Fall is finally here, a favorite time for tent campers. It’s not too hot and not too cold and fall colors are starting to come alive. Tent campers are a special breed, prefering to forgo the creature comforts and embrace nature.
There are few things that deter tenters. They take it all in stride as part of the experience: bugs, stifling heat and humidity, wild animal sounds in the night, rain seeping in through the tent flaps, and tents collapsing in the night.
The campgrounds at Virginia State Parks are not as crowded in the fall as they are in the summer. Camping is offered at 24 of Viriginia’s State Parks www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks.
The developed campgrounds offer electricity and water for RV camping. Developed campsites also offer picnic tables, grills, and bathhouses.
Each campsite will accomodate six people and group campsites are avalable for larger groups. The maximum time you can camp at Virginia State Parks with a single reservation is 14 days.
Primitive camping is offered at some of Virginia State Parks. Primitive campsites include fire grills, picnic tables, pit toilets, and non-potable water.
If you’ve never camped in a tent, the state park camping experience is a good way to start because of these amenities. Primitive hike-in camping is available at False Cape and Sky Meadows State Parks.
Primitive drive-in camping is available at James River State Park. Primitive hike-in and canoe-in camping is available at New River Trail and Shenandoah River State Parks.
There are numerous types of tents from which to choose and many websites that provide information about all aspects of camping. One website you might want to check out to decide what type of tent is best for you is www.angelfire.com/ia3/camping/tents.
Family style tents include cabin tents, large dome tents, cottage style tents, and umbrella style tents. The number of people you will have camping together and how much stuff you want to be able to store in the tent will go into your decision of which style to choose.
Backpacking tents are light-weight and are modified dome style. They can be carried in easier if you’re planning to hike in to the campsite or camp in the woods.
A-frame tents are the original style tents. Although rain is less likely to be a problem in A-frame tents and there are fewer poles than dome tents, A-frame tents are more likely to be collapsed by wind.
Dome tents are the most popular style. They are better in windy conditions; however, they aren’t as tall or roomy as A-frame tents. Hexagon shaped tents are stronger than octagonal tents in wind and snow.
Hoop tents are best for serious backpackers. They are cylinder shped and have curved sidewalls. They use only two poles but are not as rugged in wind, rain, or snow as other styles.
Bivouac or bivvy tents and sacks are the smallest, lightest, and most portable of tents; however, they offer much less protection against the elements and no room for gear. The bivvy sack is like a cocoon and is a one-person tent for serious hikers.
Most tents are intended for 3-season camping. If you plan to camp in the winter, you will want to consider a 4-season tent. 4-season tents have very little ventilation, stronger poles, heavier fabric, and less mesh. Some have cook holes in the floor so you can cook inside your tent.
After you’ve decided on a type of tent, you should set your tent up in your yard before your first camping trip. That will assure that all parts are in the tent and will make it easier to set up in the woods.
Camping in tents isn’t for everyone but those who enjoy it wouldn’t camp any other way. They prefer the quietness of camping in the woods and having nature all around.