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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