I've been reading some peoples guides to buying and using tents, in relation to selecting my own first ever tent for myself. I spotted a small tip that not many sellers are placing on their items, which for me would have swung a sale (tip no# 2)
tip no.1 is the most importent, but tip no.2 is the real bread winner for me
I've got few years camping experience in various types of weather ranging from sunny days where you can sunbath outside while your stove cooks/warms your food, to the snow coming sideways at you, so when i make the following comments i do not intend to be snobbish or sound like a festival goer who suddenly feels like they know the ropes.
1# deffinatly take a first hand look at the model of tent your going to buy, even if you intend to go straight to ebay and buy it off there. Make sure that you can lie comfortably inside it, sit up in it etc and practise putting up, taking down and packing away the individual pieces. (make sure you can do it in the shop so you can do it in the hills)
2# recommend that you buy a tent that is put up with the outer sheet first (if it has one - festival goers stick to your 2 second assembly tents, everyone else take note).
The reasoning behind this is simple;
A) you want the inner sleeping compartment to remain dry at all costs so that you remain dry
B) if you have to put up the inner first and its raining (!) then its going to get, and probably stay, wet ... all night
C) putting up the outer sheet first means that you can shelter yourself, friends, bags and even the dog (if you brought yours) out of the rain while you put up your nice dry inner sleeping compartment, which you stored in a heavily waterproofed bag...
3# If your going to be eating boil in the bag meals (the same as the types in the rat packs for military/cadet bods) then take along some tabasco, or similair, to kill the taste of the less appealing meals.
4# never have a lit flame in your tent. If you cook with gas be careful to cook with as many doors open as possible and with the cooker in the doorway of the tent. Dont risk the fumes. Flames and Fumes are killers in tents!
5# take spare pegs, ear plugs (for snoring), duct tape, chocolate and my personal favourite - a hip flask
hope this has helped.