Choosing The Right Tent

The first camping trip that I went on was a DISASTER!! My girlfriend and I decided to go for a 1 week hiking 'expedition' in the Lake District in the UK. So I went out and bought the cheapest tent that I could find. Bear in mind that this was 10 years ago. The tent was quite heavy but I thought, ok, lets give it a try. So we started out and had a great day. That night we decided to pitch the tent at a beautiful spot. This didn't take too long and I was really pleased with my choice. Thats when the problems started.

My girlfriend and I are not the smallest people and so when I bought a '2 man' tent I had presumed that this would allow two people to sleep in it. Also the tent only had one sheet between us and the elements. I quickly found out that these two things were a BIG mistake. I spent the night on my side as there was not enough room for us to both sleep on our backs, this coupled with the fact that was touching the side of the tent, meant that not only was I soaking in the morning but I had a terrible nights sleep.

This resulted in me getting the flu (or man flu as my girlfriend says) and after trying to battle through the next day I decided to give up and go home.

The moral or the story? Buying the wrong tent can be disastrous for your trip.

I have put together this information below to help you avoid situations like the one above.

  1. First consider your budget. It is all well and good looking at expensive, amazing tents but if a cheap and serviceable tent will suit your needs it is probably better to choose one of those.

  2. How many people will need to fit inside the tent, this will be described by the number of 'men' it will hold.

  3. Consider the colour of the tent, darker fabrics will heat up to a higher temperature and also be darker internally than lighter coloured ones.

  4. When you look for a tent it will notify you of the season or environment it is intended for. I would suggest looking at this carefully with respect to your needs prior to purchase.

  5. The tent must be light enough to not be a burden whilst traveling but at the same time be robust enough to stand up to the elements.

 

Types of tent

Next you have to consider the type of tent that you require:

A-frame

A=frame TentThe floor area is rectangular on the A-frame tent and houses two center poles to hold the tent up at each corner. This is a more 'classic design of tent and in recent years it's popularity has been overtaken by the dome tent listed below.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Dome

Dome TentThese tents are shaped like a dome as the name suggests and have become the most popular tent for a wide range of camping exploits. They generally have a set of crossed poles in the middle and a further pole at the front to form a canopy where you can place things you have no need for inside your tent like dirty walking boots etc.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Tunnel/Hoop

Tunnel Tent Usually comprised of one to two poles and utilising less fabric than other tents. Tunnel tents are low to the ground, are optimally designed for sleeping and require stakes to fully stand up.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Freestanding

Typically the most popular tent with backpackers, the freestanding tent is self supporting as the name suggests and is ideal for areas of sand rock or snow where staking down can be tricky.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Pop-up

Pop Up Tent Pop-up tents are becoming more popular and take less than a second to pitch.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Tipi (tepee or teepee) or Pyramid

tipi Tent Shaped like a a triangle, the tipi tent is based around a center pole which the tent's material is attached to at the top and has a detachable floor.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

I hope that the above will mean that you avoid some of the pit-falls of buying new tents. if you have any suggestions of things that I have forgotten to add, please let me know through the Contribute section of the site.

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