A dining fly is one of the first structures you should put up at camp. But what if you’re in an area away from trees, how do you secure one?

For the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing some camp hacks that the BSA’s national camping subcommittee has shared with us. This week’s tip involves how to set up a dining fly. Special thanks to Larry Green for the tips and text below.

In the Camping merit badge pamphlet, under the “Managing Your Campsite” section, it reads, “Set up a dining fly first. That will provide shelter for food and you in case of rain, and will give a sense of where you will center most of your camp activities.”

It’s a regular practice that the dining fly is the first thing to go up and the last thing to come down. Here’s one simple way for a patrol to set up their fly when there are no trees for the ridge line.

  1. Layout the tarp and attach a guyline to each corner with two half-hitches or a bowline.
  2. Pound in stakes five feet away and at a 45-degree angle from each corner of the tarp.
  3. Apply a taut-line hitch between the stakes and the tarp’s corner grommets.
  4. On each side, join two Scout staves together with two round lashings for the upright poles.
  5. Secure a ridge line to the upright poles with a series of half hitches.
  6. With the ends of the ridge line attached to their stakes, the tarp is raised and tension on the guylines is adjusted. 

Watch these videos for techniques and tips below.


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