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Choosing the Right Tent: 3 Questions to Ask Before Buying
When and where will you camp?
If you’re not planning to go winter camping or to set up your tent under intense weather conditions, a three-season tent will suit you fine.
4 season tents are designed to handle everything else: Snow loads, high winds, harsh winters and even blowing sand. A 4 season tent is simply a tent designed to take it all, while a 3 season tent is designed to be as light as possible, while sacrificing some strength and protection. Of course, these kinds of tents are more expensive, but they are well worth it for your comfort – and survival!
What kind of tent best suits your needs?
Freestanding tents are the more popular options due to their versatility. Freestanding tents are able to stand up without support of guidelines, although in inclement weather and gusty winds, guidelines and tent stakes can be used to reinforce and anchor it safely. The Mongar Ultralight Hiking Tent Integrated Edition is a good choice if you’re on a solo trip.
Without guidelines on a good weather day, freestanding tents, like the Illumina X Ultralight Hiking Tent have the advantage of being easy to move to another location without the need to take it down. Because of this, they are a good choice for most campsites, whether you are going on rocky landscapes, or flat plains. Most freestanding tents feature the crossed-pole structure, which provides better static load stability, which means that they generally handle heavy snow and strong winds better.
What material do I have to choose from?
Polyester is one of the most popular fabrics for tents, mostly because its light weight and low bulk are perfect for transport and storage space. Arguably the best synthetic for a tent, polyester is hard wearing and requires less immediate care, compared to its other counterparts. Its user friendly properties; like the fact that it does not stretch or shrink much, and waterproof coatings, coupled with a relatively low price tag have made the material a good fabric for most hiking tents, which offers both reliability and a spacious interior. Some of the higher grade polyester tents, like the Cloud Up 3 Ultralight Hiking Tent also features a ripstop weave, which is identified by a cross hatching in the weave and can help inhibit tearing.
For maintenance, polyester tents are relatively simple to take care of. Any dirt, grease and oils should be cleaned off followed by a rinse. It is also quite UV resistant, although the material’s deterioration will be accelerated if used in certain areas in direct sunlight, especially over extended periods. The polyester tent should be stored when it is clean and dry to lengthen its lifespan.
If you’re looking for an ultra lightweight tent, you can consider choosing one made of nylon. Nylon tents are considerably lighter than, say, a canvas tent, and frequently have lighter construction poles, which reduces their overall weight.
The material itself is one of the cheapest materials used to make tents, so they are an ideal fit if you are on a limited budget. It’s also recommended to choose a nylon tent if you’re planning to hike or backpack for long distances, and you need to keep your weight at a minimum. A great example is the Mongar Ultralight Hiking Tent Integrated Edition, which offers both affordability and quality.
Nylon is also a quick-drying material, so it’s ideal for a quick pack up for another day of hiking. Coupled with its water-resistant abilities, nylon tents are great at keeping you dry during wet weather.
There is one disadvantage to most nylon tents, which is the tendency to rip easily. However, most top of the range nylon tents have a ripstop mesh which will prevent the small tear from spreading. Similar to the polyester tents, you should look for the ripstop weave, which is identified by a cross hatching in the weave and can help inhibit tearing. The Illumina X Ultralight Hiking Tent is a viable option in this case, as it comes with a ripstop weave for better protection.
It should be noted that some tent materials are better suited to different environments. If you’re camping in the summer, your tent should ideally be made of a lightweight material with a lot of ventilation, like nylon. If you’re expecting heavier winds and showers, perhaps you should go for polyester, which is often more durable.
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