Tents are available in all shapes and sizes. In all the stores and catalogs you will find a wide variety of options. But the right one for you might not work for someone else. So choosing the perfect tent for your family, you should first check its certain features and consider several factors.
The most important feature of the tent is its size. You can find tents sized as two man, one man, four man and so on. However, it’s always better to choose a tent that is sized for at least one person more, better two, than you plan to fit in. The size rating of the tents means only the number of people you can cram into it without also offering any extra space that could be used for gear for example. So there’ll be four of you, it’s best to have a four man tent. A four man tent might fit comfortably four people only if there are two adults and two very small kids. Each person should have at least 30 square feet of floor space.
If you are camping with your kids and camping by car, you can choose a bigger tent, since you won’t have the issue of carrying the heavy load. There are many space tents that will give not just enough space for comfortable sleep, but also enough extra space to store your gear, for the kids to play and to stand up in full height.
There are various standard tent shapes, such as dome, A-frame and others. The most common shape is probably the dome shape. It’s constructed using two or more poles that are intersected and form a round or square form. They usually offer quite good space inside, offer great strength and are not that heavy. They also offer good overhead room, so in some of them you can comfortably stand up.
The A-frame tents feature a two-legged frame at the outer ends, so the interior has triangular space. It provides good headroom, but the poles are quite heavy, which is required for rigidity. This shape is becoming less popular.
Most of the tents you will find now are made of nylon. It’s a strong material that well withstands the weather. The waterproofing feature is provided by the coated nylon. Check that the tent has good ventilation, for which it should have windows made of nylon mesh. The floor of the tent should be made of stronger and rip-stop fabric.
Different weather conditions will have different demands on the tent. Strong winds will require the tent to have sturdy poles and strong fabric. Rainy weather requires good waterproofing. So get a tent that has a rain fly and it will protect you from both rain and sun. The floor should also be made of coated nylon and keep the tent dry inside.
If you will be camping in cold weathers with snow, then a better option would be a mountaineering tent or a three-season tent. For cool weather you can also consider a smaller tent, as your body heat will keep it warmer inside than with a bigger tent. However, you might consider using a tent heater. In this case a bigger tent would be more suitable, as in a small tent having it will not be as safe due to the closeness of the walls.
For the strength and protection of the tent, it should also be reinforced with nylon tape. The stitched tape into each seam makes it stronger and extra weatherproof. For it to be also waterproof, the seams should also be sealed.
Mostly you will find that all the poles of the tents are made from fiberglass or aluminum. Also, usually the poles are linked with an elastic shock cord, which makes it easy for setting them up together for putting up the tent.
One more thing to consider is your budget. For a higher price you can find a stronger tent that is made of thicker fabric, stronger poles and is more protected for different weathers. It will be able to better withstand heavy rain and strong winds. Generally they will last longer and will be in your use for many years.
However, if you are just starting out, you might want to start with a less expensive tent. Most likely your first trip will be during a warm season and with some “civilization” close by. After you gain some experience of the outdoors, you can upgrade to a more advanced and a more expensive tent.
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