Tips for Buying a Tent for Your Family

Thinking of getting  tent for your first family camping trip? Here’s some tips to get you on the road:

1. How Many People The Tent Sleeps

In your quest for a family camping tent, you’re going to learn to ignore this number. If you’re seeking comfort, you won’t want to cram 4 people into a 4 man tent. In fact, 3 people might be pushing it. Ideally, put 2 people in a 4 man tent and you’ll have room to move around some.

The fact is, a 4 man tent would be wall to wall people if you put 4 persons in that tent. Thus, if you’re a family of 4, seek at least a 6 man tent for the most comfort. Besides, if you have inclement weather, you’ll want room to get dressed and provide ample blankets for everyone to stay warm.

Take into consideration what you’re going to need in the tent with you and make sure that you have plenty of room for your belongings.

Also, consider how tall the adults are in your camping party. Taller people need plenty of room to stretch out without having to curl up in a ball.

2. What Conditions Will The Tent Be Used In?

Let’s face it, some tents lend themselves better to inclement weather than others. That said, you’ll want to consider the weather conditions where you’ll be camping.

In the summer you’ll want a lighter weight tent. You’ll want plenty of ventilation and you’ll want to ensure that you can stay dry if there are any sudden thunderstorms.

Winter tents aren’t as common but they can be had. If you’re going to be in the snow or colder regions, you’ll want to find a winter tent.

3. Ease Of Use

Some tents have multi rooms. They may state that they sleep up to 10. Keep in mind the first step of this where you consider the size of the tent and the amount of people it will comfortably sleep. Also, consider how many it takes to set it up and remember that you’ll need at least that amount of people when you go camping. There’s nothing worse than pulling into your campsite after dark and trying to set up this size of a tent and not disturb other campers, not to mention disgruntled spouses and children who would rather just stretch and be out of the car.

Keep in mind, ease of use is up to interpretation.

If you’ve never set up your specific tent and can’t try it out in your yard before you embark on your vacation, find a youtube video and check it out there. You’ll thank yourself later for this step.

Also, keep in mind that the larger the tent, the larger campsite you’re going to require. Many campsites are designed for smaller tents so always check and make sure that your campsite is plenty large for your tent.

You’ll also want to make sure that your tent is placed on a level area to avoid someone having to sleep upside down.

4. Material Of Tent

The composition of your tent is vital to your comfort. Not all tents are waterproof and not all tents are suited to all seasons.

Most tents that are canvas are waterproof. They may, however, become very heavy in the rain and never touch the bubbles that form on the tent, they will break and create a hole in the tent.

Nylon and polyester is also waterproof, however, over the course of time, the sun will deteriorate the tent. Seams may also become worn and eventually break open causing a hole in the tent.

Good tents will have fabric that has rip-stop in it. Cheaper tents aren’t always waterproof, even if they say they are.

Tent poles are available in a variety of materials. Some people prefer to upgrade their poles to a more quality pole in order to prolong the life of their tent.

Also, keep in mind that zippers can wear out. Check these prior to purchasing the tent as they are a pain to change out. Zippers can also prevent stray animals from taking a tour of your digs. You don’t want to share your tent with a raccoon or skunk.

Flys should always be waterproof as well. Polyurethane or silicone coatings can help to reduce water getting into the tent. It should cover the entire tent and protect the entry, windows and top of the tent from water.

New Mobile Home Lifted By A Crane

A new design standard has been set by a prefabricated home sitting at the outskirts of a historic park in a quiet English shire.

The silver birch trees littering the New Forest National Park served as an inspiration for the design of this mobile home that can transform the entire genre.

Roy and Mel Matthews are the owners of the project. For 24 years, they have lived on the five-acre piece of land. Their first home was a static trailer and they later moved to an off-the-shelf mobile house. The couple would always have problems during cold winters as their poorly insulated home was no match for the harsh outdoor elements.

Planning regulations placed a limit on what could be constructed in an English forest. This prompted PAD Studio to create a prefabricated structure that can be lifted and moved by a crane. Project designer Ricky Evans explains that a steel frame serves as the primary support structure of the building. It provides stability that makes it possible to top-lift the structure with ease.

Permanent construction isn’t allowed in this conservation area. Thankfully, planning permissions are given for mobile dwellings. After an extensive research about mobile homes, PAD studio built Forest Lodge: structure based on a steel frame that features an open-plan layout. The living, dining and kitchen areas are combined. There are also two bedrooms, with one serving as an office as well.

The mobile home was prefabricated in Yorkshire over five months. Perhaps more interestingly, all internal structures are fitted including the ceiling fans and limestone countertops. The house came on site in two separate parts, each sitting on a flatbed truck. A crane from Preston Crane Hire Sydney was used to lift the structure onto the concrete and limestone plinth.

The new mobile house is 22 feet in width and 65 feet in length. This is the maximum size of a home allowed by the UK Caravan Act of 1968. The structure now blends well among its surroundings. The chestnut boards will remind visitors of the silver birch trees found in the surrounding areas. The house isn’t only super-insulated, but also boasts of triple-glazed windows strategically places to let in natural light. The interior design is also something to behold, as the interesting choice of material palette doesn’t compete with the natural colors of the forest.

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The home was created with Passivhaus standards in mind. It features 3.8 kilowatt photovoltaic array located on the roof, enough to generate electricity and power the entire home. It also boasts of an air-source heat pump to produce hot water. Rainwater is collected from the roof. Structural eyelets can also be found that enable cranes to lift the structure. This is an interesting proposition in the event that Roy and Mel want to move their home.

For now, however, they’re not going anywhere. Mel says that while their new home comes with limited space, they do not see it as a compromise. In fact, the restricted size fits their needs perfectly.

Great Gadgets For Your Next Camping Trip

With the temperatures getting nice and balmy, you may be thinking it’s time to schedule a nice little camping trip. Great idea! Getting back to nature is always an excellent way to de-stress, reach out to the natural world, and put your mind into a healthier place.

Even though disconnection is often one of the chief goals of heading out into the wilderness, it’s not unreasonable to still bring along at least a few electronic gadgets. After all, even if you don’t spend a lot of time browsing the web in the great outdoors, you’re still going to want to have your smartphone on hand in case of emergencies. To protect your gear and get the most out of it even when you’re miles away from the nearest wifi hotspot, check out this list of outstanding wilderness-friendly pieces of gear and tech accessories.

1) SLXTREME Smartphone Case By Snow Lizard

Snow Lizard’s latest phone case is immensely tough. The base material is heavy duty polycarbonate that’s dirt and scratch resistant. It has rubber grips for security’s sake, and the case is fully waterproof down to six feet. Need to ford a creek on your hike? No problem! The SLXTREME case also has an integral supplementary battery and a small solar panel that helps you squeeze every minute out of your phone even if you’re well off the grid.

2) Earl Tablet

There are a lot of gadget functions that would come in handy when you’re on a hiking trip (e.g. GPS), but these days very few of them can’t be handled by a decent smartphone. The Earl tablet, though, easily earns a special second look of its own. The Earl runs Android 4.1, and its primary attraction is the nifty E-Ink screen that requires minimal amounts of power. The tablet shows you your exact facing, location, and elevation. It’s also linked to everytrail.com, so you’ve got over a quarter of a million trail maps along with you. The Earl delivers accurate weather forecasts based on its own internal sensors rather than on downloaded info. Its compass and anemometer keep track of barometric pressure, wind speed, temperature, and humidity. The Earl can reach out and connect to low-tech analog and digital radios with a range of 20 miles for added safety. This allows you to transmit your location, weather, and route information to any radio receiver; you can also send text and voice messages. On the receiving end, the Earl’s capable of picking up AM/FM/SW/LW radio signals. You can stay informed by tuning in to the NOAA’s weather broadcasts or just listen to your favorite tunes. The Earl is waterproof (up to three feet, at least) and features solar panel charging. It’s even compatible with gloves so that you can use the touchscreen even in cold conditions that make bare hands impractical.

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3) BioLite Camp Stove

You may already be familiar with the BioLite stove if you’re an avid follower of the latest developments in camping gear. This truly revolutionary stove is designed to turn twigs, branches, pinecones, and other natural detritus you find around you into an efficient heat source for cooking. It needs no extra fuel, reducing your overall load without robbing you of your ability to cook tasty trailside eats. It also captures excess heat energy and converts it to direct current that can be used to run lights or charge other devices.

4) VOTO Charger, Point Source Power

Still want to turn a stove into a power source but don’t want to bring a BioLite? You can do it with the VOTO charger. This fuel cell can be used with camp stoves, BBQs, and other charcoal-driven heat sources. Carbon and hydrogen freed by the cooking process are converted into electricity and stored in a convenient power pack for later use. The VOTO also includes an LED light; this will shine for up to 30 hours if you don’t use the VOTO for charging.

5) Wenger Solar Charger

Solar charging systems are getting much more common, and as the previous entries show, they’re not the only gadget-powering option available to you in the outdoors anymore. Solar chargers are still very simple and reliable, and this one from Wenger (the same company that makes half of the world’s Swiss Army knives) is an excellent example. Its has polycrystalline solar power panels in Sydney that roll up for easy storage. It gathers power in lithium-ion batteries, and it features a versatile USB hub that makes it easy to charge up to four different devices simultaneously.

6) Scorpion By Eton

This handy little gadget will protect you with a host of different useful outdoors devices in one reliable package. It can be powered by the integrated solar cells or with its hand crank. It features a digital radio that brings in AM/FM and weather signals. It also charges other devices and includes an LED flashlight. It clips easily onto any pack with a carabiner.

Kids Camping Activities

Camping is fun, but sometimes kids can get bored. However, there are many activities they can do. Here are some of the best camping activities for kids.

1. Scavenger Hunt

Kids love doing these and the outdoors is the best place for a hunt, and all you have to do is have the kids collect various items such as snail shells, colored rocks, oak leaves, pine cones and things of that nature. However, make sure the players stick to a small group, and you can make things even more fun by letting them use compasses and watches. Also, use cloth bags for the kids to store their items in and create a checklist so players can checkoff the items as they find them. The team that loses the hunt can roast the marshmallows, but don’t forget to let them enjoy them too.

2. Olympics

You can put together some Olympic games for the kids to enjoy, and some of the best games include the long jump, races and swimming in the water. You can also buy rope and have two teams play a game of tug of war, but make sure you keep the tone of the event light and organize games that the younger kids will enjoy too. Some of the best games include balancing in a pose the longest or skipping stones.

3. Story Contest

Kids love to tell stories and they will love it if you make tales up. If you cannot create a story, then makeup a folklore or share anecdotes about how your kids were when they were toddlers or babies. You can also play a game where you say one sentence of a story and the next person says the next line and so forth.

4. Watch Clouds

If you’re looking for something the kids can do during the middle of the day, then watch clouds. All you have to do is put a blanket down on the ground and watch the clouds. You can also play I Spy, but the cloud version. This will provide you and your kids with hours of entertainment, so make sure you give this a try.

5. Art and Craft

Kids love to craft, so get some glue, paper and scissors and some paper. You can have them draw pictures that are related to nature. You can also have them create art with stuff that they found while camping, and this includes sand, pine cones and shells.

6. Rainy Day Exploring

If it ends up raining out, then go out and explore and have fun splashing around in puddles and things of that nature. As long as the weather isn’t severe and it’s not lightening outside, then you and your kids will have fun. Just make sure you have some dry clothes you can change into because you don’t want to be stuck wearing wet clothing.

Any one of those activities should keep your kids entertained. They will love them. With that said, give them a try the next time you go camping with your kids.

Top Beginner Camping Mistakes

We all have to start somewhere, here is some common mistakes beginners make when they first start camping:

Number 1: Not Researching The Location Of Your Campground

Camping should be a fun and relaxing experience, but that won’t happen if you are caught unprepared when you arrive.

Learn everything you can about the place you are headed. Know the weather forecast, conditions, and what facilities are available such as toilets or showers.

It is good to be spontaneous when you go camping, but it also takes a lot of effort, so it’s important to give yourself the best shot at a successful trip. This is especially important if you have a limited time available for your trip.

Doing a bit of research before you head out is important for your camping experience. You don’t have to spend hours on it, but check out a few websites, make a call or send an email. You will find that it helps ensure your trip goes off without a hitch.

Number 2: Failing To Test Equipment Before Leaving Home

Try setting up your tent in your back yard at least once before your trip. Try out your new lantern. Figure out how to work your camp stove.

Testing your equipment while you are still in the comfort of your own home is important. Besides learning how to operate or put together everything, it helps prevent you from broadcasting the fact that you are a novice camper.

Number 3: Relying On Your Campfire Too Much

A roaring campfire is a memorable part of camping, and for many people, it’s one of the highlights of the trip. However if you are new to camping, it is important to understand a few things about open flames before planning on cooking all of your meals over the fire.

Campfires hot enough for cooking can take some time to build. If you want to use a camp oven in your coals, they need to be extremely hot, which takes time. It works wonderfully if you are able to do it, however, if you don’t have a lot of time to get your fire going way before the dinner plan, you should have an alternate method of cooking.

A good option to have as a backup is a BBQ grill. It is also helpful in cases where campfires are not allowed, such as during fire season. Just make sure you get a good BBQ that is made for camping.

Number 4: Choosing Cheap Equipment Over Quality

Many people just starting with camping choose the cheapest items because they are more affordable. However, if you want to camp more often than once per year, you will quickly find yourself needing to upgrade.

Often you will find when you need a tool or piece of equipment most, it breaks or falls apart.

It is understandable if you aren’t able to afford to buy the top brands and equipment, but make sure to take a look at them. You can learn what sets them apart from the cheap stuff, and you never know when you will spot a great sale and snag a deal.

Number 5: Spending A Ton On New Equipment For Your First Trip

Ideally, you will learn from the 4th mistake and make sure the equipment you buy is of good quality.

However, it’s important to remember not to go too crazy buying every bit of equipment available, especially as a beginner.

First of all, if this is your first major camping trip, you may find that not everyone in your party enjoys the experience and wants to go again. This leaves you with a bunch of unused and unwanted items.

It can be tempting to grab every clever gadget you spot or fancy kitchenware especially designed for camping, however, you can often do without these extra expenses. There are a lot of camping gear that just isn’t necessary for short camping trips.

Next, it will take you a few camping trips to figure out exactly what you need and what you don’t.

Take the time to choose quality necessities, but avoid too many luxuries. For example, a portable potty may be a luxury for adults camping, but if you have young children, it’s a necessity.

You can find checklists online to use when buying camping equipment, and some are so packed with unnecessary gear that it is surprising anyone can manage to fit it all in their vehicle.