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GearReview.com's Guide to Tents.
By Jeff Porcaro

We will cover the different types of tents and their uses. A tent is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you will use on a backpacking or camping trip. The tent is your home away from home and it can be the only thing that stands between a great experience and a calamity. Here are some of the things that you need to know to make the best decision on a tent.

Tent Type:
There are many types of tents out there today; the tents are designed for different situations and usage. The type and style of the tent will also determine the price.

A Frame
The A-Frame is the classical design for a tent. This is the simplest tent design. The tent consists of two poles and in most cases many wires to stabilize the tent. This test is the least sturdy tent in windy situations.

The Dome tent has become one of the most popular designs. The Dome tent uses crisscrossed poles to form a freestanding dome. The Dome tent will provide great protection in the wind as well as provide more living space. The Dome design provides good stability and will handle the snow better than the other designs.

The Hoop tent takes some of the strength of curved poles from the Dome tent with the lightweight of an A-frame. The hoop tent requires stakes and guy wires to keep the tent up. This tent doesn't hold well to strong winds and snow. This type of tent is the lightest available.

Double/Single Wall
Tents come in either double or single wall design. Double wall tents require a separate rain fly to keep the rain and elements out. The double wall design tends to be heavier than a single wall tent due to additional stakes, material and poles. Most lightweight double wall tents will rely on the fly to keep out the elements so they will use mesh and other lightweight materials for the main tent. This is a plus for those short trips where the weather is mild and you want to see the stars. Along with most things in this technological age tents have benefited. With the new strong waterproof breathable fabrics the single wall tent will keep out the rain and wind and will not bog you down with weight.

So what tent do you need? This is only answered by the type of camping you do, coupled with your flexibility on weight and price. No matter which tent you purchase it is very important to take care of that tent. The tent is your home away from home. Before you go on that first trip be sure to set up the tent and make sure all of the poles, stakes, and guy wires are there. It is also a good time to seal the seams. Most tents come with factory sealed seams but you will want to make sure you won't be swimming when the first storm comes in. Another thing to make note of is the footprint of the tent. Many times when choosing a campsite you throw the tent out just to find it is too big for the space available. And last of all get a ground cloth. This will be one of the best things to prolong the life of the tent next to always removing you boots when in the tent.

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