Tent and Camp Setup

For Adult Helpers And New Leaders



  • Kitchen setup and pack down

  • Cleaning, Rubbish and Hygiene 

  • Tent setup and pack down

  • General Instructions for camping



  • We get judged on camp management at some regattas and zone camps 

  • It’s good practice

  • It’s good learning for new parents

Hawke Camp Kitchen




  • Cleaning products, brushes etc. Blue cleaning bowls, and green strainer. Black rubbish bags.

  • Non perishable food box.  Eg cans an unopened cereal or biscuits. Do not put opened or perishable food back in this box, as it may be packed for future camps without looking again. Use the large plastic containers, or chili bin, for perishable foods,  so they remain visible, and send ..Perishable foods should find a new home after camp, send away with campers. 

  • Pots and pans box. As pots and pans will sit on/around cookers, this box may be used temporarily for extra food, but should be cleared out for pots and pans on pack-up. 

  • Cooker box, has gas cookers and ignition starters, suds bottle to check gas connection, spanner for adjustments.




Gas cookers go on a fold out steel protection area. This should go on a wooden spacer, then can sit on an ordinary fold out plastic table.  


The wood squares that look like chopping boards are for potting hot pots on, so they don’t melt the plastic table… Ensure a couple in the cooking area, and a couple in the serving area.


Prior to cooking a meal, it’s good to have a big pot (half full) of hot water in advance, for the cleaning station, and for faster access to hot water. So put that on so it’s hot before you start cooking.


Kitchen Tent


Ensure plenty of day time air flow so food does not cook in sun. Keep food in the side of the tent where most shaded. Not on the north wall..


Chili bin fridge. Ideally use 4x pre frozen water bottles (eg 1.5 l fizzy drink or old milk bottles) for keeping the fridge box cool for longer. Or ice packs otherwise, but those don’t stay cold that long. This author is not a fan of ice bags, as they melt and water slosh means raw meat juices contaminate everything else. Ideally meat is double bagged and kept low and separate awaiting Saturday night dinner. (Ideally meat is frozen in advance, and would be thawed by time used). Keep fresh vege up high and in it’s own bag also. Lunch stuff in it’s own bag (Cheese/ham etc). Half the milk could be frozen in advance.


Tip: Those on cooking duty might want to bring a favourite chopping knife, as there are not any large sharp knives for safety reasons.


Sanitiser available for kitchen hands and at serving area. 


Cubs often forget lunch boxes, so there are plastic lunch bags in cleaning box.. (but do not give out to all)


Mess Tent


Eating area is usually the day shelter gazebo (green tent bag with wheels), and 1 or 2 tables, and seats. (All grey plastic fold out).   ( Or could be a canvas tent with sides up.)


Gazebo: A black triangle strap is used to measure a good square footing, but is not attached to the final structure. There are led lights in the black solar battery box. These are installed in the are low voltage and can run through night,  but may attract bugs. Look for a number in the text on the box to work out the 3 digit pin for padlock.


Make sanitizer available on the path into the dining area. 



Use the black rubbish bags from the Cleaning box. Do not allow to overfill! please tie off when it is suitable for easy transporting without spilling out 


There are 2 big black bins with labels for rubbish and recycling. Teach everyone in advance the meaning of those words. Recycling should be able to go straight in a recycling bin at home. (This means cans/bottles should be clean, and only flat clean paper/cardboard. The following do not go in main recycling bins: dirty containers, soft plastics, coffee cups, biodegradable items. 


Consider using another bag for recycling only in the kitchen area for food product bottles and cardboard (as parents usually get the recycling right)


There is a small white food scraps bucket. Ideally this is fruit/vege only, and can go in a compost directly (no meat/dairy) 


Aim to use up perishable food before camp ends. Canned and unopened foods can be used at the next camp. Left over perishable items need to find a new home (do not return to the ship)


Cleaning station


  • TIP: Prior to cooking a meal, it’s good to have a pot of hot water in advance…  

  • Cleaning station is a fold out plastic table, with the following steps communicated clearly to the youth. 

  • Youth especially cubs, see 3 bowls, and they all want to use the closest bowl they see, which immediately destroys the process for any others wanting to maintain camp hygiene 

Washing Steps: 


  1. Large strainer bowl for leftovers/juices, sometimes over a hole in ground (depending on camp rules), or over a suitable bowl/bucket to collect juices. (Later: dump strained solids this in rubbish bag, not compost)

  2. Pre rinse bowl, to remove most of the remaining leftovers. Provide a brush here.… this water gets dirty quickly ( but is ensures a good outcome for big number of campers.

  3. Washing bowl has soap suds (any perhaps warm water) Provide a dish cloth here.

  4. Final bowl has hot water to rinse of suds. (No detergent, no brush… This water should be crystal clear after 20 youth used it)


Pro Tip: 

  • At the end of each washing time. Get rid of the dirty pre rinse water. 

  • The old suds water becomes the new pre rinse water. 

  • The old hot rinse water gets some detergent added

  • Hot water is provided for the now empty rinsing bowl. 

Kitchen tea towels are for adult use only. Do not provide for youth to ensure good kitchen hygiene. Youth should have a tea towel of their own in their ditty bag or they could “air dry”


Kitchen Pack up

Ensure only non perishable foods go in the wood box back to camp. Jars etc that are opened should leave camp in a see through plastic box. Some spreads will last ok in box if you know the next camp date. 

However, pasta sauces, milk powder, eggs, jam, bread etc will not last once opened. Do not return them to the ship. Distribute perishable leftover food to parent helpers, or youth.

Unclaimed lost cutlery can be added to the kitchen cutlery box. Youth can then find or borrow their cutlery from the kitchen cutlery box on next week night.

Encourage absent parents picking up youth to take 1 rubbish bag each, so it’s not left for volunteers. 

Canvas Tents Setup

Each tent will sleep between 4 to 6 youth (or can squeeze up to 8 with real crowding)

Setup Tent

  1. Find a tent box, and a bag of poles, and a tent bag,  with the same colour name. 

  2. Put the ground sheet down first (optional).

  3. Unfold the tent onto the ground sheet, to keep tent dry and clean. Ensure roof side is up, using 2+ people to bring 1 side up over the other

  4. Put the side poles together, and lie them on the ground at corners, and sides, around the tent.

  5. Unravel the guide ropes, and place at corners and sides. (Corners have 2 wood tensioners, sides have only 1)

  6. The guide ropes should be pegged into the ground with the Large Tent Pegs (first). Position the corner pegs at right angles to the tent, approx distance from the corner based on the pole length (150cm-180cm). The rope closed to the tensioner is pinned to ground. The peg should be driven in at a 45 degree angle away from the tent, as the tension will be 45 degrees towards the top of the pole.

  7. With youth on all 4 corners, and pre-pegged ropes ready, raise the corners poles up, poking the pole pin through the corner holes in tent, and put loop of guide rope over the pole pin, and then pull the wooden tensioners towards the tent..  (it helps to hold both ends of the pole so they don’t fall apart during this process)

  8. The tent is now mostly up, help by minimal guide ropes, and with sagging sides/middle.  Unzip the corners to get access to next step.

  9. Youth can take side poles into the tent, to find the hole half way along each tent wall, and poke the pin through, and foot the pole on ground. Youth on outside attach side guide ropes over the pin, and anchor them to ground using more large tent pegs. Tension the ropes enough, but not too much. 

  10. One strong youth takes the long centre pole inside the tent, and raises the full height of the tent. The centre pole should be placed on a small square wooden block, that will minimise the pole pushing down through soft ground, and protect the ground sheet.

  11. Tension all guide ropes until the tent is in good shape.

  12. Inside tent there are ties so you can tie the tent to the poles for strength

  13. Put a metal spider (hooks) around your centre pole, for youth to hang jackets etc on.

  14. Repeat for several tents. Tents side by side can be close with guide ropes crossing. But there needs to be plenty of space for walkways.

Tent Pack Down


  1. Get youth to pack up their gear as early as possible, and store elsewhere.

  2. Talk youth through this process, so that they are doing it (parents often jump in)

  3. Other scout groups have got all youth to stand around and watch one example done, then they all are expected to do their own tents.

  4. Wait for it dry ideally.. 10am? 

  5. Unzip sides

  6. Remove spider from centre pole, then remove centre pole, pole seat, and side poles 

  7. Leave guide ropes attached to ground pegs, as they help you locate the ground pegs, and help you remove the ground pegs in later step

  8. Lastly 4 people remove corner poles to drop the tent tidily on the ground sheet. 

  9. 2 people move from side to side to turn the tent over (so top is on ground) 

  10. 2 opposing tent sides fold in, then repeat the next 2 tent sides fold in, so a square now.

  11. Bring one outside edge to the middle, and the other to meet..  

  12. Continue to fold down to the required size to fit in the large tent bag (note colour). 

  13. Use youth to compress the folded tent and to remove the air. (Fun activity)

  14. Poles go in the correct pole bag (note colour)

  15. Use guide ropes to remove ground pegs, probably 45 degrees angled away from the tent for ease.

  16. Remove loose earth, and put ground pegs in peg bag in the tent box. (12 large pegs)

  17. Wind guide ropes around the wooden tensioners and put them tidily in tent box. (4 side guide ropes plus 4 corner double guide ropes)

  18. Fold up ground sheet and put in tent box… Consider turning over to dry in sun before packing away.

Gear Trailer

  • Tents are the heaviest thing, so keep them low/centred over the wheel axil, which is very much at the rear of our trailer.

  • Tie down any water bottles, as they are light and prone to flying off. 

  • Lash down the main load. (or with a cover)

  • The trolley is easy to store on the top of the gear (over the top bars), and tie it on (through all 4 sides) with it’s own lashing, for easy removal.  


General Camp Advice

Create a formal entrance (use staves, fences, ropes etc. 


Hawke signage at your main entrance to camp 


Make sanitizer available on entry to camp, or in the central area where youth return to camp from the toilet block. Encourage use of sanitiser.


Do not let youth hang clothes on guide ropes. Make a clothes line with ropes and staves. 


Open tent side(s) when adults are in camp, (rolled inwards), so it will not collect rain. Drop sides in the rain, or when everyone leaves camp. 


A printed program or white board should be available for all to see the program, as at regattas, often those with the knowledge are on task, and every adult should know when youth should be somewhere and not at camp. (all youth should know and be able to look at the program also) 

Child Safety


If you need to enter a youth tent, find another adult to accompany you. Even if it is your own child, you still need another adult to maintain the child safety policy. 


Seek agreement from scouts inside the tent to raise the side of the tent. Open sides makes the tent a more public place so the second adult is able to maintain visibility.


Avoid any situation where you could be alone with a single youth, including outdoors. If walking with youth, ensure there are either 2 adults, or a group of youths. If a single youth needs to go to the bathroom/first aid, ask other youth to walk with them, even if just for their company and safety.


Please read general child safety policy from Scouts NZ