Are necessary for almost any kind of a tent; you can buy them at the outfitter's and lose them on the way to camp; they even have iron and steel tent pegs to help make camping expensive, and to scatter through the woods. But if you are a real sourdough you will cut your own tent pegs, shaped according to circumstances and individual taste. Fig. 286 shows the two principal kinds: the fork and the notched tent pegs. For the wall tents one will need a ridge pole (Fig. 288), and two forked sticks, or rods, to support the ridge pole; the forks on these should be snubbed off close so that they will not thrust themselves up against the canvas on the top of the tent and endanger the fabric; these poles should be of a proper height; otherwise if the poles are too long, the tent will not touch the ground at all, or if the poles are too short, the tent will wrinkle all over the ground like a fellow's trousers when his suspenders break.
See that the ground is comparatively level, but with a slant in one direction or another so that water will drain off in case of rain. Never, for instance, pitch your tent in a hollow or basin of ground, unless you want to wake up some night slopping around in a pool of water. Do not pitch your tent near a standing dead tree; it is liable to fall over and crush you in the night. Avoid camping under green trees with heavy dead branches on them. Remember the real camper always has an eye to safety first, not because he is a coward, but because the real camper is as brave a person as you will find anywhere, and no real brave person believes in the carelessness which produces accidents. Do not pitch your tent over protruding stones which will make stumbling-blocks for you on which to stub your toes at night, or torture you when you spread your blankets over them to sleep. Use common sense, use gumption. Of course, we all know that it hurts one's head to think, but we must all try it, nevertheless, if we are going to live in the big outdoors.
At a famous military academy the splendid cavalrymen gave a brilliant exhibition of putting up wall tents; it required four men to put up each tent. Immediately following this some of the scouts took the same tents, with one scout to each tent, and in less time than the cavalrymen took for the same job, the twelve year old boys, single-handed, put up the same tents.