For someone who is going camping for the first time, one of the most important and most difficult things that he will need to do is select a good tent. A good tent will provide protection from the elements—keeping water out and standing up to the wind—and will also provide enough room for everyone who will be sleeping in it. Tents should also not be too difficult to assemble, especially for those who are camping for the first time.
Unfortunately, the market is full of thousands of types of tents. Although there are some basic types, there are also countless tents that merge characteristics of different types together creating a tent that hopefully has all of the strengths and none of the weaknesses. In addition, the information provided by manufacturers can sometimes be misleading regarding the size of tents, their durability, and their ease to construct. The best you can do is educate yourself on the basics of tents, so that when you arrive at the store, you will have some background to make your decision. With this information, you can find a suitable tent that will meet your group’s needs.
These are the classic hiking tents. The tent is supported at the front and back by A-shaped, or triangular, posts. They are easy to set up, light, and easy to carry. The two drawbacks to A-frame tents are that they typically are not very strong in the face of moderate winds and they offer very little space for your head or any belongings. If you are using an A-frame tent in a windy area, it is very important that you consider the direction of the wind, because if the wind comes at the side of the tent, it will not be a comfortable place to spend the night. In terms of space, A-frame tents have room for sleeping, but little else. You will likely not be able to fully sit up in your tent, and you definitely will not be able to stand.
There are also A-frame tents that have a ridgepole and a centre hoop. Known as modified A-frames, these tents provide slightly more room and strength, but are still much smaller than other types of tents. Both A-frame styles are becoming less and less common as people opt for tents with more space.
Hoop tents are very similar to A-frames, except they use hoops to support the tent at both ends. Just like modified A-frames, they provide some more room and more strength against wind, but they still don’t have enough room to sit up completely and are flimsier than some of your alternatives. For a light, single person tent, hoop tents make a decent choice, because they won’t be too difficult to carry if you are hiking or biking in the wilderness.
These types of tents are becoming more popular, so you might easily recognize them when you look for tents in the store. Wedge tents use two hoops that overlap each other to create a square shaped tent with an X-shaped post. These tents provide much more head room and often have more stability than smaller tents. They are also not too difficult to put together. There are all kinds of wedge tents with different types of features and amounts of space. The more sophisticated ones will have a rain fly, so that you can stay perfectly dry even in heavy rain. Though these tents can be various sizes, they typically can fit about two people.
Dome tents are similar to wedge tents, but they are made of several hoops, generally three to five. They usually offer much more room than other tents, allowing campers to stand in the tent and store all of their belongings. These tents can generally fit as many as five people, which is good, because they are very difficult to assemble by yourself.
Large dome tents are generally the best choice for families. This is especially true if you have younger children, and you’d like to stay in the same tent as them. Some of the larger dome tents even have separate rooms and areas to store your camping gear. Some may also have tent porches, which are covered areas that you can keep objects that need to dry.
How Many Seasons Is Your Tent?
In addition to tent structure, there are other criteria that you should consider when selecting your tent, and information on the tent can tell you what types of environments the tents are best suited. Think carefully about when and where you’ll be using your tent, and make sure you’re aware of the type of weather you’ll be encountering.
When you go shopping, you’ll notice that some tents are labelled as summer tents while others are labelled as three season tents, or four season tents. These labels will tell you what types of weather these tents are designed to withstand. Of these four, summer tents are the least durable. Though often the lightest of the four types, they will not be able to stand up to anything stronger than mild rain or wind. They are perfect for summer, but also will work great in the spring, as long as there aren’t heavy rains. Three season tents are designed to be used in spring, summer, and fall.
The tents become progressively stronger with four season tents being the strongest and suitable for all environments, even the middle of winter. These tents can be used on a sunny day as well as during a snowstorm, and they might be the perfect tent for you depending on your needs and the time of year.
Though choosing a tent can be difficult, with the right preparation, you are sure to find the perfect tent for your next outdoor adventure. Whether you’re camping in Ontario or another part of the world, a good tent is crucial if you want your camping trip to be safe and comfortable.