Shelter from the elements – Two Man Tents
When your outdoor plans include an overnight stay or more, you need bring a small tent to provide protection from wind and rain. With modern construction methods and materials, a small, two-person tent will add as little as 1.5 Kgs to your pack and can be setup in minutes. Two-person tents are made of fabric and structure components. The shape of the tent is determined by the pole type either rigid poles yielding flat tent surfaces or flexible pole that create a dome shaped tent.
There are hundreds of two-person tents available that are variations on the two styles above. A primary cost and weight discriminator is the number of seasons during the year that you plan on using the tent. Manufacturers tend to identify their products as one, two, three, or four season tents. This distinction reflects the hardiness of the tent; with a four season tent able to withstand cold temperatures and snow as might be found while wandering the mountains during winter. Whereas, a tent used for summer backpacking can be smaller, less sturdy, but often much lighter.
Tents are made from basically four fabric types: cotton (canvas), nylon, felt and polyester. Nylon and polyester are much lighter than cotton and do not absorb much water; with suitable coatings they can be waterproof. However man-made fabrics tend to deteriorate over time due to a slow chemical breakdown caused by ultraviolet light. Tents may be single or double skinned which impacts their weatherproofing and their weight.
A groundsheet is used to provide a waterproof barrier between the ground and a sleeping bag. In double skin tents (generally the norm these days, even in cheap tents), the inner tents normally have a sewn-in groundsheet whereas the groundsheet in single skin tents may be either sewn in or separate.
A flysheet or rain fly (found only in double skin tents) is used to protect the inside of the tent from water. It is waterproof on the outside and also provides a surface to collect condensation on the inside. This is a desirable feature as a temperature difference between inside and outside the tent cause moisture to accumulate on your belongings. Some larger two-person tents may also have windows which are very nice to have when you are stuck inside because of inclement weather, but are generally not found in lighter, hardier varieties.
The inner tent is the main body of the tent. For single skin tents, the inner tent is often made of waterproof-breathable material and for double skin tents, the inner tent is mesh or other non-waterproof, but breathable, fabric.
The poles provide structural support for the tent fabric. They may be collapsible for easier transport and storage, rigid metal poles, or semi-rigid poles made from fiberglass. Another pole type uses inflatable beams as the structural support. Although beams are made from fabrics and materials that are rigid when inflated, they are soft and pliable when deflated. You will often use stakes and guy wires to hold your tent securely in wind.
In the end, if you're serious about camping go for something as lightweight as you can afford, without compromsing on features such as two skins, and stability. A good tent combined with a quality sleeping bag can help to keep you warm and dry in all weather.
Brands and Cost:
The cost of a two person tent ranges from less than £50 to more than £400. You will find a range of quality products from any of these manufacturers: Northface, Vango, Eddie Bauer, Eurela, Sierra Designs, Marmot, MSR, Kelty, or Mountain Hardware.
Check out field and trek for more info.