Why do you need a tent? A tent shields you from the wind, sun, and rain. A tent protects you from
unfriendly outdoor pests like flies, mosquitoes, and noseeums. A
tent provides a place to store
clothes and other gear out of the weather. And a tent offers you a place to go for a little privacy. Remember
there's nothing wrong with sleeping out under the stars, weather permitting. But sooner or later you'll likely need
When shopping for a new tent, look for features that will let you enjoy the use of that tent for
many years to come. Know your budget and decide ahead of time how much you can afford to spend. I'm not necessarily
advocating that you buy the most expensive tent available in your price range, but it will help you know what your
What tent features should I look for?
- Aluminum poles.
Tents may come with fiberglass poles, but they are fragile and more likely to break. If you bend or break a
pole, most camping stores sell replacements or repair kits.
- Adequate rainfly.
The rainfly is your tent's umbrella. The bigger the better. Look for a fly that comes well down the sides of
the tent rather than just across the top. Rainflies are waterproof. Tent walls are water-repellant.
- Folded seams and double stitching.
If you can pull the material on either side of a seam and see through the stitches, this tent will leak. Be
sure to use seam sealer on all seams.
- One piece tub floor.
The floor should be made of waterproof material, and it should come a few inches up the sides before it is sown
to the tent walls. No seam in the floor means there is no place for water to seep in.
- Adequate guy lines.
Tent walls, and sometimes rainflies, have loops sown near the middle. These loops are used to attach guy lines
that pull out the walls so that they are taught. It's impossible to sleep in a tent that's flapping in the
- Good-sized stake loops.
There should be loops at the base of your tent in every corner and at the center of each side. These loops need
to be big enough to accommodate the large plastic stakes sold in camping stores. Material stake loops are
preferred. Plastic ones might break when you hammer in the stakes.
- Noseeum meshing.
This is the best material for keeping those nasty little bugs out.
- Roof vent.
Opening this at night will help create some air circulation and eliminate condensation inside your tent.
- Heavy-duty zippers.
You'll be in and out of your tent a lot so you want zippers that will hold up to frequent use.
Tips for taking care of your tents:
- When you return from a camping trip. set your tent up in the yard and air it out. This will help prevent
mold and mildew.
- Store your tent loosely in a dry, ventilated area. Do not stuff it into the sack which should be used
for transporting only.