How Much Sleep Does 2 And Half Year Old Need Camping 101: Choosing a Tent

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Camping 101: Choosing a Tent

Family camping tents come in many shapes and sizes. What suits your needs may not be right for someone else. This is why there is such a large variety produced for the outdoor hobbyist market.

    Form your store choices

Tents come in four basic forms: A-frame, umbrella, geodesic or “dome”, and wall. The A-frame is the old traditional style “pup” tent shape, but it can also be quite large. The umbrella is a commonly used family tent, with plenty of room to stand, including large windows and a rain fly. The geodesic dome has many variations, with varying combinations of connected triangles. The wall tent is like an A-frame tent, but is generally much larger and has vertical side walls, and is most commonly used in military applications and Scout camps (These are usually installed on permanent bridges).

Tents with square floor shapes are more efficient when placing sleeping and gear arrangements. If you decide to buy a tent with a round or oval floor, you should plan for extra floor space to compensate for the less efficient layout.

    Size DOES matter

Tents are marketed as two man, four man, six man, etc. At best this describes most people you can cram into the tent to sleep, without storage for any of your personal items. This size determination is fine for backpackers who pack light, but it doesn’t make sense for the average camper.

Why be shoe horn in your store? Figure on using the tent at half its rated capacity and you should have enough room for two adults and most of their gear. Each person must have a minimum of 24 square feet of space; enough room for your pad, sleeping bag and gear. If you are packing for a long trip, you may want to increase the square footage depending on the amount of gear you are going to bring.

Don’t forget to buy a tent that will be wide/long enough for you to stretch out when sleeping… a 6′ tall sleeper will be very cramped in a 6′ wide tent; leave at least 1 foot of leg room. You will need a minimum of 30” of space throughout the tent for each sleeping bag just to sleep.

Adding “dry” storage for your gear, and enough space to exit your tent without tripping over your tent mate, will result in a more enjoyable outdoor experience. With this in mind, an 8′ x 8′ tent works well as a 2-man family tent. This gives each camper 32 square feet to spread out their gear and sleeping area. BUT, a 10′ x 10′ tent is much more suitable for two adults (seems like overkill, huh?). This size tent will have enough space for air mattresses, cots or pads AND still have enough room to stand up when changing clothes.

Be careful buying a tent larger than 10′ x 10′. First, finding a suitable place to pitch such a large item will be a challenge. You need a place as level as possible. Second, large tents are extremely heavy and bulky to transport. Finally, it might be better to have several smaller tents so that everyone does not share the same sleeping, changing and living area.

The height of the peak is very important for your comfort. For most trips, try to have a tent that is tall enough to stay on the floor. A six- or seven-foot peak is necessary for adults, and a four-foot peak is just right for children. Remember, the tent goes down at a sharp angle, so the actual place where you can stand will be small. Larger spaces will be provided in tents with higher tops.

Children can fit comfortably in smaller tents. When they are old enough, around seven or eight, they will probably want to sleep in a separate tent. Parents will also appreciate the privacy provided by this arrangement. A five by seven foot tent is suitable for young people. Teenagers should be considered as adults when setting up a tent.

    Support Your Local Tent – Poles

The poles included with most tents available today are made of aluminum or fiberglass. The best quality tents are usually made with specially made aluminum poles, with a high degree of flexibility. Fiberglass poles are included in most “everyday camping” tents. The poles are usually tied with an elastic shock cord. This will speed up the installation process (important when doing it in the rain!). Poles, when mishandled can bend or break, many tent manufacturers provide repair kits for you to bring on the trip.

    Seams to Me It’s important

Seams must be reinforced with nylon tape and double stitching. The tape is stitched in each seam, which strengthens the seam and adds to the weather proof. All waterproof seams in the fly and floor (or tub), are usually waterproofed at the factory with a seam sealer. Set up the tent in your yard before the first tent to test the pitching process. You can also use this opportunity to go to your local sports store to buy a sealer and a waterproofing spray. It is always a good idea to do this to ensure a dry trip. Be sure to allow the tent to dry before packing.

    Fabric

Almost all modern tents are now made of nylon. Coated nylon is used for waterproofing. Nylon mesh is used for the inner walls and equipment bags. No-see-um mesh is used for window screens. The best tents use thicker fabric and rip-stop fabric.

    Hey!!! Zip It Up!!

Make sure when you go out to shop your store… test the zippers. They should open and close easily and should not catch on the tent fabric. Zippers should be rust resistant.

    Hot and cold flashes and “Why is my tent shaking?”

The variations in weather pose many questions about your tent.

Wind conditions call for strong poles, stakes and anchor ropes. Dome tents work extremely well in wind. Its rounded design reduces the effect of the wind, and its pole arrangement provides great strength.

Rain causes two problems on the surface. Keeping yourself and your gear dry comes first. Second, you need enough space for all tent occupants to be comfortable if “weathering the storm” becomes necessary.

The floor must be constructed of waterproof coated nylon covering the floor, and turning the sides for about six inches, creating the bathtub. There should be a minimal amount of stitching (the more you have, the more potential for leaks). It will keep the water out and under the tent.

Make sure your tent has a waterproof rain fly made of coated nylon. The fly should wrap around the tent and reach the sides, leaving only a few inches of space between it and the ground. This should shut out the rain, even in windy conditions. The fly should extend far enough above the door, so it keeps out the rain when you open the door to enter or exit. Some tents even come with a vestibule that allows this.

Sunlight and its accompanying heat create a greater need for shade and air flow. The rain fly will give shade. Screen windows on opposite sides of the tent, or a screened window opposite a screened door, will allow air to flow through the tent.

Long excursions in cold weather demand a special 4-season resistant tent. Unless you plan to do winter camping, you can use a “three season” tent that has the features mentioned above. The most important features will be a rain fly that fully covers the top and sides to keep snow and other precipitation at bay, and an inner layer made from an open mesh fabric to allow water vapor to breathe out of the store. In cooler weather, water vapor in the tent from the humid, outside air and breath exhaled by the occupants condenses on the inner surface of the tent. This can be prevented by allowing air to flow through your tent or by passing through mesh fabric.

Tent size is also a consideration with cool weather camping. A smaller tent stays much warmer than a larger tent with body heat.

    You Get What You Pay For

Usually, more expensive tents are made with stronger fabric, poles and seams. They are built to withstand the strongest wind and the most violent rain. A good tent, which is well cared for, can last for many years.

Remember that not everyone needs this amount of durability. The milder the climate you live in, and the closer to home you live, the better solution will most likely be a less expensive tent.

If you’re just starting your camping trip, and you’re not sure if you’ll like it, you might want to start with a less expensive setup. Your first trips will probably be when the weather is warmer, and you probably won’t venture into the wilderness until you’ve gained some experience and decided if you like camping or not. Remember, you can always upgrade your gear later.

For more information, you can visit Birdseye Outdoor Supply where you can get more tips to help you with your camping needs.

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