Find the perfect tent
GATEHOUSE NEWS SERVICE
Updating your camping gear can be done without breaking the bank.
“(Camping is) a cheap way to get outdoors and relax,” said John Fine, owner of Gone Bananas in Kingston, Mass.
The most popular tents this season are tents that have more than one room, giving campers a living area and a sleeping area, according to Chris Hark, assistant manager at the REI shop in Hingham, Mass. Some tents also have skylights, allowing campers to enjoy the nighttime view without the risk of being eaten by bugs.
“You want quality, you don’t want plastic,” Hark said. “You want a nice nylon tent or other synthetic materials.”
For those who are camping on the hiking trail, bigger tents can weigh hikers down. “Backpackers’ tents are super-lightweight, but they are not usually big enough for a family,” Fine said.
Hark recommends purchasing tents with Duralite poles, which are designed to be easy to transport. Prices for two-person lightweight tents can start at $189. “When you’re going up a mountain, you don’t want a lot of weight,” Hark said.
REI’s most popular tent is the REI Half Dome 2, which is built for two people and costs around $180.
It is important to buy a tent that can last for many years. “I always tell people to buy a tent you’ll grow into,” Hark said.
The tent is bought, but there are still items needed to make any camping trip a success. Below are some of them:
- Sleeping bags and pads: Make sure your sleeping bag is appropriate for the climate. For colder situations, hooded sleeping bags are best. Consider sleeping pads that protect your sleeping bag (and your body) from the hard ground. Don’t forget a pillow.
- Cooking supplies: Hot plates, mugs and pans are all essential if you plan to cook your food. While most public campgrounds come equipped with a grill, it is always good to be prepared. Portable grills are available if the campground doesn’t provide a grill or you are doing your camping on trials rather than in a public area.
- Other essentials: Remember items such as flashlights, toilet paper, a Swiss Army knife, a first aid kit, sunscreen, bug spray and purified water.