Welcome to a new part of Liberty and Lunch: Advice! In this column we will attempt to answer your questions about all sorts of adventure and food related topics. If you have a question that you’d like to see answered by the opinionated folks behind L+L, shoot us a quick email on the Contact page.
My wife has never been camping before and I haven’t been proper tent camping in years. The Francis Marion National Forest is really close to where we live, and it seems like a perfect place for us to get away and immerse ourselves in nature for a bit. I’d like to start very simply with a one-night camping trip. I can borrow most supplies we’ll need from friends but I’d like to look at getting us a tent. Tent shopping is pretty daunting, as there are SO many options. Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for buying a first tent? We certainly don’t mind spending money for quality, but it’s hard to know where to start.
This is a fantastic question and a great into to begin discussing purchasing your first pieces of camping gear. A tent is the center of camping and it’s important to enjoy, trust and take care of your tent. I’ve compiled some research in addition to my personal experience and would start by recommending these three tents as great starters: the Big Agnes Fly Creek, the REI Quarter Dome and the Marmot Limelight.
In discussing tents there are two approaches to take: the short answer and the philosophical discussion. First, a few things you must consider when buying your first (or last!) tent:
A tent is a big purchase. It’s your home away from home – it’s your shelter, literally sometimes, from the storm. The decision of the which tent to buy shouldn’t be made alone. Go to the store with your partner and get their opinion. You both must like the tent, or at least compromise on it, to be satisfied and happy to sleep in it.
When you’re at the store, try each tent on! It must fit you, make you comfy, and just feel right. You’ll know your new tent when you see it. When you buy a tent you’re making an investment, and if you take good care of it and respect it, your tent will last for twenty years or more.
Readers: Thanks for making Advice happen! If you have comments about my advice in purchasing your first tent, or specific questions about tents, please leave a comment.