Where Do I Find Camping Tents Near Me?

Night camping in the mountains with campfire burning brightly.

How to Buy a Tent for Camping

Tent camping is great and when you buy a new tent for this pastime, there are a few things to keep in mind, particularly if you are buying the tent online, sight unseen.

1-Think of the new tent you will buy as your home away from home and pick carefully to get everything you need.

2-Tents fall into five broad categories from the tarp (which can be the lightest weight and the most flexible) and include the winter tent, the convertible, the three-season and the summer/screen tent.

3–The tarp is as basic as you can get when it comes to a camping tent, which is made of polyester or nylon and can be tied to a tree or bushes. With a tarp, you literally sacrifice weather protection, privacy, protection from roots and knots that keep all of us up at night for its light weight. It can furnish protection from poor weather, as long as the storm drops the rain straight up and down with no wind blowing in from the sides.

4—Size of the tent. Tents from major manufacturers will tell you in the title how many people it will sleep. But if you are camping with kids or pets, you want a larger tent to keep the kids and dogs happy and yourself happy. Up-size the tent by at least one person if not more.

5—What shape tent do you want and need. There are pros and cons to each shape and there is no one shape tent that fits all campers–literally, there is no one shape camp that fits all campers. If you are tall or fat, you need to give the various shapes extra consideration, or you will be miserable using the tent.

6-The A-frame. As its name implies, the tent makes an “A” when set up. The tent shape does not offer a great deal of head room, but it is easily assembled. It has broad sidewalls, which means it can get damaged in high-wind conditions. The A-frame tent is best for “tame” camping conditions in good weather

7-—The so-called modified A-frame tent is designed with a center hoop pole, curved sidewalls or a ridge line pole. What these design structures do is keep the A-frame more stable in weather conditions and offer more headroom for tall people. There is also greater emphasis on interior space, which makes using the tent easier. cabin or dome, the two basic shapes, and each will offer a different amount of space.

8-The dome tent. This is our favorite and comes in various shapes and sizes to literally fit every need. This design typically features arched ceilings, good interior space and great stability. But our favorite quality with the dome tent is its ease of pitching it when you come staggering into your campsite after an exhausting day.

9-The teepee tent. Native Americans swore by this design for generations and the tent offers a lot of space for the amount of weight it adds to your backpack. It you like your creature comforts at night or at least your comforts away from the creatures, then this design may not be for you.These have a floorless design and if you need to pitch a teepee tent in less than perfect weather, it could make for an uncomfortable night.

10-The wedge tent is designed for windy conditions and if you plan to do a lot of camping on the beaches of the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, this just might be the tent for you. The tent is aerodynamically designed to that when you pitch it, the low end is aimed at the wind. The tent will stand up to strong weather conditions but you do need to sacrifice headroom and interior space in this type of design.

11-The cabin shape tents have more vertical walls, which means that they offer more livable space. Look for room dividers in cabin-style tents that can add to your privacy.

12-Don’t wait until you get to your campsite to set up your tent for the first time. Set it up at home soon after you purchase it. There are several reasons to do this. Some tents are hard to set up, until you properly climb the learning curve. It you have a tent that is tough to set up, do yourself a favor and set it up and pull it down and then do it all over again until you don’t need to read the manual by flashlight at the campsite to set it up.

13-There are other reason to set it up at home as well. You want to make sure that the tent came with all of the equipment that it is suppose to have. If you are missing something, dial the 800 number that comes with the instruction manual and get want you need…or send the whole thing back and start again.

14-Another thing that you need to look at when it is at home are the seams of the tent. Set it up and look for areas of the tent where water could infiltrate. Now it might seem obvious to us that one of the first things tent manufacturers would want to pay attention to are waterproofing the seams of the tent. this is not always the case. You need to check the seams for evidence of waterproofing. The rain fly and the tent floor should have been taped. If not, get a good quality sealer and waterproof the tent yourself.

15-At the time you purchase the tent, or shortly after, buy more stakes that you require. Why? The get lost or forgotten. Frankly, we have never seen a tent in our time camping in the wilderness that could not use more than the manufacturer-required stakes. With more stakes, you can better secure all guy-out points and stake-out loops. As you buy extra stakes, you do not need to drag your entire load of stakes on every camping trip, just bring a few extra but have additional extra at home for the next adventure, if you need them.

16-Speaking of guy-outs, typically a cord or string used to secure the tent to the ground, attach the guy-outs to each of the recommended points back at the house, before you venture into the woods. To keep it all neat and to keep the lines from tangling, use a piece of electrical tape to secure each guy-out when you pack up the tent. Bring along that roll of electrical tape to accomplish the same goal each time you pack up the tent. Guy-outs can help stablize

17—Easy of set up. Of the two basic styles, cabin and dome, the dome is far easier to set up because of their sloping walls. At the end of a long day of trekking through the wilderness, ease of set up may outweigh every other consideration…especially if you are caught in a sudden rainstorm or if the temperature decides to take a nosedive.

18—Protection from storms. The sloping walls of the dome style tent can handle strong winds and nasty weather. Of course, there is just so much weather that any tent can withstand and if the weather turns really foul, it is time to implement “Plan B.”

19—Tents made with close-knit fabrics and aluminum poles will stand up better to windy weather conditions.

20—For easy access and quick entry and exit, pick a tent with two doors. Two doors save a lot of time having to climb over tent mates, particularly at night when nature calls. Pick tents with easy to use zippers that open and close “quietly” so that everyone does not have to wake up every time someone enters or exits the tent at night. Check out the owner’s manual for the tent for any ongoing maintenance or servicing that the zippers need. It’s been our experience that the rest of the tent may be in good shape, but since the zipper is shot, the tent needs to be replaced.

21—If you are a fair-weather camper, meaning that you will go out into the elements in spring, summer and fall, pick a good three-season tent.

22—A four-season tent will suit you well in some winter conditions. Most of these tents are suitable for late autumn camping after the snow begins to fly or those late-winter, early–spring treks when you are still likely to be hit by at least some snow and strong wind. The main purpose of these tents is to stay in place in tough or cold weather conditions. Some can be a little hard to take for summer camping when the nights are hot.

23—Pick a tent with mesh panels to keep the bugs out at night. If you are camping in areas where mosquitoes or other pests are an issue, definitely focus on the mesh panel. Consider the addition of personal mosquito nets.

24—Some tents have a substantial roof and only rain flies for the nasty weather. They offer a great view and lots of ventilation inside the tent. You can also buy tents will full out rain flies for more protection from the wind and weather.

25—If you want to stand up in a tent or to change your clothes without having to wrestle getting your pants on while sitting on a sleeping bag, look for a tall peak tent.

26–If you or your tent mate is a big person, look at the floor length of a tent and pick one that is big enough to accommodate everyone. If you have growing children and want to use the tent in the years to come, plan on a bigger floor length tent now.

27—Most family-style tents today are freestanding, which means that you do not have to hammer stakes in the ground to set up the tent. Free standing also implies that you can quickly move the tent and stake off the dirt and bugs on it before packing it up. Get tents with aluminum poles rather than fiberglass poles, which are not as durable. Get tents with clips and only short pole sleeves to threat, another pain trying to do at dust or when you are really, really exhausted. Look for tents that are color codes for easy set up—a real life saver!

28—Get rain flies with your tent. They help in times of wetness and storms. There are two types of rain flies, one fits over the roof and one fits over the whole tent and can really keep you snug in tough weather conditions.

18—Look for tents with a high-denier fabric. These are tougher and last longer than low denier fabric. What does the term denier mean when applied to tents? A strand of silk is considered one denier, so the denier is used regarding tents to determine what is the thickness of the the fabric in a tent. The denier is calculated based on the length and weight of the yarn or the fiber used to make the tent.

29—Storage areas for boots and backpacks can either be an integral part of the tent or an add-on feature. Either way, plan for storage so that your backpack does not become your pillow and the first thing you smell in the morning are your dirty hiking boots. An easy, cheap, effective way around this is to bring along a plastic garbage bag. Bring along a thick garbage bag and you can tell the thickness by the mils of thickness that a garbage bag is. One mill is considered one-thousandth of an inch (.001). Bring along a contractor’s bag, which is fairly thick. Generously lace the bag with baking soda to get rid of the smell of a heavy day of hiking.

30—Look for loops and pockets in tents. You will wind up using most or all of them. Get a tent with an interior lantern loop, which is sometimes placed top center.

31—Buy a tent that takes a tent footprint, which covers the ground below you. You can get tents with a floor, but those tents to get dirty and wear out a lot more quickly than the tent itself and they are less costly to replace.

32—Some accessories to consider: get a tent repair kit the moment you buy the tent. Get seam sealer to keep everything nice and dry. Get a utility cord just to have one. Get a ventilation fan for the tent. Consider stakes and anchors: you probably won’t need them but if you are camping in snow or mud and on a slow, you definitely will need something to keep from slipping down the hill. There’s nothing quite like sliding down a hillside in your tent and to awaken in the morning in a ravine.

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