Category Archives: camping

A camping tent for each season

One of the most important factors when choosing a camping tent is definitely the season or time of the year in which you intend to use it. Choosing the right tent can mean stay dry during a big storm or avoid getting wet with the condensation during the hot sunny days. That’s why, before buying a tent, is good to know the differences between the different types of tents depending on the season in which you want to use it.

Tents manufacturers labels tents as one-season, three-season and four-season.

One-season Tents

One-season tents are the lightest but also the weakest tents on the market. They are usually used only during summer to protect from the dangerous UV rays or from the beach sand. For that reason they are often called sun shelters.

These kind of tents usually have a large opening in the front and the walls are made of breathable fabrics.

Lightspeed-screenhouse-tent

Lightspeed Screenhouse Tent

Most of the beach tents are also one-season tents. They are similar to sun shelters, from which they differ only for having a bottom floor that protects from hot sand.

If you are going to buy a tent to be used on the beach always check its UPF Rating, which is the standard that measures the protection against UVA-UVB Rays. The best rating is UPF 40 – 50+ which means that the fabric blocks 97-99% of the UV radiations.

Being very lightweight one-season tents are very easy to carry. Mounting them is quite simple because they usually have a pop up opening mechanism.

One-season tents are very suitable for a trip on the beach, for a nap in the backyard, or to take part in festivals during the summer season.

Three-season Tents

The most commonly used type of camping tent is the three-season tent, so called because it can be used from spring to autumn.

You can find three-season tents of every shape, weight and measures.

These kind of tents are usually equipped with large mesh panels for a great ventilation, to prevent condensation while keeping out insects.

Mountainsmith-Morrison-2-3-season-tent

The two versions of the Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Three-season Tent

Most of the three-season tents are made with water-repellent fabrics and sometimes even waterproof fabrics. When they are equipped with extra rainfly they can withstand downpours and even light snow. The floor of three seasons tents is usually made of waterproof nylon but in some cases it is better to add an additional tarp.

The pole structure of three-season tents is more robust than the one-season tents. You can find tents with fiberglass poles, steel poles and aluminum. Fiberglass poles are lightweight and flexible, but also the weakest. They are usually featured in pop up tents and freestanding tents. Steel poles are heavier but more robust and are featured in cabin tents. Aluminum poles are the lightest but also the most durable kind of poles and that’s why they are featured in most of the backpacking tents.

Three-season tents can be found in different shapes and dimensions.

Typical lightweight and trekking tent designs: 1. geodesic tent, 2. dome tent, 3. tunnel tent, 4. ridge tent, 5. pyramid tent - Source Wikipedia

Typical lightweight and trekking tent designs: 1. geodesic tent, 2. dome tent, 3. tunnel tent, 4. ridge tent, 5. pyramid tent – Source Wikipedia

The most common used are dome tents. Cabin tents are mostly used by family campers.

Four-season Tents

If you intend to camp mainly during winter or on the snow then your only choice is a four-season tent. These are the strongest camping tents that you can find.

MSR Fury Four-Season Tent

MSR Fury Four-season tent

They can also be used in summer but are design to withstand strong winds and substantial snow loads.

Four-season tents can be either single-wall or double-wall.

The first are lighter and usually used by alpine climbers to shed snow more than rain. Their walls are made of waterproof fabrics and don’t need a rainfly. They keep you warm in the snow but are less breathable than the double-wall.

Double-wall tents are heavier but also more breathable than single-wall. They are usually dome or geodesic shaped  to eliminate flat roof space where snow can collect.

Since the four-season tents are designed to ensure maximum shelter from wind, rain or snow they features less mesh panels but are provided of air vents that can be opened if necessary to prevent the condensation.

Choosing a four-season tent it’s not an easy task. They vary for the type of fabric used, the weight, the shape and the design of the pole structure, and lots of other features that must be carefully evaluated on the basis of the type of camping you intend to do.

You can find a very well-made guide on how to choose the best four-season tent here.

Don’t Use Pop Up Tents For Winter Camping

Winter camping, especially snow camping can be amazing as much as camping during the good season. The landscapes are beautiful, the trails are definitely less crowded than in summer and surely you will not have to worry about mosquitoes or other bugs.

Winter Camping

Marmot Alpinist 2p – 4 season tent on the snow

But while a weekend of camping during the summer can certainly be improvised, even by those who have never planted a stake, and the worst that can happen is you find yourself soaking wet due to a sudden downpour, winter and snow camping trips must be planned and organized very carfully.

Paths, weather, clothing, gear, food, every detail must be studied and prepared in advance if you don’t want to have a dreadful experience.

If you want some tips on how to prepare your camping trip on the snow you can read this winter camping and backpacking tips article.

Please, don’t use Pop Up Tents for Snow Camping.

As you may guess from its title, this is a review site dedicated to pop up tents. I’m am a huge fan of pop up tents. You can use them almost everywhere and almost in every weather conditions.

Except for winter camping and snow camping.

In fact, the main features, lightness and flexibility, that make pop up tents so versatile, so that can be used in spring, summer and even in autumn, instead become weaknesses when it comes to use them in very extreme conditions such as those that you may encounter during a hiking trip to high altitude.

Their flexible structure and the lightness of their materials makes pop up tents unsuitable to withstand the weight of snow or heavy rains of the winter.

Most of the pop up tents are single layer and even if they are waterproofed, winter rains and snow are quite another thing than the spring rains or even summer storms.

The poles used in pop up tents are usually made of carbon fiberglass. Yes, they are very flexible and can withstand strong gusts of wind but they can easily break under the weight of a large snowfall.

That’s why I say “don’t use pop up tents for winter camping“.

What kind of tent should you buy then?

A Four Season Backpacking Tent Is The Best Choice For Winter Camping

The best tent you can buy for winter camping or snow camping is a four season tent.

This kind of tent is designed specifically for withstand the worst weather conditions.

You can find two kind of four season tent, single layer and double layer.

The single layer or single wall tent has one layer of water resistant or waterproof fabric. It is lighter than a double layer tent and usually faster and easier to  set up. On the other hand they are colder and less roomy than a double layer tent.

You should choose a single walled tent for shorter trips, where moving light and fast is a priority like long ski tours or lightweight alpine climbs.

Here you can find a selection of the best single wall 4 season tents.

A double layer four season tent provides higher weather protection than a single walled because it is made with two layers of fabrics. The inner tent is usually breathable and water repellant to make the vapor pass through, reducing the possibility of raining back down on your head. The outer tent is waterproof and protects you against the icy winds, snow and rain.

A double layer tent is heavier than a single layer but it is warmer and more confortable.

You should choose a double layer tent for trips where you will be in the same camp for several nights.

Here you can find a selection of the best double wall 4 season tents.

Four season double-wall tents are equipped with vestibules, usually made of the same waterproofed fabric of the outer tent which provide a dry space for entry and exit the tent and store gear and boots.

Another detail to think about when choosing a four season tent is ventilation. Staying inside a tent involves the formation of condensation due to the humidity of our breath. The greater the number of vents in the tent, the lower will be the formation of condensation.

Whatever the tent you buy, it is best practice to mount it several times before using it on the hik,  maybe in your backyard.  This will allow you to be familiar with all the steps in order to be faster and more secure when necessary.

Regarding the price, four-season tents are much more expensive than three-season tents. This is due to the higher quality and cost of the fabrics and poles.

They can range from 250 up to 5000 dollars.

Some of these tents are intended only for the professionals of the extreme hiking or for expeditions in the high mountains, others are more affordable even for amateur hikers.

That’s another reason why winter camping trips must be planned properly.

It would be quite annoying discover, in the middle of a snowstorm, that the tent you bought at a very bargain price, is not as solid and confortable as you expected.

Lightspeed Periapsis 4 Instant Tent Review

An instant tent very easy to set up is the Periapsis 4 tent produced by Lightspeed Outdoors. She is not properly a pop up tent because you cannot throw her in the air to open. But since she is one of the easiest tents to set up and one of the lightest backpacking tents, I wanted to include it in my a pop up tents reviews.

Features Of The LightSpeed Periapsis 4 Instant Tent

Lightspeed Periapsis 4 Instant Tent

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The Periapsis 4 Instant Tent is 4 person dome tent with a floor space of 62 square feet and a height of 55 inches. With a weight of 14 Lbs is very easy to carry in a backpack.

The tent features the patented Lightspeed pole system, with all the poles built into the tent, so that you don’t have to worry about missing any pole. A separate pole is provided to support the dual-peak rain fly that fully covers both sides of the tent.

All the poles converge to the central hub that allows user to set up the tent very quickly and easily. All you have to do is pull up the hub and press it until the tent shape is formed.

The Periapsis 4 is provided of a very large front door, two matching mesh windows on the sides and one window in the rear wall. The front door and all the windows are double, with a zipper screen and a zipper cover, that allow you to have the maximum protection against bugs and a very enjoyable ventilation.

The tent is provided of internal side pockets to store stuff and gears.

The tent and fly material is 190T PU 1500mm, taped fly seams, and the floor is a 120 g PE.

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How To Set Up a Periapsis 4 Instant Tent.

Setting up the Periapsis 4 Tent is very easy and quickly to do. You only need four steps:

  1. Lay the tent down flat with the central hub upright. Be sure that the poles are fully extended and the joints are locked;
  2. Lift the central hub to eye level and press firmly both the upper and the lower part togheter until the body of the tent has formed;
  3. Once connected thread the hook through the loop of central hub;
  4. Lay the rainfly over the tent and stake out the guy lines and the corners of the tent.

If you need more information on how to set up and take down a Periapsis 4 Instant tent you can download this instructions manual or take a look at this Youtube video:

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Small Problems And Great Customer Service

Although the rain fly covers very well all the tent, ensuring an overall good water resistance, some Amazon’s customers have experienced some leaks during heavy rain, specifically from the elastic loops which keep the windows fabric rolled in fair weather.

One of these customers reported that Lightspeed Customer Service was very prompt to solve the problem suggesting to apply seam sealer to the elastic/toggles on both the exterior and the interior of the tent.

LightSpeed Customer Service also offered the chance to trade the Periapsis 4 for a Lightspeed Vermont 4 Pro tent.

Other customers reported some damages to some other parts of the tent. In both cases LightSpeed Customer Service has contacted the customer and asked the opportunity to solve the problem.

As we all know all the products can be affected by a manufacturing defect or damage.

LightSpeed Outdoors customer service has proved to be very professional and customer oriented. Knowing that a company takes care of all the customers in a such professional way is one more reason to choose a LightSpeed’s product.

Conclusion

The Periapsis 4 tent by Lightspeed Outdoors is a very good tent. Very confortable, very easy to set up and take down. The tent is especially suitable for summer camping but she also works well in case of rain. The only thing you need to do is to take care of the sealing of the seams.

If you want to read what Amazon’s customer say about the Periapsis 4 tent click on the link below.

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Backyard Camping With Your Kids

Camping with your kids can be an amazing experience or an awful failure. If you want to introduce your kids to camping without taking any risks, nothing is better than organizing a campout in your backyard.

Camping in Chris' Yard

Photo Courtesy of ©Flickr.com/thirteenofclubs

The atmosphere certainly will not be the same of a campsite in the great outdoors. The brisk air that you feel in te middle of a forest is definitely not to be compared with that of your neighborhood, but to camp in your own backyard also presents its advantages.

One of these is that you avoid long trips to reach your favorite campsite. That’s important just in the case your kid doesn’t like to stay out all night. You can always go back home and make him sleep in his bed.

Another advantage is that you can benefit of all the things you have in your home. And when it comes to children you always need something.

How to plan a backyard camping with your kids.

Even if it is not a real camping trip you need to plan it in details to avoid any last minute surprise.

First check the weather. One option is to take a look at your local weather channel. Check the forecast for rain an visibility. If you are a tech geek you can also find lots of weather apps both for your iphone or android phone.

Second check your tent. If it’s been a long time since the last time you used it, open it and double check that all parts are in place and that the tent is not torn or damaged.

If you don’t have a tent you can buy one at your local camping store or if you want directly on Amazon.com or other websites. You don’t need a very expensive tent. You can find some, well under a hundred dollars. If you are a beginner and don’t want to spend time on how to set up a tent you can buy a pop up tent. It opens within 2 or 3 seconds and you are done. If you want, here you can find a review of some of the best pop up tents on Amazon.

Third, other gear. Be sure that you have gathered all the other stuff you need for a real camping experience. Sleeping bags or bedrools, pillows, pajamas, flashlights, binoculars and of course can’t live without toys or Linus’ blanket. If you forget something don’t worry, you are a few steps from home.

Fourth, the food. It’s not real camping without a campfire or a barbeque on which you can cook burgers, hot dogs and of course the fabolous s’mores. Being in your own backyard also has the advantage of having a refrigerator or freezer nearby in which you can find your kid’s favorite icecream.

Backyard camping activities.

Camping in your backyard means that you also have to plan lots of fun activities to do with your kids.

Set up the campsite with your kids.  Ask your kids to help you set up the tent. It’s a funny way to teach him how to do it without the stress of finishing before dark. Show them all the parts and let them try to pitch the stakes and adjust the guy lines. If you have a pop up tent let them throw it in the air. For them it’s lot of fun. Let them unroll and try the sleeping bags. Are they ok? Then let’s move on.

Games. You can plan lot of games: Hide and seek, kickball, bocce. If you have your kids’ friends with you can organize a soccer match or an egg and spoon race. But if you want to make our campout memorable you have to create a treasure hunt, Minecraft style, one of the hottest games for kids. You will have to work a little during the week but the result will be amazing.

Eating together.  Eating together with family and friends around a campfire is one of the most beautiful things of camping. Cooking hot dogs, roasting beef and making s’mores are almost mandatory. But if you want to take advantage of being in your backyard you can order pizzas and your children will be delighted.

After dinner. Stargazing is popular after dinner but you have to be prepared. You need to know at least two or three constellations if you want to impress your kids. Singing funny songs or telling ghost stories around the fire are also a must.

Finally, sleeping in the tent or maybe not. Camping means sleeping in a tent. If it is the first time for your kids it may not be so easy. Be sure that your kids feel confortable. If they are scared by shadows or sounds don’t force them to sleep in the tent.

On the other hand what is the benefit of being in your own backyard? Being able to return inside whenever you want.

Five Questions Before Buying A Tent – A Guide For Beginner Campers

As the title suggests this article is intended for first time campers. If you are a professional camper you can choose to abandon the page or if you want (I would appreciate very much) you can leave a comment with your suggestions to the novices.

Okay, you’ve finally decided to give vent to your desire for freedom and take your first adventure in the outdoors, maybe together with your children or your grandchildren, and of course you are in front of the first important decision that an adventurer must take: what kind of tent should I buy?

The problem is not easy to solve. At the very least requires a bit ‘of reflection unless you want to find yourself in the middle of the rain with a beach tent or spend hundreds of dollars on a tent for extreme excursions when your intention is to set up an overnight camping for your kids in the backyard.

Of course these are exaggerations. But sometimes reality exceeds imagination.

It is for this reason that a beginner camper must ask himself these five questions before buying a tent:

  • What type of camping are you going to do?
  • What season are you going to camp?
  • How many people will be using the tent?
  • How much gear are you going to put into the tent?
  • Is the tent easy to set up?

What type of camping are you going to do?

Knowing what type of camping you are going to do is essential for choosing the right tent. If you are planning to car camping with all your family the weight of the tent may not be a determining factor. Usually a campsite is not so far from the parking area and you can carry the tent easily.

Coleman 14x10 Foot 8 Person Instant Tent

In this case you can choose a cabin tent which is best suited for established campgrounds and has a large square design with high ceilings and walls. It can be a little more difficult to set up but it gives you more room floor.

If you want more flexibility you can buy a dome tent, which can be moved around after set-up. They don’t usually have canopies and have less head room but are stable and designed to shed wind and all kind of precipitation.

 

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If you are going to hike or climb a mountain then the weight of the tent is major factor.

In this case you need to buy a very light tent. It can be a dome shape tent, or a pop up tent which are smaller and lighter, easy to set up and easy to carry if backpacking. They don’t usually have a lot of space inside and the height is relative. But they can provide protection in almost all weather conditions.

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What season are you going to camp?

Another important factor you need to consider when choosing a tent is how many seasons you will use the tent. There are three options:

Summer Tent – This kind of tent is designed to be used only during the good season (Hot and humid weather only). It’s lightweight and easy to set up. Usually have a lot of mesh for ventilation.

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ALPS Mountaineering Morada 4-person 3 season Tent

Three Seasons Tent – If you are going to camp between May and September you can choose a 3-Season Tent. It is designed to perform well both in wind and rain condition but not with snow. It usually has a rain fly that protects from rain and winds, a skylight window for extra light and a vestibule to store more gear.

 

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Four Season Tent – The Four Season Tent is the strongest of all tents. It is made to withstand the worst weather conditions: heavy snow falls, high winds, cold temperatures, intense UV exposure. This is the tent for mountain expeditions. It’s more expensive than the others but it’s worth every penny when you are on top of a mountain or in the middle of a snow storm.

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How many people will be using the tent?

The number of persons who will sleep in the tent is another factor to be considered. If you are going to camp with the family you can choose a cabin tent which is larger and more comfortable. It is heavier than a Dome Tent and needs more time to be set up.

If you are going to camp with your girlfriend or spouse than you can choose a pop up tent for two or three person. It is easy to carry in your backpack and easy to set up.

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How much gear are you going to put into the tent?

If you are planning to go car camping with your family or friends probably you will bring with you a lot of gear to rendere il vostro campeggio più comodo. Portable chairs and table, a cooler, a matrass, a camping stove. It is clear that you need a lot of space inside your tent. For this kind of camping you must choose a very roomy tent, like a cabin family tent or a dome tent.

If you are going to hike for a few days probably you will only bring with you the essential stuff. This will reduce the weight and the volume of your backpack. In this case a backpacking tent or a pop up tent is your tent. They are light and easy to set up even difficult situations.

Is the tent easy to set up?

Probably, the biggest problem a beginner camper faces is “how to set up a tent”.

On the market you can find a huge variety of tents each one with different instructions on how to set them up.

Genji Sports Pop Up Outdoor Family Tent

Some of them are very easy to set up like the pop up tents and the instant tents. After reading the instructions or viewing a set up video on Youtube you will be able to have them ready in very few minutes.

Others, like some kind of backpacking tents or big family tents, require more time to learn how to install them properly. In some cases you will need someone to help you set them up.

 

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In both cases I can suggest to take a look at the producer website and find the set up video for the kind of tent you intend to buy. If you cannot find it there you can find plenty of videos on Youtube.

My other suggestion is to set up your tent before going to camping, in your backyard or at home. This will save a lot of time and also a lot of hanger when you will be in the campsite and will leave you all the time to enjoy your very first night under the sky.

Zaltana Pop Up Tent With Inner Tent: High Quality Tent At A Low Price

The Zaltana Pop Up Tent with inner tent is one of the best choices if you are looking for a pop up tent.

Zaltana Pop Up Tent with inner tent

It is among the few pop up tents with two layers of fabric, the fly sheet, made of waterproof Polyester, and the inner tent, made of Polyester and Breathable no see um mesh.  This makes the Pop Up Tent with inner tent by Zaltana one of the strongest pop up tents available in the market.

When you buy it, it is folded in a 30” diameter dish with two carry handles and two straps for carrying it on your back. The dimension of the disk allows you to fit it into the trunk of your car (not a small one). The weight is 5 Lbs.

The Zaltana tent pop up itself in a second. You then need to anchor it with the steel pegs provided with the tent. The skeleton of the tent is made of fiber glass pole of 6mm of diameter which ensure strength and flexibility to the tent.

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When opened and set up the Zaltana pop up tent shows its inside space. It is designed for two persons but if the person is tall the tent can accommodate only one person or two children.

The two layers of fabric works really well assuring the tent with a great air flow. The blue outer flysheet, made of 190T Waterproof Polyester, PU1000 mm,  covers the inner mesh tent. The inner layer is made of 190T P/T, 450mm+ breathable/ no see um mesh.

The inner mesh is provided of two little pouches, left and right, for storing small items.

The black floor is made of 150D Oxford PU1000mm. It is strong enough to be set up on the gravel but it is advisable to buy a footprint or tarp.

The front entrance door is sealed with two zippers, one per layer, with the external one covered with an overlapping nylon to prevent leakage.

Taking down the Zaltana Pop Up Tent with inner Tent is as easy as the set up. You can easily learn how to do it by taking a look at the instructions printed on the tent bag.

Instruction manual printed on the tent bag of the Zaltana Pop Up Tent

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Probably, as with all the other kind of tents, it is advisable to practice the movements several times at home to avoid any problem during camping.

If you want to learn how to fold a pop up tent this Youtube video could be very helpful.

The overall impression is that the Zaltana pop up tent with inner tent is one of the best tents, with a high quality at a very low price. It is easy to set up and to fold it down. It works well with good weather condition and light rain. This pop up tent is the ideal choice for camping on the beach, in the woods during the good seasons, or attend to a concert or event. It is also ideal for camping in the backyard of your house, to introduce your sons or grandsons to camping.

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