Tent Shopping Made Easy
Once you have decided on your campsite, you need to pull out your camping gear and examine it closely for wear and tear. It might be time to purchase a new tent. There are several areas you need to think about before you go to the tent store.
Determine when you will be doing most of your camping. If it’s in the summer, or you live in a permanently hot environment, you will need a summer tent. These tents are generally made with lighter materials. They will have lots of mesh windows to provide maximum ventilation. They should include a rain fly that will cover all the mesh areas when it rains.
If some of your camping might be in the Spring or Fall you will need a sturdier tent, or a three season tent. The fabric will be heavier and there will be more poles and guy wires to protect against blustery winds and possibly light snow. Again the tent should include a rain fly that goes all the way to the ground and can be anchored by guy wires.
If you will be doing winter camping, your tent needs to be strong. Look for four or five pole construction with a full coverage rain fly that can be anchored securely to the ground. Straight walls on the tent will shed snow more easily than rounded ones. You definitely need vestibules for extra gear storage.
Be aware that how many people the manufacturer says can fit into a tent, has to be taken with a grain of salt. You need to be realistic unless you like to sleep like sardines in a can. Also, remember that you will want to store your gear inside the tent. Backpacks and clothing, including shoes, take up a lot of extra room. Always look for an extra entryway or vestibule that allows room for muddy boots and other gear. It’s nice to keep the inside of the tent clean, since it is your bedroom.
Dome tents are great for three or four people. They are lightweight and easy to erect, usually having just two flexible fiberglass poles. However, because the walls are curved, you don’t have a lot of stand-up space in the tent.
A cabin tent might be a better choice for a larger family. The walls go straight up, allowing you to stand up and walk around in the tent. Sometimes they come with two interior rooms which is great for privacy. A cabin tent that has a screened room for gear or just sitting in is a bonus. The Coleman WeatherMaster 3 room tent is just such a tent. However, because these tents are bigger, they will weigh more. These are best used when the tent site is close to the parking area, which is the case in most campgrounds.
Other Things To Consider
• Ease of erecting is another aspect to consider when buying a tent. Color coded poles are a great help in putting the tent together. As with any new equipment, try it out in your backyard before setting out on your trip.
• Always have a tarp or ground cloth to put under the tent floor. This will give added insulation and protect the bottom of the tent from hard objects like rocks or pine cones.
• It’s a good idea to go over the seams in your tent with a seam sealer. It comes in bottles like a roll on deodorant and is easy to apply.
• Sewn in pockets on the interior walls are handy for storing glasses and flashlights when sleeping. Most tents have them and they are useful.
These are some of the basic things to consider when searching for the right tent for you. Remember, your tent will be your home away from home, so choose wisely. Happy Camping!