The independent news organization of Duke University

‘Your tent shouldn’t be a home, it should be a fallout shelter’: A tenter’s guide to K-Ville survival

Krzyzewskiville is alive and well. Currently host to a plethora of tents and students that now inhabit the grounds, all of K-Ville is holding its breath in anticipation of the North Carolina men’s basketball game on Feb. 4. 

With tenting season in full swing, students can be seen playing games, studying on foldable chairs, comparing tent names and bundling up to brace the cold. The Chronicle paid K-Ville a visit on Thursday afternoon to ask tenters, both seasoned veterans and first-time Crazies, how to survive K-Ville.

The tenting test 

Tenting begins long before tents grace K-Ville proper. On Jan. 12, 136 hopeful tenting groups walked into Cameron Indoor Stadium to take the infamous Black tenting test, in which 70 groups secured a Black tenting spot. 

Anna Rosenbloom, a first-year and first time tenter, has had fun throughout the whole tenting process. Her group’s test strategy, she found, led them to success.  

“I think that our group came pretty prepared. We split up the [basketball] players and so we all had two players each and we just learned everything about them,” she said. 

Senior Bentley Choi wrote in a message that in addition to player stats, it’s important to study their social media accounts and whether any players were on preseason national award watchlists. She recommended using Quizlet to help organize studying. 

Setting up for the season

From setting up tents to coordinating tent shifts between members, K-Ville life doesn’t get any simpler once tent members pass the tenting test.

Sophomore Colin Thomas advised future tenters to set up tents securely on set-up day to avoid tent failures down the road and having to set up again. 

Junior Andrew McCallum said that finding a good location to pitch the tent is key. 

“Try to get as close to the front as you can,” he said. “The proximity to the line monitors makes all the difference during a 3 a.m. tent check in the rain.” 

And if you’re thinking of bathrooms, he added that proximity to Cameron Indoor or to the Intramural Building is key. 

Laurel Holley, a sophomore, emphasized the importance of clear and abundant communication between tentmates. 

“Check and confirm with your group members that when you are leaving K-Ville, another member is already there! That way you never leave the tent unattended,” she wrote in a message.

To make coordination easier, Choi advised using conditional formatting to set up a shift schedule on Google Sheets. 

McCallum stressed the importance of keeping tent interiors simple. 

“Too many people are tempted to clutter up a tent with decorations and camping supplies, but this gets old fast,” he said. “Your tent shouldn’t be a home, it should be a fallout shelter. Only the basics: pad, sleeping bag and flashlight.”

Braving the weather

After sorting out logistics, survival is next on tenters’ minds. Since setting up their tents last Saturday, tenters have faced rain, wind and below freezing temperatures.

Senior Lucy Peters stressed the importance of bundling up. 

“You'll need more layers than you think you will,” she said. 

Holley recommends four layers on top and two on the bottom if it dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If it dips below 30 degrees, add another. 

“You can always take layers off, but you can’t go back to your dorm to get another layer unless there is a check called,” Holley wrote. 

Choi recommended bringing a shoebox to keep shoes dry on rainy days. 

Sleeping arrangements

Line monitors can call a tent check at any time of night or in any weather conditions, so tenters have to make the most of their limited sleeping time. Finding a good bed setup can make all the difference. 

Sophomore Meghan Durkin advised tenters to get a sleeping bag for additional padding under their sleeping bags, while sophomore Karina Fox’s tent has cots instead of sleeping bags on the ground. 

“Since we're elevated, you don't get the cold surface. So I think that those have definitely been a game changer,” she said. 

Several K-Ville residents emphasized the importance of catching up on sleep outside of night shifts. 

“Try to get as much sleep as you can when you have your own bed,” Peters said.

And if you haven't learned how to nap, do it soon, senior Thomas Ross said. 

K-Ville sleep is only half as restful as normal sleep, according to McCallum.

“Sometimes I pregame night shifts by going to bed at 8 [p.m.] and getting a solid four hours of dorm room sleep before I head out at midnight,” he said.

Tenters can’t get too comfortable, though, because they have to be ready to line up at the front of K-Ville for a tent check at a moment’s notice. 

“During the night it always helps to have a light sleeper — or to set your tent up right next to the line monitors,” Holley wrote. 

And if you’re looking for practice, you can get ahead by “switching your alarm to the K-Ville siren in order to condition yourself to wake up,” said junior Jondre Macaraeg. 

Finding community

But K-Ville, to many residents, is about more than just survival. Despite the harsh conditions, many find community in the patch of grass in front of Cameron Indoor.

Durkin noted that you don’t need to tent with your friends to have a good experience, noting that at least four of her tentmates didn’t know each other before the test. 

“Just go for it, even if you don't know people,” she said. “You can find people who are willing to do it with you and even if you can't find 12 of your friends, there are other people out there looking, so don't be afraid to reach out to random people.”

Senior Shaiv Kittur advised prospective tenters to have an optimistic outlook. 

“If you go into [tenting] thinking it's going to suck and you have to sleep outside and get woken up, you're going to hate it. But if you try and make it fun, you'll love it,” he said. 

Senior and second time tenter Julia Helm echoed Kittur’s sentiments. She said that making K-Ville fun requires “seeing it as an opportunity to get to know the people in your tent more, and other people around K-Ville, too… just leaning into the sense of community, and trying to be extra friendly.”

“Every year I say I'm never going to do it again. And then here I am. Just come back and do it again,” Peters joked.


Anisha Reddy | Senior Editor

Anisha Reddy is a Trinity junior and a senior editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


Michael Ramos | Staff Reporter

Michael Ramos is a Trinity first-year and a staff reporter of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Discussion

Share and discuss “‘Your tent shouldn’t be a home, it should be a fallout shelter’: A tenter’s guide to K-Ville survival” on social media.