Mom Goes Camping

How to Tie Tent Guylines (with Illustrated Instructions)

how to tie out tent guylines

Tent guylines are ropes or cords attached to a tent. They provide stability and support by anchoring the tent to the ground, trees, or other objects. The guylines help the tent withstand wind, snow and heavy rains as well as provide stability so the tent doesn’t sag.

There are multiple ways to tie out tent guylines.  Here I’ve included instructions for two methods: the tautline hitch and the pulley methods. Both methods are easy but still allow you to tension the guylines.


Tying Guylines with the Tautline Hitch Method

tie out tent guylines with adjustable tension tautline hitch method

This is how I usually tie out tent guylines.  I leave the guylines attached, so I can skip step #1.  The tautline hitch knot is adjustable; just slide it and you can adjust the tension of the tent guylines.


  1. Tie a bowline knot to the tent’s tie-out point.
  2. Put stake in ground where you want your guylines anchored.
  3. Pull cord to the peg.
  4. Secure cord with a tautline hitch.
  5. Slide the knot you just made to tension the guylines.

*You can also use this method with rocks or other secure anchors. Just put the tautline hitch around the object.


Pulley Method for Tying Tent Guylines

tie out tarp guylines pulley method

This method of tying tent guylines is not adjustable. However, the extra loop makes it easier to tie the guylines tightly. It also reduces tension so your knots don’t slip.

  1. Tie a loop (such as a slip knot or another bowline) towards the bottom1/3 of your guyline.
  2. Put stake in ground. Wrap guyline around stake and bring it through the loop you made. Pull tightly!
  3. Tie guyline end to itself with a slippery half hitch.


Tip: Add Elastic Shock Cord

In windy weather, the guylines pull on your tent fly. The constant flapping can strain the fly, causing it to rip.  To prevent this, you can attach a “shock cord” to the tent guylines.

guyline shock cord to prevent wind damage to fly


Do You Really Need to Tie Out Tent Guylines?

In good weather conditions, I usually don’t bother to tie out the guylines. However, if I know the weather could get bad, I always tie out all of the guylines.

Bear in mind that the weather can change quickly when camping – especially at high elevations.  It really isn’t fun to leave your tent in the middle of a thunderstorm to adjust the guylines or reattach one that came loose!

That’s why it’s so important to know how to tie out your tent guylines, and to do it on time!


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About the author /

Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.

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