Need to Know: Tents


May 18, 2006
Outside Magazine

In the Store: If you're not actually through-hiking the PCT, do you really want an ultralight tent that's smaller than a birdhouse and weighs less than some truck-stop steaks?

Make a list of must-haves and stick to it: Do you want to be able to sit up straight? Are two doors a requirement? How much space do you need for gear?

In the Field: Use an accessory "footprint" (available from most manufacturers) that lets you pitch your tent fly only—saving considerable weight—when severe weather and/or bugs are not in the forecast.

Avoid leaving your tent pitched in strong, fabric-degrading sunshine for days on end.

Treat poles gently when folding and unfolding; chipped edges can damage the precise fit.

At Home: Hand-wash with a mild soap and warm water.

Thoroughly air-dry to prevent mildew.

Store poles unfolded to take tension off the elastic and extend its life.

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