Choosing the proper tent depends primarily on where and how it will be used. For example, an expedition dome tent is built to withstand high mountain winds and snows, whereas a family tent is built for comfort and good ventilation in a summer environment. Other considerations are:
Polyester fabrics withstand exposure to ultraviolet rays better than nylon tents and are the best choice for longterm campsites. Nylon tents are generally lighter in weight.
Dome tents are more aerodynamic and stable, with a sleeker profile to shed water and wind effectively. They have great interior space and headroom, and their floor plans offer storage capacity for your gear. Cabin tents are ideal for established campgrounds or base camp. Their large, square designs have high ceilings and vertical walls. They have plenty of space for cots, chairs and coolers.
All L.L.Bean tents have breathable side walls and roofs to minimize condensation, and mesh windows and doors to promote cross-ventilation. These ventilated areas are protected by a full-coverage waterproof rain fly. For maximum ventilation, stake out all corners and tie-downs.
The size and weight of your shelter should correspond to your chosen activity, the number of people using the tent and how much gear you'll need to store. Lightweight design and compactibility are key considerations for alpinists and cyclists. Canoers and family campers may choose larger shelters when compactibility and weight are not primary factors. Since most family camping is done at a campground, the extra space of a larger tent is generally a good idea.
Our tent sizes refer to the maximum number of adults that can be sheltered without gear. To keep equipment dry and accessible, you may want to purchase an oversized tent or purchase a vestibule (a floorless "mudroom" that attaches to the front door of the tent). A vestibule is the perfect place to store wet boots, backpacks or other gear that could get the tent floor dirty or take up sleeping space.
Our tents have convenience features to make tent setup fast and easy. Color-coded clips or pole sleeves make it possible to establish camp in minutes.
Whatever the weather, you'll want the most stable, weatherproof tent you can find. Buy a tent with a full-coverage fly for three-season, wet-weather protection. Poles are the main factor in determining a tent's stability. Choose fiberglass poles for durability, and aluminum poles for lightweight strength.
For help in choosing the right tent for you, please call our Outdoor Hotline at 800-975-4552 any day between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. EST.
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Outdoor enthusiasts have long recognized that multiple layers of clothing keep them warm in winter and from overheating in summer. Adding or removing garments is a practical way to adapt quickly to different activity levels and temperature changes during your time outside.
Many winter campers wear a system of underwear, a midlayer of polyester fleece (pants and top), followed by a windproof, water-resistant outer layer (windpants with full zips down the side for easy on/off and a high-performance wind shell with zippers under the arms for ventilation during active sports).
While cotton was once the mainstay of long underwear and cold-weather clothing, it is no longer recommended for strenuous winter activities because it soaks up moisture. Damp clothes are heavier and, if next to your skin, can pose a chilling hazard.
Modern performance underwear, made from polyester or polypropylene, is most effective in moving moisture away from your skin and into outer layers of clothing where it can evaporate.
In addition to traditional shirts and "long johns," many other garments, including short-sleeve tops, bras, boxer shorts and briefs, are now made with polyester fabrics to wick away chilling perspiration.
If you are performing an active sport such as skiing, or hiking in spring or fall, a polyester fabric, such as fleece, is an ideal second layer over your long underwear. It continues to trap your body warmth while wicking away moisture. Even in warmer seasons, a midlayer is useful to have handy in your pack for those times you begin to chill (particularly during rest stops).
Depending on weather conditions, you may want to wear wind-resistant, water-resistant pants and an anorak over your other clothes. How many layers you need depends on your level of exertion, personal preference and weather conditions.
Be prepared for severe weather. Carry a waterproof rain jacket and pants or a poncho with you, even if the forecast is for sunshine.
Up to 50% of your body heat can be lost through your neck and head. Carry a hat with you for added warmth or protection from the sun.
For overnight trips, carry a lightweight polypropylene hat. It stores compactly in your pack pocket and doubles nicely as a comfortable sleeping hat in cool weather.
Winter campers often carry a hat system consisting of a lightweight polypropylene liner and a nylon shell to adjust to changing winter temperatures.
For maximum comfort and blister prevention, many hikers wear two layers of socks, a thin polyester sock liner with a thicker outer sock. On overnight or extended trips, be sure to carry enough socks to be able to change into a fresh set each day.
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