Not all tents are the same
Camping with friends and family is one of the greatest American pastimes. Families who camp with children will have stories passed down generation to generation. Tent camping is at the heart of a true camping experience. So we want to offer you some tips on how to have a great tent camping experience.
Before you head out camping you need to know a few things about a tent. Not all tents are the same this will help you decide what tent is right for you.
If you’ve never camped out before, try a trial run in the backyard. This will help you determine if your sleeping bags are sufficiently warm. Ear plugs, lots of birds sing at night, owls especially. A trial run will help you realize a lot of things you might need for a more enjoyable trip.
Tent design and construction is built on seasons. For example a tent built for high wind and cold will be much different in design and construction than one you would camp in the desert with.
Things to consider before your first tent campout:
What is the climate you most often will be in? Cold / Hot / Moderate
Wind speeds where you’re camping. Camping on a beach for example is very windy. How many people do you need to sleep?
Will you be at a campground or hiking? Toting a heavier family style tent if you’re hiking makes no sense.
For the beginning camper keep in mind shelter is your top priority camping. Keeping you out of the elements, away from insects is number one. Don’t just simply head out to a big box retailer and buy the tent on sale, more so hiking than campsite family camping. A family campground tent can be purchased at a big box retail store at reasonable prices.
For the novice camper after you purchase a new tent go home and make sure you put the tent completely together. The last thing you want to happen is find out that you’re missing tent poles, or other vital components of your tent. Experienced campers will always check tents, sleeping bags and do a gear check at home before you venture out.
Hiking requires a lighter tent to carry with your backpack. Something compact, durable and built for the season your camping in. Make sure you read the box for temperatures that your tent is rated for. If hiking in the warm summer time a winter tent is overkill or vice versa.
You also want to make sure as a novice that your tent will handle rain or high wind. A tent is the only thing between you and weather. So it’s important to have the right tent. For example if you purchase a winter tent, this tent will have thicker fabric and block any breeze from passing through. If you’re camping in the heat of summer you want a tent that breathes and allows air flow. Otherwise your tent will be too hot to sleep in.
For the novice camper here are some safety tips when setting up and sleeping in your tent:
- Never eat food in your tent. Animals can smell food from great distances, and insects can make your life miserable. If you don’t want unwanted critters with you, then follow this advice.
- Do not store any food in your tent, even if bags are closed. For example a bag of unopened potato chips. Animals can smell food even in sealed bags.
- Before you set up a tent take a look around for ant beds, sharp stones or uneven ground. Make sure the area around your tent is free from insect mounds.
- Keep your tent zipped up at all times. Unwanted critters or insects can find their way into cozy tents. Be sure before you jump into a sleeping bag you shake it out and then put back in your tent for sleep.
- Always carry tent repair material. Prepare for the unexpected.
- Make sure you know what type of wildlife you will experience, predatory animals and snakes. Be sure you use all safety precautions for wildlife. Campfires and noise will always help. Keep a loud whistle in your tent to scare off unwanted animals, pepper spray is a good deterrent. Follow campground rules and you will be just fine.
- Store food away from your campsite. Always keep food preparation, pots, plates, scraps that can attract bugs, or critters. At least 100’ away from sleeping areas.
- Where you position your tent in relation to sunrise and sunset will also determine comfort in the morning. Heat from the rising or setting sun will be a factor. Try and find a shaded area if possible.
- It should go without saying but keep your tent a safe distance from a campfire.
- Never operate a cooking stove in your tent for heat, hot chocolate or a gas operated lantern. Tents are extremely small spaces and tent material, sleeping bags can catch fire.
- For the more experienced camper by this time you will understand the importance of a good quality tent. That season will make a difference in your personal comfort level when sleeping in your tent. Having good quality bedding will also make your camping experience more pleasurable while sleeping, and keeping some cards for rainy times will help pass the time.
- Keeping your tent organized will also add to having more fun. Know where a good flashlight is located, an additional shirt or long pants just in case you get cold. Also exactly where shoes are in case you need to get up for bathroom breaks.
- It can’t be overstated that if camping with children that children don’t have snacks in the tent. Water is okay but no soda, juice or the like. Critters can smell from great distances, and unwanted visits to children’s tents can spell disaster. Parents should do a physical inspection of sleeping bags and tent area and remove any items that could attract insects or wildlife.
Follow these tips and suggestions and you will have a fun camping experience. You can find RV parks that offer tent camping, State Parks and National Parks all have areas designated for tent camping. Call before you venture out for local weather or fire restrictions. So what are you waiting for lets go camping!