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The #1 Skill
Whether you find yourself in a survival situation or just out for a fun weekend of camping, you can endure a lot. In fact, when it comes to things like food and water, you could go without for several days without much effect, except for being a little hungry. On the other hand, Mother Nature can be merciless when it comes to being cold and wet without shelter to get you out of the elements as quickly as possible.
Books and magazines are filled with stories of people from all walks of life, some of whom were very experienced when it came to being in the outdoors, but who needlessly perished because they were unable to erect a tent to get themselves out of cold and wet weather. Making matters worse, in many of these situations, those who perished could have easily saved themselves if they had more skills and they took action more quickly.
It wasn’t too many years ago that anyone going out to spend time in the outdoors, or even someone who was faced with the prospect of surviving unassisted, had nothing more to deal with than the heaviest canvas tent and wooden poles. Not anymore. Today’s tents are not only made of better and lighter materials, but the designs available are practically infinite. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for something to take along on a single-person backpacking trip, or a cover that offers almost all of hte comforts of home, there is something for every taste and need.
Regardless of your situation, the first thing you will need to consider is the type of situation you will most often find yourself in. For example, if you plan on backpacking, you will obviously want a tent that is light and easy to carry. The good news in this is that for those who enjoy backpacking, the choices you have to keep yourself well outfitted are practically endless. Lightweight materials such as nylon, dacron, taffeta, and other materials make tents easier to carry than ever. This is made even better by the fact that not only are the materials that tents are made of better and lighter, but everything else that you need to erect these tents even in the most trying of circumstances are better and lighter too. For example, poles and tent pegs, which at one time were made of wood, are now made of fiberglass and other materials that make them weigh practically nothing.
It is also important to understand that equipment is so interchangeable that even if you do suffer from problems such as a broken tent pole, you can easily substitute a stick or a set of trekking poles to keep your tent standing. And if that’s not easy enough for you, there are many other choices when it comes to tents as well, including those that have no need for poles or tent stakes. Not only are there tents available that use inflatable exoskeletons, but the only need you have for keeping them in place is someone to lie inside. And if for some reason you want to move your tent, just pick it up and take it to your new spot.
Basically, tents are put up in different ways, each particular to the type of tent it is. Most tents require that you put up some kind of ridgepole(s). From this point, and with your tent standing, you need to use a method of keeping the edges taught, which means that they need to be staked out, or otherwise kept so that someone inside can move around unaffected.
Size and Materials Matter
Tents come in practically any size you need or want. There are those that are just big enough to cover you and your sleeping bag. Need something bigger? You can choose from those that are made for five, 10, or more people with plenty of breathing room left.
Of course, the bigger the tent you purchase, the fewer options you will have to move that tent from place to place. For example, if you have several people in your party, it would be best to plan on a larger tent, but don’t count on being able to carry such a large tent in your backpack for a hiking trip. Instead, you should plan on something larger that would be carried in a car or some other type of vehicle.
Materials have always been an important subject when considering the type of tent you want to take with you camping. Unfortunately, in many cases, the materials until recently have been very limited. Today’s materials give you considerably more latitude when deciding where you want to go and when. For example, lighter fabrics are great to use during the summer and other times of the year when heavier fabrics aren’t needed or wanted. If you are planning on camping in colder weather, such as during the winter, it would be better to consider the so-called “4-season” tents, which are better at keeping the cold away from you.
For anyone who has been camping for any amount of time, it’s difficult to even comprehend the number of designs available for tents. The truth is that the number of tent designs are practically as numerous as the types of people who use them. Instead of only having a choice between wall tents, baker tents, and others. the choices available today are almost infinite, limited to your imagination. Literally, there is a tent design available for every need and desire. Do you like a tent that opens from the front or the side? Both options are widely available. Do you want a tent that has room inside for all of your gear in addition to you? That’s available too. Literally, whatever you think you want in a tent is available for the asking. Still undecided? Ask someone with experience to help you. Fortunately, help is easy to get, available free for the asking.