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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

How to Purchase the Right Tent

Purchase a tent that fits and make it last forever with these key tips.

by: Kelly Bastone

Buying Get the space you need.
>> Floor area Check dimensions, not just square footage, and get in. Tall guys need a longer layout; stout hikers need more elbow room. Shopping alone for a two-person? Ask a sales clerk to get in with you.
>> Peak height Headroom depends on the wall slope (hubbed or short "eyebrow" poles often make steeper sidewalls). Tents with consistent headroom from end to end are great for foul-weather card games. Ultralight designs–often with low-ceilings or sloped at the foot–are better for sleeping than sitting.
>> Vestibules Consider shape: High-roofed, rectangular designs offer more dry storage and a safe place to cook in wind and rain.

Storing Moisture is the enemy.
>> Dry it After each trip, set your tent up in the yard on a sunny day to let every drop of water evaporate.
>> Roll or stuff? Experts agree that the key is to vary the method to avoid creating permanent wrinkles or fold lines, which can lead to cracks in the coatings.

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