Choosing a Camping Tent

A common question among beginning campers is what gear should I bring? Well, to begin with, the answer is notfive suitcases, your esteemed collection of rare Fabergé eggs, and Wentworth the family butler. The answer is more along the lines of a tent, a sleeping bag, and some food. But how, you might be wondering, will I know what gear to bring without Wentworth there to assist me in the decision-making process? Well, my friends, there’s no need to worry. In the last article, we discussed different Types of Camping. In the next few articles, we’ll cover everything you need to know about camping gear. First in the series is your guide to choosing a tent.

camping tent

How to Choose a Tent

If you love camping, you already know one of the most important decisions you’ll make is about the tent. It’s true: camping is one of the most relaxing and exciting hobbies out there. But if you choose the wrong tent, you may end up soaking wet and regretting the decision to go camping in the first place. When choosing a tent, the most important factors to consider are: size, shape, quality, and cost.

Size
It may seem obvious, but pick a size that will fit your family. Make sure you include variables such as the amount of gear that will need to fit inside the tent. If little Johnny is bringing his entire toy train collection, make sure you factor this in. On the other hand, if you’re a backpacker, you’ll want to choose the smallest, lightest tent available. Think about both height and width. Obviously, you’ll want to be able to lie down comfortably but you may also want to have standing room. And remember: bigger isn’t necessarily better. Large tents can become heavy and burdensome, and it may be difficult to find a flat area large enough to set it up.

Shape
The most common tent shapes are: dome, A-frame, wall, and partial dome. The dome shape is extremely popular with campers, featuring a square, rectangular design. Domes are light, free-standing tents, which make them ideal for camping without much hassle. A-frame tents are simply designed, featuring sloped walls which shed water. Wall tents are ideal for families because of their vertical walls, large space and sloping roofs. Partial-dome’s are essentially a combination of a wall tent and a dome. They are not as easy to set up as a dome or A-frame, but they do provide plenty of floor space and high ceilings.

Quality
Choose strong fiberglass or aluminum poles. Make sure the tent is waterproof and breathable, and check the seams for potential places where water might leak through. The best tents use rip-stop fabric to prevent tearing. Lastly, check the zippers to ensure that they open and close without any difficulty.

Cost
Naturally, the more expensive tents are generally better quality. If the weather where you’re camping is extremely windy and rainy, or if camping is a serious hobby of yours, you’ll want to choose an expensive, durable tent. On the other hand, if you’re looking at the occasional camping trip in a mild climate, a cheaper tent will certainly do.

Camping is a great hobby, but you need to be prepared in order to enjoy everything it has to offer. Now that you’re an expert on choosing a tent, stay tuned for the next article, which will cover sleeping bags, backpacks, cookware, and more!

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