How to pitch the Cabela eight-person tent

The instructions for pitching Cabela eight person tents are printed on the tent bag, as are instructions for many other brands, makes, models of tents.

But they only include line drawings, so we thought some pictures might help. The tent instructions say to have a minimum 2 people pitch it, but it is much easier with four or even six people.

The tent has six long poles all the same size and one shorter pole for the rain fly.

Start by pulling out the folded up poles and lengthening them. They are all shock-cord loaded so they can be folded up into their bag for storage and when taken out, will automatically lengthen out into their full length.

Next, three of the six long poles slide into the three mesh pole sleeves at the top of the tent in a triangle:

Cabela close-up of top:

Get the first three poles into these sleeves

We have more than one of these tents and each is a little different. On most of them the pole sleeves are color coordinated. All the sleeves for one pole might be gray, for another, off-white, for another dark green. (On some of the tents we marked where each pole goes with a different color of permanent ink pen.)

and then into their ring pins

All the poles go into ringpins at the bottom corners:

Cabela corner:

next clip these three long poles onto the tent.

The tent attaches to the poles with simple plastic clips along the pole lengths:
Cabela simple clip:

and in the process, pop up the tent.

The other three long poles don’t go through any sleeves. Next put the other three long poles in and clip them.

And finally, AFTER all six long poles are in place, clipped along their lengths and in their ring pins at their ends,

find the clips or velcro that wrap around at pole intersections and wrap two poles together with each of them.

Cabela wrapped clip 2: Cabela wrapped clip:

It really helps to put in all six long poles and clip them along their lengths
to get the tent into a proper shape
before you wrap poles together at intersections.

The tent should look like this after all six poles are properly in:

Cabela overhead view:
Next you will run the short pole thru a sleeve on the rainfly and put the rainfly on over the tent and find the ring pins for that pole. Put the rainfly on with the entrance space right over the main door to the tent before you put the ends into the ring pins.

There are lines you can then pull outward to tent pegs, or even to a tree.

Notice the line from the rainfly at the front door that runs between the ladies in this photo:

girls with Cabella:

also see the line from the rainfly/front door below, with pink tape on it to make it more visible,

(especially important to keep people from tripping on a white line over white snow after dark)

Cabella tent after snowfall winter 2011: snow covered tent and picnic table

And below, late arrivals Friday evening on the 2011 Yosemite winter trip had help from others pitching their tent:

group pitching tent snow camp 2011: group of people pitching tent after darkpitching tent at night 2011 winter trip: pitching a tent at night


Four or six people occupying one of these tents
is more comfortable than eight.

(And in most campsites in National Parks we travel to, six is the maximum number of people per campsite.)

The first two photos below are from winter Yosemite trips, the third is from a trip to Grand Teton National Park:

six in tent Yosemite winter 2014: six people in a dark tent five girls in tent 2014 Yosemite winter trip: five girls in a dark tent

tent mates Leigh lake 2011: slightly out of focus photo of smiling people in a tent

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ow of trees cropped


This next section has examples of good tents, but mistakes using or pitching them that you might want to skip:

Pitch your tent by yourself when you arrive after dark and in the morning you might discover you put the rain fly and poles on upside down:

Jonathan with rain fly on upside down: guy stnading next to two tents of the same model, one with the rain fly on upside down

OOOOPs, he discovered that he had not dried out his tent completely the last time he used it, so it had mold. He and friend slept comfortably in the Chevy Suburban instead:

orange tent with snowman and Chevy Suburban

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On the 2017 winter trip these people pitched their tent incorrectly.

(Many tents have instructions printed on the bag, did they read them? If they borrowed it from someone did they ask for instruction on how to pitch it? Did they try pitching it before the trip?) When they were having difficulty with it they did not ask other more experienced campers they were traveling with for help.

In the dark, from a distance, it looked to the other campers as if they were okay.

They were found trying to sleep in their car in the morning and complained that their tent was “unstable,” as if to say it was a fault of the construction/design of the tent, rather than their failure to properly put the ends of the rain fly tent poles into the ring pins at the base of the tent. As far as the rest of the group could tell, they had just stuck the ends of the rain fly tent poles in the snow. As a result, the tent fabric did not have enough tension to pop out fully into shape.

Their tent in the morning:
tent with end of poles sticking into snow instead of set in tent

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No good tent should have the ends of the rain fly poles in the ground or in the snow. All good tents will have pockets or ring pins for the ends of poles to go in to, as in the example you saw above at this webpage:

Cabela corner:

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And here a poorly designed tent with a rain fly that is not pitched taut and does not go all the way down the outside, so rain and melting snow drip down onto the tent fabric and soaks in, plus the classic mistake of having a tarp under the tent that sticks out the sides. Then the rain dripping off the rain fly collects on the tarp and soaks under the tent and through the bottom fabric. (It’s better to custom cut a thick plastic bottom protection that fits completely under the bottom of the tent if you want to protect it from rocks and twigs.) These people said their sleeping bags were wet after only one night.

Would you pitch your 8 foot diameter tent in an 8 foot diameter puddle?

That is, in effect, what these campers did:

tent with a rain fly that does not go all the way down the sides, and a group cloth sticking out to the sides

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most of the Grand Teton range peaks
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For fun, an eight person tent holds this many campers has mostly photos of people who shared these tents. We took the rainfly off the tent to get more light in it when we posed the picture below of tooooo many people sleeping in an eight person tent:

first people in tent for photo 2010: first people in tent for a posed photo of a crowd sleeping in a tent

For info on the logistics of where to pitch your tent and staying warm and comfy overnight camping in a tent in the snow, for example on our Yosemite trip, go to: First-timer’s instructions

don’t buy a cheap tent