Camping is a great experience for you as you can get out there and enjoy the outdoors. Whether you are with your family or friends it is important to pick out a tent that will support your needs. There are many things to consider before you become serious about camping. Planning your camping trip starts with picking out a tent.
You first need to determine what is important to you in a tent. If head room and space is a necessity to you then you may want a large enough tent. If you are backpacking you probably do not need that large of a tent. Even if it is just you backpacking you still need to think about where you are going to put your gear. Chances are you are going to have food, a camping stove and other survival needs. You need to find a place to leave those items since you probably don't want to store it outside. Rain and even animals could get into your things and leave you with a big mess. You wouldn't want your animals to eat the only source of food you have. Also, if your emergency kit was destroyed that could be a major problem as well. You want to be well equipped with a flashlight, band aids and any other medical supplies you may need if you were hurt. It is recommended that even if you are camping with just yourself, you should have a two person tent. Most likely if you are thinking about purchasing a one man tent you probably have a car to store all of your gear in. A one man tent fits just that-one person. Squeezing your gear and equipment in with you may get rather uncomfortable.
After you have considered how big the tent you want should be, decide what type of weather you will be camping in. While a single person tent is going to be the best priced tent, you will only be able to comfortably camp during nice days in June, July and August. Other seasons you may be too cold. The most popular type of tent is going to be a 3 season tent. In this structure you will be able to comfortably sleep during spring, summer and fall. Most campers tend to pick out a 3 season tent when camping. It will be able to handle light rain and wind. A 4 season tent is the must durable. In this type you will be able to sleep all year round handling the nastiest weather. These types of tents are made to withstand heavy rain, wind and even snow. They are usually made with six or more poles which give the tent a lot of support. For an example, a four season six man tent is made with at least six poles. The more poles there are that are holding a tent up, the stronger the weather it can support.
You also want to consider the pole materials. Fiberglass is cheap but it tends to split, bend and crack easily. The life expectancy is rather poor. You may find yourself taping the poles together to mend the crack so your tent can keep its structure. Taping the poles constantly may be rather frustrating to you. Aluminum is lighter and strong. These are the toughest poles that exist. They are virtually unbreakable and are able to flex with the wind. Usually these types of poles can outlive the tent. Currently there are some manufacturers that use carbon fiber poles. They tend to be expensive but very light weight. One manufacturer is using an air suspension beam to support the structure. This consists of an air tube that you can inflate or deflate with your tents structure. As of now you can only find these made with the smaller tents. The strongest pole for the money would probably be an aluminum pole. You will never have to worry about repairing these types of poles.
The material of a tent is also important. Nylon and polyester are the main materials that are used when designing a tent. Usually nylon is what makes a 3 season tent and polyester is what makes a 4 season tent so durable. Nylon is cheaper but when it gets wet it may stretch. This means that you may have to re-stake the tent after it rains to keep it tight. Polyester tends to be a tougher material and does not stretch. Some manufacturers will include a rip stop design that is woven into the fabric. Rip stop tents may come in both the nylon and polyester style tents. Remember that buying a cheap fabric means you are buying a cheap tent. Keep in mind that a cheap style tent won't last you as long and you will be replacing your tent very often.
Decide if you want a vestibule-a floorless sheltered area similar to a porch on a house. A vestibule is beneficial as you can leave your wet boots, dirty jacket or anything else that you may want to leave in there. Most likely you won't want to bring your wet soggy boots into your sleeping area of your tent. However, you don't want to leave them outside in the rain. A vestibule serves a great purpose for items such as these. Most of the 3 and 4 season tents have the option of adding a vestibule.
As you can see there are a lot of different things you need to think about when picking out a tent. Just remember, purchasing an expensive tent is usually worth the money and will last you for a long time. Keep in mind the saying "you get what you pay for". If you are looking to spend as little money as possible you are better off not going camping at all as this is not a good tent for you. Saving up your money to get a decent is definitely the choice that you should be making. It is important to consider your whole family's needs when picking out your tent.