Friday, September 25, 2009

Tips on choosing a lightweight camping tent

This guide is primarily intended for use by those who are looking for a lightweight tent, although many of the following notes also apply to other tents.At first sight, a tent just seems to be a simple piece of kit that offers protection from the elements and an area for storage. But there's much to ponder over before parting with your hard earned cash!As with most backpacking gear, you should expect to pay a premium for lightweight kit, whatever it may be, and tents are no exception.Be honest about your reasons for wanting a particular tent - how often you intend to use it, where it will be used (UK or further afield?). You may want to think twice about that all singing, all dancing ultra lightweight model, if all you want use it for is for a few nights each summer in a nearby location. On the other hand, if you're thinking of planning an expedition to the Scottish Higlands (or even further afield), then you need to ensure the tent you choose be up to the task and as lightweight as pssible.So, "What's the best tent"?Well, how long is a piece of string? There's no "right" answer as there are to many variables to consider. Lots of factors come into play and a final decision is likely to involve a compromise involving price, weight, intended use, personal preference, durability etc.1) DESIGNOver the years, tent designs have become ever more complex with varying degrees of basic styles. Fortunately, they are all generally easy to pitch and derive from just 4 key design options. Most incorporate a waterproof outer (flysheet) and an inner tent with sewn-in groundsheet, although single-skin tents are available with breathable fabrics.GEODESIC. These offer excellent structural strength by way of intersecting poles to form a self-supporting structure with ample internal space.DOME. These are simple, popular, aerodynamic and stable. They are designed to shed wind, rain and snow.HOOP / TUNNEL. These are usually available in single, double and three-hoop styles, depending upon the size. These are excellent lightwieght tents with a low profile and plenty of room inside.RIDGE. This is the classic tent that most children draw - the A Frame tent. 2) SEASONSThe season rating of a tent should just be taken as a guide only as it becomes pretty irrelevant when you consider the context, weather and altitude you will likely encounter. Example: Camping in the far Northern Hemisphere at sea level in the Spring, is considerably more demanding than sea lea level in the Mediteranean in the Summer or Autumn. As with sleeping bags then, season ratings for tents should be only used as a very rough guide.3) ROOM

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