Introduction to Tent Camping (different types of tents – what type of tent camper are you?)
Tent camping is an outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by everybody. It is affordable, healthy and a great way to admire and experience nature's beauty.
Camping can be a lot of fun and adventurous. It gives you the freedom to spend your weekends or vacations by the sea, at the lake, by the river or in the hills and mountains, literally almost anywhere you like.
You might be someone who has only done some camping back in the days when you were a kid with your local scout group or you might never have had outdoor living and don't have any experience with this.
This, however should not discourage you at all from taking up tent camping as your new activity. It is a very affordable outlet and you can learn and pick up the basics of camping with practical skills that will make your life a lot easier in many areas. Not only that, if you have children, tent camping is an excellent way to teach them discipline and life skills.
Your first tent
Tents are coming in many different shapes and forms. The first thing you have to consider when you buy your first tent that it has to accommodate your party. There are tents designed for a singles, couples or even for large families with children. Long gone are the days when setting up a tent was a task for 3 people with long instructions, heavy canvas and a bunch of metal poles and tent pegs. Modern tents are made of special fabrics that are light, weather resistant and the whole supporting structure is generally easy to carry, durable and compact. You need to have some height considerations as low-profile aerodynamic shapes can minimize wind resistance. Most new tents now have vertical pole sections for the first 10-20 inches, and bend after. Hence, they resemble a classic dome shape. This creates more room and also the ability to use most of the tent floor dimensions.
You can start with a cheap tent or if you want something that would last for a long time, you should look for a well sewn, securely reinforced tent with light poles that has a basic design. Think ahead and choose the right size, type and weather rating that will answer your needs. Consider that kids grow quickly, while your tent doesn't grow at all.
Most people would only go camping at summer time, in which case you don't need to buy a true four season tent as they normally have extra poles and guy lines and therefore are a bit heavier. On the other hand, if your outdoor adventures will likely take you to places with various weather conditions and seasons, you should buy a tent made to withstand the worst weather. Make sure that your tent offers good ventilation with mesh panels as you do want condensation reduced to the minimum. You might consider a vestibule that offers a bit of extra room and protection. Have a firm foundation for your tent. You can place a tarp or plastic sheet underneath the tent but make sure that it doesn't extend beyond the tent as it could collect water right under you. You can buy footprints that are the perfect fit for your tent, this will help to protect your tent floor from coming into contact with dirt, rocks and ground abrasion. Also it offers an extra layer of protection from cold and wet conditions. You might even consider buying a few extra sacks so you can split tent components between your camping group to carry.
There are also specially designed tents that can withstand extreme low temperatures and snow but it is recommended to have some experience with normal camping before you venture to snowy areas.
Plan ahead and try it!
Before you head out camping with your brand new tent, it is always a good idea to set up your tent in your backyard to test it. You can set it up in your living room if you don't have a backyard in which case don't worry about the tent pegs, you shouldn't use them. This will give you the advantage to be able to quickly and properly set up your tent when you arrive to your camp location and to check that everything works perfectly.