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Tents and Canopies: What Every Camper Should Know

Tents and canopies are commonly used in camping and other outdoor activities. Technically, a tent is a shelter consists of sheets of fabric draped over or attached to a frame of poles. It can be free-standing or attached to the ground using ropes tied to pegs. This makeshift shelter can be small enough to accommodate a single person or big enough to accommodate a thousand, just like the ones used in a circus.

Tents and canopies can be traced back to nomadic peoples who first used these structures as portable homes. In modern times, these materials are mainly used in camping and other recreational outdoor activities. They can be made of cotton, nylon or polyester. Their primary function is to protect the user from the rain or sunlight or provide a shelter to those who wish to spend the night outdoors.

Basically, a tent can be categorized into three types. First is the single skin type. This kind of canopy or tent uses only one waterproof layer of fabric that comprises at least roofs and walls. The second type is the single skin with flysheet. This one has a flysheet or rain fly suspended over the roof. The rain fly often overlaps the roof of the tent but does not extend down to the sides or ends of the whole structure. The third type is the double skin. In the double skin, the outer tent is like a flysheet, except that it extends right down to the ground, covering the perimeter of the tent. Inside are one or more inner tents that serve as sleeping quarters. The outer tent may be just a little larger than the inner tent or it could be much bigger to serve as a living area separate from the sleeping quarters. In the third type, inner tents are mostly not made from waterproof materials.

Aside from the layers or flaps, the structure should also include the following parts: a waterproof groundsheet to serve as barrier between the sleeping bags and the ground; poles for structural support (they can be made of metal, fiberglass or wood); stakes or pegs for fastening the tent to the ground; air vents to help reduce condensation and; an optional footprint or groundsheet protector to be put underneath the main groundsheet for added protection and softer feel.

Camping is an enjoyable pastime, particularly during the summer. But to make the experience more worthwhile, campers should equip themselves with the right type of tents and canopies. Knowing what kind and in what type of environment the temporary structures will be used is a good start to planning a successful trip into the outdoors.

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