What To Look for When Buying a Waterproof Tent

With summertime fast approaching, you may be planning your family’s big trip. Perhaps this year you are considering a new kind of adventure: camping. There’s just one problem: You don’t own a tent, and you haven’t been camping since your parents sent you to a week-week-long scout camp in fourth grade. Because you want to give your family a different kind of vacation, one free of theme parks, smartphones, TV and video games, you want to feel confident you are buying a tent that can go the distance. You do not want the weather to dampen this trip in any way, especially in the literal sense. What follows are some tips and things to look for when buying a waterproof tent.

Know the Weather

Summertime weather patterns vary, depending of course on what part of the country you happen to be in. Typically, most states experience a somewhat unpleasant summer of sweltering temperatures peppered with high humidity. Sometimes, it can be days of over 100 degrees with the one-two punch of sun and crushing humidity. Then a somewhat good thing happens to rain. In many states, the rain can last for anywhere from an hour to a day. At times, the rain seems to go on for days before it ends and the cycle repeats. This kind of summer weather pattern is typical in the United States. Check the forecasts for the area you are considering camping in so you are fully prepared for what Mother Nature may have in store for your trip.

Things To Consider When Choosing a Waterproof Tent

You’ve got your family on board with your camping plans. They are actually looking forward to the trip. You’ve checked the weather and know what you are in for. Now it’s time to get the proper tent. In the quest for the “just right” tent for your family, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Size
  • Fabric
  • Ventilation
  • Weight
  • Assembly

1. Size Matters

If you’ve looked online at tents or ventured into a camping store, you’ve probably noticed there are a ton of options to choose from. In order to not be too overwhelmed with choices, one of the first things to consider is the size of the tent that fits your family. You may be tempted to get the three-room tent that sleeps 12, and that might be a good idea if your family size warrants it. Guidelines on tents can seem a little difficult to follow. A four-person tent will sleep four people, but it may not fit much else. If you only have four people, you don’t necessarily want the dead, empty space that will be left if you get the three-room mansion tent.

Room to Store Suppplies

There is something to be said about having a little room to breathe in the tent. You also need to consider how and where you want to store your supplies. Look for a six-person tent or perhaps even an eight-person tent for a party of four. Since you don’t want to be sleeping on top of gear or each other, plan for at least two people more than your actual party size.

2. Fabric Choice Is Key

Tents are made from different materials based on the season you are camping in. When shopping for a waterproof tent, you want to pay close attention to the fabric. Not only does the type of material affect its ability to keep rain out, but it also impacts the weight and ventilation of the tent. The heavier and more durable the material, the more likely it is to be waterproof and less prone to shredding in wind and inclement weather. You want to single out tents made from either polyester coated in polyurethane, nylon, poly cotton or PVC coated canvas. These tents may cost more, but will be worth it when inclement weather strikes.

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3. Be Sure There’s Enough Ventilation

You will not have fun sweating while you are camping. If there is no air flow, you will get hot very quickly. For summer camping, you want to look for a tent that has good ventilation. This includes plenty of windows that unzip and maybe a roof that opens. The fabric that a tent is made from will affect ventilation. However, be warned: If the fabric is too thin, it will not be a waterproof tent. It’s true there is bound to be some moisture intrusion whether it rains or not; condensation from humidity does build on walls. However, the thinner the walls, the harder it will be to make waterproof. A three-season tent offers the most flexibility, giving you the right balance of quality fabric and sufficient ventilation.

4. Know How Much It’s Going to Weigh

The stronger, larger and more durable the tent, the heavier it will be. While this is great for making sure the tent will stand up against the elements, there is one drawback to consider: You have to carry the tent too and from your campsite. If you are camping where you can drive up to your campsite and park, there isn’t much need to worry. However, if there is a chance that at some point in your ownership of the tent you may want to do some hiking to a campsite, a weight may be a literal drag. You don’t want to shy away from good fabric, so maybe revisit the size issue. Further, there may be other options for lightweight and durable fabric. These tents, while more on the costly side, are lighter yet still offer the same amount of protection against wind and rain.

5. Know How Assembly Is Going to Work

Once you arrive at your final destination, you need to know you can assemble the tent. Get the whole family involved in your backyard. Let the kids help and then see the finished products. This may help build their excitement for the impending adventure. If you feel comfortable, let them give it a test run in your backyard with their new sleeping bags and lanterns. While camping in the backyard isn’t the same as being out in the wild. Set up the tent and take it down a few times until you feel confident you can do it when it matters. Be sure you can also pack the tent, the poles, the stakes and the ropes back in their original bag. Keeping the tent and its accessories together will have a completely functional tent for years to come.

Don’t Forget About Protecting the Bottom of  A Waterproof Tent

Now that you’ve got your waterproof tent, you’ll feel better about weathering the rain storms that accompany summer camping. One further accessory you may want to invest in is a tarp. When it rains, the ground around your tent will become soaked, and eventually, water may seep beneath your tent. The bottom of your tent is waterproof, but unlike the rest of the tent only exposed to rain while it’s happening, the ground remains wet long after the rain ends. As the additional protection to keep the water out, put the tarp down first and then assemble your tent on top of it. The extra waterproof barrier will serve as the first line of defense against water soaking up and puddling inside. It will also keep the bottom of your tent from getting too dirty. It’s a win-win all around.

Long-Term Storage and Care of Your Investment

Since there may be a bit of time between camping adventures. Make sure you pack the tent away clean as much as possible. This will ensure you can keep the tent in excellent working condition when you are not using it. Dirt and debris may cause some breakdown of the tent if it’s stored for a lengthy time in a hot. You will have the best luck cleaning the tent when you get it back home. You can hose it off or sweep it out much easier before packing it away when you aren’t doing so in the woods. Make sure you pack the tent away dry to keep mold away and the tent from rotting or ripping. Taking care of your tent when you aren’t using it will ensure it will be around for many years of family fun.

Make Sure What To Look For In A Waterproof Tent

Buying a tent can feel overwhelming if you aren’t sure what to look for. With so many choices promising so much, narrowing down the list may seem impossible. When buying a waterproof tent, the tips included here may help make a choice a little easier. When it comes to purchasing a tent that your family can enjoy for many years, spending a little more to get the quality you need will be well worth it.

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