A Guide To Choosing The Right Tent For Your Camping Experience

Kenneth Elliott

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Unlike previous generations, camping no longer always involves sleeping in a tent. RVs, commercial campgrounds and other options provide an alternative. But there's is still something satisfing about connecting with nature through the complete camping experience of sleeping in a tent.

Here is a blueprint and a few tips for picking one that gives you all the modern advantages, without the traditional hassles.

The basic purposes of a tent are to provide privacy and protection from the elements - wind, rain and (to some degree) cold. Any sturdy tent will satisfy the first, but to keep weather out requires more.

Windy conditions, common in wilderness areas where most campsites are found, can put a hurting on a tent. But thanks to modern materials, nylon fabric tents supported by fiberglass or aluminum poles are up to the job.

There are four basic types of tents, the A-frame tent, the dome tent, the cabin tent, and the geodesic tent.

The A-frame tent is the most popular of all four. This classic style tent was made well known mainly by the use of the boy scouts of America. A-frame tents have two poles, each forming a triangleon at either end of the tent. Their is also a central pole that forms the ridge of the tent. The walls are formed at steep angles and are usually just large enough to accommodate a person sleeping. To help hold the tent in place guide wires are used. This type of tent is usually very unreliable in windy conditions. In rain conditions a tarp is often needed to keep campers dry.

The second is the dome tent. At present time, in the US this type of tent is the most popular. They are available in a variety of configurations, but the most common is one in which two jointed poles are crossed over one another to form a large, bent X. In windy and rainy conditions a dome tent provides excellent stability and shelter. The interior provided in a dome tent is given in good amounts with plenty of headroom to allow for sitting up. Many dome tents are built to have their poles lock down to the tent base itself, allowing the fully erected tent to be moved around without being disassembled.

Next is the Cabin tents. These are enormous tents designed for use with car camping or other forms of camping in which weight is not an issue. These tents take up a incredible amount of space but provide a lot of interior space also. With space come a very heavy structure.

Last but not least is the Geodesic tents. Geodesic tents are gradually gaining popularity amongst normal campers. These tents take the design of a dome tent and improves upon it to give it better strength and resistance to the wind. Installation the poles cross many times, lending strength to the entire structure. With increased strength this tent can withstand wind and snow from multiple directions.

With any of these tent designs, campers should make liberal use of the can of sealant that is offered by many manufacturers. You set up the tent and then spray the seams to make them completely watertight. An air hole at the top of many models can help keep the interior from getting stuffy, but you'll want to have one with a closeable flap (either zipper, Velcro or other).

The floor should be equally waterproof, even sturdier and preferably conduct minimal cold or heat.

Tents are sold according to shape and size. However, a four-man tent is really only suitable for two adults, unless you want to be really cramped. A sleeping bag is about 2.5ft by 7 feet. That's 17.5 square feet. Double that to allow for stepping space and room for gear. Then double it again to accommodate another person. That's 70 square feet or about 7 feet by 10 feet. That's about the minimum.

Be prepared to spend a little more to get a quality tent. Tent technology has developed to such a high state, it's preferable to spend a little more and get something that will endure.

Kenneth Elliott is the owner of Beach Camping Park, . His website features some of the best beach camping parks around the US. Also visit: California Beach Parks and A Guide to Recreational Vehicles


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