What to look for when buying a tent for camping - Part 2
Porches, Vestibules, Entrances and Exits
Porches or Vestibules are useful for storing all your gear - backpacks, muddy boots, wet waterproofs and/or other accessories under cover and in the dry. It is also the best place to cook during heavy rain or high winds. (Cooking inside the tent itself is not recommended since it can be extremely hazardous).
Make sure your tent has room for both.
More than one entrance/exit also offers more flexibility particularly in bad weather allowing you to use one or the other exit depending on wind direction.
Ripstop fabrics use a weave that stops small tears spreading. This will be important if you're camping on rough terrain.
Check the seams carefully, as these are possible points of failure. Double-stitched and/or taped seams will be stronger and more resistant to failure.
Space to store small but frequently used items (eg torches, car keys) is invaluable. Many models offer side pockets or overhead 'hammocks' for this purpose.
A light coloured flysheet coupled with UV resistance is useful in sunny/hot conditions to avoid sunburn - (bare skin can get sunburnt inside a tent without UV resistance on a sunny day).
A mesh canopy around the entrance to keep out midges, mosquitoes or other insects can make all the difference - particularly if you’re camping in Scotland during the summer when the midges are biting.
Ease of Pitching
The effort taken to pitch a tent can vary quite significantly. Some models have sleeves through which you run the poles. This results in a very solid structure but can be hard work in the dark or windy/wet conditions.
Other models have clips used to attach the poles to the fabric. This is easier to use but the resulting structure is less solid. To minimise the grief of pitching in a torrential downpour, it's useful to be able to erect the flysheet (of a double-skinned tent) before starting on the inner section. Some manufacturers offer colour-coded inners to simplify pitching.
In any case, practise, practise, practise before your first trip!
Is there one? If so, check what's covered and for how long?