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Reply To: Tent Recommendations

Tony, April 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I kinda look at tents in a different perspective. Charters and large teams have to figure out how many tents they can get in a given space. Sometimes it can get a bit crowded. Finding level terrain can also be a problem. When selecting a tent. there are some considerations for RAGBRAI. Weather and crowding are the biggest ones. Iowa weather can change quickly. You want a tent that has a a polyethylene floor. This material is heavier to prevent punctures and is water proof. Some tent manufactures bring the floor up the side walls about 4″ to form a tub. The tent should have good ventilation. There are many styles of tents. Some styles handle foul weather better than others. Sport dome tents handle wind the best. Lower profile tents handle wind better too. Penta and hex domes particularly have stronger wind loads. Large square tents will get torn up if a strong storm hits. Another plus to the low profile dome tents. The have few to no guylines. Because of the shear number of tents on RAGBRAI. Campgrounds are crowded. No guyline tent are best for these conditions. Guylines make a bigger foot print for tents. They also make trip hazards. Trying to navigate through a campsite after dark can be challenging. People will trip over your guylines. Just because a tent is expensive doesn’t make it better.Some of the more expensive tents are made by the same manufacture as less expensive ones. a good example of this is Kelty, Wenzel, and Swiss Gear are made by the same company, American Rec. I have used Wenzel Alpine Dome tents the last six years. It handles the weather extremely well. The Alpine can be bought online for $50-60. With its low cost. If I find an issue with waterproofing, poles, or zippers. I just replace the tent. I have found I get about 2-3 seasons out of a Wenzel tent before needing to replace it.

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