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Is your family planning on going on a few camping trips this summer? If so, you might be looking at buying your first tent. While tent shopping isn’t the hardest thing you will ever do, it is something you will want to take seriously. Buy the wrong one and you could find yourself sleeping with a child’s foot in your mouth or soaking wet from rain, but buy the right one and it should last for years to come. There are certain things you will want to look for when buying your first tent. Start with this list then move onto any personal requirements or customizations that your family personally needs.
What type of tent are you looking for?
There are a lot of different types of tents available on the market today. From the simple backpacking tent to dome tents and even cabin tents. You’ll need to decide which one(s) you want to look at before you go shopping. For a family, a cabin tent or something along those lines tend to be the best option since they are typically large enough to fit your entire family.
Is it big enough?
Obviously you’ll need something that is large enough to fit your entire family, but what about sleeping bags, pillows, clothing and the rest of the “luggage” that comes along with having kids? Ideally, a 4-6 person tent would sleep 4-6 people and their gear. Unfortunately, you’ll find that this isn’t always the case. Consider upping the size of your tent to allow for room to move around, all of that gear and of course, keep that foot from ending up in your mouth.
Is it 3 season?
There is such a thing as an extended season tent and 4 season tents, but the average family will do just fine with a tent that is made to withstand 3 seasons. These types of tents usually do pretty well in heavy rains (provided the rainfly is pulled taut) and are equipped with mesh “windows” to allow airflow while keeping out critters. There is one thing I would highly advise you do before you sleep in your tent for the first time. Your tent may say it is waterproof but do yourself a favor and verify that. If not, you can waterproof it yourself for very little money. There’s nothing worse than waking up at 3 a.m. soaking wet from a leaky tent.
Is from a reputable manufacturer?
This one is iffy but if you want your tent to last for a few years, it is one that you’ll need to pay attention to. Cheaply made tents simply don’t last. They can have cheap poles that snap easier, seams that aren’t sewn properly and other problems. By going with a reputable tent maker, you’re more likely to buy a product that is quality and made to last.
Camping should be fun for both you and your kids, but a bad tent can ruin the whole experience. Make sure that yours is ready to go and fits all of your needs before you head out to Mother Nature next. You’ll be grateful that you spent the time because it really is time well spent.
If you want to know my recommendation for the best camping gear, check out my review of the Coleman® Tenaya Lake™ Fast Pitch™ 8-Person Cabin with Closet Tent! It has been used for the last year on many camping trips, and it has stood up beautifully!