I am fairly new to camping but thought I would share my point of view in regards to choosing a tent. This guide is aimed primarily at people interested in family camping (although some of the info is eligible for anybody).
Types of tent: There are various types of tents available. Some of the more common are.....
Dome tents: these provide good stability in windy conditions. They are easily erected and dismantled and suitable for most campers.
Tunnel Tents : usually come with a porch area to increase living space. versatile design.
Large tents, Frame tents: These are usually suitable for families and offer generous seperate living and sleeping space. You can also get
trailer tents which are almost half caravan half tent. these offer good accomodation and normally come with electrical points/hook up. These are a more expensive option though.
Size of tent: I would recommend choosing a tent that is larger than you think you need..for example if you intend to camp with 4 people then choose a 5 or 6 man tent. This is to ensure you have a comfortable amount of space in the sleeping area (especially important if you intend camping with older children or all adults). I would also recommend choosing a tent that has seperate sleeping areas and a seperate living area if you intend on camping for more than the occassional weekend with family. That way adults/older children get space away from the younger members and you all have space to move around the tent on those days when it is raining and you are stuck in the tent (believe me there is nothing more stressful than being cooped up in a tent on a miserable day with young children and no room to move..or worse still is having to share a sleeping area with a hyper active 4 year old!!) Height is also important when it comes to family camping. I would definitely recommend a tent that alows adults to stand upright inside (this particularly applies to the living area although if you are in anyway claustrophobic then i would recommend standing height in the sleeping areas too). It can get quite uncomfortable crawling on your hands and knees into/out of the tent every day. Also make sure you have a ground sheet in the sleeping area (preferably one that is already fitted) and put a ground sheet in the living area too. This will help prevent you and your things getting damp/dirty etc
Acessories: Without a doubt i would recommend getting inflatable air beds for the tent. (i personally also take my pillows...lol..) This is far more comfortable than sleeping in a sleeping bag on the ground!! There are so many things you can buy for a tent now..including fridge, electric mini ovens, tv's etc. that turn camping into glamping!!! If you intend on buying electrical products to use in the tent than you will need to purchase an electrical hook up.....these can be purchased reasonably cheap on ebay.....however make sure you buy one with a safety cut out. There is a guide on ebay in regards to electrical hook ups so please read that before purchasing one. Of course you could go the whole hog and buy a porta loo, toilet changing tent, etc etc but this can turn into a very expensive business and the whole point of camping is to have a fun holiday with the family (or friends) without needing to remortgage your house in the process.
I know this is a fairly basic guide but if i come across any further useful info then i will add it in. Hopefully first time campers have found this usefull.
Choosing a tent
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31 July 2006
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