How to Select the Right Camping Tent

How to Select the Right Camping Tent

Camping has been an excellent way to get out and have a break from all the normalities in our “civilized” lifestyle for quite some time. Camping is enjoyed by young people, old people, singles, families, couples, and groups of friends, all over the world, every day. I mean, let’s be honest, camping is fun! You get to hunt & fish without leaving the forest (if you’re into that), build fires, roast marshmallows, lay under the stars, which, can be absolutely breathtaking when you’re out, away from the man-made, bright lights of the city.

But regardless what your attraction is to the great outdoors, camping is a worldwide hobby that will probably be around indefinitely. You would most likely be surprised how easy it is to buy the wrong tent for your needs.

The first thing you should know about selecting the right tent, is that there are some models out there (mainly the cheaper ones) that are not worth the money, and will just leave you frustrated, or wet, cramped and miserable.

The following guide should help you get a scope on all of the factors involved with picking a tent. Hopefully, the information I am sharing with you will save you from buying something, and later on regretting that you didn’t get a tent that was more fit to your needs. I hope this helps.  

How to buy a Tent

 There are a few things you should consider when selecting a tent. Obviously you must answer the following questions: “How many people, Where, When and How long?” The answers to each of these questions will help direct you to the right tent choice.

Tent Sleeping Capacity

The tent sleeping capacity, even though it only refers to the size of the inside of the tent, implies a number of important things to take into consideration.  

  • Some tents may say, for instance, “4 – person” capacity, but because there so many manufacturers, and no industry standard in terms of measurement, you never can tell if a certain brand might be roomier. Also, the shape of the tent has a lot to do with how much room you have inside.
  • If anyone in your party is claustrophobic- if they are, definitely get enough space to accommodate.
  • Is anyone in your party a restless sleeper? You’ll want to have the space for them to roam if they are (or you could try tying them down while they sleep).

Tent Seasonality

What is your ideal camping trip like? If you are anything like most of us, you probably like a sunny day, a nice, clear nice starry sky, and a cool breeze. The truth is, you can always hope for the perfect camping trip when you set out on an expedition. However, if something does get thrown out of whack, inadequate or inappropriate gear can be a total mess. I can end up being a nightmare to be honest. Everyone can end up wet and cold want to go home, or worse, it weather could suddenly get so bad that you can’t get out, and then you’re stuck there in the wet and cold getting leaked on all night. I’ve been there, and it’s better to be prepared. Trust me on this one!

The Three Main Tent Types (Seasonal)  

Three Season Tents – Three season tents are the most popular choice of tent available. They are generally lightweight, and they are specifically designed for the more temperate climates, and generally tend to be used in summer, winter, and fall, hence the name. Three season tents usually designed with ample mesh vents, allowing for ventilation. the mesh screens keep bug out, and let air exchange throughout the tent, and three season tents are usually pretty affordable. If you have the rainfly on properly on your three season tent, it will most likely make it through a downpour, but if you are going to be dealing with higher winds, snow, or other extreme weather conditions, you may want to go with something more ready for that type of abuse.   

Three to Four Season Tents – Three to Four Season Tents, also known as extended season tents, are designed to take on more vigorous weather. Specifically engineered for prolonged three season usage, these tents are useful for colder weather, snow, and moderate to heavy winds. They offer ventilation, better warmth retention, and a sturdier stance against the brutalities of harsh weather. An extended season tent will generally come with one or more poles, and fewer mesh screens than regular three season tents, but consequently let less of the high winds, snow, rain, or dust in that comes with extreme weather conditions. They are sturdy, but if you want the strongest type of tent, you’re going to want to look at 4 season tents.

Four Season Tents – These are the strongest types of tent in terms of weather resistance, and can withstand extreme weather conditions, such as fierce winds, heavy snows, and rain storms. These tents are recommended if you’re facing any of these conditions, or if you’re going to be above tree level, where winds and temps will be substantially harder to deal with. Four season tents have more poles, and thicker material than the other tent types, and they usually have dome shaped tops, so that snow and rain can’t collect and make your tent sag or leak. The rainflys usually extend all the way to the ground, offering and extra barrier of protection and insulation, and if you’re expecting mother nature to be an issue, your 4 season tent will make sure you have very few of your own.

Physical Factors to Consider in Selecting the Right Tent

Tent Height – If you’re the type of person that likes a lot of room, or can’t stand to have to stoop the whole time, or if you’re planning a long camping trip, you may want to pay attention to the height of the tent room. Taller tents are made so that you can stand up in them, and tend to be heavier, but more “homey”, and give you more overall square footage to boot.  

Tent Form/Shape – There are two predominant tent shapes; cabin and dome.

  • Cabin Style – Cabin style tents are exactly what they sound like, a little cabin. Some even come with rooms, or room dividers. If you have couples, kids, or dogs, and you would rather not have everyone sleeping elbow to elbow, these are you bet route.   
  • Dome Style Tents – These tents are more aerodynamic cutting through the wind and shedding moisture off better than flat roofed, cabin style tents, or even triangular tents. On a stormy night, you will really appreciate having a dome style tent, because they are designed to keep you warm and dry.  

Tent Floor Length – Just a quick word of advice on this topic, and that is; if you are 6 feet tall or more, you may want to look at tents with a floor length of 90″ or more, so that you have room to stretch your legs out, and you don’t have to be cramped.  

Tent Doors – If you have a family, or a group that you are taking camping, it is better to find a tent with more than one door, so that you’re not stepping on people to get out in the morning. Cabin style tents are usually a good place to look for this feature.  

Tent Poles – The number and types of poles your tent has generally determine how hard the tent it to set up. Most family tents are free-standing, meaning that you don’t have to use stakes. The good thing about free-standing tents is you can just pick them up and move them, making it easier to relocate if you have to seek higher ground, or move spots for any reason. There are thread through and clip on poles, this will be more of a matter of preference. I personally don’t mind, because I’ve never had a problem setting up either kind.  

Rainfly – The Rainfly is an extra sheet of material that generally comes out past the width of the tent, or down past the mesh screens to keep the rain out. Roof only rainflies allow more visibility and airflow, while full coverage rainflies offer more protection.   

Tent Materials –I would steer away from really cheap tents, because a tent costs a certain amount to fabricate, engineer and manufacture, and when you go too low in price, you tend do just get cheaper materials, that will only rip and tear, and you’re basically wasting your money. Generally, cheap tents tend to be just that. CHEAP. They are made with low grade materials, poor craftsmanship and zippers, and seams that come apart. Take this as a warning.  

Vestibules / Garage – Some tents come with extra storage, allowing you to keep your belongings organized, and they are usually sought by camper that camp for longer periods. (a week or more)   

Ventilation – I mentioned this some already. Basically if you’re going to be in a dryer, hotter climate, these are better because they let the air pass through. If the weather is right, and the sun is hot, the more ventilation, the merrier (e.g. door, top, side window, etc.).

Interior Loops and/or Pockets – I like these because they give you a place to store things out of the way, allowing more room without clutter. Some tents come with pockets, some even come with attics. It all depends on what you prefer.  

Guyout Loops –These are loops on the outside of the tent, made for tying off and they help prevent the wind from blowing your tent around as well as preventing the material from flapping in the wind.  

Summary

All of the factors that I’ve discussed should be well thought out in advance, because as we all know, if we make snap decisions, we often just end up regretting them. This is why I decided to share my knowledge with people, because in the end, you go camping to have fun, not to get tortured by the weather or your tent. I hope this information helps you! Thank for reading!

Bear Protection While Camping

Bear Protection While Camping

It seems that bear attacks get attention in the media. Most attacks are a result of negative human behavior. Bears are usually afraid of people. A person is 67 times more likely to be killed in a dog attack then by a bear. A person should learn some rules for dealing with bears before heading out into nature.

The chance of being killed by a bear while visiting Yellowstone National Park is 1 in 2.1 million. As a park visitor, a person is more likely to die from drowning or burns sustained from falling into a thermal pool.

Grizzly and Black bears are the two most common types. Grizzlies are popular in Canada and the northern part of the United States. They are around 6 feet 5 inches. Black bears are common in many states. They are smaller. There are some tips for dealing with both types of bears.

Be noisy when walking. To make noise clap hands, sing, and speak loudly to keep from surprising the bear. A surprised bear is more likely to attack.

Be sure to have pepper spray that is made for bears. If a person is attack they can use it to stop the bear and have enough time to escape.

If a bear is standing up it is trying to get a better smell of the human. Speak firmly to the bear and back away slowly. Do not make eye contact as a bear may see this as a threat.

Bears are very protective of their cubs. A bear may send the cubs up to the tree and stand guard at the base. At this time walk away. Never, ever come between a mother and her babies.

bear-attackDo not feed a bear or go up to it ever.

If a bear is attacking do not run. The bear will give a chase.

Climbing a tree will not help. A black bear can out climb a human any day.

Keep all food in bear proof containers and keep them at least 100 yards away from the campsite. Trash and clothing used during cooking also need to be far away. Be sure to wash all utensils and plates immediately.

If camping in the outdoor set the camp up in an open area away from tree and tall grass.

When setting up a camp look for signs of beers. This includes half eat food, tracks, droppings, and tree with scratch marks. If any of these signs are around find a new area to set up the camp.

Do not leave children unattended. If a bear is spotted pick up the child.

Leave the dog at home. A dog can provoke the bear.

Do not wear heavy scents. Bears are attracted by scents. When outdoors be sure to use fragrance free shampoos and soaps. Citronella and other insect repellants may end up attracting the bear.

Be sure to clean up right away. Leaving food around can be dangerous for everyone at the camp sit.

If touched by a bear (like attacked) fall on the ground and play dead. Lie flat on the stomach put the hands behind the neck and use the elbows to anchor in the ground to avoid being rolled around. If the bear does decide to roll the person they should roll onto their stomach. Be still and be quiet. A bear will stop attacking if they feel that something is no longer a threat to them. Be sure to stay still until the bear is long gone.

However, here’s a fun fact: Playing dead will work if you’re being attacked by a mother grizzly defending her cubs. But it is the wrong thing to do if you’re being attacked by a predatory bear.

Camping in the Netherlands

Camping in the Netherlands

If you’re someone who’s looking for something fun, exciting, and adventurous to do this summer, yet don’t have a lot of money, why not head to the Netherlands for some camping? Not only is it free, but it’s also completely legal as well!

The best solution to take advantage of is wildcamping. There are many ways to do this in the Netherlands both legally and for free with virtually no chance of getting into any kind of trouble. Here are some ideas for you to make note of.

Campsites

These are great not just for comfort, but for safety as well. They provides you with a place to shower, use the bathroom, and even purchase food and drinks whenever you need them. The Netherlands has plenty of campsites that are open during all major seasons. While they are all comfortable and safe, perhaps the biggest disadvantage is that you have to pay to use them – generally between 10 and 20 Euros.

Legal Wildcamping

In the Netherlands, wildcamping is something that is generally prohibited for everyone to partake in, likely to help protect nature. However, there is really no need to worry. The country’s Forestry Commission has established what is known as pole camping, where several poles have been established in areas signifying where it is safe to wildcamp. While it is absolutely free to do this, the biggest disadvantage is that you can always see traces of where others have done this before you.

camping-outsideAsk a Farmer

If you really want to wildcamp, consider talking to a farmer and see if they will allow you to camp on their land, especially if they have a forest on their property. Chances are they may be willing to offer you some food and drinks for free as well; however, if your offer is rejected, it’s something that you shouldn’t take personally. This is something else that may or may not be free to do (again, this is another individual’s property) and is completely legal; however, you don’t exactly get to camp in the wild either.

Illegally Camping in the Woods

It can be exciting at times to do something that isn’t actually legal, which is why some people prefer to wildcamp in the forests at night. Before you even think about attempting something like this, however, here are a few quick tips to make note of:

*Make note of any and all green spaces on a map, as it can become stressful when you aren’t able to find a spot to sleep.

*Prepare both the season and spot in which you camp, especially since camping along a river can be extremely cold and can cause wild animals to become very curious.

*To reduce the chances of other people noticing you, set your camp up just before night falls.

*Never use an open fire, as many things can go wrong with this.

*Never be afraid of anything going wrong.

*Always know what you’re doing at all times, have respect for nature, and never leave anything behind.

While this is something that’s obviously free to do, the biggest disadvantage is that you risk incurring a huge fine if you get caught, as, again, this is an activity that is highly illegal.

Should you bring a gun with you while camping or hiking?

Should you bring a gun with you while camping or hiking?

Do you need to carry a gun while backpacking of camping?

There is not one definitive answer to this question. Smart campers need to be able to have a reasonable discussion on this topic. But discussion of guns often turns in attacks against a person or group. It’s very polarized.

Ben from TakeTheGun.com says:

I’ve hiked and camped with a gun for over 20 years but haven’t ever had to use it. However if I ever do need it I want to have it close and ready to use.

There are many reasonable gun owners that have training as well permits. Some people are still uncomfortable around guns even the legal ones. There have been hikers that have carried guns for many years. This does not mean that a person cannot take the time to learn how to be responsible with a gun.

Why start to carry a gun?

I took a 7 day trip to the mountains with a friend. These mountains were known for having a lot of grizzly bears. We had nothing but a can of pepper spray us. Everyone that we met were surprised that we did not have a gun. They thought we were crazy to be in Alaska without a gun. It was not something that was on our minds. When we got back we did not even realize how bad things could have been – like getting attacked by a bear. After that experience I decided that I needed to start carrying a gun.

Now I do. But I usually have one only in an area where I feel I would need additional protection.

What do people need protection from?

Possibly animals can pose a danger. The odds of getting attacked by an animal are very slim unless a person is tempting them by carrying food. Even the bears will not bother campers as long as they clean up after themselves. I would still rather have protection than to be without. As for protection from criminals, some people may be a little on the paranoid side. I have been in the woods sometimes alone for more than 15 years and have never felt threatened by another hiker. Every now and then something happens to make people feel uneasy. A gun in a pocket can turn a bad situation into an even worse one.

This is why we recommend proper training before you just start carrying any type of weapon.

There are other reasons as to why people do not want to carry a gun. They are heavy to carry and they are hard to store. I would rather have something that may not be easy to carry with me rather than be put into a situation where I would need this gun. I do not want to worry that something was too heavy or too bulky to carry when it could have been able to save my life.

There is a bottom line to whether or not a hiker should carry a gun with them when they go out into the woods. There is no reason to have a gun while backpacking in areas that have a low risk. This includes a low risk for animal attacks. In other places where they are potential threats than a person should be packing something to help keep them safe and something that may possibly save their life.

But if you want to carry a weapon, specifically a gun, while camping or hiking, what is the best way to do that?

hiking-with-gunConcealed Carry for Outdoors

We checked with a few people to find out what they say is the best way to carry a gun while hiking or camping. Most believe that it’s best to use a waist or ankle holster specifically designed to keep the gun out of sight but easily accessible.

If you need to use the weapon to protect yourself or others you will want to have it nearby & in quick reach.

We asked the guys over at TakeTheGun.com what they recommend and they told us that the best holster for hiking is listed on their breakdown here.

Obviously you will want to make sure that the holster you get is compatible with the gun you have.

How to light a survival fire in adverse conditions

How to light a survival fire in adverse conditions

It can be extremely difficult to make a fire whenever it’s raining, snowing, or windy, as this is definitely when you would need one the most when you’re camping outdoors in these conditions. Thankfully, there are ways in which you can actually make this very thing happen without having to worry about searching for and utilizing things in nature.

Here is exactly what you need to do in order to get your survival fire started!

Start Things Big

The first thing you need to do is gather enough fuel, which will keep you warm enough so that you will have steady enough hands to start the actual fire itself. If you’re looking to start a fire that lasts all night long, you will need a stack of logs as tall as your waist and as long as your overall height. You can obtain these by using an axe to cut down a standing dead tree; however, if you don’t have an ax, you will need to haul in deadfall and break the wood into reasonably-sized lengths. This can be done by wedging the ends between two trees and pulling on them until they break. Burned stumps should never be neglected either. Furthermore, for every three dry logs that you haul in, you should also bring in one green one, as it will easily burn once the fire has been started.

080203-N-0411D-019 RANGELY, Maine (Feb. 3, 2008) A student at the Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school breaks birch bark to start a fire. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roger S. Duncan (Released)Get to the Heart of Everything

The next step is to gather kindling, which is an incredibly easy task, as you can obtain this from dead twigs and branches. However, in areas of the country where you hunt in rain gear, the only good dry source of kindling will be from standing dead and propped-up logs. The best way to get this is to either chop or saw the trunk into different sections before splitting the dry inner wood into sticks of different thicknesses. Create bundles as big as you can hug to your chest in order to create a fire that is hot enough to burn a larger amount of fuel.

Always Sweat the Small Stuff

Be sure to bring tinder with you, as chances are you won’t be able to find any that will work for a fire if the ground is too wet. For instance, you could choose to smear cotton balls with a bit of petroleum jelly. From there, make a softball-sized nest of rusted pine needles, bark shavings, and feathered wood, all of which can come from your kindling splits. Next, place your tinder on it and cover it with more needles and shavings. Next, construct a small tepee around the tinder made of your kindling.

Light the Fire

You can light your fire using a butane lighter that gives off a tall flame, especially in situations where the weather is bad. (Not everyone carries a lighter with them but you should take one with you every time you go to the woods. If not, in a few weeks we’ll show you how to light a fire without a lighter or matches.)

Once the fire is burning, begin crossing it with your wrist-thick kindling before adding a larger amount of fuel to it. A good warming fire should be as big as your body, as well as backed by a wall of either rocks or logs that will reflect all of the heat back to you. Furthermore, you will also need to add some green logs as well, which will help the fire to last longer.

One thing you want to make sure is that you go into the forest as prepared as you can be. If you plan on staying (camping) then hopefully you have a tent, water and some food. If you aren’t camping then you should always carry a lighter with you because you never know when you’ll need it!