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What to consider when buying a tent

  1. What size should I look for?

    If there are four people in your family, simple math tells you to buy a four-person tent, right? Actually, it doesn’t quite add up that way. Instead, you’ve got to weigh comfort versus capacity.

    While you can fit four people into a four-person tent for the night, that’s the capacity rating, not the comfort level. If you intend for people to only sleep in a tent, and not store any gear, the capacity rating is the appropriate guide.

    However, for comfort level, a good rule to follow is plus 2: If four people will be staying in it, pack a six-person tent; if there are three of you, grab a five-person tent.

  2. Where do I like to camp and how long do I like to stay?

    Think about the places you want to visit, and how long you like to be gone. Do you and your family only like to camp when the weather is good, or are you OK with camping in the rain? If you’re OK with the rain, you’ll want a tent that’s seam-sealed on all of the exposed areas.

    If you only want a tent you can use at day-long music festivals, look for something simple you can put up easily. After all, you and your group will want to get to the stage in time to see your favorite band.

  3. How often will I use it?

    A good tent is a worthwhile investment, but it’s wise to consider the performance you and your family will need from it. If rainy weather is not your ideal camping scenario, you don’t need to focus on tents with advanced rain protection.

    Similarly, if you and your family are new to camping or haven’t camped much, a moderately priced tent will likely do just fine. Use it until you figure out if camping is something you will do more frequently before you consider an upgrade.

  4. How much time do I want to spend setting it up?

    In addition to thinking about how far you’ll need to carry your tent, you’ll want to also consider the time you’re willing to spend setting it up.

    Larger tents offer more space, but setup can be more involved. Maybe you’re happier with the two-pole, dome option. They’re generally smaller, but buying a couple of them for your group may be ideal.

    Still, others would rather be relaxing and simply enjoying the scenery five minutes after arriving on site; an instant tent is likely the best option for that kind of camper.

  5. Before you camp ...

    No matter which tent you choose for you and your family, first set up the tent at home. If you run into any issues, you can resolve them in the comfort of your yard.

    It’s more difficult to do that when the kids are restless and ready to go swimming—you know, as soon as that tent is up.

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January 18, 2018 09:48 AM