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Camping Tents

One of the most expensive pieces of camping gear you will buy is a tent. If you camp in warm weather, a summer or 3-season (May-September) tent is fine, but if you camp in cold weather, a better buy is a 4-season tent designed for low temperatures.

Since the right tent makes camping more enjoyable, other tent features to consider are:

  • Shape: The most popular shape is the dome tent. Easy to set up and suitable for most weather including high winds, a dome tent provides good living space and headroom. Pup tents are lightweight and compact A-shaped tents more suitable for backpackers. Cabin or wall tents resemble a house and are best for large groups that stay in one place since they are heavier to carry and more difficult to set up. Tents with a “tub” floor, where the floor extents up the sidewalls, are great for keeping the floor dry during rain or snow.
  • Size: A tent’s rating indicates the maximum number of people who can sleep in it. Unless you are backpacking where minimal weight and size is important, this will probably be too crowded. Divide the rating by 2 to determine how many can fit in it with comfortable sleeping/living space plus room to store gear and clothing. Tents with separate rooms or dividers provide privacy and those with storage lofts or pockets provide more useable floor space with the off-the-floor storage areas.
  • Material: Polyester withstands UV rays better and lasts longer than nylon but nylon weighs less. Lighter colored tents are cooler in hot weather since they reflect heat from the sun. A tent should be waterproof or have a separate waterproof covering so you have a comfortably dry tent during wet weather.

  • Ventilation: To allow for cooling breezes and to reduce moisture problems, buy a tent with opposing windows and doors so that you have good airflow through the tent.
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