Tips on Buying a Tent

So your thinking of purchasing a tent or replacing the one you currently have? Do you just buy the first tent that you see in the store? What do you need to look for to buy one that will work for you? This article will provide you with the information you need to find the perfect tent.

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When you go to purchase a tent you will notice that there are many different makes, sizes, styles, and price ranges. The first thing you need to determine is how many people will be sleeping in the tent and what activity the tent will be used for. If your planning on hiking with six friends for a week and you are all planning on sharing one tent, you will probably want to reconsider. The weight of a six person tent will be a lot for one person to pack even if one person packs the tent and one person packs the poles. You would probably be better off with a couple of ultra-light weight three person tents. However, if you are just planning on driving and camping somewhere you don’t have to hike a six person tent would be fine.

The next consideration is your budget. Tents can range anywhere from under $100 to well over $1000. Cheaper ones won’t hit your pocket book hard in the short-term but consider this, how many cheap tents are you going to have to buy over the next five to ten years due to them not lasting vs. buying one good tent that will last well over ten years.

What type of climate will you be using it in? If you plan on using the tent in areas that are prone to rain you will want to make sure you purchase one that is waterproof. When looking for a waterproof tent check to see what material the tent is made of as well as if the seams are taped. Taped seams help keep water from seeping through the stitching. Look for a tent that has a full fly and also has at least one vestibule. A vestibule is small area between the door of the fly and the door of the tent in which you can store gear, shoes, etc. from getting wet. Having this extra space while camping in wet weather is great as it allows you get your boots and rain clothes on or off without having to drag them into the tent.

A footprint is also a must have. A footprint is basically a tarp that goes underneath the tent to protect it from the ground below. Footprints are relatively cheap and some come with one. You want to make sure you get one designed for your tent. The footprint will have grommets built into it that will allow you to place the tent pegs through the grommets to keep the footprint in place with the tent.

Tents come built for different seasons. A three season tent will work in spring, summer and fall. Three season tents are generally made with more mesh for air flow. A four season tent is built stronger to carry the weight of snow and uses more fabric then mesh. Unless you plan on winter camping a three season one will suffice. Four season tents tend to be heavier and will therefore take up more room in a pack and add more weight to your pack.

Tents have different designs. Some of the common tent design types are dome, a-frame, or tunnel. The dome tent is the most common tent used today. The tent is in the shape of a dome and is usually supported by two cross poles made of either fiberglass or aluminum. Dome tents are free standing and do not require pegs to hold them up. A-frame tents have a pole at each end of the tent and need to be staked into the ground in order to keep them from standing up. Tunnel tents are less roomy then dome or a-frame tents but they are generally lighter.

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