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The old family tent

Family tent and camping gearSo its that time of year. Time to get out the family tent and see if it has room for more memories. To see if it will make through another camping season. If the tent has been properly cared for it should last a very long time. However the reality is that tents don't last forever. Before heading out on your camping trip, its a good idea to set it up in the back yard and inspect it. Makes sure all the parts and pieces are there.

It's also a good idea to test the waterproofing. If it needs a fresh coat of water repellant, contact the manufacturer or local tent store for recommended products. Look for worn or torn spots that could be patched or sewn. A little soap and water applied with a toothbrush will free up sticking zippers. A coating of UV inhibitor will help resist deterioration from sunlight.

If your family has outgrown the tent it may be time for a bigger tent, or possibly a second smaller tent. Click here for new tents for sale. As daughters get older they may prefer the privacy of a tent with no boys allowed.

New family tent.

If you are looking for a new tent you have lots of options. Tent manufacturers offer a variety of backpack tents, camping tents, bed tents, pop-up tents, canopy tents, canvas tents, family tents, multi-room tents, screen houses and all types of family camping tents. They are made of a variety of materials including canvas tents, polyester, nylon, cotton and a host of brand-name materials.

Tents sizes are rates by number of persons. This number represents the tent manufacturers estimate of how many standard sleeping bags could fit into the tent. This rating does not allow space for anything except sleeping bags. It's recommended that you purchase a tent rated for one or two additional people than will actually sleep in the tent. To extend the life of a tent's floor you may want to consider a tarp or ground cloth.

Setting up a camping tent.

So you brought the old tent, new tent or both and its time to set up camp. There are several thing to consider. Safety should be your number one concern. Comfort and convenience are a distant second.

Tent safety.

Select a flat area that is not in the path of potential water flow in the event of a storm. Ideally the tent should be on a high spot in the area.

Campfire at the end of a camping day.Keep the tent a fair distance from the campfire area for obvious reasons. If you know the prevailing winds during evening hours, select a spot that is not downwind of the fire.

Keep the tent a fair distance from trash and garbage receptacles. If local wildlife enter camp during the night you want them to stay far away from the tent. Never keep food in the sleeping tents if you are anywhere near bear country.

Take extra care that the tent is securely staked in place. It is much easier to do it properly during a pleasant afternoon than it is at 2:00 in the morning during a fierce wind and thunderstorm.

Discuss exit strategies with all in the tent in case of a fire or emergency during the night. Make sure zippers work properly quick exit.

Use lanterns and heating devices with extreme caution in any tent. Strictly follow manufacturers guidelines for safety.

Always have a vent or window open for fresh air.

Comfort and convenience.

Ideally you want to get as comfortable as you would be in your bed at home. The reality is that it will be something less.

The tent should be on as flat a surface as possible. If there is any slope, sleeping bags should be positioned with the pillow area at the top of the slope and feet at the lower end.

Rake the area carefully to remove all rocks, sticks or other sharp items that may cut or tear the tent floor. If leaves are available, add a thick layer as padding under the tent. Use a tarp or ground cloth to further protect the tent floor.

Position the tent door away from the campfire to help reduce smoke in the tent.

Set up the tent according to manufacturers instructions. Staking the tent is very important. It must be sturdy enough to keep the tent stable during storms or high wind. Many stakes that come with tents today sadly leave a bit to be desired. Test the staking once completed by pushing on the tent as hard as you think the wind would. If the stakes loosen, you need stronger or bigger stakes. If none are available improvise and use strong wood branches and drive them solidly into the ground.

Other tents and canopies.

Tent manufacturers make a host of specialty tents, canopies, gazebos and screen rooms to enhance your camping experience.

Canopy tent uses.

A canopy can be used to provide shade and/or protection from rain for dining areas, camp gear storage, vehicles and anything you want to keep dry. Some canopies come with roll-down flaps and zippered corners for added protection in heavy storms.

Find camping tents for sale, by state.

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Gazebo and screen rooms

Gazebos and screen room tents are various shapes of tents with mesh sides to keep mosquitoes, flies and bugs out. They are great for dining or family games and activities. Especially at night when lights attract critters.

What's the right tent for family camping?