What to Look for in a Family Tent

The warm summer nights beckon all to view nature’s light show, with a blanket of stars and the aurora borealis alighting the night skies with a view that even keeps the animals breathless. We love to camp, to sit by the campfire at night telling stories and sharing jokes, making schmores and toasting marshmallows on sticks. One thing that most every camper will need to realize this dream is a tent, and what to look for in a family tent is your family. If not, you’ve got the wrong tent, so apologize and keep moving, fella!

For the backwoods campers, having some privacy from other campers is not as much of a priority as it is for campers using campgrounds, as screen tents can be used to simply keep the bugs out of your sleeping area when camping in the wilds. But for camping in areas where there will be other people, you will need an opaque tent, made of canvass or a polymer-mix. For family tents, look for waterproof materials and bug-screened windows, with removable roofs for those clear, starry nights.

If you have 6 members in your family, and you want them all to camp in the same tent, you should make sure that you have a tent rated for at least 1.5 to 2 times as many people that you are bringing. And get your head checked. Aside from a great deal of patience and a strong sense of humour, you will need either one tent large enough for the entire family, plus room for backpacks, a cooler and other gear. Make sure to over-size your family tent, as too much room is much better than not enough room.

Taking six people camping in a tent rated for six people will see you crammed with no room for turning over in your sleep. Of course, you can always have a tent for mom and dad, one for the boys and one for the girls, or any combination of sleeping arrangements that keeps the kids happy. Having children of closer age levels in different tents would help them to relate to their sleep mates better.

Modular tents are the newest trend to take the camping business by storm, and the possibilities are almost endless for how you can set up a tent. With corridors that connect two tents, side rooms for storage, smaller sleepers or the family pet, storing coolers, lights and other gear, the style and form of your tent can be as wild as your imagination. There are bug-screen rooms, canopies big enough to eat under during a rain shower, and even smaller, storage tent cubicles.

Each major portion of the modular tents have 4 to 6 zippered doors, and all modular components of each separate manufacturer will fit to any of the zippered doors, with connecting tunnels of different lengths, many of which will have compartment-adding doors along their lengths, for adding more tunnels to, so that you can make a big, circular compound if the urge hits.

For a splendid and fun camping experience, the new modular tents are, by far, the best tents for taking your family camping. Each year you can invest a little more, and buy compartments and other gear for outside the tent, to make each successive family camping trip more fun, relaxing and private. The only limit is your imagination.

Camp safe. Camp informed.

What is a Footprint Tarp for a Tent?

Anyone who has taken a broom or branch from a nearby tree to try to sweep the rocks, sticks, and other items from a tent site to protect the tent floor from damage understands the value of a footprint tarp. They are not particularly expensive. The price range runs from around $15 and up. Their value to the longevity of your tent floor is hard to measure. A good footprint tarp can easily double the useful life of a new tent.
After clearing anything that will cause sleeping to be a problem from a campsite, it is time to use the footprint tarp.

Unfold the footprint tarp and stretch it over the spot where your tent will be erected. These tarps are made to be anchored down much in the same way that you would stake a tent except they are easier to use. Since these tarps cost only a fraction of the price of a new tent, you may find yourself replacing the footprint tarp several times during the lifetime of a good quality tent. Most manufacturers of better tents will also market their own footprint tarps to match each model of tent that they sell.

A footprint tarp is slight smaller than the actual footprint of the tent

A footprint tarp is intended to protect and not replace a tent floor. Because most tents have space around the edges of their perimeters that are not convenient to use, a footprint tarp can be a few inches smaller than a tent floor and still do an excellent job of protecting it. These tarps are meant to be a barrier for sharp objects or abrasive surfaces. The other features of your tent will serve to repel water, insects, and other potential problems.

Not all campers use a commercially manufactured footprint tarp

If you have access to cheap tarps, you may find it just as convenient to fashion your own footprint tarp to save money. Since footprint tarps do not receive excessive wear and tear, almost any quality of tarp will do for this purpose. A home made footprint tarp may be a little more difficult to fasten down securely under your tent if you are not particularly skilled in adding on the extras that make them convenient to use. You can add corner straps to extend out a little for anchoring the tarp to the ground. It is not too hard to install metal rings for this purpose if you prefer.

Make sure the footprint tarp is secure to the ground

If do not get the tarp fastened, it can move some on an extended stay at the same campsite. It is possible for it to bunch up and make lumps under the floor of the tent. This type of movement reduces the effectiveness of the tarp for protecting the underside of your tent floor. Taking just a couple of minutes to make sure it is well fastened to the ground will pay off in the long run.

6 Considerations when Buying a Tent

Several questions need to be addressed when considering buying a tent. The answers to these questions will help determine what type of tent that you might want to purchase. Since tents come in all shapes, sizes, and weights, it is important that you have some idea of what you need before undertaking the experience of shopping for one.
How experienced are you or your party at camping with a tent?

Some tents are large, heavy, and complicated to assemble. For the novice camper, this type of tent may not be the best choice. The beginning campers need to start with a relatively inexpensive light weight tents to test whether camping is the right recreational activity for them. As tents get bigger and bulkier, they also tend to escalate in price. There is no reason to sink the life savings into a tent that may get used a time or two and stored for the next several decades. If you are highly experienced camper, you will need to spend more time matching the weight, size, and security of the tent to your needs.

In what type of conditions will the tent be used?

To camp in your backyard on a starry summer night, a nice rope with a sheet draped over it may be all that is required. However, if you are going to be camping in remote places with high levels of insects and vermin, you may want to seek out a tent that can keep you relatively secure during the night. A nice light weight tent will suffice for dry or mildly raining conditions. Should you anticipate high winds and hard driving rain, it would be better to upgrade to a sturdier tent with stakes and first rate floor. For winter or extra nasty weather conditions, finding tents that are manufactured to maximize your safety while insulating you from the weather is the way to go.

How many people will be using this tent at one time?

Most tents are made to accommodate at least two people. There are a one person tents around, but if you are not expecting to always camp alone, it might be wise to make the step to at least a two person tent. Often groups of avid campers will each want their own tent. This makes it easy to buy small light tents that can be stowed in a backpack for long hikes through the woods or wilderness. If you will be camping with your family, it might be wise to move up to a four, six, or eight person tent. For families or groups of campers it can be a good idea to have at least one tent that has multiple rooms. This will give you a chance to have some indoor space that is not just for sleeping. Even adding on a shade that reaches out from the tent can be an asset in these conditions.

Look for a tent with a floor

Having a floor in your tent eliminates the need to carry and extra tarp with you to cover the ground. A floor also is bonded to your tent and so is better to keep out insects and small rodents. Having a floor also reduces the amount of site preparation needed before erecting the tent on extremely primitive campsites. A floor will stop most running water from entering your tent during and after a rain. This can be important if you really like to sleep dry.

Make sure the tent has adequate ventilation capabilities

Once you move beyond the simple pop up tent that only sleeps one, many tents have windows. Since camping trips can involve several days of stay in one location, having a tent that can be ventilated with mesh covered windows will keep you from enduring the stifling heat of a tent on a hot summer day. It is important to be able to let air move through your tent when it needs to dry after a rain. Most of these tent windows are mesh openings that can be closed with a flap that is either zippered or ties.

Check for quality in the zippers and seam stitching

Make sure that the tent has some durability built into it. Look at the quality of any zippers that are on the tent. These are generally surrounding window and door openings. If the zippers do not seem to be at least as good as the material of the tent, they will not last with regular use. The same is true for the stitching at the seams. These should be well stitched and secure. This will help the durability of the tent and will make it somewhat easier to keep it waterproof.