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Purchasing a Tent
The tent is one of the most basic (and expensive) pieces of gear that most any camper or overnight hiker will purchase. Your tent is your temporary shelter, providing you with not only weather and insect protection but also offering at least a modicum of privacy from other campers.
Most of the old musty canvas tents have been replaced with synthetic tent cloth and include plenty of bug proof netting for ventilation. These fabrics dry quickly and are very lightweight. You can usually find a good quality two person tent that weighs less than 5 pounds.
Single walled versus double walled tents…The average tent for backpacking is a double-walled set up that utilizes a combination synthetic fabric and netting constructed wall enclosure, held up via lightweight poles, with a separate rain cover (or rainfly) that fits over the frame of the enclosure. A custom ground cloth (or footprint) can also be added to help keep the floor of the tent from abrading or puncturing.
Single walled tents are just that. They have a one-wall construction which makes the tent much lighter. The trade off is that they must be well ventilated or condensation can accumulate on the inside walls and begin to drip on you in the middle of the night. There are bivy tents too; they are basically a waterproof sleeping bag cover that you slip into.
Also, there are tents for different seasons. The most prevalent are three and four season tents. A three season tent is great during the most of the year, while a four season tent (often referred to as an expedition tent) is designed to take on higher winds and heavier snow loads.
Don’t buy a cheap tent either. You get what you pay for in tents, if you purchase a $30 tent and it rains, you’ll get wet. Make sure your choice in a tent is well constructed, waterproof, (not water resistant), and that all seems are sealed. Most good tents will also include a tube of seam sealing glue - make sure you use it to seal the sewed seams of the tent to prevent leakage.
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