Guide: Buying And Using A Tent For First Time

Getting the Right Tent Is The First Step To A Great Camping Experience

Camping is a great way to spend time with your family and make wonderful memories. But a camping trip gone wrong can quickly cause misery and heartache. The information in this article is designed to help you prepare for your first camping trip by have a proper tent.

Tent designs vary greatly, but for the beginner, there is really only two. Dome tents and pup tents. A pup tent is what most people think of when picturing a tent. Shaped like a triangle on each end these tents have their use but for a beginner they are only really useful as a second tent for a child. The Dome tent is the preferred choice for a beginner as they are more roomy and either allow a camper to stand up inside it or at least more enough to get dressed in privacy.

Obviously you need a tent that is big enough for your family. Tent manufacturers provide a handy reference on tent boxes that state the number of people that a tent will sleep. For typical camping situations this number should be divided by two. A tent designated to sleep four, will in real situations sleep two. This allows room for needed items such as clothes, hygiene materials, flashlights, etc.
An item to look for when buying a tent is a fly that covers the tent to the ground (not just half of the tent). Regardless of what is stated on the box, tents are often remarkably non waterproof. An exterior fly that covers the whole tent provides a good second layer of protection from the elements. Added features such as roll out ‘porches’ and others are nice but they are basically a gimmick.

A tarp or preferably a heavy duty plastic drop cloth should be brought along to lay down on the ground and then set-up your tent on top of it. After the tent is set up tuck the excess under the tent to avoid water pooling on it. The excess can also be pulled out to stand on when putting shoes on or taking them off. When it is time to leave the bottom of your tent should be dry and clean and can be packed away without getting it back out at home to clean and dry. The tarp or drop cloth can also be used to cover the tent in case of leaks.
Before leaving on a camping trip you should practice setting the tent up in your backyard if at all possible. Learning to set up a tent is not much fun with excited children running around wanting to do other things.

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