✔︎ DO Scope out a spot.
Even if a tiny, tilted spot by a babbling brook would be awfully romantic for sleeping, that bigger, flatter clearing in the middle of the site is there for a reason. Uneven ground is uneven sleep.
✘ DON’T Tag team on assembly.
Little known fact: Most tents can be set up by one person, given a little extra time. Lesser known fact: Few relationships, be they parental, romantic, or platonic, can survive the frustration of “No, the other other end!”
✔ DO Agree on a shoes-in-the-tent policy immediately.
Wrestling off muddy hiking boots while tipping headfirst onto a sleeping bag is awful. Watching your camping buddy bring his muddy boots into your still-kinda-dry tent is worse.
✘ DON’T Turn it into a kite.
Wind plus semi-set-up tent means not having a tent anymore. Throw your pack inside immediately after unfolding the tent to weigh it down.
✔ DO Decorate.
Flags, banners, or a battery-operated string of Christmas lights says this isn’t an overpriced nylon lean-to, it’s home.
✘ DON’T Add the rain fly if you definitely won’t need it.
Though they’re necessary in a storm, most tents can handle a small sprinkle, and in hot weather the fly just turns the tent into an oven.