Nowadays, camping has evolved from simply being an activity that involves temporary outdoor living to being a mode of living. Sleeping, eating, and working outdoors are more than just urges, they are thought to be biological characteristics of man. The “return to nature” movement has helped develop modern camping, designing it now to supplement modern living and provide opportunities for the development of outdoor skills. The camper employs a minimum of primitive but functional equipment that furnishes almost all of civilization’s basic conveniences. One such necessary equipment is the camping tent.
Factors to Consider
Standard tents used to be “two-party-affair” pup tents. For larger parties, taller and warmer wall tents, having floors and screening of suitable fabric to make them insect-proof, were readily available.
With the growth of organized camping, the industry that provides such equipment has steadily grown. And with more campers paying close attention to structural factors, tents should now be manageable, useful, made of sturdy materials, and uncomplicated to set-up and put away. The temperature ranges in which a camper will be camping also need to be considered when buying this equipment.
Keeping all these in mind, shopping for a tent isn’t easy. The marketing jargon for tents can also befuddle the neophyte camper. Conversely, camping tents can simply be classified as either 3-season or 4-season.
The 3-Season Tent
The average 3-season tent is functional in light to moderate weather conditions. The fact that it is built to hold up for temperature ranges in spring, summer and fall, and in almost any location, fittingly gives it the name 3-season tent. This type of tent is normally less expensive than a 4-season tent. 3-season tents also come in an infinite array of features and prices, and can be bought at specialty camping stores or from large merchandisers. Those of great quality let the air in, but keep the moisture out.
The 4-Season Tent
The pricier 4-season tent may or may not have a rugged “bathtub” floor which is merely an excellent waterproof floor that comes up to about six inches on most 4-season tents’ sides. These tents are suitable for year-round camping, and for whatever weather conditions there might be. They have a minimum of four aluminum poles for support, with some brands having more than that. Such specification is great for inclement winter weather. 4-season tents can also come in sleek outlines, are usually dark-colored to soak up heat better and are also lighter.
The 3-Season vis-à-vis the 4-Season
Most campers still prefer the 3-season tent because it makes for a great family camping tent. As long as it’s used in the seasons specified, it can still provide adequate protection from the elements. However, 3-season tents cannot withstand powerful snowfall, lashing rain and rough winds. They are not suitable for such wilderness outings as an Alaskan excursion in January.
Too much insulation can be a problem during the summer months for a 4-season tent. The heftier price tag of a 4-season could also sway a buyer towards a 3-season. But for the camper who plans to commune with nature in the wilderness and in stormy winter, the 4-season would be a better choice.