I’ve been asked what kind of tent I prefer and I always tell people that it depends on what season that I will be camping in, and do I have to carry the tent with me on my back or will I be tailgate camping?
Of course the weather has the most to do with the type of tent I want for that outing. For warm weather I like a tent that opens up and has lots of ventilation. For cold weather I like an open tent so that I can build a fire in front of it and reflect the heat back into it. (You heat your house, why not heat your tent. – by the way, don’t ever put a flame of any kind inside any tent.)
Since weight is no problem when I’m tailgate camping, I like a tent that I can stand up in. If I’m hiking or canoe camping where weight becomes a factor, I like a small tent that puts up easily and quickly and is easy to take down.
For shape, I like dome tents. I think they hold up better in the wind and I think they shed the rain better and I prefer nylon over canvas due to the weight problem with canvas. Canvas takes a lot longer to dry and will mildew quicker. All tents should be stored completely dry and taken out and aired from time to time between outings.
Always disregard the occupancy tag; the manufacturers will tell you how many people can sleep in a tent but they never tell you that you always have to have room for each person’s pack and equipment. If a tent will sleep 6 people, then you know they mean 3 persons and three packs.
Visit your local Boy Scout Troop and ask them what kinds of tent they prefer. They might even demonstrate how to put them up and care for them.
NOTE: Always stake down your tent and use guy ropes. Always put a tarp or piece of plastic under your tent to keep the bottom clean and dry. Dry your tent completely before storing it. Get your tent(s) out from time to time (say every other month) and set it/them up and air them out, check for tears, etc. (likewise your sleeping bags). A tent should last you at least 10 years or longer. The biggest tip of all would be, “Never loan out your tents or sleeping bags. No one takes care of your equipment like you do.”
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