Camping Equipment For NZ Tip #1 - Choosing The Right Dome Tent

Here is the first in a series of helpful hints for campers and traveller's to make life more enjoyable in New Zealand's outdoors.

Dome Tents

Dome tents are becoming the most popular type of tent chosen by people camping in New Zealand.  They are incredibly easy to set up and come in a range of sizes, from large family size to the smaller 2 person pod.  Because of their ease of use they are great for an overnight trip or for a family tent for the week long summer holiday.  Below is a list of important dome tent features to ensure you get the best tent for your needs:

1.  Buy For New Zealand Conditions

New Zealand has extremely diverse and changeable weather patterns, and it is vital that the weather has as little impact on your holiday as possible.   To be safe you need to ensure your tent performs to our temperamental conditions.  Therefore try to buy New Zealand tested tents which are designed for a range of elements that you may experience when camping here.

2. High Quality PU Coated Polyester Fabric

Over the years there has been much research and knowledge of what fabric performs best in the outdoors.  We recommend you choose high density/high thread count polyester, PU coated fabric. Simply applying a waterproof coating isn't enough to ensure long term performance of a tent's fabric. If the foundation fabric is not up to spec then the coating will not last.

PU Coated polyester fabric is 8 times more durable than nylon, 50% more water resistant than other comparable tent fabrics, fire retardant, and has outstanding UV resistance which means the tent will last longer than other fabrics due to high UV protection.

3. Wind Stability And Structural Support System

If you are purchasing a large family dome tent, look for a combination of steel up-right poles and fibreglass poles. Without this, the large tents are very prone to distortion or flattening in New Zealand's strong winds. This system also allows greater volume within the tent as it holds the walls out more vertically.

4. Large Diameter Fibreglass Poles

Look for the largest diameter fibreglass poles relative to the size of the tent. This ensures your tent won't be flattened when there is a slight gust of wind.

5. Clear PVC Over Windows

Clear PVC windows are quite a unique feature, but worth having. If your tent does not have this feature it could mean that you can feel more claustrophobic when you are stuck inside if it is wet or cold. You still have privacy and ventilation, by being able to control the other corresponding internal and external zipped flaps.

6. Wet Weather Protection

Look for a big family dome tent that has a sunroom / vestibule out the front to protect the main door into the living area from rain. This area also doubles as an extra room for a kitchen, dining and entertainment space. 

7. Functional Window Placement

Windows create a huge difference to the comfort and ventilation of a tent. Generally more is better when it comes to windows.  Look for privacy screens, bug-screen mesh, clear PVC windows and external storm flaps in various combinations throughout the tent.

8. Door Storage Pockets

Storage pockets on the inner tent door allow you to open a door and fold it away into its own pocket, to keep it safe from damage and off the floor.

9. Guarantee

Check any warranties or guarantees, these ensure you can rely on the product to last.  Good camping equipment should provide between a 1-3 year guarantee if they use top quality materials and features.