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The Last Straw - Your home in the Outdoors - Tents

Going off the beaten track is possibly the most fun you can have on an adventure, finding somewhere new and using your outdoor skills to navigate your route; it's pretty epic stuff. I love doing this, it tends to be a lot quieter, adventurous and furthermore, the appeal of doing it, a lot greater. Needless to say, wherever you choose to lay your head for the night, you'll want to make sure you're safe and sound. I'm talking tents, you know, those things that can put a roof over your head in just about anywhere and just how important they really are.

Tents are a tricky buy with not only different sizes to choose from but also different types of structures to them also; it's mind boggling stuff. Whether you're shopping for the lone wolf or the adventurous bunch, numbers will depict what you buy and so will the structure of it. We're fortunate enough to be in the modern age where the search for finding the lighter alternatives to outdoor gear is endless and so tents, luckily, are in the fore-front of that conversation.

Ultimately tenting and camping is becoming more and more popular, giving opportunists the ability to wake up in places where they'd only ever dream of.

Solo - You're the lone wolf.

Whether it's because you can't stand snorers or you prefer to take on the trail alone, your needs when it comes to tenting are going to be different to those needs of a big group. You can afford to have minimal space and minimal weight simultaneously as well as different structures such as 'A' Frames or Tunnels. What will largely depict the weight of your tent is your type of expedition - So ask yourself these questions:

- Will I need my tent for all-year-round use ( 4 season)?

- Will I be venturing into alpine/super-alpine environments?

If your answer to these 2 questions is YES, then lightest it's not necessarily going to be the best option. Your going to need the roof over your head to hold strong when the conditions turn and offer a waterproof shell. You'll want to ensure the seams are seam-sealed with a water-proofing glue, teaming up with an efficient vent system, stimulating air flow which manages condensation.

Solo Tents I would recommend:

The Adventurous bunch - You live for the weekends.

With many more bodies floating about, space is going to be pivotal to you and a successful nights sleep...providing you have ear plugs to shut out the snoring.. With the bigger tent this is also going to take up more room in your pack as well as more weight, so a must-win game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who carries the tent, will set you off on the right track. There are going to be little components of a bigger tents that will make life living inside it a lot easier.

Firstly you're going to have to ask yourself(selves) the same questions as above for the solo adventurer, but with an additional element.

- Will I need my tent for all-year-round use ( 4 season)?

- Will I be venturing into alpine/super-alpine environments?

If your answer to these 2 questions is YES, then you're going to need a tough, rugged tent. It's going to need to shelter, vent and keep warm 2/3 people. The fly sheet will need to be seam sealed as well as many guidance lines attached; the bigger the tent the more air resistance it will take and so will need to be pitched very well. As sleep is going to be precious in bigger groups, you'll want to ensure the tent has more than one entrance/exit, you'd hate to get a foot to the face in the middle of the night! Another element to consider is living space. It can be very easy to get muddled up and locate where your items are, so interior pocks on the the interior lining is a must-have when camping in groups of 2 or more.

Tents I would recommend for 'the adventurous bunch':

What do I use?

With the tough winter conditions of New Zealand, I opted to go for a tent renowned for being grunty and withstanding the most difficult of elements – the Macpac Minaret. A 2 person work-horse, the minaret weighs in around 2.4kg with a fly sheet, and although stated as a 3 season tent, many would agree it would stand up to 4 seasons without a hassle. With interior pockets, it's perfect for stowing away items into seperate compartments. Once you seam seal the seams with a water-proofing glue upon purchase, it's a fortress and has taken a beating but still stands as strong as ever! Being a multi-pitch tent, it opens up the opportunity to be used for different purposes and conditions. I love this tent and can't wait for the adventure with it!

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