If you're in the market for a new tent there are a few things
to consider before making your purchase.
What type of camping am I going to be doing?
How many people will be using the tent?
How much gear am I going to put into the tent?
Is the tent easy to set up?
What about the durability and warranty?
Let's take these questions one at a time, and address why they are so
important to consider.
Q: What type of camping am I going to do?
Important to consider, because if you're car camping it doesn't really
matter how much the tent weighs. However, if you're doing any backpacking
at all, you don't want a tent that takes all your energy up with in the
first 2 miles of the trail. Car camping usually involves one or two people.
Therefore the tent can be fairly large because you're not going to be
moving it everyday. The poles can generally be heavier, the tent much
larger, and the overall package can take up space that you couldn't afford
if you're on a lengthy backpacking trip. Are you going where there is
a chance for rain? Then try to choose a tent with a large rain fly, preferably
one that comes as close to the ground as possible.
Additionally, most manufacturers allow you to put some sort of
rain repellent on the tent without voiding the manufacturer warranty.
If you choose to do so, please follow all the precautions set forth on
the label of the can. Should you expect the tent be waterproof? Only if
the manufacturer states that the tent is waterproof. If
it does not say waterproof, then don't expect a watertight ship. Most
tents today are water resistant. This means that for the
most part you can expect to stay dry on your camping trip as long as the
rain storm is minor, and doesnt flood your campsite.
It sounds a little gruff, but what I tell most people is that a tent
is not a house. You can't expect to set a tent up under your garden hose
for any length of time and not see some sort of condensation. True, there
are some very robust tents on the market today that will hold out the
rain, but you will pay the price for them as well. I can say from personal
experience that Wenzel tents are very good even in a major downpour. The
price is not outrageous and if used correctly, will result in a very enjoyable
trip. I have been car camping with my family when caught in a large rainstorm
that lasted for two hours or more hours. We generally try not to camp
when its raining, but I was very impressed with the robustness
of these tents.. We had a few minor drops along the base where we didnt
apply any sealer, but that can happen. You can help eliminate water seepage
by using a good tent sealer in these areas of the tent. There are other
things you can do however, to keep yourself dry even in that largest of
You can read for yourselves on page two of most Wenzel instructions, that
the tents are water repellent NOT water proof. You should know this up
front as they are being very honest in their approach. If you follow the
recommended setup procedures, and use common camping techniques, your
trip should prove enjoyable.
Q: How many people will be using the tent?
If you're going to be car camping, once again you can take a fairly large
tent with you and quite a number of people can sleep in a large tent.
If you're like most people though, no one likes to be packed in like sardines.
Sometimes you see these drawings of tent floor layouts where it literally
looks like sardines in a can. I dont know how you feel, but I certainly
don't like to be packed in like that! Thats why you dont
see any of these types of floor layout drawings on our website. So why
not make your trip more enjoyable by choosing a tent that has room for
both people and gear. This brings us to the next question.
Q: How much gear am I going to put into the tent?
On the average more families go car camping than they do backpacking.
If you're taking along a large tent then you have room for a lot of gear,
that is, unless you have a lot of people too. In that case, you'll want
to choose a tent which has room for both gear and people. If I go car
camping, I always like to have room for gear in my tent. The same holds
true with backpacking. The point is you want your trip to be enjoyable
without feeling like a sardine.
Q: Is the tent easy to set up?
I thought I would personally address this question because I often get
calls from people asking if they can setup a particular tent by themselves.
The answer is: It depends on the size of the tent. If the
tent is our premium seller, the ROKK Palisade Tent (RK39009) I
would say No
it takes two and possibly
three. If its a smaller backpacking tent, then I would say yes.
I suggest that if possible, have some help while setting up your tent
whether it is someone in your immediate camping group or someone on
the camp ground. It always goes easier having someone help you.
Most tent poles today are made of re-enforced fiberglass. Please treat
them with care. Yes, they are very durable and strong, but they can break.
If you follow the instructions as per wrote, and dont force things
all will be fine. If the instructions say to bend the pole slightly
to get it into a particular place, then do so slowly and slightly. Having
someone help in this regard is usually better. Trying to bend a large
pole yourself usually results in having two poles
one for each
hand! If you find yourself getting frustrated then simply STOP. Take a
breather and try again after you have cooled down. Yes, it can be frustrating
the first time or so, but if you take your time on the initial setup,
next time will be easier.
Above all, try to set the tent up before you go camping, perhaps your
backyard. Be kind, not only to yourself, but to those around you. How
many times have you been in a camp ground where everyone is getting ready
to bed down for the night, and someone comes strolling in to setup their
tent by means of their car headlights, and on top of that
have never set the tent up at all! Granted, sometimes leaving work late
on a Friday night will get you to the camp ground late, so I dont
want to be rude, but the point is if you know what youre doing
before you get there, the pain will be less both for you and the people
around you. Be a good fellow camper.
Q: What about the durability and warranty?
Wenzel tents manufactured since 2000 carry a 10-year Manufacturer's Warranty
against defects in materials and workmanship for the verified original
WARRANTY DOES NOT COVER:
This warranty does not cover damage for wear & tear, abuse, weather
damage, improper use or alteration and it is the sole express warranty
relating to the Wenzel product.
There are times when manufacturing defects will raise their ugly heads.
At those times you can be sure that Wenzel will back you up. Although
there is a toll free number you can call (800-325-8368) try contacting
the retailer you originally bought it from. If you're not able to obtain
results there, then call the Wenzel Company.
As you can see however, the warranty does not cover normal wear,
tear, or abuse whether from animals or humans.
Take care of your tent and it will take care of you. In this
regard I have a few suggestions:
1). First and foremost follow the instructions that come with your tent.
2). Once again, take your time during setup. Have someone help you. If
you find yourself getting frustrated, then take a little break. Use all
zippers slowly. I say this because this can be a major cause of so called
tent failure. Zippers will last a long time if you take your time with
them, and watch what youre doing when you operate them. You could
say that the thought of taking your time, and not getting frustrated work
3). If it happens to rain on your tent during the camping trip, then try
to wait until it dries before you pack up and go home. If this is not
possible, then by all means unpack the tent as soon as possible when you
arrive home and set it up to air out. This will prolong the life of your
tent; help avoid mold issues, and wet tent aroma. I can recall one of
the times I used an old canvas tent on an outing. It rained, we packed
it up wet. When we got home we left it in the bag for the next time. When
the next time came, it was wall to wall mold! Dont let that happen
Article by Gregg Alan