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How To Buy A Tent For Your Camping Trip

Oct 17, 2007
The kind of tent you buy is largely dependent on the kind of camping you are aiming to do. Summer Tents are meant for camping in hot climates only; Three-Season Tents can be used in climates ranging from light snow to hot weather; Winter Tents are ideal for harsh snow conditions; Single Wall Tents are for those who require something that is ultra-light and All-Season Tents, also called convertible tents can be used in almost all weather conditions except for hard-core winter mountaineering.

Basic Tent Features

No matter what kind of camping you are going to be doing, there are some features that are more desirable in any tent:

Collapsible tent poles should be constructed of high-strength aluminum, tubular fiberglass or carbon fiber.

Freestanding tents are easier to set up on rocks, sand, snow and anyplace where it is rather difficult to put a stake in the ground.

Tents constructed of polyester or nylon fabric are most durable and are also the lightest.

One-piece floors are preferable as they are more waterproof.

Doors and windows should be meshed and have zippered closures for battening down the hatches in case of rainy or stormy weather.

Tents that have steep walls are preferable as they shed rain and snow better and increase usable interior space.

If poles are not the same length, they should be color coded to match corresponding pole sleeves on the tent so that they can be set up easily in less-than-ideal conditions.

Storage pockets and gear hooks on the inside walls of the tent help keep emergency equipment handy and all other gear organized.

In addition, Summer Tents should have plenty of mesh in the tent body to facilitate enhanced ventilation as well as a rainfly that stops a few inches above the floor allowing utmost ventilation as well as maximum protection.

Three-Season Tents should have a three-pole, high-strength aluminum construction to better withstand heavy rains and gusty winds as well as a full-coverage rain fly that extends to the ground for better protection again the rain. An adequate-sized vestibule provides added room for wet clothing and shoes.

Winter Tents typically feature four to five high-grade aluminum poles with a freestanding construction and steep sidewalls so that snow and rain can easily slide off. Two doors on opposite sides act as alternate entrance and exit points in the case of adverse weather conditions.

All season tents have a freestanding construction, four high-grade aluminum poles, removable vestibules for weight saving, ample meshing with zip-out panes for ventilation when it is hot and full closure when utmost protection from the elements is necessary.
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