Wednesday 11 December 2013


Saumya, Aishwarya, Abhinav & Tushar of G D Goenka World School, Gurgaon sharing their learning 

Early in the morning of 25th October 2013, a group of 80 Award participants (17 Silver & 63 Bronze) reached Camp Wild, Dhauj. We barely has time to settle into our cottages/tents when we were divided into groups to start with the activities. First was the obstacle course followed by lunch and then we did rock climbing, rappelling and valley crossing, followed by a session of the obstacle course. The obstacle course was a fun task to teach us the distinctive ways in which the army trains. This involved: the jungle leap, Tarzan swing, commando net, Bermuda Bridge and much more.

However, with all this fun we also had some serious activities to teach us vital survival skills like knot tying and tent pitching. It took a lot of effort and teamwork, since it was first time for most students, but we still managed to pitch a tent. The students learnt the different and vital ways to tie knots with a rope. This was the base for everything, even for putting up the tent.  To us, learning the skill of tent pitching was the biggest take away from the camp. Tents are one of the most important camping materials, and without them, explorers would have to sleep without shelter on long treks. Pitching a tent is rather simple and can be done in 5 minutes.

Step 1: Find a good camping spot; flat ground is essential as the tent may not stay up on uneven ground. Also sleeping on a slope is rather uncomfortable.
Step 2: Lay down the ground sheet; this sheet protects the tent from the soil, rocks and also makes it more comfortable to sleep on.
Step 3: Set up the ridge pole; this pole slides into a hook at the top of the tent, it eventually will become the backbone of the tent.
Step 4: Attach the pegs to the main tent structure; they should not be too tight or loose, just enough to keep it upright.
Step 5: Pull the ridge pole up so that you can attach the two dollies; these two rods attach to the frame on both sides of the tent and help keep it upright.
Step 6: Now attach the pegs to the upright tent structure to make sure it does not fly away
Step 7: Attach the flysheet to the tent; the flysheet is a waterproof cover for the tent to protect it from rain and/or snow
Step 8: The guy ropes can now be attached. These ropes hold the flysheet steady and attach it to the main tent; they also steady the Dollies. 

There are many different kinds of tents but they all are set up more or less the same way. I know that with this skill in hand I can now travel on long expeditions and not have to worry about where I am going to sleep. 

Some key facts that we learnt:
  1. Tents cannot be heated by anything electric or by fire as they are made out of nylon and that is very combustible, the only thing that can heat it is body heat.
  2. The two most commonly used tents are dome and A shaped; Dome shaped is used for long expeditions and A shaped for shorter ones.
  3. Tents were widely used by the Roman army -- which needed a place to stay for all its troops that was light and portable. The answer was the tent.
  4. People living in warm places usually live in tents made out of woven goat hair as nylon can catch fire in the extreme heat.
  5. Some camping tents are large enough to keep 10 people, extra camping gear and family pets; there is also room for 6 extra people! However this is nothing compared to the Khan Shatyr; this 150 by 200 meters tent is larger than 10 football fields and is an urban scale internal park.

This is our learning for life! Click for pictures

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