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Choosing A Tent

Choosing A Tent

Choosing a tent is like choosing the right car: It’s personal because it should fit your needs.

1. Top 5 questions to ask yourself

  • What season/weather will you use your tent?
  • Do you plan on carrying it on your back or packing it in a car?
  • Is it just for you or is this a multi person tent?
  • Do you want a second room in your tent for boots and wet clothing?
  • Will you be tenting longer than a couple of days at a time?

2. Types of tents

  • Dome Tents: easy to set up, easy pole design, stands up to wind and rain.
  • Tunnel Tents: Low profile, easy to carry, popular with hikers.
  • Cabin Tents: great for multi person, able to stand up, heaviest of the tents to carry.
  • Tarp Tents: usually open to the weather, use in nice weather with bug screen.

3. Tent Properties

    • Poles: The number of poles determines tent weight and sturdiness. Two types of poles are Aluminum and Fiber Glass.
      • Aluminum poles: more expensive, not affected by UV radiation, are reasonably light, fold easy and relatively compact, will stand up to all weather.
      • Fiber Glass: heavier, longer, not a as pliable, stand up to most weather (not winter).
    • Material: Tents are generally either Nylon or Polyester.
      • Nylon: Lighter weight, more compact, may stretch when wet.
      • Polyester: heavier, more resistant to UV, less condensation, will not stretch.
    • Waterproofing: Look for models that have sealed seams and zippers for extra protection. The waterproofing of a tent is measured in water column height; it evaluates the depth of water the fabric can hold back. If a tent has a 600mm coating, it will keep water out for one minute at a depth of 600mm of water. To camp comfortably, the minimum waterproofing for tent floors is around 1000mm, and around 500mm for tent flies.

4. Buying your tent

    • Ask to set up your tent in the store to see how easy it is.
    • While it’s set up, see how many people can fit in it without touching the sides. Often the number that the tent says it will fit is not accurate: a 4 person tent only fits 3 comfortably.
    • Pack it around or try fitting it in a back pack.
    • Ask about warranties and guarantees.

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