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Every year, tourism is gaining in popularity. People are interested in exploring new terrain, discovering wildlife, and taking a break from big cities. However, before a long trip it is important to prepare accordingly. In particular, to decide where to hide in the event of bad weather. That is why we decided to create an overview of tourist tents. It’s time to go!
An awning allows you to shelter from the scorching rays or precipitation, but it is of little use as protection against insects. The classic form of a tent is a rectangular piece of fabric with eyelets on the edges. For example, a traditional soldier’s tent can easily turn into a tarpaulin tent, which can be fastened between trees or on stakes. However, the main disadvantage of this product is its heavy weight, the tarpaulin absorbs moisture and is difficult to dry.
The size is also small (180×180 cm), which limits the scope of its application. Modern hiking tents are made from lightweight polymer fabrics of high density, allowing them to withstand considerable tensile stress, and special impregnations make them virtually watertight.
There are also special impregnations that prevent the material from catching fire from accidental sparks bonfire. The size of modern tents varies widely.
A tent can provide more comfort. Most modern camping tents have a collapsible frame and strong straps, allowing it to be installed in a variety of conditions. There are models which do not differ much in characteristics from large tents. The walls of such tents can be equipped with mosquito netting, transparent windows or be closed with special cloths tightly.
Some models are equipped with a removable floor.
Advantages and disadvantages
The main advantages of hiking tents – versatility and lightness. A tent, with its small weight, can easily be converted into a canopy from rain or sun. With its help, you can make a primitive shelter, protecting yourself from the wind. In an extreme situation, a tent can become a simple tent. Tents, as a more complex equipment, of course, allow you to equip a bivouac or camping with more comfort. Of particular note is the height, which makes marquees vastly superior to any tent. Usually the height under the tent canopy is not less than 180 cm, which allows an adult to stand at full height.
There are structures that can be used as a temporary home, bathhouse, kitchen, shower or toilet. The frame makes these structures strong and stable, but it also adds weight, which significantly reduces mobility and portability. The tent is suitable for caravanning or as a temporary stationary structure – exhibition pavilion, portable sales point, a summer cafe.
Carrying it in a backpack is a thankless task, the bulk of the weight will be the metal frame. And the dimensions of most tents are unlikely to pack them in a backpack.
What tents there are?
Water resistance, UV protection and durability of tents depend on the materials. Let’s see what tents are made of.
Polyester. Relatively inexpensive synthetic fabric, which almost does not sag if wet. This means that if it rains a lot, you won’t have to pull up your awning very often. To polyester does not let the water pass through, a layer of polyurethane is applied to its surface. In the descriptions such a treatment of the fabric is denoted as Pu. Thanks to polyurethane, the awning will withstand a serious downpour and prolonged rains. The main disadvantage of polyester – weight. Tents made of it is much heavier than those made of ultralight fabrics and larger in size in the package.
Of siliconized nylon. Nylon is stronger and lighter than polyester, but it sags when wet and breaks down faster from prolonged exposure to sunlight. To remove these disadvantages and make nylon waterproof, it is coated with silicone on both sides – on the inside and outside. In the descriptions, such a treatment of the fabric is referred to as Si/Si. This fabric is called siliconized nylon or silaneylon.
In terms of water resistance and durability, thin silaneylon is comparable to polyester, but wins in weight. For instance, a Bask Canopy 3×3 meters in size made of silicon weighs 590 grams, the same cloth made of polyester weighs 920 grams. It is almost twice as light and one and a half times as compact. Due to the thick layer of silicone nylon does not burn out in the sun and through the years almost does not lose strength. Silnylon tents serve for decades, tents no less.
The price for the light weight of nylon tents is their durability. The material is difficult to tear, but easy to puncture, although the “silicone” comes in different densities. For example, companies Hilleberg and Nordisk mostly make “condensed” tents from silaneylon, and Sea to Summit – ultra-thin and soft.
Also, the silicone applied to the fabric prevents the seams of the tent from being glued immediately in production. They’re usually made so they don’t leak even in heavy downpours or heavy rain, but if you want to guarantee 100% waterproofing, you can seal the seams with a special siliconized fabric sealant like McNett SilNet.
Made of nylon with a combined coating. Polyurethane is applied on the inside and silicone on the outside. The descriptions refer to this fabric treatment as Si/Pu. This combination is cheaper than “pure” silnylon, and the polyurethane allows the seams to be glued immediately. But with equal weight such fabric is inferior to “silicon” in strength and durability.
Of blended fabric. It looks similar to natural cotton, but it almost always has a share of polyester in its composition. This material is armor. Under blended fabric shelter you can burn royal fires, trample on it feet, throw it on the rocks – nothing will happen to it. But it weighs a lot. Nordisk’s Kari Tech Mini tent measuring 2,5×3 meters is 1,5 kilograms. Three times heavier than the “silicone” models. Moisture resistance of blended fabrics is provided by DWR-impregnation, as well as the ability of cotton fibers to swell when wet and not let water pass further.
Square tents. This is a classic form of camping tents. Suitable for any hike or expedition. They are easy to install – a lot of options to stretch anywhere and in any conditions. You can do it the classical way, as well as house, pyramid, and between the trees, and on trekking poles.
Square shaped tents hang over a hammock if there is no specialized one. The shelter will equally protect the sleeper from all sides.
Rectangular tents. Like the square ones, they are suitable for any kind of tourism and can be installed in dozens of different versions. But, unlike the square ones, they have more usable area, so they are convenient for traveling in large companies, so that all participants can fit under the shelter, or take them on a bike trip and hide your bicycle under it in case of rain.
In poncho-tents – small shelters with a hood and sleeves or holes for hands, which you can walk along the route, as in a raincoat, and then stretch at the parking lot, as tents – is also rectangular in shape.
Pentagonal tents. Such shelters are sewn for easy hiking. As a rule, they are made in small sizes for one or two people and can have a catenary cut: the side edges are trimmed with an arc. With more angles, the shelter is easier to set up and the tension is less likely to weaken over time. An example of such a compact shelter is the Nordisk Voss Diamond. It is 3 meters long, weighs only 570 grams, and there are 14 attachment points on the tent.
There are pentagonal tents for a larger company. They are longer and heavier. To prevent the big tent from sagging in the middle part, there is usually a reinforcement on the canvas for a central stake or a trekking stick, like in the Nordisk Voss 20.
Hexagonal awnings. Hammock tents. They have a catenary cut, sizes designed to protect from the weather on all sides, and the right amount of webbing. Large hexagons can be used in conjunction with a tent – stretching next to the tent to store items underneath or adding sun or precipitation-proof space for dining.
Awnings of complex shape. These are pavilions-houses and pavilions-bell-shaped. Tents are installed on a frame. Optionally they can have doors and walls – normal or from mosquito nets. “Bell” in the center of the leaf has a reinforcement for the central stake, which holds the design.
Semi-pyramids. Usually it is beach tents, which are set on one or two arcs are completed with pegs, so they do not blow away, and the bottom.
Pyramid tents. Awning tents are for hikers, climbers, skiers and rock climbers who need a lightweight shelter from wind and precipitation that is quick to set up. For example, the MSR Front Range tent is rated for four people and weighs only 740 grams. It can be used in bivouacs and as an emergency shelter. Pyramid tents do not have a floor and a frame – no need to carry arcs. They are stretched out on trekking or ski poles.
In the form of a tent-house. These are ultra-light shelters for fast & light hiking. They have eyelets and drawstrings around the perimeter to secure the tent as securely and close to the ground as possible, and the ends have doors, just like a tent-house. On the inside there are two reinforced points for stretching on the trekking poles. In this way the tent protects as much as possible from wind and precipitation on all sides, but unlike a tent, it has no bottom.
Almost any of listed tents can be complemented by mosquito tent. It can be used as an independent shelter if there is no rain, or it can be combined with a tent. If the tent in the form of a tent-house or pyramid complement this mosquito, you get a full-fledged tent, which stretches on the trekking poles. For example, you can assemble a set of Rab Element in this way.
So that all the sleepers do not have to turn from one side to the other on command at night, it is necessary to choose the right size shelter. The width of the tents depends on the width of the fabric roll, usually it is a multiple of one or one and a half meters. The length is determined by the manufacturer, but more often than not, brands adhere to industry standards. Here are the most popular:
- 1,5×2,5 m – the size of a poncho tent. Enough to construct a shelter for 1-2 people.
- 3×3 m – under such a tent 4-5 people will fit.
- 3х4,5 – the same 4-5 people, but with comfort.
- 4×4,5 m – for group of 5-10 people.
- 6×6 m – for a large company.
What is included in the kit and what it can be supplemented with?
Usually manufacturers put in a set to the tent straps length of 2-3 meters and stakes. But all this may not be, so before you go it is better to check the kit. Depending on your comfort requirements and the conditions of the terrain where you are going, you may need additional equipment.
- Rope or paracord four meters or more in length, in order to extend the complete belaying ropes or use it as a ridge rope. You can think about reflective ropes to avoid tripping over the regular ones in the dark.
- Extra pegs if you’re going to windy areas and think the “native” ones won’t be enough.
- Before going to the beach you should think about buying snow pegs. Strong gusts of wind can pull standard ones out of the sand.
- Locks-tensioners for stretching. With them it is more convenient and faster to stretch the tent.
How to choose a tourist tent?
The weight is important for solo or ultra-light hiking, for short nature trips – the ability to build a fire nearby, for camping – a large size and durability. We explain how to choose an awning for your tasks and what to pay attention to.
For solo travel, competition, or fast & light hiking
In solo travel, the weight, volume, and functionality of your gear are important, because you have to pack all your cargo in a small backpack and then carry it on you the rest of the route. If you broke off the handle of your toothbrush to eliminate the extra 20 grams, but took a large polyester group tent to hike, it’s not rational. When choosing, focus on the lightest and most compact shelters possible.
What kind of awning would work?
Poncho-tent. It is the modern analogue of a raincoat made of siliconized nylon or polyester with polyurethane impregnation. The most functional shelter that exists: it protects from precipitation not only during rest or overnight stay, but also during movement. And also the lightest and most compact. Silnylon Rab Sil weighs 283 grams and its folded size is 15×8 cm, smaller than a 0.5 liter plastic bottle. All ponchos stretch quickly, but don’t forget to tie the neck and sleeves so you don’t get wet in the rain. You’ll need trekking poles to set it up. If you don’t have them, you’ll have to look for suitable branches in the woods.
Pyramid tent. Heavier than a poncho, but will shelter from the sun, precipitation, and wind from all sides.
A classic camping tent. Ideally made of siliconized nylon with a pentagonal shape and a catenary cut. Such a shelter will be the lightest and most compact to pack. Silaneylon is lighter than polyester, and due to the arched seams, less fabric is spent on the tent. A tent size 1×2,5 meters of polyester will also do, if you plan to cook on an open fire or warm yourself by the fire.
Hammock tent. Ideal for pairing with a hammock. The size of hammock tents is usually larger than standard sizes for solo shelters, so this tent will be a bit heavy for an ultra-light style hike. If you plan to hike the trail in colder seasons or in wet and windy areas, look for an all-season tent. It’s versatile. It has special “doors” – pieces of fabric that help create a shelter that protects from all sides.
In addition to awnings, hikers sleep in bivouac bags and minimalist tents, and the more desperate sleep under life preservers.
For a weekend hike
The weekend hike format does not involve long hikes, so you can not save on weight and your own comfort. The main thing is not to go overboard: not to take a huge cotton tent and not to spend half a day setting it up.
What kind of awning would work?
Square, rectangular or pentagonal. Which material you prefer depends on your budget. A sylneylon tent will be lighter and take up less space in your backpack, but it is more expensive and must be handled with care. Choose a size with a reserve, so that under it fit all participants or equipment. And if necessary, was long enough to protect the tent from rain.
A tent for a hammock. An option for small group camping and adepts of using a hammock suspension system.
For camping and outdoor education
For those who are ready to take the most out of outdoor recreation, you need a solid design and a large area of shelter. You won’t have to carry the tent on your back, so you can take a heavy but sturdy frame system that will withstand strong winds, heavy rain, and will resist the onslaught of playing children.
What kind of awning would work?
Awning tent. Serious construction with a metal frame. They take a long time to install and dismantle: they have a lot of parts, and all of them are heavy, because the arcs of quality tents are made of steel. But there are also lightweight models with aluminum tubes that do not weigh more than four pounds. Thanks to the frame of the tents made by specialized brands of tourist tents are stable and well withstand the wind load, unlike its cheaper counterparts the frame does not loosen during the season, and the fabric does not burn out during the week. You can organize a kitchen or dining room, a meeting room or a game zone under the tent. If you want to create a maximum cozy and light atmosphere, use a tent made of blended fabric or cotton, decorate it with garlands and make a photo area.
A square or rectangular tent. It is less convenient for a big company than a tent, but it can be adapted for using with a car. If you want your tent to last a long time and if you take a charcoal grill with you, choose a shelter made of polyester.
For hiking with a hammock
What kind of awning would work?
Specialized for the hammock. Hexagonal hammock tents are the best option for an outboard system. They have enough attachment points to rigidly stretch the shelter. There’s also enough room to fit your gear underneath. Singles should look at the tent from “silicone”, lovers of swinging in a hammock not far from civilization – from polyester.
Square tent. A working option when there is no special one. Any awning can be installed over the hammock, but not the fact that it will work properly. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the size. Choose a square shelter with sides of at least 3.5 meters.
For parking on the beach
A tent for parking on the beach should give good shade and protect from bad weather. You can build a shelter out of sticks and a towel and hide under it from the sun, but it will fall at the first gusts of wind and immediately get wet if it starts to rain. That’s why it’s worth considering a high-quality, mass-produced tent.
What kind of awning would work?
Beach tent. The fabric of such shelters is treated with a special compound. It does not let the ultraviolet radiation, does not burn out under the sun and does not crumble after several trips. There are many modifications of beach tents, but traditionally they are sewn in the form of half a pyramid. And equipped with one or two arcs. The most convenient tents – with a movable axis. They do not need to move from place to place. Footprint is a useful thing. It protects from sand, with it you don’t need to spread a mat or a blanket under the tent. If the tarpaulin is not included with your tent, you can buy it separately. So are extra snow stakes you might need for parking in windy areas.
Awning tent. The most comfortable shelter for camping on the beach. But it is large and high, so if you are lazy and poorly secured tent or save money and buy a tent with plastic arcs, at strong gusts of wind can fly away.
This was a review of tent awnings. This information will help you make your choice and learn a little more about tents and awnings.