Your correspondent first fell in love with the outdoors on camping trips with his Boy Scout troop in North Carolina.
Then, we used canvas army tents with no ground cover, eventually graduating to boxy Coleman jobs that always managed to leak in the inevitable rainstorms that hammer rural N.C.
Now tents are our friends — not a thing to be dealt with. From piece-of-cake pitching to space-age materials to hi-tech add-ons, today’s tents make camping far more enjoyable.
Here are five of the finest.
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
Big Agnes released the Rattlesnake last year, a tent equipped with a string of LED lights woven into its seams. They take AAA batteries that last 90 hours, make reading easy and add very little weight. They also added tons of pockets to the walls so you can organize all your effects.
The Pole-Out Method
Heimplanet makes tents with an inflatable framework, so they’re a cinch to pitch. Just pump them up. No poles. The new NIAS is a 4-6 person keep that has an atrium you can leave open-air or close up to protect your gear.
Gotta Keep ‘Em Elevated
If you (or your partner) like the outdoors but don’t care so much for sleeping near the earth, rooftop tents are worth a look. Tepui is a leader in the field, with a wide array of options and prices that don’t skimp on quality. They’re easy to assemble, lined with an air mattress and sport a dome LED light in the middle. The Gran Sabana has an enclosed curtain that shields you from severe weather and grants access to the car.
The Lightweight Champion
Dagger now makes a tent that weighs a little more than three pounds. That’s nothing for a two-man shelter that can stand up to a thunderstorm. And there’s plenty of room inside, so you won’t feel claustrophobic.
The Coolest of Them All
It should come as no surprise that Outback Logic’s concept for the Siesta 4 was baked up at a music festival. It’s a fool’s errand trying to sleep in a hot tent. The Siesta 4 is covered in a waterproof, lightweight, reflective fabric that keeps the interior cool.