What lies beneath? Seems like a pretty odd question considering the simple fact that tents are pretty much almost always raised above ground. So who really cares about what’s underground, right? Wrong! In order to erect a tent, knowing what is underground is crucial to making it happen.

Why is this, might you ask. Well, in order for a tent to stay raised it needs to be ‘anchored’ to the ground in some form. There are various ways you can anchor the tent but the most cost effective method is staking the tent into the ground. This basically means that long steel pins are drilled into the ground with straps which connect to both the pin and the tent. These steel pins can be drilled into all types of ground surfaces including grass, concrete and asphalt.

An important thing to know about these steel pins is that they can’t just necessarily be drilled into the ground at your hearts content. Before that happens, all underground utilities (hydro, electric, gas, etc.) need to be located prior to digging into the ground as it can be very costly and extremely dangerous to pierce a pin into one of these utilities. It can even be the reason why your internet, TV, and phone lines will disconnect for a brief period of time.

And this is where the whole ‘what lies beneath’ montage going on here suddenly starts to make sense. So now that you realize underground utilities need to be located and marked you may start to eagerly wonder to yourself “What?! How does someone even manage to find out where these things are buried?”.

Well lets just say not everyone can just go and determine what is underground. You need special equipment to do this and there are only a handful of companies who specialize in doing so. The equipment used to locate these underground utility services is a special electromagnetic reader that can track the location of underground pipes and services. The person holding this reader will walk with it and hold it slightly above the ground over the area of where the tent is going to be installed – almost like a metal detector but a lot more high tech. The reader can detect the type of utility service that is underground as well as how deep into the ground it is and where it is. After a utility line is detected, the person walking around with the locate reader will usually spray paint the surface showing the utility’s direction and whereabouts underground. Have you ever noticed spray painted lines in a parking lot or on the road? That would be the markings of the utilities. When spray paint can’t be used, small flags can be used instead.

Once these underground utilities are marked on the ground surface, we can now determine whether the tent has to be moved slightly from it’s planned placement to avoid a utility, or if nothing is in the way and we can go ahead and start the tent install.

And so the moral of the story goes a little something like this – nothing is as simple as it seems!

staked tent

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