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Tents & Shelters for Every Season

When it comes to spending time in the great outdoors, you need to be prepared. Whether you’re packing up the car for a weekend camping trip in the backcountry, or planning a big backyard family barbeque, the right shelter can make all the difference. Tents, tarps, and canopies can also be extremely useful in the event of unexcepted emergencies, when you might need to leave or be outside your home for lengthy periods of time.

How to Choose the Right Size and Style of Tent

Most tents will tell you how many people they accommodate, but this doesn’t necessarily account for additional space you may need. For instance, you may want extra space for your gear or to make changing easier. This is especially important for parents with small kids—if you’re camping and the weather takes a turn for the worse, a tent with extra space is a great way to stay dry and play board games.

If you’re looking for a tent that’s easy to set up, consider a dome tent. These can be set up in minutes and often by a single person. If you’re looking for more space inside the tent, consider a conventional frame tent. These take longer to set up but because they use a combination of straight and angled poles, they offer more headroom than dome tents.

When You Should Consider a Car Tent or Truck Tent

Car tents and truck tents are a new trend that’s quickly catching on with campers worldwide. Both types attach to your vehicle and offer different benefits. Truck tents setup inside the bed of your truck, whereas car tents attach to the back of your hatchback or minivan. Truck tends are ideal for backcountry campers because you can setup just about anywhere. Since you sleep in the truck bed, you don’t have to worry about finding a soft patch of ground to pitch your tent on.

Car tents, on the other hand, set up on the ground like a conventional tent but wrap around the back of your hatchback or minivan. This allows you to open your vehicle from inside your tent and access the interior, which you can use for storage or extra sleeping space. The main benefit is you don’t have to unpack your vehicle when you set up camp—all of your gear and clothes can be accessed without leaving the tent.

Choosing the Right Tarp

From camping to gardening to moving, tarps can keep the rain away, collect raked-up leaves when you’re gardening, and so much more. It’s helpful to have a few different sizes of tarps on hand, because you never know which size you’ll need. This is especially true if you’re camping and need to set up some temporary shelter over your tent or picnic table.

If you’re looking for camping tarps, consider heavy duty or insulated ones. Heavy duty (or rugged) tarps are thicker and more resistant to tearing, so they’ll last longer, while insulated tarps won’t absorb moisture, making them ideal for placing over a tent.

When You Should Consider a Canopy

Canopies are a great way to add some extra shade just about anywhere, whether it’s your backyard or the sideline at your kids’ soccer game. They’re lightweight, highly portable, and easy to set up and take down. They’re also sturdier and provide more shade than a large beach umbrella, so if your backyard or patio is short on shade you might want to consider setting up a canopy for the entire summer.