Camping 101: Choosing a Tent

Family camping tents come in many shapes and sizes. The one that suits your needs may not be the right one for someone else. That’s why there is such a large variety produced for the outdoor enthusiast market.

    Shaping Up Your Tent Choices

Tents come in four basic shapes: A-frame, umbrella, geodesic or “dome”, and wall. The A-frame is the old-style, traditional “pup” tent shape, but can also be quite large. The umbrella is a commonly used family tent, with plenty of standing room, including large windows and a rain fly. The geodesic dome has many variations, with varying combinations of connected triangles. The wall tent is like an A-frame tent, but is generally much larger and has vertical side walls, and is most commonly used in army applications and Scout camps (These are usually set up on permanent decks).

Tents with square floor shapes are more efficient when laying out sleeping and gear arrangements. If you decide to purchase a tent with a round or oval floor, you should plan some extra floor space to compensate for the less efficient layout.

    Size DOES Matter

Tents are marketed as two man, four man, six man, etc. At best this describes the most people you can cram into the tent for sleeping, with no storage for any of your personal items. This size determination is okay for backpackers who are packing light, but makes no sense for the average camper.

Why be shoe-horned into your tent? Figure on using the tent at half its rated capacity and you should have enough room for two adults and most of their gear. Each person should have a minimum of 24 square feet of floor space; enough room for your pad, sleeping bag and gear. If you are packing for a long trip, you may want to increase the square footage depending on the quantity of gear you are going to bring.

Don’t forget to purchase a tent that will be wide/long enough for you to stretch out when you sleep… a 6′ tall sleeper will be very cramped in a 6′ wide tent; leave yourself at least 1 foot of foot-room. You will need a minimum of 30″ of space across the tent for each sleeping bag just for sleeping.

Adding ‘dry’ storage for your gear, and enough space to get out of your tent without tramping on your tent companion, will result in a more enjoyable outdoor experience. With this in mind, an 8′ x 8′ tent would work well as a 2 man family tent. This gives each camper 32 square feet to spread out their gear and sleeping area. BUT, a 10′ x 10′ tent is much more suited for two adults (seems like overkill, huh?). This size tent will have enough space for air mattresses, cots or pads AND still have enough space to stand up when changing clothes.

Be careful about buying a tent larger than 10′ x 10′. First, finding a suitable place to pitch such a large item will be a challenge. You need a spot as level as possible. Second, big tents are extremely heavy and bulky to carry. Finally, it might be better to have several smaller tents so everyone isn’t sharing the same sleeping, changing & living area.

The peak height is very important to your comfort. For most trips, try to have a tent that is tall enough to stand in. Plan for the taller persons in your group. A six or seven foot peak height is necessary for adults, and a four foot peak is about right for kids. Remember, the tent slopes downward at a sharp angle, so the actual spot where you can stand up will be small. Larger spaces will be provided in tents with taller peaks.

Kids can fit comfortably in smaller tents. Once they are old enough, about seven or eight, they will probably want to sleep in a separate tent anyway. Parents will appreciate the privacy provided by this arrangement too. A five by seven foot tent is adequate for young kind. Teenagers should be considered as adults when fitting a tent.

    Support Your Local Tent – Poles

Poles included with most tents available today are made from aluminum or fiberglas. The better quality tents usually come with specially made aluminum poles, with a high degree of flexibility. Fiberglas poles are included in most ‘every day camping’ tents. The poles are usually linked together with an elastic shock cord. This speeds up the setting up process (important when doing it in the rain!). Poles, when mishandled can bend or break, so many tent manufacturers provide repair kits for you to carry along on the trip.

    Seams to Me It’s Important

Seams should be reinforced with nylon tape and double-stitched. The tape is stitched into each seam, which reinforces the seam and adds to the weather-proofing. All waterproof seams in on the fly and floor (or tub), are usually factory waterproofed with a seam sealer. Set up the tent in your yard before the first tent use to test out the pitching process. You can also use this opportunity to go to your local sporting goods store to buy some seam sealer and waterproofing spray. It’s always a good idea to do this to ensure a dry trip. Make sure you allow the tent to dry before packing it back up.

    Fabric

Almost all modern tents are now made of nylon. Coated nylon is used for waterproofing. Nylon mesh is used for inner walls and gear pockets. No-see-um mesh is used for the window screens. Better tents use thicker fabric and rip-stop fabric.

    Hey!!! Zip It Up!!

Make sure when you go out to buy your tent… test the zippers. They should open and close with ease and shouldn’t catch on the tent fabric. The zippers should be rust-resistant.

    Hot and Cold Flashes and “Why is My Tent Shaking?”

Weather variations will place many demands on your tent.

Windy conditions will call for strong poles, stakes and anchor ropes. Dome tents perform extremely in wind. Their rounded design reduces the wind’s effect, and their pole arrangement provides great strength.

Rain causes two issues to surface. Keeping yourself and your gear dry is first and foremost. Second, you need enough room for all tent occupants to be comfortable if ‘weathering the storm’ becomes necessary.

The floor should be constructed of waterproof coated nylon covering the floor, and turning up the sides for approximately six inches, creating the tub. There should be a minimal amount of seam (the more you have, the more potential for leaks). It will keep out any water that runs down and under the tent.

Make sure your tent has a waterproof rain fly made of coated nylon. The fly should wrap around the tent and reach down the sides, leaving only a few inches of space between it and the ground. This should shut out the rain, even in windy conditions. The fly should extend far enough over the door, so it keeps out the rain when you open the door to enter or leave. Some tents even come with a vestibule that allows for this.

Sunlight and its accompanying heat create a major need for shade and airflow. The rain fly will provide shade. Screen windows on opposite sides of the tent, or a screened window opposite a screened door, will allow air to flow through the tent.

Long excursions in cold weather call for a special, heavy-duty 4 season tent. Unless you plan on doing winter camping, you can use a “three-season” tent that has the features mentioned above. The most important features will be a rain fly that fully covers the top and sides to keep snow and other precipitation at bay, and an interior layer made from an open mesh fabric to allow water vapor to breathe out of the tent. In cooler weather, water vapor inside the tent from moist, outside air and exhaled breath from the occupants will condense on the interior surface of the tent. This can be prevented by allowing airflow through your tent or by passing through the mesh fabric.

The tent size is also a consideration with cool weather camping. A smaller tent will stay much warmer than a larger tent with your body heat.

    You Get What You Pay For

Usually, the more expensive tents are made with stronger fabric, poles, and stitching. They’re built to withstand stronger wind and more violent rain. A good tent, that is well cared for, can last for many years.

Remember that not everyone will need this amount of durability. The milder the weather you camp in, and the closer to home you camp, the better solution will most likely be a less expensive tents.

If you’re just beginning your camping journey, and don’t know if you’ll enjoy it, you might want to start with a less expensive setup. Your first trips will probably be when the weather is warmer, and you will probably not venture deep into the wilderness until you gain some experience and decide if you like camping or not. Remember, you can always upgrade your equipment later.

For more information you can visit us at Birdseye Outdoor Supply where you can more tips to help you with your camping needs.

Trekking Experience in Nepal Mountain Trails

Nepal is famous for holding highest mountain peak of the world, Mount Everest. It is surrounded by lofty and majestic mountains. Nepal is one of the preferred destinations among adventure enthusiast, trekkers, hikers and mountain climbers. Adventure enthusiast from different corners of world visit Nepal to undertake the challenge of climbing the highest peak of mountains and explore the unexplored trekking trails.

Among fourteen highest mountain peaks, eight are in Nepal. Therefore, it is preferred by the daring adventure loving tourists. Tourist can enjoy the adventure games like hiking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, trekking, skiing, paragliding, ice skating, etc. Some of the popular trekking trails are Everest base camp, Annapurna region, Langtang region, Mustang region, Dolpo region, Kanchanjungha region, Langtang region, Manaslu region, etc. You will really enjoy trekking in Nepal in these regions. You can cross many beautiful mountain hamlets on your trek. You will get a wondrous opportunity to explore the Himalayan culture. You will also cross some famous wildlife sanctuaries. You can spot many exotic and rare mountainous flora and fauna. Nepal is said to be the perfect destination for bird watching. More than 750 species of avifauna dwell in the mountain valley of Nepal. Listen to their sweet chirping and warm up your mood in the cold climate.

Nepal trekking tours can be enjoyed by people of all age group and all physic. Even weak and old aged people can have fun in the Himalayan land and enjoy the adventurous game. All grades of trekking trails are there. There three trekking levels -low grade trekking trail, middle grade trekking trail and high grade trekking trail. Ages and weak strength people can enjoy trekking experience in the low grade trekking trails. If you are a novice trekker and mountain climber, you should start from low grade and proceed gradually to middle level. If you feel comfortable, you can go for daring high trekking trails. You should go for higher level only when you have a good health as these trails are very high altitude and you may face breathing problem there.

Before going for trekking tours Nepal, you should go for medical check up. If your physic allow, then only you should go for trekking. It is advisable to undertake the daring experience under the guidance of expert trekker. You can buy a tour package for trekking in the mountains of Nepal. The agent will provide you necessary safety gears. You must carry required medicine with you. You will not get medicine store in the mountain trail.

So, pack bag properly for trekking tour. You should carry first aid box, ample woolen clothes, gripped pair of shoe, knife, etc in your bag.

Arugambay – 5 Reasons To Visit Arugambay Surfers’ Paradise

Are you an avid surfer? If so, you may instantly recognize the name Arugam Bay. Even if you are not, you may be interested to learn more about this popular tourist attraction. Arugam Bay is a sleepy little hamlet 320 km due east of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city and is ranked among the top ten surf destinations in the world. In this article I am going to tell you 5 good reasons you should make a visit to Arugam Bay.

Arugam Bay is not your typical surf destination with modern facilities. It is more a community based destination, where little guest houses and the odd star rated hotel lie side by side. This does not make it any less attractive to regular visitors who make repeat visits every year. Although this destination was devastated by the 2004 tsunami and the conflict, the enterprising community of Arugam Bay have brought the destination back to its old glory. Much improved roads, which have reduced travel times by almost an hour and a half and the return of peace has made Arugam Bay a destination you should not miss visiting.

Here are the top 5 reasons to visit Arugam Bay:

  1. It is the third highest ranked among the world’s top ten surfing destinations. So, if you are a surfing enthusiast or are interested in learning to surf this is just the location for you. You need not even bring your gear along, as you can hire surfing gear from local outfits, who also provide training for newbie surfers. It boasts of over 10 surf points and the waves are great between April and October and it also is the scene for local and international surfing competitions staged during this period.
  2. During November to April the sea is fine for swimming and snorkeling and conditions are just right if you are looking for a quiet get- away. The prices for accommodation can get pretty low and you can find a pretty decent room with basic facilities for around $15 per night.
  3. If you are a wild life enthusiast you excellent wild life sanctuaries are just minutes away from this destination. The Lahugala sanctuary famous for elephants is not more than a 20 minute drive from here. You may even pass some of these majestic beasts if en-route if you take the inland route to arrive here. The Kumana bird sanctuary lies just 10km south of Arugam Bay and birds from as far as Siberia are known to migrate to this location to escape winter.
  4. The sand dunes at Panama allow you to wander around an unspoilt stretch of land, and even go on a jeep safari to the dunes. The Pottuvil dunes are much closer, but it is situated in the midst of a busy little town, but none the less attractive in its own little way.
  5. The area close to Arugam Bay also boasts of a host of ancient monuments. The Kudumbigala archeological reserve is host to monastic caves dating from around the 12th Century AD. The ancient Okanda temple dedicated lord Skanda situated on a rocky outcrop south of Arugam Bay is believed to be featured in “Sinbad the Sailor’s tales”. Monuments related to the Southern kingdom of Magama almost a thousand years old are found in Pottuvil town, by the dunes and within the Lahugala sanctuary. They are said to be built to honour the mother of the warrior king Dutugemunu of the Anradhapura kingdom.

The attractions of Arugam Bay are so, numerous and cater to visitors with different interests. It is just amazing that so many attractions should lie so close together. Coupled with the extremely friendly service by the villagers who run the facilities, I would strongly recommend that you visit here especially if you are on a tight budget.