Petra to me sounded like a goddess concerning tents, so I decided to buy a tent from her family who by the way manufactures the tents. I remember the excitement, keeping a picture on my desktop, waiting for the it's delivery. Sharing my knowledge with my readers here is going to be fun. They come in different shapes, there is one that looks like a hexagon but squished on the sides like it was meant to fit between two buildings siting very close to one another. Then this is this one which has a shape like a tunnel and an elephant sat down at one end of it. The one I purchased, which is a tunnel design without the elephant at one end. Have you ever seen an airplane hanger, that is what I am going to be camping in.
Haven't taken my tent out of the bag in almost five years, I bet others here can relate to me doing that. You may be wondering the same things as me, why did I wait so long, is the tent okay, and who am I going to invite to go camping with me. But first, lets slow down a moment and share with others concerning the things one needs to know in purchasing a tent. Spring is around the corner, and the temps are just about getting right so lets go over this quickly so you may be on your way.
I feel like this is show and tell back when I was back in school, the kid in me wants to give you the grand tour, all the highlights that will make you as excited as I was in getting my very first tent. Talking about my own tent hopefully will answer some of your questions, and maybe some you did not think about asking.
Designing a product that works takes a lot of effort, both in its' shape, and the materials used to construct it. A choice of higher end fabrics offer a very strong tensile strength, making it hard for it to rip or tear. This is very important since we really do not know how hard the elements will pull on the tent once it is set up. A fabric that is strong is often thicker material but some manufactures have chosen materials that are both light weight, and strong. This is great news knowing that you will need to carry that thing while hiking, and who knows what else you need to pack on your back along with it, so this makes sense. The only area where you can reduce the weight now is by choosing a smaller size tent for fewer people, but who wants to camp in their tent all alone. In fact, I looked at it the other way, I wanted to get a tent that was bigger than I needed, as I meet new people I am wishing it is enough space to include them all next time I go camping.
Fabric materials is also important in it's breathability. Just like your skin on your body, the skin is pourus enough to let evaperation flow through yet not too large of pores that rain travels through your skin into your body. You may be surprised to find out just how much water is in the air from your bodies evaporation. I know some of you have experienced waking up in a tent and being all wet. So spending more money can be easily justified if the materials are strong, light, and work the water correctly.
Strength is also performed by the actual shape of the tent. Looking at all the tent manufacturers on the internet, you will be bombarded with all sorts of different shape tents. This shows us something, shows us how important shape is in the construction, and not just for its strength, also it;s ventilation, and ease of getting in and out of your new tent. The tent I chose is a tunnel design, and a tunnel is a very strong shape. An octagon is also very durable, and that is why they offer one who's sides are squished, as though it would fit between two building siting very close to one another. Some of the other designs you see on the internet as not as thought out, and you will see this in a minute. Going back to materials and strength, some tents offer thicker diameter poles, the added weight is minimal, yet the difference in strength is remarkable. Their squished octagon tent is offered in smaller diameter poles, thinner fabric, smaller capacity for it's campers, and it is the best compromise between weight and strength. They also make a tent that looks like an elephant sat down on the end of the tunnel shaped tent, and this is a fantastic shape. It has the thicker poles, strength in it's shape, and it's capacity is for up for three people.
Shape is important also for ventilation. Stinking feet are no longer a problem with the right set up. To reduce weight of fabric often doors are used as windows when not in use. If you are considering a tunnel design then imagine a big door at each end of this tunnel thus offering an enormous amount of ventilation to pass through the living area where you and your friends will be sitting. Even in the heavy rain, these doors can be protected by flaps forming an enclosed area for your wet gear to leave just outside one of these two doors, yet each flap has a snorkel to still let sufficient air flow through the entire tent and out the other side with it's second vestibule and snorkel. When it is not raining, the flaps can be unseated, and tied off after pulling them to the side thus offering the most in ventilation while sleeping. This also helps remove the evaporation from your body, instead of it lifting through the fabric, it is blown out through and out one side. The tunnel tent I purchased also allows you to remove the outer layer of the tent, and you are left with just the mess inner part of the fabric. Now you can lay on your back and watch the stars as you talk about the full day you all have ahead of you before comfortably going to sleep.
The squished octagon shape has one large door opening, a vestibule like described above, and instead of another door for the air to vent through it has a vent on top of the tent with a hat on it so rain does not come in. This tent is awesome for any reasons, some of which we already described above, it also takes up less space when finding a spot to pitch a tent, Sometimes the terrain does not allow you a large space for a tent like the one I purchased. That is why it would not be unheard of to own two tents for different scenarios. It is my gaol, and the more you go camping with others, surely the occasion will arise for a smaller footprint of tent. The tunnel shape that looks like an elephant sat on one end offers a large door at one end just like the tunnel, and the other end is closed off. There is a vestibule on the door side, and a snorkel built into the outer fabric of the tent to offer really good ventilation, I was impressed when I tried it out. This tent requires less space than the full blown tunnel tent I have, yet can hold almost as many campers. Clever design, and it has both the heaver poles, and stronger material which makes this tent astonishing.
Which ever tent you end up with, be sure to place your tent on the ground in the direction of the wind for the maximum ventilation, and comfort. Tents can get hot inside them, and ventilation can also be like air conditioning during the warmer months. The tents offer some protection from the cold too since there is an inner layer and an outer layer, the air between these layers act as an insulation for your body while sleeping. To further add to your comfort, they offer a piece of the same heavy material that is placed just under your tent, this footprint will add some warmth, but most impartially it gives additional protection from the ground surface that is not always so smooth. You will probably want to bring a broom with you or something to sweep the area first because after all these are expensive fabrics and you want your tent to last. Some quality manufactures offer repairs for when the fabric tears, or is punctured but who wants to send in their tent when the others are all planning their camping trips.
The tents mentioned so far all have good head room for when several people are siting inside. To be sure of this, and to get an idea what it will be like when you all are inside, take a measurement of yr. height while siting and compare this to the tent you are looking at. Remember the more people, the wider the space you need so everyone's headroom is covered. That is why I got the larger tunnel tent so all everyone that goes camping with me is happy, and we can move around with out brushing our heads against the inner fabric of the tent. But even if you do this by mistake, you are not going to get wet because the outer shell of the tent is the part that holds the water out.
The last things we should go over is snow, the weight of the snow that has accumulated on top of your tent is heavy, and a design that can withhold this weight is manditory. A tunnel tent is an expedition tent meant to be used in the deep woods with lots of snow. Lighter fabrics, and poles may be pushing this a little, so keep a watch out on your tent for snow that has accumulated so that you may remove it.
Special fabrics offered for tents, sleeping bags, and even running shoes now are usually not the color choice we all would have liked so be prepared for this in advance. Cosmetics are not what is important, function is all that matters. You will notice that when learning about fabrics for tents, that other items such as base layer clothing, insulating jackets under a shell, soft shell for wind, and had shells for rain, and sleeping bags all are using the same kind of methodology in protecting you from the elements. These same fabrics offer the same kind of evaporation, placement of vents, so get to know this stuff and you will appreciate it out in the feild.
My tent from Petra Hilleberg was a demo in her store which makes it even more special, and since it was displayed indoors that means the sun has not deteriorated it any. I will never forget my expereince, and wrote this article hoping that your experience buying a tent was just as fascinating as mine. The tunnel shape tent is called a Keron-4, and this weekend I am setting up my tent in my back yard. I just can't wait any longer for my camping trip to be planned, I bet a few heads will turn when I set this thing up. One look at the pictures I provided you will show why. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have, I have owned four different tents made by Hilleberg, all of the ones listed above in my description. The one I kept was the Keron-4 since it best fits my purpose. Should I need to camp in this tent for several consecutive days, it will be the most comfortable. Be sure and tell Petra hello for me, and that I said thank you.
Tent, Hilleberg Soulo 1, Free-Standing Half Dome