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Courtesy of Autumn Hills Campground in Weare.




Tent out
The essentials of tent camping

06/29/17
By Matt Ingersoll listings@hippopress.com



 Local campground owners and seasoned campers say tent camping is the best way to get the most out of the outdoors — and it can be pretty enjoyable if you’re properly prepared.

Tents come in all kinds of different sizes and types, including dome tents, ridge tents and tunnel tents. Some have their own built-in features like screens to put up to keep mosquitoes out.
“If you’re looking to get a tent long-term, you need to make sure you’re able to stand up and get dressed in it comfortably,” said Ellen Bagley, co-owner of Autumn Hills Campground in Weare. “Tarps are also pretty much a necessity too, because you can use it to prevent the tent from getting wet if it rains.”
Bagley said sporting goods stores like Dick’s and Eastern Mountain Sports are always great sources for tents, but even department stores like Wal-Mart have their own extensive collections.
Jessica Byrnes, a seasoned tent camper of more than 25 years and whose father is a member of the Epsom-based New Hampshire Campground Owners Association, said tents can range anywhere from $50 to $800, depending on quality and size.
What you use to sleep inside the tent can include anything from sleeping bags to foam mats or even air mattresses if you have air pumps, Bagley said.
“The thing about air mattresses to keep it mind is that if the weather is cool, sometimes it will actually feel colder on the air mattress than on the ground itself,” she said. “So that’s when you could use a warm comforter with it.”
And since tents don’t have the temperature-controlled luxury of RVs or cabins, proper clothing is essential.
“For camping around Memorial Day weekend or Columbus Day weekend, it could always get hotter or colder than you might expect, so I’d usually pack clothes for all four seasons,” Byrnes said. 
Footwear is important too, especially at tent sites where the terrain is likely a little rough. Bagley recommends making sure you bring at least one pair of a sturdy type of footwear, like laced sneakers or hiking boots, not just flip-flops or sandals.
“Around the campfire is one thing, but otherwise, you don’t want to constantly leave your feet open for rocky and gravel surfaces, or for walking up and down a hill. You’d want something a little safer underfoot,” she said.
When you’re setting up your tent, be sure to consider its location.
“Fire is always a big safety hazard, so it’s important to remember not to set up your tent too close to your fire pit so it doesn’t catch fire, and also if you have little kids, to make sure they’re not walking or sitting too close to the fire,” she said.
To prevent the attraction of wild animals to your campsite, make sure you never leave food unattended and that it is stored properly.
“In New Hampshire, we’ll get everything ... from bobcats and fisher cats to bears and moose,” Bagley said. “Tent campers need to always be vigilant and to not leave their trash out, or feed the animals, because they will come back. … Aluminum foil and zip-lock bags are also great tools to store food in your car, as well as double-duty things like Tupperware containers.”
Bagley said Leatherman tools are useful, not only for cooking and food preparation but for propping your tent as well. Most tools can convert to be used as knives, can openers, hammers and other useful tools.
The key to getting the most out of tent camping is to remember not to let the unexpected spoil the fun.
“It doesn’t have to be as uncomfortable as some people may think, because you can do so much with so little,” Bagley said, “and if you forget something, you shouldn’t let that ruin your weekend. … Taking what you have and improvising with it is important.” 





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