originally posted June 5, 2016
In my last post I took a look at the variety of camping hacks available designed to make your camping trip fun and easy. But first, you need to set up camp and that means deciding on your shelter. What are you going to live in while you’re out there enjoying Mother Nature?
Tents, tents, and more tents
Tents come in a variety of styles, sizes and materials. A little prep work and research before you shop will go a long way to getting a great tent.
First, decide what your trip will entail.
Are you going hiking? Will you be alone or is this a family or group trip? How are you getting to your destination and how much do you have to carry to your site?
The answers will help streamline your search for the right tent for you.
A hiking trip means carrying your gear, including the tent, so you’ll want something relatively small, lightweight and portable. Also, something that’s easy to set up alone.
But, if this trip is the regular family weekend getaway, you can go all out on a larger tent complete with separate sleeping area and a vestibule. This is great for storing stuff you want kept dry. Or to leave the wet stuff without bringing it into the living area of the tent.
You might find yourself overwhelmed by the abundance of choices. What do they all mean? Construction materials, pole materials, A-frames, hoop tents, domes… Where do you go from there?
Construction materials range from canvas with fiberglass poles to nylon with carbon fiber poles. The earliest tents used leather and canvas. While canvas is sturdy and strong, it’s also heavy and unwieldy to pack and transport.
In addition, the fiberglass poles used are thick and heavy to give the strength needed and don’t flex as well as the newer materials. The majority of tents today are made of nylon or polyester taffeta and use aluminum-alloy poles anodized against corrosion.
Tents also need to be breathable to minimize condensation and to bleed off excessive heat buildup. And they need to be sturdy enough to handle those higher winds yet still offer the space you want. Consider your environment when making your choices.
Check out the Camping Field Guide where they look into these points in more detail. GetOutWithTheKids has very good information about various tent materials and their properties.
Decide the type of camping you’ll be doing, arm yourself with knowledge about the best tent for your trip, and go shopping.
And if you’re planning the family reunion and need a lot of space…
You could always invest in the Mod Pod tent. Individual, pod-like tents that connect in custom ways to grow your own tent city.
The family reunion will never be the same.