## Tuesday, August 16, 2016

### The Math of Tents

I am getting ready to head out camping with the local high school students.  They will travel by boat down river, toward to ocean to a small piece of land near the place this village was originally located before it moved to the place before this one.

Have you ever wondered how math is involved with camping?  I decided to check a few things out and finally found a wonderful piece on tents covering how they calculate the number of people each type accommodates to the various heights and other facets.

First of all, occupancy of a tent is based on whether it is designed for backpacking or for normal family use.  For a backpacking tent, they calculate it based on the standard sized backpacking pad which is 20 to 22 inches and having people right up against each other tucked into mummy sleeping bags.  If you are talking about a family tent, it is assumed that people need more space.

So a backpacker is said to need 15 square feet while in a family tent situation older teens and adults are allotted 25 to 30 square feet per person.  This one fact leads to the rule of thumb of subtracting two from the rating of the tent.

It would be easy to have students go online to find their perfect tent for camping and use the figures to determine if the manufacturer used the backpacking or family tent square footage.  This can lead to a discussion on the total tent floor space versus capacity and usage. In addition, students could sketch plans showing how people would sleep into the tent.

Furthermore, the article addresses how a non-rectangular shaped tent effects its capacity.  Let's fact it.  Rectangular tents are much easier to do calculations with because you can base those calculations on a rectangular body but if you have an hexagonal shaped tent, you might not be able to use the space effectively.

The final thing to know about selecting tents has to do with height of the tent.  Some tents are designed for people to only sit in the tent while others allow inhabitants to stand.  This leads to volume calculations for the tent.  I use a small backpacking tent I can sit up in.  I am extremely good at changing inside the tent.

So have the students choose a non-rectangular shaped tent for the same activity of calculating sleeping  capacity, and designing a floor plan for arranging your family as effectively possible.  The students then create a summary for comparing the tents and deciding which one they would buy complete with justification.  They could even provide justification for why they chose a small tent vs a larger tent of vice versa.

Have a nice week.