Tents come in all shapes and sizes to cope with conditions from summer camping to surviving gale force winds on mountain tops. There are several factors to think about when buying a tent.
- Accomadation: The size is often given by the number of people who can sleep in the tent. The space allocated by a manufacturer may vary and the size may also be affected by the designed use of the tent. i.e. A 2 man tent for general purpose use may be the same size as a three person tent designed for light weight extreme usage. So get inside and try it out.
- Weight: If your back packing then this will be the most important factor to consider.
- Pitching: Ease and speed of setting up camp may be important. Can you pitch the outer before the inner in wet weather?
- Fly Screens: If your travelling in hot climates you'll want plenty of ventilation but if fine fly screens aren't incorperated within the tent or the mesh isn't fine enough you'll be sharing you home with an assortment of midgies, this is particularly important in areas where malaria is present.
- Geodesic: Self supporting tent giving maximum strength and internal space for minimum weight.
- 'A' Frame with Ridge Pole: Classic design Stong and with maximum head room though out.
- Dome: Simple pole structure that crosses at central highest point.
- Tunnel: Good headroom and steep side walls.
- Hoop: The lightest and most compact option.
- Fibreglass: The most economical poles used in summer tents.
- Rigid Steel: Used only in summer family tents.
- Aluminum Alloy: Lighter and stronger than fibre glass.
- Easton Aluminum 7057: The lightest and strongest poles currently available. Esential on a mountain tent.
Try to find a flat area of land, check for sharp stones or plants which may damage the bottom of the tent. Find a sheltered spot and pitch with the wind to the back of the tent. If your staying in one place for a period of time move your tent occasionally to help prevent damage to the ground underneath. Use 6 inch nails instead of tent pegs, you can hit them a lot harder in hard ground. Always carry some spare tent pegs.
If you tent has got damp due to rain, frost, dew, etc. then make sure its properly dried out before you store it for any length of time.
If there are several of you back packing then split the weight of the tent between various packs. You can use a compression bag on the tent fabric and wrap the tent poles in your sleeping mat, strapped to your pack.
Remember to seal the seams on your tent when you first get it. From time to type the outer layer will need reproofing. Its better to proof preventively rather than having a leaky tent that will get all your gear soaking.
© K.Vans-Colina 1992-2002