Today’s tents are not shapeless beige flapping canvas you drape over poles. Eureka, for example, which is known for their stylish, brightly colored tents just came up with one that has built-in lighting. Before you get caught up with all that coolness, though, make sure the tent you are buying scores high in the 5 basic important factors:
Factor #1. Is it roomy and comfortable?
* Forget about the occupancy numbers suggested by tent makers. They are meant for sardines. Go with a higher number.
* Look for tents with almost-vertical walls and not sloping walls that cave in on you.
* Tent height – you should be able to stand up straight in it. Otherwise how are you going to change your pants?
* Space savers – are there hangers, pockets, shelves inside to stow your knick-knacks?
* Sense of space – large, airy windows, moon roofs and awnings can add a perception of space
Factor #2. Will it keep you warm?
* Summer tents are lightweight and have mesh walls that allow breeze to flow through.
* Although we camp mostly in the summers yet we remember some chilly dawns especially when we are at high elevation such as Acadia National Park.
* So to be safe, get a 3-season tent even if you are mostly a summer camper.
* 4-season tents are for winter camping which most families stay away from until they become more experienced.
Factor #3. Will it keep you dry?
* Major seams should be reinforced to prevent water leaks.
* Tent floor should have bathtub corners to keep rain floods out.
* Beginner campers don’t realize that rain is not the only threat to dryness.
* A sleeping camper can emit up to a pint of water in 1 night. If all that water can’t escape it condenses inside the tent makes everything wet.
* So look for tents with breathable nylon walls.
Factor #4. Is it quick and easy to set up?
* Only 1 way to find out. Set up the actual tent.
* Some stores like REI are happy to demo the tent setup in the store. If not, try setting it up at home. If it’s not quick or easy, look for another tent.
* Always practice setting up the tent at home before you leave. Lest you embarrass yourself on the campsite fighting with your spouse which pole goes where.
Factor #5. Will it last?
Kids and busy parents are constantly walking in and out. You want a durable tent. Look for these features:
* Breathable nylon walls but tougher polyester rainflies.
* Inspect seams for extra reinforcement in the critical areas.
* Aluminum poles are compact, light but strong. Fiberglass poles can shatter easily. Stay away.
* And always use a tarp to protect tent floor. A footprint is a special tarp that has been cut to the exact footprint of the tent. Very convenient, looks great, but costs extra.
Your camping tent is your shelter against the elements. But it is also the sanctuary for quality time playing Go Fish and Old Maid, telling ghost stories, watching the stars through the moon roof, making happy memories…
Need more camping tips, recipes or gear suggestions? Watch fun camping how-to videos at www.JoyofCamping.TV.