You may here tents categorized as 3 season or 4 season. A three season tent is generally made for camping in warmer months, spring through fall. A 4 season tent is made to go camping year round, even in the winter. The main difference in the two is that 4 season tents are made of heavier material which keeps the inside of the tent warmer. In the heat of summer in the southern US, you would much prefer a 3 season tent than a 4 season.
The make up of a tent is quite simple, the support, the main tent and the rain fly. The support is just a bunch of poles that keep the rest of the tent up. Companies are now trying to increase the ease of putting up a tent by permanently attaching the poles to the main tent. This helps in that you don't lose your poles, and all you have to do to set up the tent is connect the poles. The main part of the tent is what you will sleep in, so keep this part clean and dry. The rainfly is just a light piece of tent fabric that covers the tent and keeps it dry in the rain. The key to keeping the tent dry is to once you have put the rain fly on, try to stretch the fly out. This will keep the fly from touching the tent. If the fly does tough the tent, rain can seep through the fly, onto the tent, and into you bedroom.
The last piece of information about tents is a ground cloth. This is a big piece of
plastic which goes under the tent and keeps the tent dry and clean from the ground
beneath it. Once you have the tent set up on top of the ground cloth, tuck the edges
of the cloth that stick out underneath the tent. This will help in keeping everything
dry, otherwise they can act as little water gutters and direct the rain right under your
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