How Big Do You Need?
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Seasonal Reminder: Dress for the weather, not the car.

You can't always avoid the emergency room. But there are simple things to do that can make the best of a bad situation. Click here for tips to deal with trauma (e.g., broken bones, bleeding, etc), chest pain, abdominal pain, respiratory difficulty, and high fever. More info....

Click here for a listing of first-aid essentials for home, car, pack, or trek.

Finding Firewood

´╗┐Firewood is always a challenge, especially during wet or wintery conditions. Click for a tip...

Wildland Safety.

Always be prepared for survival situations.

 Be Safe Out There. Driving to the trailhead, hiking along the trail or bushwhacking and camping in the backcountry need some special techniques and good equipment. Keep your tent, sleeping bag, backpack and other gear in tip top condition.

Wildlife needs your respect, especially if you are part of their food chain. Learn to incorporate preventative techniques in your normal routine and you’ll not need to be apprehensive while in bear or cougar country.

Safe drinking water is one of your main concerns. Water filters and water purifiers provide safe and convenient water wherever you are.

To fully enjoy the great outdoors you must feel safe and secure. Whether you're new to the wildlands or have spent several years trammeling about, learning or reviewing safety tips is always beneficial.

Be aware of hypothermia whenever in cool, moist windy situations.

So pack up your tent, sleeping bag, and camping gear on your pack frame and get out there. 

NOTE: Please click on bolded words for additional safety information< ><-->

How Big Do you Need?

If you are backpacking solo and want to be lean and austere, you can dispense with the niceties. Stove? Who needs one as long as the granala bar supply holds out. Do you even need a tent as long as the stars are shining. And if not maybe a light tarp will get you by. So leave all that stuff behind and lighten the load for the old body.

On the other hand when the whole family is having quality time in the great outdoors, it may be time to bring on the "mondo condo." Something that will sleep four comfortably (not so comfortable with five) and probably weigh in around 12 pounds. It won't be the lightest or lowest-profile, but it's the sacrifice for family comfort.

Something in the middle would be a two or three person tent. They are not as roomy as the mondo condo, but will weigh less than half as much and can be used three seasons, or year-long. Even if only solo camping, the 40 or so square feet will give plenty of space to spread out. The tent fly offers some flexibility as well. If unconcerned about rain or heavy dew, leave the fly at home and watch the stars through the mesh openings. If concerned about rain and don't care about skeeters or bugs, leave the tent at home and use your trekking poles to bivouac under the rain fly.

Tent pole material is a consideration for weight and strength. Some aluminum poles will only weigh a little over a pound or poles for a mondo condo can go up to almost six pounds.

Some flies have small vents that can be propped open for increased ventilation. Ventilation is very important. Sleeping under a tarp, which has no ventilation, can cause wetness from condensation caused by breathing. Just touching the material can cause a sleeping bag to get wet. Sleeping in a wet bag can be a little on the miserable side.

A small gear loft can be a little luxury as a catchall for flashlights, mittens, a deck of cards.

If it is difficult to figure out which corner of the rain fly matches which of the tent, when it is correctly erected mark a corner distincly so that next time its easier to match up.

Door orientation affects convenience somewhat. Tents with a door on the side can require crawling over other bodies on occasion. Doors on both sides or ends add a little weight for what little convenience they offer.

As you can see, shelter can take many forms depending on the many ways we are enjoying the great outdoors.  So when choosing a tent, choose it on the basis of how you want to use it. Maybe you'll need more than one....