Hot answers tagged

51

I've been a hammock backpacker for about three and a half years now. I love it. There's not a better way to backpack in the summer in my opinion. But despite numerous advantages to hammocking, there are some downsides (tradeoffs): The biggest potential downside, as others have mentioned, is heat loss from the underside of the hammock, something my friends ...


47

I suggest using both the car and the tent together. A car will lose heat fastest through the windows, so use the tent to cover them (and the top). The windows are a thin single layer of glass, while the panels trap a layer of air between the metal outer and a lining that is a better insulator than glass. The panels also block radiative heat loss from the ...


44

Absolutely not! Fire is the obvious risk, but carbon monoxide poisoning should be taken seriously as well. If the weather is bad, at the very least cook under the vestibule with maximum ventilation. Others have brought up a great point about bear country. It's recommended to cook and eat at least 100 yards away from your camp site when there may be bears ...


43

If you want to reduce your visual impact on the other people in the area, choose a tent with colors that match the landscape you're going to camp in. Green in forest or other vegetated areas, brown for the desert, white for winter camping. However, if you are in trouble and want to be found, it helps to have a very bright tent that stands out. A tent you ...


36

Outside more room left inside for other stuff. More likely to rip a hole in your gear when you toss your pack down. More options for weight placement (which can lead to off-blanced pack.) More likely to fall off. Inside Better protection from the elements, rocks, branches. Weight is closer to your center of gravity (and usually better balanced). ...


33

One reason (and I don't know enough to suggest this is the main reason) is for identification. When putting a tent up you may have a bundle of fabric that you need to set down on an uneven surface, sort and erect. Having it in black distinguishes it from the varied colours of the tent walls so you can always place your tent floor down, without having to ...


32

I think you pretty much covered it. Advantages of a tent: Keeps more rain/snow out (particularly if you have little skill in tent/tarp setup) Keeps out insects. For me, this is the big one - in spring time when the mosquitoes are fierce, being confined to your sleeping bag with a net over your face is not nearly as pleasant as lounging in your enclosed ...


31

If it's raining or very humid you are probably going to have to put up with some condensation, but to try and reduce it, look for ways to minimise water vapour and increase ventilation. The following may help, but obviously not all will be appropriate for the conditions you are camping in. Sources of water vapour: Combustion of fuel in a stove and steam ...


31

The best way is to reduce (actually to remove) any kind of attractions they like: food and water. If they cannot find anything useful, than they will stop releasing scents that attracted other ants. This means, you have to make sure there is no (open) water or drinks nearby, no sugar in any way, and no food in general. Keep everything enclosed, in such a ...


28

The general rule I use is if your tent needs to be heated to be comfortable, then you're "doing it wrong" and should have gotten a better tent. There isn't really any weather (especially backpacking, where weight matters more than it does when unpacking from a car) where the correct tent and sleeping equipment can't be made pretty cozy. However, "I told ...


27

Hammocks are cold. The weight of your body compresses the clothes or sleeping bag, and air circulates underneath you, as opposed to a tent where you usually have a pad and the ground for insulation. It seems like it would be tough to stay dry in the rain in a hammock. It's nice to have a tent to get into in the rain in between hiking/playing and sleeping if ...


26

For tents that erect outer first, pitching in the rain is no different to any other time, just don't leave the dry inner out in the rain while putting the outer up. The outer will get wet on both sides anyway. To make this easier a bit of forward planning is useful, like pack the inner and outer separately so that you can just leave the inner in the car ...


25

The answers regarding flammability (and the ensuing death trap) and carbon monoxide poisoning are correct. Even in foul weather, cook outside your tent. If you do lots of camping in bad weather (New Zealand's West Coast?) get a tent with a vestibule. There is one additional problem: In bear country, you never want to cook too close to your tent, because if ...


25

I grew up car-camping in a frame tent (slept 4 in about 1/4 of the floor area). Those things are heavy. Seriously heavy. Lifting the fabric onto the central pole with that half-extended was hard work for someone strong. The poles had to be pretty robust too, as the pitching process involved one or two poles taking most of the weight at various times. ...


24

I hadn't seen any of these but a quick Google does indeed seem to bring up a few! From a quick glance around, though this isn't an authoritative answer, it seems that 5 season tents are specifically designed for the harshness of Arctic-like climates, rather than a 4 season tent being designed more for your average winter in non-arctic conditions. I guess in ...


24

There are all kinds of people who put up the fly first, then crouch under it putting up the inside. It's generally a very unpleasant experience from all I have heard, what with the crouching, crawling, and being rained on at least while getting the fly up. I handle it completely differently, because I have a free standing tent. On arrival at a site the very ...


24

It's because the sunlight will damage the tents fabric over time. UV damage occurs when long term exposure to the sun damages the fabric and thread of your tent or rain fly. The fabric will become thin and brittle. If you tent or rain fly seems to rip for no reason or with very light pressure, this could be the reason. The outside of the fabric will often ...


23

If you are stealth camping, it helps to have a tent that blends in. If you are camping where there is hunting, it helps to have a tent with bright, high contrast so that you can be sure you are seen. Also (thanks to Ben Crowell for the comment) you may want tents that blend in for high traffic areas to disturb the scenery less. High contrast tents can be ...


22

No, a tent will not give you any protection from bears that want what's inside. If you want to use one thats fine, but don't go getting a false sense of security. In some ways a tent could be an attractant if: You have eaten anything in it over the last 6 months. You keep good smelling clothes in it (like the ones you wash in nice smelling detergent). ...


22

The key advantage of a geodesic design is the pole configuration can support a greater static load. This means they are favoured for mountaineering expeditions because they can withstand a heavy snow fall (compared with a tunnel design that would sag with the weight of the snow between each pole). Tunnel tents are preferred for polar expeditions as they ...


22

Any pole will have a fractionally greater chance of attracting lightning than a piece of flat ground or a dome tent - but this doesn't mean the increased chance is that high. If you are in the middle of an entirely flat field and your tent pole is the highest object for miles, then it will be a slight risk, but some points to consider: If you are anywhere ...


22

Why I use a tent in three easy-to-understand bullets Mosquitoes Ticks Mosquitoes Yes, I could carry netting, but at that point the tarp + netting would be both more hassle and more weight than my tent. (Which is where Ryley is 100% wrong about a tent not protecting me from nature. I've never had mosquitoes in my tent)


22

A tent's UV resistance isn't for you, it's for the tent. High-energy UV rays will break down many synthetic and natural textiles over time. UV resistant fabrics are not as susceptible to this breakdown, and will last longer with repeated exposure to sunlight. UV resistant fabrics are great if you're looking for long-lasting gear that will be used in ...


21

Basically you should never find yourself in such a situation under normal circumstances. Tents are supposed to keep you warm, and not the other way round. If you are doing that more often then I'd say you have the wrong gear being used at the wrong place. Yet, there may rise a situation when you need to do it, there are ways to do it, but honestly you'll ...


20

Footprints: Zero? Sure. One? Good. Two? Nice. Three? Great. Four? Bomb-proof! My point is this: if you have a waterproof floor on your tent, you don't need any footprint. The trouble is, you are subjecting your tent floor to the abuses of rocks, sticks, sea-shells, brambles, or whatnot - meaning it will quickly get micro-tears and perforations. Enter the ...


20

I suppose the two main factors are how comfortable the location is and how likely the location is to have problems should the weather play an influence. For comfort, the best location will be flat, free from bumps, and objects such as sharp rocks or sticks which can damage the groundsheet. Even with a decent sleeping pad or mattress, it isn't very nice when ...


20

The car, mostly because you can use the heater. You will want to make sure that the exhaust is clear to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and only run it for a short periods at a time. This also helps keep the engine warm, as it is much harder to start an engine when it is really cold out. If the the engine quit working, like say you hit the oil pan and froze ...


19

The difference between a single wall tent and a double wall tent is the rain fly (or lack thereof). A single wall tent has only one layer of fabric, this layer provides protection from the elements, and is the only walls of the tent. A double wall tent usually has a mesh inner tent with a fly that sits on top to protect you from the elements. The benefits ...


19

When I decided to trash my tent, which was so old and was no longer of any use for active camping, I and my mentor in trekking, firstly used the same tent to teach kids of how to pitch a tent. I also used some part of the tent fabric to make a sort-of a sand bag for me, which I used to tie to my legs during my running sessions. I have also used a piece of ...


19

I wouldn't buy an ultralight tent if you're going to put the tent through severe trauma or require significant space (e.g. to use chairs inside). I do think the main difference in buying is cultural; unless you are poking it with sticks tents shouldn't experience that much damage. The modern ultralights should be good for most any weather outside of ...


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