch first tents.

How to pitch an inner pitch first tent in the rain

Simply peg the footprint groundsheet to the ground, erect the poles, inserting them into the relevant attachment points. Attach the flysheet over the poles using the plastic buckles at the base of the poles. Now you can crawl inside and attach the inner tent by clipping the clips to the poles. Job done. An inner pitch first tent turned into an outer pitch first tent.

How to pitch an inner pitch first tent in the rain

It's now possible to have a tent with the benefits of both an outer pitch first and an inner pitch first. Which are.

  • Being able to pitch outer first in inclement weather.
  • Being able to use the inner tent on its own in warm dry weather.
  • Being able to just use the outer tent on its own to go ultralight.

So the old adage that you must have an outer pitch first is no longer the case.

PS. Not all inner pitch first tents can be erected as described above. You do need something like a footprint groundsheet with pole attachments on it.

Feel free to add your own experiences in the comments section.

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