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TENTS BEGINNER'S BUYING GUIDE

Tent Beginner's Guide

TYPES OF TENTS

There are tents to suit every type of camping. At GO Outdoors we group our tents under the five types below.
Family Tents

FAMILY TENTS

Large tents designed for groups as well as families. Family tents offer the size and flexibility to accommodate all the gear that a family camping trip requires. Additionally, most family tents can be upgraded as needs change by adding a canopy, carpet, gazebo or footprint.

Weekend Tents

WEEKEND TENTS

Similar in size to family tents but without the same level of features, weekend tents offer great value, no-frills accommodation. Because they are often single skinned they are only really suitable for short trips and reasonable weather conditions.

Weekend Tents

FESTIVAL TENTS

Typically 2-3 man tents designed for weekend camping trips and festivals. Festival tents come in a variety of designs and offer simple, value for money camping for the occasional camper.

Weekend Tents

POP UP TENTS

Pop up styles conveniently spring up with no need to pitch, and typically offer simple accommodation. Created with a single skin as opposed to a thicker double, pop up tents are not suitable for extreme weather conditions but offer great value and ease of use.

Weekend Tents

MOUNTAINEERING & BACKPACKING TENTS

Mountain and backpacking tents allow you to venture away from crowded summer campsites and out into the back of beyond. These tents are smaller in size to reduce weight and pack size. Designs are normally tunnel or geodesic shape, allowing the best in wind resistance, rigidity and stability in exposed open pitches.

Tent Care

DRYING YOUR TENT

If there is no option of drying your tent at the campsite, then make sure your tent is cleaned off with soapy water, and the bulk of the moisture if off the tent before taking it home to be thoroughly dried.

REPROOFING YOUR TENT

  • Reproofing renews the water repellent finish on your flysheet.
  • Not only does it waterproof, it also protects against stains from dirt, grease and oil.
  • Like most preventative measures, reproofing should be undertaken periodically for the best results.
  • Water may have started to penetrate the tent
  • There may be more condensation than usual within your tent
  • You have had your tent and used it for more than 2 seasons - it may be time to take preventative measures.
  • Water doesn’t form in a droplet against the tent skin but soaks in, creating dark patches.
  • Apply your reproofer as instructed, whilst allowing sufficient time for it to dry off afterwards.
  • Non water based proofers must be used on a dry tent, whilst water based proofers are used whilst the tent is still damp, before being dried off.
  • Most proofers for tents are designed with a pump to allow easy spraying and an even coverage.
  • Allow your tent to dry thoroughly afterwards.

STORING YOUR TENT

  • In a dry garage or shed (as long as it doesn't get too hot)
  • Away from sunlight.
  • Away from dampness
  • Packed loosely when fully dried
Top Tips

Practise pitching your tent at least once before using it, and check you have enough pegs to peg all points and guylines.

Consider buying a footprint – they make cleaning the tent much simpler as well as protecting the groundsheet.

Learn how to choose or evaluate your pitch, and don’t start hammering in pegs until you have the tent where you want it!

Condensation is almost inevitable, make sure you know where the vents are and how they work.

If you have to pack your tent away wet, unpack and dry it as soon as you get home. Mildew causes permanent damage.

WHAT FEATURES DO YOU REQUIRE?

FEATURES

TENT SIZE

Don’t forget to leave plenty of room for all your gear.

FEATURES

TENT WEIGHT

Check size and weight will fit your car / backpack.

FEATURES

TENT HEIGHT

Indicates whether
a tent is suitable for standing or sitting in.

FEATURES

WATERPROOF

Shows waterproof rating as a hydrostatic head.

FEATURES

SEWN IN GROUNDSHEET

Most tents feature sewn-in ground sheets. Better for keeping out bugs, but can reduce ventilation.

TENT DESIGNS

TUNNEL TENTS

Tunnel tents are in general the quickest to pitch and they are the most spacious type of tent for their weight. Tunnel tents also give more head room than most other tents with their maximum internal height running right down the centre of the tent. They may have a front or central entrance.

Family Tents

DOME TENTS

Dome tents are a good compromise between stability, pitching time and weight. Although not as light for their size or as quick to pitch as tunnels they are more stable. Dome tents however tend to have less head room, their highest point being located only at one point in the centre.

Family Tents

SEMI GEODESIC TENTS

Semi geodesic tents are much more stable in bad conditions but are heavier and a little more complex to erect. Most pole configurations are available in slightly different variations but semi geodesic tents vary greatly with 2,3 or 4 nodes, different numbers of poles, and different pole patterns.

Family Tents

FULLY GEODESIC TENTS

Fully Geodesic tents are the most stable tents available. Though heavy and complex to erect, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks if you are pitching your tent on a mountain and want it to stay there. This pole configuration is so strong that it can withstand heavy snow fall that would crush all other types of tent.

Family Tents

TENT ACCESSORIES

AWNINGS, PORCHES, EXTENTIONS & CANOPIES

These can be roof-only, or can have walls, doors and windows. They provide extra space and are popular for creating dining and cooking areas outside of the main tent. They do not have groundsheets so can be used to store wet gear or bikes under cover without worrying about bringing mud into the living area.

Family Tents

CARPETS

These are shaped to fit in the living area of your tent and act as insulation from the cold ground. The soft finish also handles drips and spillages better, and creates a feeling of luxury in the tent.

Family Tents

FOOTPRINTS

Sometimes called groundsheet protectors, a footprint is a waterproof sheet that fits exactly underneath the tent to protect it from dirt and damage. This prolongs the life of the tent and can help prevent leaks in old, worn groundsheets.

Family Tents

A tent


Storage for in the tent


A footprint to keep warmth in


A carpet for comfort underfoot


A mallet


Tent pegs


Table & chairs

Sleeping bag(s)


Lantern


Pillow


Sleep mat / matress

Toilet roll


Shampoo & conditioner


Soap/shower gel


Razors


Hair brush


Wipes


Deodorant

Pain relief


Insect bite relief


Prescription medicine


Aftersun


Blister pads


1st aid kit

A cool box or bag(s)


A stove for cooking


Skewers


Fuel source


Tableware and cutlery


Lighting materials (matches etc)

Scissors / penknife


Compass / sat nav


Pen and paper


String


Head torch
Torch

Gaffer / duct tape


Reproofer


Cleaning sponge / bucket


A cloth


A dustpan / brush set

Games


Balls


Kite


Radio

Sun cream


Mosquito repellent / netting

Swimming gear


Inflatables


Fire starters & matches
Towels

Rubbish Bags


A bag for dirty washing




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