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Tents and Canopies: Multifunctional Shelters for the Outdoors

Aug 17, 2007
Tents and canopies can be used for recreational camping, as temporary shelters for trade shows, at military camps, as entertainment venues like concerts and circuses, for parties and for other events where only a temporary shelter is needed. The versatility of these materials has benefited people of all ages and they have been used for various purposes since nomadic people had first used them as homes. Today, tents have more modern designs, more developed uses and are made of tougher materials. But however they have evolved, they remain one of the most useful materials ever invented by man.

Tents and canopies vary in sizes and designs depending on their purpose. For events like parties and trade shows, bigger tents with thicker fabrics and tougher structural support materials are commonly used. For campers, small, transportable shelters are usually preferred although the type of fabric should depend on under what weather the tents will be used. Tent fabrics can be of nylon, cotton or polyester. Cotton or canvas absorbs the most water so they tend to get heavy. They are more waterproof, though, than other fabric types. Nylon and polyester, on the other hand, are much lighter, but with appropriate coating can be made waterproof. Their main disadvantage is that they deteriorate much faster than canvas tents.

Tents are of three basic types although each type can be manufactured in different styles. One type is the single skin which is comprised of a roof and walls and has at least one waterproof layer. Single skin with flysheet, on the other hand, has the same basic features as the single skin but with an additional sheet that overlaps the roof and serves as extra protection. The third type is the double skin. This is the same as the double skin except that the flysheet extends right down to the sides. Double skin tents can also have more than one inner tent that serve as sleeping areas.

The structural support for tents is mainly provided by poles. Additional materials for shaping and strengthening the canopy can also be used such as stakes, pegs and guy ropes. Poles can be made of metal, fiberglass, wood or metal alloys. Modern camping tents usually have collapsible poles for an easy transport. The type of poles used depends on whether the tent is supposed to be a rigid or a semi-rigid structure. Stakes and pegs are mainly for fastening the tent to the ground to make it stronger particularly in windy areas, while guy ropes provide the additional support for shaping the canopy.

Tents and canopies are sold by a number of manufacturers with Eureka, Coleman and Kelty as some of the bigger names. Prices vary depending on the size, the type of fabric and the number of purchase. For whatever purpose they would be used, it is a sure thing that buyers will have a lot of models and brands from which to choose from.
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