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Choosing a Tent
The undeniable truth about tents is that there are just too many variations. When you're choosing a tent, make sure that you get one that is right for you; it's all about personal preference. The following is some information that may be of help to you when choosing the appropriate tent for your needs.
The Size of the Tent
When choosing a tent, do not go by the advertised capacity. The advertised size is simply the maximum number of average sized adults you can cram into the tent with no regards to comfort. Your best bet is to divide the advertised rate by half to get an idea of the comfortable occupancy. So if the tent is advertised as a two-man tent, assume that only one person can actually spend the night in it. If it is a four-man tent, keep the tenants of the tent at two. etc.
Also keep the actual floor space dimensions in mind when choosing a tent. An average 6 foot adult will probably need 7 feet by 3 feet of space to him or herself to sleep in comfortable in the tent. Extra space in the tent will also be needed if you plan on keeping some gear in there. Take the height of the tent in consideration as well as you will probably want use the tent as a convenient changeroom.
Try not to choose a tent that is too large as there are complications that come with this as well. For one, finding a smooth and level spot large enough to accommodate the bigger tents is difficult to find. Larger tents are also quite heavy and the load and unload experience can be frustrating. Privacy is also an issue, especially on longer trips, as not everyone will want to sleep and dress in the same tent.
The Shape of the Tent
You will find that tents come in four basic shapes. These shapes are the A-frame, cabin, hoop and dome. An A-frame tent is as basic as it gets and is the conventional tent shape. An A-frame tent has little headroom save the peak in the middle and is the least sturdy of the tent types.
A cabin tent is generally heavier and more difficult to set up but provide alot more space for its occupants. Cabin tents are preferred for longer trips and larger groups.
The smallest and lightest of the tents is the hoop tents. The elongated shape of the hoop tent offers good floor space for sleeping but lacks in headroom and stability.
The most popular type of tent in general camping is the dome tent. Dome tents are stable, easy to setup and provide plenty of space as well as headroom for its patrons. Some dome tents even have seperate rooms.
The Pieces of a Tent
Most tent poles are made from aluminum or fiberglass. The number of poles will vary depending on the style of the tent and are usually linked together with an elastic cord that runs through the tent poles themselves. Most manufacturers will provide extra links when you first purchase the tent. Keep these close by as breaks in the tent poles are bound to occur.
The majority of the tents out there will have nylon or coated nylon (waterproof) for the fabric. There are, of course, other material used for the fabric such as vinyl and polyester. The thickness is also a variance depending on the manufacturer of the chosen tent.
When choosing a tent, pick one that does not use rusting material for its zippers. Test out the tent zippers when available and make sure that they open and close freely without catching on fabric.
The seams of the tent should be reinforced with some kind of nylon tape to make the seam tougher and weatherproof. Apply seam sealer on the seams of your tent on an annual basis. Most tents will come with a bottle of seam sealer.
The Cost of a Tent
Like the kinds of tents out there, the costs of a tent varies greatly. Generally, the more expensive tents are made with stronger material and can endure the rougher climates. However, if you are new to camping, it's okay to opt for the less expensive tents for your first outing. This way if, after the trip, you decide that camping isn't for you then no great amount of money is lost on the purchase of a tent. And, if you end up loving camping at least you have a feel for the experience and can make a more knowledgable decision with your next purchase.
Don't miss John Dee's article on Using Groundbait
About the Author: John Dee also writes articles in other subjects such as Hunting, Personal Health and Web Design