Friday, July 31, 2009

Tent Buying Basics: Material, Ease of Use, and Durability

More tent buying factors to consider


Without being to techy with the rip stop vocabulary (I find the best tents to be made of rip stop)- it’s crucial that you consider how much mesh and how much rip stop your tent has. This is partly due to the type of tent you are choosing. A four season tent is typically double walled nylon without much mesh. This means it isn’t very breathable, particularly in the summer months and can be a bear to fully dry out.

If you think you’ll mainly be summer camping try to go with a tent that has a lot mesh. Waking up inside a damp tent all summer just because you thought it would be better to have a four season tent, isn't worth it. I have woken up too many nights in a damp tent with poor ventilation to make that mistake again.

Photo by Proviatoes'

Ease of use

Finding a tent that is easy to setup is crucial. It sucks being caught in a windstorm and not remembering if it is pole two that goes in the yellow or the green holes. That being said, here are some general ways to find an easy to pitch tent.
  • Set it up in the store
  • Consider the # of poles- generally more poles = more complicated. Although I have run into a tent that only uses two poles and a whole lot of parachute cord that was particularly hard to setup.
  • Find a tent that has simple color coding- many tent manufacturers are making tents that have color coded poles and corresponding holes. If you are hopeless with the tent pitching this may be for you.

Photo by bgautrea

How long will it last/ Tent durability

Your tent can last a very long time depending on how well you take care of it and how often you use it. Tune back in to the Tent Buying Basics Series where maintenance will be our next topic. It doesn’t hurt to buy from a manufacturer that has been around and making tents for a while.

If you hardly use your tent and take good care of it when you do, it should last you for many years. Our EMS Tristar is used around 35 days a year, with pretty good care after a trip and has lasted us close to ten years.

Keep in mind that tents weren't designed to sit in the sun all day. So don't just leave it in your backyard for a week to dryout.

Things they don’t always tell you in the store

You’ll need to buy a groundcloth, which is typically sold separately. There are ways to get around using a groundcloth, but I say, stop being such a cheapy and spend the 15 bucks.

My next post in the Tent Buying Basics Series will be about Maintenance and Care, so check back in for more!

photo by Florian

Read Tent Buying Basics: How to Choose the Right Tent
Read Tent Buying Basics: Consider Size and Shape

1 comment:

Red Bike said...

Ground cloth?
Nobody told me anything about this!

I hope they're small. I'm trying to reduce weight, not find more things to carry!