How to Select Lightweight Backpacking Tents For The Family

While the concept of camping in the exciting outdoors is adventure-filled indeed, some wise considerations need to motivate the purchase of the equipment.  A family would mean several occupants, the expected weather conditions, budgets and weight along with livability. The room inside the tent would be required for how many persons? Would a single tent suffice? Is the tent required with one layer of fabric or two? The size and storage space, layers, colors and materials, the process of setting up and dismantling, they would all matter. In the choice between the 3-season and 4-season tents, the former is the usual choice and frequent campers may need more than a single tent.

Factors affecting tent livability

Sloping tent walls mean less space and everybody wants roomy interiors. Very low tent weight can only mean the sacrifice of comfort. Technology brings greater comfort and lighter materials. Step into a few tents at the store to savor the feeling. If that is not really possible, study the online photos well before deciding.

The floor plan indicates the length and width and 85” x 51”/43” (L x W head/foot) is a possibility. The peak height indicates the head space while standing. Vertical walls mean more space and the angular sides indicate less room, but they would be lighter.

An ideal tent for spring, summer, and fall

While keeping the lightweight backpacking tent minimal, putting up with a variety of weather conditions is the issue. The 3-season tent can cope with heavy rain and light snow but cannot tolerate heavy snow and harsh winds. These tents being made of light materials minimize weight and use fewer poles. The upright sides mean that there is ample headroom. Mesh panels circulate air and resist insects.

Why not opt for the 4-season tent?

Perhaps a single camping trip would generate many more! Such a versatile tent ensures that camping would be possible not only in summer but in spring and the fall, even amidst hills and snow. The advantages over the 3-season tent are the fabric panels that cover the mesh to retain warmth and keep out snow and an extra pole or two to bring sturdiness.

Mountaineering as the target …

Camping sooner or later leads to greater challenges like taking on the hills and mountains, getting more exciting and risk-filled each time. Such tents would get stuffy in gentle climates and are meant for windy and snowy conditions. Yet, they are surprisingly lightweight. The round top means that flat spaces are avoided that would accumulate snow. They have fewer mesh panels or have zip fabrics that cover the mesh according to need. Rainflys are needed close to the ground level. Among the alternatives are tents with light single walls that keep out water without the rainfly. In cold and dry weather, a single wall tent is best so that condensation does not occur amidst the humidity.

Consider Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 ($500) and REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus ($229) among several other fabulous choices.

Tips To Choosing The Right Travel Luggage For Your Holidays

Holidays are meant to be fun and excitement. But it is not always true as it comes along with certain tensions. The tension of packing the luggage and carrying that heavy baggage to different locations can be a nightmare for many people. So, it is important to choose the right travel luggage which can serve all the purposes. And also that can make your vacation a tension free affair. Here are certain things that should be considered thoroughly:

Choosing between a suitcase or a backpack

Suitcases are more convenient than backpacks for any vacation. Because these bags are more convenient to carry. In any crowded place, like an airport or a railway station, carrying a heavy backpack for hours can be really painful. Whereas a suitcase can rest on the floor and you will not have to carry its weight throughout the journey.

Suitcases usually have wheels. So, taking it from one place to another is much easier. A suitcase also helps in keeping all your essentials in an organized manner. You can get a clear view of its contents, once you open it, is not the case with any backpack. A backpack needs to access from the top. Therefore, if you need something that has gone right at the bottom while packing, you have to unpack it completely to get access to those things.

The luggage material should be hard or soft?

Both the hard luggage and soft luggage have got their own advantages. If you are traveling to some hilly or rocky place or any place that has harsh weather conditions, hard luggage should be the perfect pick for you. In addition to it, hard luggage is much safer if you are carrying any breakable item like something made up of glass. It is also the best option for carrying your laptop or expensive camera as well.

Soft luggage, on the other hand, is preferred if you need extra space in the luggage. After every vacation, people love to bring back souvenirs with them. So, they need more space in their luggage to add these souvenirs. Therefore, soft luggage is expandable and allows you to add more things.

What should be the appropriate size of the luggage?

The size is a very important aspect that needs to consider while buying luggage. It should not be so large that you cannot lift it over your head. If you are traveling for many days then you will need more clothes and accessories, but there are people who can do with less. Therefore, all these will matter while selecting your travel luggage.

It is also important to inquire about the luggage capacity in different airlines. If your luggage is overweight, you might have to pay a good amount of fine.


Choose darker colors as it tends to get less dirty and unique prints so that you can spot your luggage easily in the crowd. Therefore, choose your travel luggage wisely to enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

Hummingbirds Everywhere!

Years ago, I heard about a place in Potrerillos Arriba, that has an amazing amount of Hummingbirds. 5 years later, (shame on me) I gave this place a call and asked to come by with a friend of mine to check it out. Gail and Dennis were more than gracious with my request and we were there the next morning.

I didn’t count how many hummingbird feeders they had off of their balconies, but my guess would be about 20 or so. They have around 22 different species of Hummingbirds. I remember hearing a long time ago that these folks go through 5 lbs of sugar each day to feed these birds.  After seeing what I did today, I believe it.

If you are visiting Boquete and would like to go off the beaten path and visit this place, which I recommend, here is the information. Their website is Call them for an appointment, rather than emailing. They request only a donation of sugar for your visit. They are located in Potrerillos Arriba, which is around an hours drive from Boquete. A map is available on their website.  The best time to go is January through May, during the dry season as the last 7 km is on a gravel/dirt road.  During the raining season a 4X4 vehicle will be required.

I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality and their love for the birds is heartwarming. It was a morning wonderfully spent!

Unfortunately, I only have a simple point and shoot camera, but I’m still proud of these camera shots. See the gallery below.

Budget Travel Tips

You want to travel to Panama, but you’re on a tight budget. Here are a few tips that may help you:

Flights and lodging will be cheaper if you come during the “off/rainy season”, which is May through October in Panama.

Flights: Try to book your flights to travel during mid-week (Tuesday through Thursday) as these flights are normally less full than other days of the week and prices may reflect it. In the US, Rumor has it that the best day and time to buy plane tickets is at 3pm eastern standard time on Tuesdays as many airlines update their sales on Monday evening and the adjustments finally reach the airline reservation sites by this time.

Lodging: There is alternative lodging available that will help you keep costs down.

Try and as they may have cost effective places to stay.

For the adventurous traveler, try the rooms are free and having a host that lives here would  give you access to a wealth of information from a local.

Hostals/hostels (potato/potatoe). There are plenty of hostals in Boquete from which to choose, Most of which have private rooms available and all of them have dorm rooms.  Hostals normally have lockers available for valuables, common areas with TV and a communal kitchen.  They are a great place to meet people and find out what is going on in town.  The dorm rooms will be the cheapest as you will be sharing a room with multiple people. If you do decide to stay in a dorm room at a hostal, please see these tips

WWOOF !  This is an organization that sets you up to work at an organic farm or I’ve even seen hostals listed needing help. If you’re handy, I’m sure you can find a “job”. Your roof, bed and food is taken care of in trade for work. I understand it’s a very rewarding experience.