Family Camping Tips – GO Outdoors


Spending a night or 2 camping can be an exciting
way to enjoy the outdoors, but there are a few pieces of equipment and things you need
to know, that will ensure your trip is an enjoyable experience. I’m Jon Simons and I’m a bushcraft instructor,
but this weekend I’m out camping with Go outdoors equipment expert Jenny Dennis. We want your
first family camping trip to be a complete success so we are here to help you choose
the right family tent, and to give you some tips on pitching. Lets go over and talk to
Jenny and find out more. Hello, I’m Jenny, I’m one of GO Outdoors’
equipment experts, I’m also a keen outdoor enthusiast and experienced camper. Hi Jenny, this dome tent would make a really
comfortable home for the weekend. What are the advantages of this tent design? Hi John, yes, this is the Atakama 5, it’s
a classic dome design, and like all dome tents it offers a good compromise between internal
space and stability. Dome tents are reasonably easy to pitch, they
have two poles that cross at the apex of the tent. This crossing increases the stability
of the tent. Family dome tents will often have fibreglass
poles that are suitable for most conditions and they keep the cost of the tent down.
Alloy poles tend to be stronger and more durable, but they are more expensive and are mostly
supplied with high-end tents. I’ve always found that some dome tents can
take a little longer to pitch. JD. Yes that’s true, so another popular
design is the tunnel tent. They are generally the quickest to pitch and give you a lot of
space, especially headroom that extends the length of the tent. Probably the best way
to demonstrate this is if we pitch this tunnel and have a look. OK, but, before we start there’s a few general
tips about tent pitching that are worth mentioning. The most important tip is best carried out
at home, before you leave for a campsite: make sure you have all the parts to your tent
before you leave home. Also, practise pitching your tent and read
through the instructions that come with it. At the campsite try to find a level piece
of ground and check over the pitch; imagine what would happen after 24hrs of rain and
don’t pitch where a puddle might form. Also, try to avoid pitching under trees – the
sap will damage your tent – and remove any large stones or twigs from the ground. It’s
a good idea to use a durable footprint like this [squats and shows footprint] to help
further protect the life of your groundsheet. OK Jenny, I’ll follow your lead, lets pitch
this tunnel tent. Lay out footprint and then tent (doors closed)
Peg out taut, starting from one corner Open doors slightly
Assemble poles, insert middle pole and set aloft
Push remaining poles through sleeves working from centre
Close doors and peg out guy lines Now even speeded up that’s a very quick
and easy tent to pitch! So, Jenny, I can see this is a very spacious
design and there is plenty of room for entertaining a young family if the weather is bad. But
how stable is this tent? Well, that’s an important point. You must
always peg out the guy lines on a tunnel tent, regardless of the conditions, also it’s
worth trying to pitch a tunnel with either the tail, or nose into the wind. Tunnel tents generally come with either fibreglass
or steel poles, and the additional strength of steel is definitely preferable if you are
going to use the tent on exposed coastline or in the hills. In fact if you intend to do a lot of family
camping in more exposed areas then there are family tents that use a stronger combination
of poles, like the tent we slept in last night. Lets go and take a look and see if those teas
Jon made earlier are still warm! JS. Our tent for this weekend uses a greater
number of poles than a standard dome: you can see that the poles cross in several places
and provide this tent with even more stability. JD. This stronger tent design usually features
fiberglass poles, but the greater number of poles makes the tent a little heavier and
a little more complicated to pitch. JS. You can see that between tunnel and dome
variations there are pros and cons of each design and your camping experience will benefit
from choosing the right tent for you and your family. Looking beyond the overall design it is important
to choose a tent that is large enough for your family; for example, if there are 4 of
you and you like to spread out and enjoy a little extra space, our advice would be to
go ‘two up’ and get a 6 person tent. It’s also worth considering outer or flysheet
fabrics. All of our tents are waterproof and most family tents use nylon or polyester with
a waterproof coating on the outer fabric. This combination is both lightweight, and
quick and easy to dry. Many high-end luxury family tents use poly
cotton flysheets, which are heavier, but more durable. Poly cotton is ideal for camping
in warmer climates as natural cotton fibers reduce the risk of condensation and help the
tent ‘breathe’. Whichever flysheet fabric you opt for, when
combined with a sewn-in groundsheet, you’ll find that modern family tents are excellent
at keeping out rain and wind. Yet, even with poly-cotton it’s normal for
all tents to suffer from a little condensation. This moisture build up on the inside of the
tent, usually the flysheet, is best minimised by using doors and vents to encourage air
circulation. Good tent ventilation is also a useful design
feature if you have young children who still sleep in the daytime. JD. Thanks John, yes, most family tents come
with a number of design features. Alongside air vents and multiple entrances, other useful
features to look out for are removable sleeping compartments, storage pockets, clear PVC windows
and optional mesh doors. JD. We hope that you now feel more confident
to select the right family tent, and pitch your ‘home from home’ in the great outdoors.
Choosing the right tent for your family is an important decision that will help provide
days and weeks of enjoyment. Happy Camping.

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