Weight of the tent:
If you are really serious about camping at the peak and spending the night inside the tent, you should consider the weight of the tent before making a purchasing or figuring out a choice for tent on south India treks. Well, Most of the people might blindfoldedly follow the branded outdoor products like northface, decathlon, wildcraft etc. but the big question still lies is: Is spending so much for buying a branded tent a worth?
Just in search of a better solution to the question above, I started doing an exhaustive internet research for finding a cheaper solution. I searched a lot over amazon and ebay for good quality tent with cheaper price. I was successful. There are some tents (though Chinese) which are really lightweight and can easily sustain western Ghats terrain and weather. But here comes the catch. I bought a tent from ebay for 1900 rupees. it weighed around 1.9 kg for 2 persons. Then I compared the same tent with famous branded sports/ outdoor companies. The same would cost around 2500 with tent weight of 2.5 kg approx for two persons.
Ideal weight: around 1 kg/ person
Price of the tent:
Most of us go for outdoors for recreational purpose, we are not regulars. Moreover, a few very of us really know how to take care of the tents and we also not remain serious after we buy even a good product. Reason: Our busy life and lack of knowledge. In these circumstances, I would recommend people to go for the tents which are cheaper yet they just serve your purpose. And, if I get what I want working at lesser price, I find it no wrong in going for that unless I do not have very long term goal.
Ideal Price for western Ghats trek: Around 700/ person
Ease of tent setup and Tent setup time on trek:
If you have not had some hands on experience setting up tents while on camping, believe me you are gonna find it hard to figure out what poles and pegs belong to which parts of the tent. While the chinese tents that I have mentioned above, believe me had just two poles/ rods to be pushed inside and its done. With new tents pouring into the market, people might find it attractive to buy but the real pain comes into the picture when people really do not how to set up a tent when they first time open the cover. Thus, I see the ease of tent setup ans setup time as important factors in making a decision before buying a tent.
Ideal tent setup time: 2-4 mins
Do we really need a flyer or rain cover for the tent?
I have seen some people putting extra emphasis on rain cover or flyers during treks in south India. Well their concerns might be really needed when its a complete monsoon trek and chances that its going to rain at the night. But do we really need flyers when the weather is gonna be clear at the night? WHy lift the little extra weight?
In Eastern Ghats, it rains lesser and some of the treks are really beautiful like Gandikota camping, nagalapuram waterfalls trek. In the night the humidity was so much that everyone removed the flyers/ rain covers of their tent completely and someone like me, used the make-shift tents to spend the night peacefully.
Ideal need: Yes when it might rain
While buying a tent one should necessarily look out for the space a tent has to offer. I also lookout for the height of the tent too. Well that comes very helpful for changing clother for women. The bigger and lighter, the better.
Ideal requirement: 1 sqm/ person
Look out for vents and ground sheet:
I would say these two things to be seen in a tent are the most important. First, the vents allow the circulation of the fresh air inside the tent which brings in the fresh air and pushes out the smelly one. Next comes the groundsheet. A better ground sheet with appropriate thickness and waterproof property does not only provide you sheath from the ground but also, keeps the bottom dry even under the heavy rain.
Ideal thickness: 120 gsm
Or Just a makeover tent would do on Western Ghats Treks with a tarp:
Over the times, I realized that Tarpaulin could just be a better and cheaper replacement for tents over the treks provided some conditions fall in our favors. Like the day and night should be free of clouds; It should not be such windy and most importantly, you find some supports for your make-over tents. With going on more and more treks, I discovered more uses of tarpaulin. For example:
- When it rains a lot and there are not much spaces left in tents then a big tarp can be used to cover all the backpacks on a trek.
- Once on a new year treks, our whole group of hikers did not carry a single tent. Instead, we carried 4-5 large tarps for a large group. It started raining in the morning and we put one tarp underneath us and another was used to cover ourselves and we were saved from the rain falls.
- The night be a clear night but humidity in the forests might be higher. That makes it hard to survive inside the packed tent even without flyers. While with tarp one can make a good tent and another beaneath and sleep comfortably.
There can be such most better uses of tarps this way. The advantage is they weigh lesser, are easy to carry once tied to the backpack.