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Out of the box.  Camping - an in tents experience!

                         March 2010

This is our regular OUT OF THE BOX feature where we give suggestions on different things to try.      

If you have tried something unusual or different, tell us all about it - and send in a photograph as well if you can – so that we can share your experiences with others.


Email: outofthebox@laterlife.com    

  


This month we look at ……

CAMPING

CampingMany of us may have experienced camping in our youth. In the 50s and 60s especially the Guide and Scout movements were so strong that hundreds of youths went camping every year.

Camping however began to fall out of favour as alternatives began to become affordable, holiday camps and cheaper caravans especially helped to take the market away from camping. The advent of specialist backpackers accommodation lured the young away from camping.

In recent years though there has been a steady increase of interest in camping again. Holiday companies that provide already erected and furnished tents on site have become particularly popular for families, and new developments in materials and the design of tents have started to change the image of camping.

Today camping can be enormous fun but without all the hassle of struggling with poles and flapping fabric, without those leaky roofs, torn groundsheets and fly sheets with broken zips.

Modern tents and camping equipment are so different and so convenient that everyone of any age can enjoy the fun and closeness to nature by sleeping out of doors.

Today there are lots of new styles of tents including tunnel, dome and geodesic tents. If you haven’t been into camping, then seeing the new style dome tents might come as a bit of a surprise. These are really easy to set up, often a question of just unfolding already linked poles inside one easy fit fabric tent. They usually will have an integral groundsheet, and because of their design they offer tremendous headroom and space inside, plus of course different configurations so you can have a small two man tent or a family tent big enough for friends or grandchildren.

Tunnel tents are lots of fun for an active couple; they are very light and almost instant to set up. If you are planning a walking holiday somewhere, this could be the perfect design although they are not particularly good in extreme weather.

Geodesic tents is really a dome tent with different pole positioning to increase its rigidity and stability and can be free standing, meaning very easy pitching if the ground is soft, uneven or particularly hard.

While the designs are fantastic, the materials are equally good. If you remember the heavy old metal poles, then think again! Today modern poles are made of fiberglass or sometimes aluminium for more strength. Either way, they are light, strong and so easy to work with.

Materials have also come a long way from that traditional old “canvas”. Nylon, polyester and a host of specialist modern materials are now incorporated into tent making. Polyurethane or silicone elastomer protection is often added to help shed any water, taped seams are used to give full waterproof protection. Airflow is key to modern designs and most tents are designed to prevent a build up of condensation. Tents can also be made in a variety of colours, light colours are becoming more popular to allow maximum light into a tent.

And those are just the basics. There is a whole new world in camping beds and sleeping bags; camping chairs and tables, cooking stoves, lighting – today camping can be as basic or as luxurious as you want. Add to that the fun of getting out of doors and becoming closer to nature, and it is no wonder that camping is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

 


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