Selecting camping tents requires careful consideration and planning irrespective of whether your intention is to spend a night out in the backyard or an isolated weekend in a remote nature reserve.
The Different Types of Tents
First time campers in search of tents are often overwhelmed by the sheer variety of designs available. Your own local sports and recreation store will have a number of options including:
* The A-frame: the A-frame is one of the commonest and most recognizable of tent designs. It consists of a triangle at each end, a supporting pole across the middle and sometimes structure poles for the base.
* The Hoop or tunnel tent: hoop tents are the modern equivalent of the earlier pup tents and have a shape similar to a shallow tunnel. The design uses two or more parallel arched hoops to support the roof. These camping tents usually have a single flexible pole and are often sold as lightweight single or two-seater tents. Different styles may have the pole going either along or across the tent. A disadvantage of the hoop design is the rather limited head room available in most models of this type.
* Dome and wedge tents: Dome and wedge tents are similar to hoop tents as they too use arched supports. Instead of parallel arches as is the case in a hoop tent, the hoops in the dome or wedge tents typically cross in the middle.
Dome and wedge tents are fast replacing A-frame camping tents in popularity because the arched design typically allows for better rain protection than an A-frame. Models are available in a wide variety of sizes ranging from lightweight 2-person tents to 6 or 9-person tents that can reach up to six feet in height.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Tent
Consider the expected weather conditions carefully when deciding on the tent design. For example, tents with screened windows that let in air will help keep cool during summer camping trips while a snug, waterproof shelter is essential for damp weather.
Once you’ve decided on the design, the next thing to do is to choose a suitable tent fabric and pole material. Nylon and polyester are popular choices for tent fabric. These are lightweight and breathable fabrics that are reasonably water-proof as well.
Fiberglass poles are a popular and relatively inexpensive choice for camping tents though these can become brittle when subjected to extreme hot or cold. For extreme conditions, it is advisable that you use the heavier but more durable aluminum poles. Carbon fiber is a lightweight but a more expensive alternative to aluminum poles.
Camping tents come in a variety of materials and designs including highly specialized structures such as the restroom-cum-shower tents that act like fully equipped portable lavatories with sophisticated restroom and shower facilities. There are also specially designed pet shelters for your beloved pooches. Also available are landscape and climate specific designs. Whether you are a newbie camper, part of a family group complete with young children or advanced backpackers looking for an extreme challenge, you are sure to find a tent that fits your individual needs to a T.
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