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How to Shop for and Select Camping Tents

Jun 17, 2008
For as long as people have been living indoors, we've been escaping to the great outdoors for a break from regular life and a new perspective on the universe. The fresh air and physical exertion that accompany a camping trip are among the best ways to relax and enjoy your free time.

Along with camping goes a whole host of special equipment and supplies. The sporting goods store can seem like a foreign country when you're new to outdoor activities. It's not easy to break through all of the lingo and myriad options to get the camping equipment that you need.

Tents are an especially tricky area for beginners. There are weird numbers and letters designating different features, and there are so many different shapes and sizes that it can make you want to take up gardening instead.

Never fear! Pick out the perfect tent for your first camping excursion by being armed with just a few basic pieces of information.

First, know how your tent will be carried. Will you be driving right up to the campsite, hiking, biking or boating? If you're driving, frame tents are the first choice of many campers. They are usually large enough to walk around in and can feature separate bedrooms, cooking facilities and a living space.

Ridge tents are also a perennial favorite among campers who don't have to carry their equipment very far. They feature a horizontal post that is held up by two vertical posts, with canvas stretched over all of them. The resulting triangular tent is great for pleasant weather, but isn't suitable for rain or high winds.

Hiking tents and pop-up tents are great for campers who will be using bikes, boats or sturdy boots to get to their campsite. They are both lightweight, easily collapsible and small enough to carry on one's back.

The sizes listed on camping tents are typically listed as 1-man, 2-man and so forth. This refers to the number of campers that can be squeezed tightly into the tent, not necessarily the number of campers who can fit comfortably into the tent along with all of their gear, muddy boots and wet dogs.

Some larger tents have a public area along with separate sleeping chambers. These public areas are a great place to spend time when the weather outside isn't nice enough for sitting around a fire and gazing at stars.

If you are going to be using your tent in inclement weather, such as snow or high winds, you'll need a specialty camping tent that is designed to withstand these conditions. Camping tents that will be used in harsh weather should usually be double-walled and constructed of reinforced fabrics.

One of the most important qualities to look for in a tent is water resistance. The water resistance is measured in pounds per square inch (psi). This number refers to the amount of pressure that the water can exert on the material. Higher numbers are more water resistant and will keep you dryer on wet and stormy nights.

Armed with this basic knowledge about camping tents, you should be able to comfortably shop for a new tent. If you still aren't sure what you are looking for, take a trip to your nearest sporting goods store and explain your circumstances to a salesperson. With any luck, you'll find exactly what you are looking for. When you do, you'll be well on your way to a great first camping trip.
About the Author
Warren L. Smith offers a fountain of information on Camping, such as Camping Tips, Family Fun, Hunting, Fishing, Tents, Equipment, and Wilderness Tips. For the best, up to date information, go to: http://www.CampingBreak.com
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