Philmont Dining Fly
The photographs were provided by Jason A. Cotting, Retired Philmont Ranger
The setup diagram was provided by Dave Doggette.
The quote from the Ranger Field Book was provided by Warren Williams.
Each of the thumbnails below links to a larger
"Pitching the Dining Fly" from the Ranger Field Book (1989):
The dining fly should be placed on a slight back downhill slope, 15-
20 feet away from the fire. Prevailing winds should blow through the
- A 40-foot length of rope is placed along the ridge line of the fly.
The rope is pushed through the grommets on both ends and affixed
to a small stick with a cat's paw knot. The ridge line rope is then
tied with a clove hitch to the top of the pole. This set up reduces
the shock on the grommets in heavy winds. If placed directly over
the pole tips, the grommets can tear out of the fly under stress.
- The side edges of the fly are laced through with 25-foot lengths
of rope, with a tautline hitch attachment to both ends of the
grommets. This provides several places where the side edges can
be staked down using only one rope, and makes for a more stable
shelter in wind.
Revised 1998 version:
- A-Frame style, 15-20 feet from the fire ring
- Face the tarp so that it is "cornering" into the wind
- One corner is pointed into the wind.
- Allows some wind to pass through while keeping most rain out
- Use a small stick to secure the ridge line to the tarp
- Use a lark's head to secure it
- Ridge line and tarp should both be tight
- Small sticks - they should break in a strong wind
- Clove hitch on the top of the poles - top three sections of poles
sufficient. You want a "BIG" fly not a "TALL" fly.
- Use tautline hitches to stake down the guy lines.
- Lace cord along the side grommets and secure the corners first then the
- Push, don't pound the stakes.
If you need help with the cat's paw knot, take a look at:
The content of this Web page was provided by Jason A. Cotting,
Dave Doggette and Warren Williams.
Please contact them for more information.
This Web page is maintained by Selden Ball
at Wilson Lab.
Please send any comments or corrections to