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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Choosing a Camping Tent

Choosing a tent should be easy and if so there should only be one size and style for everyone across the board. You know that one size fits all solution for everybody. Unfortunately choosing is not easy but thankfully tent designers are not zombies.

So what makes it so hard you ask. The first problem is size. All tent manufacturer's lie. As a retailer if you simply accept the lies you are setting yourself up for un-happiness. Most manufacturer's list the number of people who will fit into a tent on the description of the tent or in their promotional material. Rule of thumb is subtract 1-2 people from the listed capacity especially if you are going to put gear inside. Most tent manufacturer's use a body bag layout for numbers that will fit in a tent and the average "person" is roughly three feet by 8 feet. Sounds good right.

Next is water resistance. Personally I'm a firm believer in the fact that nothing is water proof. The power of water is simply an irresistible and irrefutable force. The features to look for in a tent are longer fly (yeah that little tarp thing on the top) as it gets the water farther away from the body of the tent (which is made to be breathable) so that water heads away from you. Next is the placement of the bottom seams. Seams left near the ground tend to be harder to seam seal and tend to curl up allowing water to seep into the floor. Bathtub bottoms tend to be about 6 inches off the ground and provide greater protection against seepage. All sewn seams are a hole. Water will go through those holes and end up in your tent unless you seam seal them or if you get a factory seam sealed tent. Finally is the mm of treatment on the fly and body. The greater the coating the more protection it will give you.

Next is strength of poles. This is something no one really talks about. The ability to withstand a 40 mph gust is something many tents will not take for any length of time. No tent really has a rating for this but thicker poles on a similar model tents will allow for more protection.

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