You’ve already got the important stuff. The cooler, the fishing gear, the bug spray, and the sunscreen. At this point you’re excited about your destination and planned activities, mapping out your hiking routes and buying hiking or boating permits. However, there’s a crucial factor that too many campers don’t take into enough consideration, the tent.
Your tent is more than just a place to sleep. This is where you’ll be keeping your gear, your clothes, maybe even your food supplies. No matter how detailed your trip plan is, everything can go awry if you don’t choose the right tent for your particular needs, which vary greatly from camper to camper. Luckily, it’s an easy process as long as you know what factors to consider.
When shopping for that perfect tent, you need to ask yourself when, and for how long. Prepare for rougher seasonal weather with a dome-style tent, or get something with a higher peak if you know the climate will be mild and you want a higher ceiling. The colder the weather, the less mesh material your tent should have. You’ll still need some ventilation, but in excess it can allow too much body heat out and let in too much cold. Think about storage as well as sleeping space. Always go one person more than you think you need. For example, if there are three people going camping, invest in a tent for four. Think about the sleeping plan too, together with any ground sheet material needed, how easy you want it to pitch and how heavy it is for carrying. Take a look at our guide about the newly designed inflatable tents, which make pitching up at the campsite a breeze.
You’ve got the right tent for the season, the time, and the amount of people. The next questions you need to answer are where and why. Two days by the lake in July is going to be much different from that week-long canoe trip in September. If you’re deep in the back-country and on the move, size and weight are critical factors.
If you’re driving to your campsite and building a base camp of sorts, a heavier tent will suit you fine. However, if this is a hiking or rock-climbing adventure where you will have to move at least once a day, logic dictates a lighter tent. If you’re building a base camp, you can splurge more on extras like inner pockets, oversized vestibules, and gear lofts.
Camping with The Family
You’ve piled the family into an appropriate ride, like the Chrysler Town and Country Touring minivan, and you’re ready for some outdoor adventure! Make sure your dream trip doesn’t turn into a nightmare, however, when you find out your tent is too small, too tough to set up, or doesn’t guard against the elements. Unless you’re prepared for a spontaneous car camping trip with whiny kids and a soggy dog.
There are plenty of quality cabin and glamping tents available large enough to fit the whole family, along with plenty of room for gear and toys, even dividers for privacy. If your children are a bit older, and will be sleeping in a separate tent, choose one that’s simple enough for them to put up and take down on their own. Not only will this help to introduce them to the wonders of camping, but it will give you a break from being the only person who can set up and take down the campsite.
Plan your camping trip with more in mind than daily activities and venues. Taking your tent for granted is a recipe for camping disaster. Consider the finer details of your trip and choose based on more than just size and shape. Be a contentious camper and make sure you consider where you’ll be hanging your fishing hat or storing hiking boots. Doing so will ensure a fun, safe, and most of all entertaining excursion into the wilderness.
By Larry Snyder who has experience of choosing the best equipment for the job having worked in a sports/outdoor apparel shop for 10 years. Now retired he is sharing his insider knowledge! See his articles on sports, fitness and outdoor adventure blogs.
Image Credits: Julian Bialowas, Unsplash Creative Commons Zero