Once you have decided on the type of tent that will work best for your family and the size that you need, there are other things that you need to take into consideration before you purchase a tent.  Make sure that you check out these five things before making a final decision about a family camping tent:

1. Shape – Tents come in several different shapes including traditional A-line, round (also called geodesic) and wall.  When you’re choosing the shape remember that if you do buy a round tent, you will need to buy a tent that is one size larger than you think you need to accommodate for the space that you lose having a round floor.

2. What material the poles are made of – The best tent poles are usually made of aluminum or fiberglass because they are light and easy to fix if they bend or break. Many tent poles made from aluminum or fiberglass come with repair kits so that if they do bend or break they will be easy to fix.

3. The fabric that the tent is made from – Almost all tents are made of nylon, but higher quality tents will use thick nylon or rip stop fabric instead of basic nylon. A good tent should have an outer shell made of waterproofed nylon and should have a nylon mesh inner lining to help with air flow and to keep bugs out.

4. The zippers – Always double check the zippers before you buy a tent to make sure that they function properly and that they slide easily. The zippers should be set into the tent securely with no fraying or loosening. The zippers should also be made of a rust proof material so check the product specifications if you’re not sure they are.

5. The seams- The seams on a tent are very important.  All the seams on a high quality tent will be reinforced with nylon tape.  The nylon tape should be sewn into every seam to help make it more waterproof.  The tent should also come with a tube of seam sealant that you will need to apply every year before you go out camping.

Because the seams on your tent are so important you should set up the tent at home before you go camping and turn the hose on it, stretch it, take it down and put it up several times, leave it in the sun for a few hours and do everything else that you would do to the tent on an actual camping trip to it. Then see how well the seams are holding up. If you see any fraying or notice the seams ripping or weakening then take the tent back and get another.

Your tent is an essential piece of camping gear so it pays to take some time, do some research, and make sure that you pick the right one for your family.

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