Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More on Tents

As long as we're talking about tents as emergency shelters during a disaster, we should explore what exactly makes a suitable tent. Like I said before, it doesn't have to be an expensive expedition-quality tent to serve well in an emergency, but there are certain criteria it should meet.

  • The floor fabric should be waterproof, and be designed in "tub" fashion with the waterproof material rising several inches all around the walls. 
  • The rest of the material should be breathable and yet resistant to water penetration from outside. If the tent is urethane coated, it will be waterproof, but moisture released by the occupants simply breathing inside will result in dampness inside the tent. If the tent is not breathable, it must have screened openings on opposite walls that can be opened to promote ventilation. 
  • You need a tent fly: a waterproof panel of material that stretches over the outside of the tent, sort of like a second roof. This will deflect rain from entering the screened windows when you have them open to allow ventilation.
  • A vestibule just outside the door flap is a great way to protect shoes from rain, because you need to take them off before entering the tent to protect the tent floor. 
  • If you can stretch out a tarp in front of the tent door, it will help keep things clean and dry inside. 
  • The less complicated it is to erect the tent, the better. A free-standing dome tent is easier to erect than a wall-type tent that requires guy lines to hold it up. 

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