How To Pick A Good Tent

How to Choose Tents for Camping

There have been 439 reviews with an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon. This article is part of a series on a variety of topics: Camping: A Beginner’s Guide Many of us like spending time in our cars with family or friends during the summer months. Whether the campsite itself is the major attraction or it’s merely your base camp for surrounding activities, this article will help you pick the appropriate camping tent—your home away from home. (Prefer to camp in the backcountry? See the article Backpacking Tents: How to Choose by REI Expert Advice for more information.)

Video: How to Choose a Camping Tent

For starters, pick a tent style that is appropriate for the size of your group and whether or not you will require more space for extra friends, gear, or pets. Keep in mind, however, that there is no industry standard that sets the proportions of a tent for a single person. When it comes to examining tent capacity ratings, our general recommendation is as follows: Assume that the two pieces are almost identical. Upsizing your tent by one person can provide you with additional space if you or your typical tent companion(s) have any of the following characteristics:

  • They are enormous individuals who are afraid of being cramped
  • They toss and turn at night
  • They sleep better when they have more elbow room than the usual person
  • They are bringing a little child or a dog

3-Season Tents

3-season tents, by far the most common type of tent, are lightweight shelters built for use in reasonably mild weather conditions during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. They are typically equipped with a large number of mesh panels to improve air flow. Insects are kept out by mesh panels (but can still let in powdery blowing sand). 3-season tents, when properly pitched with a taut rainfly, can endure heavy downpours, but they are not the greatest choice for prolonged exposure to severe storms, powerful winds, or heavy snow.

  • Keep you dry when it rains or snows lightly
  • Protect you from pests
  • And more. Protect your privacy

3- 4-Season Tents

Extended-season (3+ season) tents are designed to be used for extended periods of time in three seasons. They are appropriate for use in the summer, but also for travels in the early spring and late fall when mild snow may be encountered. Providing a balance of ventilation, strength, and heat retention is their primary purpose. It is typical that they have one or two more poles and fewer mesh panels than pure 3-season versions. This makes them more durable and toasty than their three-season counterparts.

While they are quite durable, they are not as well-protected against hard winter weather as 4-season tents.

4-Season Tents

Tents designed for mountaineering are built to endure high winds and heavy snow loads, and they may be utilized in every weather condition. Their primary role, on the other hand, is to remain sturdy in the face of extremely unfavorable weather, which occurs primarily in the winter or above treeline. Thus have more poles and heavier materials than three-season tents, therefore they are more expensive. Their spherical dome forms limit the possibility of snow accumulation on flat roof areas.

They have a limited number of mesh panels and rainflies that are just a few feet above the ground. In moderate weather, this might cause them to feel hot and stuffy because of the lack of air. However, as the wind picks up speed, a four-season tent provides a safe haven for the weary traveler.

Peak Height

If you want to be able to stand up while changing clothes or if you prefer the openness of a high ceiling, opt for a tent with a higher peak height to accommodate your needs (listed in the spec charts). Cabin-style tents have walls that are almost vertical to optimize total peak height and usable area, while also minimizing weight (and some models come with family-pleasing features such as room dividers and an awning, or a vestibule door that can be staked out as such). In addition to its greater strength and wind-shedding properties, dome-style tents are also extremely lightweight, something you’ll appreciate on a windy night.

Tent Floor Length

In case you’re very tall (over 6 feet) or need extra room, a tent with a floor length of 90 inches (rather than the more common 84–88 inches) can be a good option for you.


When selecting your tent, consider the amount of doors you will require, as well as the form and orientation of the doors. If you’re camping with your family, having numerous doors will save you from having to clamber over each other to get to the restroom at midnight. Tents in the design of a cabin are very popular in this area. Also take notice of how simple or noisy it is to zip up and close the doors. YKK zippers on the doors are more resistant to snagging and breaking than other types of zippers.


The structure of a tent’s poles influences how simple or difficult it is to pitch the tent. These days, almost all family tents are freestanding structures. This implies that they do not require the use of stakes to be installed. It has the significant benefit that you may take up the tent and relocate it to a different area before staking it. Additionally, before putting it down, you can easily shake dirt off of it. Setups are quicker when fewer poles are used. Attaching poles to clips is also less difficult than threading them through long pole sleeves, which may be time-consuming.

Color-coded corners and pole clips also help to expedite the setup process.


A rainfly is a separate waterproof cover that is meant to go over the top of your tent’s roof and keep the rain out. If there is a chance of rain or dew, or whenever you want to keep a bit more warmth, use this product. There are two varieties of rainflies that are commonly encountered. Using simply the roof as a rainfly allows for greater light and vistas while providing enough rain protection. Full-coverage rainflies provide the greatest amount of protection from the wind and rain.

Tent Materials

Be aware that higher-denier fabric canopies and rainflies are more durable than lower-denier fabric canopies and rainflies when you’re purchasing.

Tent floors that are lined with seam tape and high-denier textiles help to limit the likelihood of leaking.

Vestibules / Garage

In order to protect your boots from becoming dirty or dusty or to keep your bags from getting wet, you may connect a shelter or an awning to your tent. They can be included as an essential element of the rainfly or they can be purchased as separate pieces.


Tent ceilings, doors, and windows are frequently made of mesh panels, which are also used for other purposes. This provides for better vistas and increases cross-ventilation, which helps to reduce condensation. Larger mesh panels are recommended for hot and humid conditions.

Interior Loops and Pockets

A lantern loop is commonly installed in the top-center of a tent’s ceiling to allow for the hanging of a lantern inside the tent. A mesh shelf (known as a gear loft, which is sold separately) may be attached to the inside tent walls using the loops on the walls. This will keep small objects off of the tent floor. Interior pockets, in a similar vein, assist you in keeping your tent organized.

Guyout Loops

A lantern loop is commonly installed at the top-center of a tent’s ceiling to allow for the hanging of a lantern inside of the tent itself. A mesh shelf (referred to as a gear loft, which is available separately) may be attached to the inside tent walls using the loops on the walls. This will keep small objects off the tent floor. Pockets on the inside of your tent can also help you stay organized.

Optional Tent Accessories

In this case, the groundcloth (which is generally supplied separately) is custom-fitted to fit below your tent floor. Rocks, twigs, and mud can be harsh on tent flooring, but over time, they take their toll. A footprint is far less expensive to replace than a tent. This is especially beneficial for family tents that have a lot of foot activity coming in and out of the tent. Additionally, because footprints are custom-sized to match your tent’s shape precisely, they will not collect water in the same way that a generic groundcloth that extends beyond the floor boundaries will.

Gear Loft

Most tents are equipped with one or two inbuilt pockets, which allow you to store small objects off of the tent floor. Agear loft is an optional inside mesh shelf that may be used to stow larger quantities of gear out of the way when the space is limited.

Other Nice-to-Have Accessories

  • Stakes and anchors to accommodate a variety of site circumstances
  • Cleaning supplies: broom and dustpan, inside and outdoor floor mats, tent repair kit, seam sealant, utility wire, battery-powered ventilation fan

Tent accessories are available for purchase.

Related Articles

  • Backpacking Tents: How to Choose
  • Campsite Organization
  • Camping Checklist
  • Backpacking Tents: How to Choose

Explainer: How to Choose the Best Tent for Camping

Your tent keeps you safe from the elements and helps you create years’ worth of outdoor memories. A tent is one of the most significant expenditures an outdoor enthusiast can make. It serves as their home in the mountains. In preparation for the next camping season, we compiled a snapshot of the current tent market to assist you in selecting the ideal tent for your outdoor hobbies. Choose a tent that is appropriate for your needs. Find out more about tent types, materials, storage, and tent maintenance in the sections below.

Guide to Choosing a Tent

Step 1: Determine how you intend to utilize your tent. Be completely honest with yourself. Will you be able to lift it out of the minivan on your own? Or do you need to transport a large amount of material into the backcountry? If so, how many miles do you think it is? While 2 pounds per person is a decent amount of weight for a weekend backpacking trip, you may want to go lighter if you plan to hike for an extended period of time. Having said that, if you’re only planning on using it for vehicle camping, weight shouldn’t be a major worry.

Step 2: Take into consideration the weather conditions in the area where you will be camping the most of the time.

Even if you only camp in cold weather on occasion, pick your tent depending on how often you will be using it.

Step 3: Consider the issue of capacity. How many individuals will be able to sleep there? Each individual requires a minimum of 2 feet of elbow space. Big and tall people will want a tent with extra width and length. Will you be bringing a dog with you? What about the children?

In-Store Evaluation

Even if the tent is already put up at the store, inquire as to whether you may have it set up. Is it simple to use? Do the poles come apart and reassemble easily? How well will you perform when you have to put it up in the dark, with numb fingers, and in the rain? Crawl into the house and stretch out. Do your head or toes come into contact with either side? Take a seat in the tent. Do you think you’d be comfortable dressing in that every day? Is it likely that you’ll wake up in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature and wake up your tent mates?

Is it going to be able to ventilate appropriately for your needs?

Is it possible to accommodate your entire party inside, sleeping in sleeping bags, without touching the walls?

The Big Agnes Scout is a three-season tent with a large vestibule that can accommodate a lot of gear.

Pick a Camping Tent

The camping tent occupies a space in the middle of the spectrum between extra-large cabin tents and lightweight hiking tents. These are a popular choice, and models such as the iconicREI Half Dome 2 and theKelty Circuit are examples of this. These tents are typically small and lightweight, making them suitable for overnight or weekend hiking trips. However, they are not recommended for long-distance walks. A camping tent is an excellent choice for individuals who car camp on a regular basis yet like to go out on the trail every now and then.

First Look: REI’s ‘Iconic’ Half Dome Tents Get 2018 Facelift

In 2018, REI will introduce a new range of tents that will replace its current lineup. Our family and I spent a couple nights in Great Smoky Mountains National Park camping inside the newly renovated Half Dome 2 Plus to see what had been changed. More information may be found here.

Backpacking Tents: How to Choose

Beyond a few hundred feet from your car, you’ll enjoy the convenience of something that can be carried in a backpack. Enter the hiking tent for the night. Backpacking tents are designed to be lightweight and packable, rather than large and bulky. On the other hand, forward-thinking engineering incorporates pole designs that allow for more dwelling area than ever before by popping out the walls. With wide mesh panels covered by retractable rainflies, hiking tents are marketed as three-season shelters that strike a balance between ventilation and weather protection.

If you’re planning on doing serious hiking, seek for tents that weigh less than 2 pounds per person.

There are a number of good alternatives, such theBig Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 mtnGLO Tent, which weighs less than 2.5 pounds yet has an integrated internal light, and theMSR Hubba Hubb NX, which features a pole arrangement designed to optimize headspace while being lightweight and packable.

The Black Diamond Firstlight is a no-frills, two-person, single-wall, four-season dome tent designed for summit efforts that need speed and lightness.

Mountaineering Tents

If you’re hiking beyond the tree line, be prepared for the sudden interruption of wind and snow. Ideally, you’ll want a shelter that is resistant to the elements, such as one that can survive a nuclear winter. A mountaineering tent is like a fortress in the middle of a storm, built to withstand hurricane-force winds and massive snowfalls. These four-season tents are frequently designed with extra poles and more durable materials, resulting in an increase in their overall weight (and cost). As a result, these fortresses of the high country give more peace of mind and complete security.

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All-Weather Basecamp: NEMO Chogori 2P Mountaineering Tent Review

Our four-season Nemo Chogori climbing tent – which blurs the borders between single- and double-wall construction – was tested in wind, rain, and snow to see how well it performed. More information may be found here.

Ultralight Shelters

It is possible to save substantial weight by using a whittled-down shelter for people who have only a few kilometers under their belt and many miles ahead of them. Due to the fact that they are not really “tents,” these shelters will often be your second or third “tent” purchase. While not the most common type of shelter in the backcountry, these structures frequently double as tent poles or avoid the need of poles altogether. Despite the fact that it only weighs under 2 pounds, this floorless three-person shelter from HMG pitches using two poles and seven stakes.

However, with a little practice, tarps, hammocks, bivy bags, and pyramid tents may be functional shelters.

Pitch a Pyramid: Hyperlite UltaMid 2 Tent Review

Introducing the next great range of multi-sport tents, where minimalist design is combined with all-mountain versatility. In Mexico, Colorado, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we tested the lightweight UltaMid 2 tent. This tent, which is made of Dyneema fabric, is extremely durable and pricey. More information may be found here.

Glossary: Understanding Tent Material Jargon

Tents, maybe more than any other outdoor purchase, have a plethora of information to sort through. There is a lot of jargon, and it’s important to grasp what it all means.

Tent Materials

While canvas tents are still available on the market, the majority of today’s tents are made of a synthetic nylon fabric instead. The denier (grams of mass per 9,000 meters of a fabric’s thread) rating indicates how light (and delicate) the tent is. The lower the number, the lighter (and more fragile) the tent. The use of specialist textiles, such as silnylon (silicone-impregnated nylon) and Dyneema (military/maritime-grade fabric), in some ultralight shelters helps to reduce their weight.

Single-Wall / Double-Wall Tent

The majority of tents you’ll find in stores or on the internet are double-walled. Double-wall tents feature an inner tent that is breathable, which is covered by an outer rainfly that is waterproof. It is possible to avoid the dreaded midnight condensation rainstorm by using this setup, which allows condensation from your breath to swiftly migrate to the exterior layer.

A single-wall tent is a possible alternative in a few specific situations. Any moisture that forms on the tent wall will be frozen to the wall by the high altitude. The presence of enough ventilation will allow moisture to leave easily before condensing in the tent.

Pitch on a Ledge: MSR Advance Pro 4-Season Tent Review

The MSR Advance Pro 2 is lightweight, has a tiny footprint, is constructed of bomber material, and can be pitched by a single climber while standing in one place. Here is our assessment of this extremely desirable tent for the serious alpinist or climber on a budget. More information may be found here.

No-See-Um Netting

No-see-ums are tiny insects that bite when they land on your skin. The phrase has become widely used to describe any little insect that bites.) No-see-um netting (also known as mosquito netting) is frequently used on double-wall tents to minimize weight while also providing greater ventilation. Your shelter may be transformed into a million-star hotel when the rainfly is removed from the mesh tent.

Tent Poles

The majority of tents contain aluminum tube poles that are joined together with an elastic cable. Poles are either inserted through nylon sleeves or clipped into strong plastic clips in order to raise the tent. A pin is located at the end of the pole, which is intended to be inserted into a ringed grommet. More complicated tent designs will color code the poles with hooks and grommets to make setting up the tent faster and more efficient.

Tent Stakes

Tent pegs should be included with the tent and should be appropriate for the tent’s intended use. Lightweight tents will be equipped with lighter-weight stakes, while heavy-duty camp tents will be equipped with a heavier-gauge stake. Aftermarket stakes can be purchased to reduce the weight while increasing the durability of the vehicle. Pro tip: Look for natural anchors, such as rocks, roots, and trees, to use to secure the tent to the ground.

Tent Vestibule

We all like spending time in the great outdoors, but the tent door is where the line is drawn. Essentially, a vestibule serves the same purpose that a covered porch does for your home: it serves as a safe canopy under which you may put your belongings and kick off your dirty boots. It is a space-saving feature that should be taken into consideration when making a purchase. The vestibule of Big Agnes’ Super Scout ULII is spacious enough to accommodate two more campers. The disadvantage is that it has a bigger carbon footprint than a car.

In-Tent Storage

When you’re on your way to a midnight bio break, the last thing you want to do is rummage around for your headlamp. Pockets and lofts are excellent storage solutions for keeping tiny sundries and personal goods tidy and easily accessible. Many tents are equipped with interior loops that may be used to hang a clothesline to dry wet garments. Featuring three doors: one on each side, as well as a third entrance that opens into the vestibule, the Sierra Designs Divine Light 2 FL is a three-season tent.


In a tent, the door is the only weak point in the structure’s defense. A good one will feature a smooth zipper that gives you plenty of freedom to wiggle out while keeping the weather out as well.

If the door leaves from the front, it may be sufficient. Couples hiking together, on the other hand, may prefer to have their own distinct ports of entrance rather than crawl over one another to get out of a single side door.


Tents are frequently delivered with a knot of cord. These are your guylines, and they will assist you in drawing the canvas taut. Some tent forms, such as dome tents, do not require guylines in order to remain erected. Other designs necessitate the use of guylines. In either case, it’s a good idea to sling the tent before heading out on the route to guarantee that your tent will be camp ready when you arrive. Pro tip: When illuminated by a light at night, reflective guylines are simple to notice, reducing the likelihood of an unintentional fall.

Tent Rainfly

This is something we’ve all seen: the dome tent at the campsite with the blue tarp draped over the top of it. Make sure you don’t end up like that man. The most fundamental function of a tent is to keep you safe from the elements. Many rainflies may be peeled back to reveal their nighttime appearance. Choosing the right color for your tent is important if you want to stay for numerous days. Sunflower yellows will have a more upbeat effect on your temperament than blues.

Tent HeightWall Shape

Tents are constructed around the physical forces of tension and compression created by the fabric and poles used in their construction. Tent design, like most things, is dictated by function, therefore think about your requirements and the designs will follow suit. Because of their vertical walls, family tents allow campers to stand up and change their clothes. A low-profile trekking tent, on the other hand, will sling low to the ground in order to deflect wind and rain. The purchase of more air real estate has been investigated in several innovative designs.

Tent Trail Weight

When you turn over a tent label, you’ll typically notice two different weights mentioned. The packed weight is the weight of an off-the-shelf item, including cables, a repair kit, extra stakes, and everything else. The trail weight is the bare minimum weight required to build the tent, which includes the tent body, fly, poles, and the bare minimum of stakes.

Ground Cloth

That being said, there is one aftermarket component that you should really consider investing in. A ground fabric acts as a barrier between the tent and the rocks and roots beneath the tent’s foundation. It reduces the amount of wear and tear on the tent floor. Pro tip: Don’t want to spend the extra money on a name-brand drop cloth? With a sheet of Dupont Tyvek from your local hardware shop, you can make your own.

How to Care For Your New Tent

Eventually, you pulled the trigger and purchased the tent. Congratulations! To guarantee that it lasts as long as possible, follow these guidelines. Many tents will come with seams that have been “taped.” This implies that the holes created by stitching are sealed at the manufacturing facility. However, some tents still arrive from the manufacturer with open seams. If yours is not sealed, add seam sealer to the floor as well as the inside of the fly stitching before to use. Set up the guylines and practice setting up the tent in a park or your backyard before you go camping.

  • Check for any manufacturing faults that may have occurred.
  • An empty tent is actually a box kite disguised as a tent.
  • After each night’s sleep, remove the fly and allow it to dry.
  • Continue to dry the tent out at home and store it in a loose manner (not rolled up tight).
  • Seam sealer may be used to patch any minor gaps.
  • Inspect the poles and guylines for signs of wear and tear.

Store the tent in a cool, dry location. A tent serves as a temporary home away from home. A excellent one will make your outdoor experience that much more enjoyable. And a fantastic one will prove to be a trusty travel companion. Best of luck with your purchasing!

The Best Camping Tents of 2021

Make the most of your home away from home by selecting the best camping tent for your upcoming excursion or vacation. We scoured the market to find the best vehicle camping and family camping tents for every price and application. More information may be found here.

The Best Camping Mattresses and Sleeping Pads of 2021

The best camping mattresses and sleeping pads were tested and proven to be the most comfortable for any trip and budget, ranging from ultra-comfortable air beds to compact sleeping pads. More information may be found here.

Your Complete Guide to Buying the Perfect Camping Tent

Are you ready to spend the night in the great outdoors? The good news is that you won’t require much to get started. Everything else you’ll need is an adventurous spirit, a sleeping bag, a headlamp, and, of course, a tent. A comfy tent (though hammock camping may be an experience in and of itself!) makes sleeping in the wild outdoors a bit more pleasant for the majority of people. Tents are generally straightforward, but there are a few important decisions to make before purchasing one. These include determining what type of tent you want, how big you want it to be, and which features are most important to you, as these will all have a significant impact on the price of the tent.

It is possible to use a high-end tent for decades if you treat it with a little additional care at the conclusion of each trip.

Tent Sizes

When shopping for tents, you’ll discover that the sizes are determined by the individual. A one-person tent offers enough space for one person to lie comfortably in a sleeping bag, but there won’t be much additional space for stuff in a one-person tent. It’s possible that you’ll have enough room in your tent for your bag if you’re on the smaller side. In certain two-person tents, two people can be accommodated side by side, but this is only if you don’t mind being directly opposite one other.

Three-person tents are perfect for two people who want a little additional space, however some businesses also offer 2.5-person tents, which are ideal for couples who want a little more space, or for a couple that wants to bring their dog along with them.

It’s not necessary to care about your tent’s weight or size when car camping (parking immediately next to your campsite in a campground), but keep in mind that buying a tent much larger than you require will make you feel cooler (your body heat warms the air in the tent, so the less empty space there is, the better.) You’ll want to keep your tent as compact as possible if you’re backpacking in order to reduce the amount of weight you’re carrying on the trails.

Mountain Safety Research (MSR) employs a senior product designer, Terry Breaux, who says he has worked on a number of different projects “It’s usually better to crawl inside a few tents before making a final decision on which one to buy.

Find out if it has adequate inside room to sit out a storm or have a game of cards with a pal in the future.”

Types of Tents

What size and style of tent do you require? What sort of camping you’re planned on doing will determine how long you’ll need. Backpacking tents are the most “technical” tents available, since they are designed for performance and adverse weather conditions. These tents are designed with both durability and weight in mind, with the purpose of making them as light as possible while yet providing enough protection. Tents are divided into two categories: freestanding tents and tents that require stakes to be set up.

However, because they are unable to stand on their own, they are not recommended for use in rocky terrain where it is impossible to drive stakes into the ground.

However, it also implies that they are quite confined on the inside.

In comparison to regular camping tents, car camping tents are bigger, sometimes constructed of heavier fabrics, and may include additional amenities that add weight, such as built-in lighting or zippered windows.

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Tent Parts

Tents aren’t difficult to understand, but there are a few important phrases to understand while you’re shopping about.

  • Rainfly: The rainfly is the cover that protects your tent from the elements. Not all basic car-camping tents are equipped with these, but the majority of them are. The rainfly is a separate piece of cloth that protects you from the weather while still allowing air to flow inside your tent, which helps to prevent condensation from forming inside it. If the weather is nice and sunny, and there is no chance of rain, you may decide not to use the rainfly. A good option for stargazing, especially if your tent’s roof is made of mesh (as most are), is to pitch your tent on its side. Vestibule: It is the region outside your tent but still covered by your rainfly that is known as the vestibule. When the sun goes down, it’s where most people store their luggage and shoes for the night so they don’t take up valuable tent space
  • Towels on the tub’s floor: While the majority of your tent will likely be constructed of mesh, the floor will always be made of a more durable, water-resistant material. Many tents have this material that reaches a few inches up the sides, much like the sides of a bathtub. This helps to keep water out of your tent in the event of rain or snow, and it eliminates the need to use an atarp or special mat under your tent to stay dry. Poles and stakes are used in a variety of situations. The poles are placed inside your tent to keep it open, and the stakes are placed in the ground to keep it standing erect. Poles are always able to be folded up for simple storage.

Suzie Dundas is a woman who works in the fashion industry.

How Much Should a Tent Cost?

The price you will pay for a tent is determined by your priorities. Alternatively, if you only want a basic tent for vehicle camping and aren’t concerned with its weight or quality, you may buy perfectly serviceable tents at big-box retailers such as Target or on Amazon. These tents are also suitable for camping and music festivals, as well as for family gatherings. “An expensive tent will normally be lighter in weight than a cheaper tent because of the materials used to construct it. Some of the more expensive tents are also intended for specialized purposes.

Trekking tents are available at a reasonable price (about $100), but they typically weigh 5 to 7 pounds, which is too hefty for most people to carry on lengthy backpacking expeditions.

If you want a moderately sized packed tent (about 18 inches length by 6 or 7 inches in diameter) that weighs less than 4 pounds, you’ll most likely be looking at tents in the $200-$250 price range.

You could also anticipate to pay between $300 and $350 for an ultralight tent with a tiny packed size. If you want a large, lightweight, robust tent that can be used for winter camping and that can be folded into a tiny package, you can expect to invest at least $500.

What Features Do You Need?

If you want to use your tent for backpacking or camping in frigid weather, look for arainfly to protect your gear. The rainfly enables for the majority of the body of your tent to be made of mesh, which improves ventilation (which keeps you dry in case of frost or condensation). If your tent does not have a rainfly, it is likely to have windows or vents towards the top, making it more suitable for usage in the backyard or at a drive-in campsite. Tent poles are classified into two categories: inexpensive poles made of materials such as fiberglass, and more expensive poles made of materials such as aluminum (made from aluminum or, in high-end tents, carbon.) Due to the fact that fiberglass isn’t as sturdy as other metals, tents with fiberglass poles will often be a little thicker and heavier, and they will be more likely to break or crack in high winds.

  1. Aluminum is a common material for camping tents, while carbon fiber is the ideal material for tents that may be exposed to strong winds.
  2. The guy wires and loops that are linked to your rainfly will assist you in keeping it taut and secure in high winds or stormy weather.
  3. If there is only a slight breeze, you can always choose to forego securing the guylines altogether.
  4. Most tents have only one main zipper, which helps to keep the weight of the tent down.
  5. Look for a tent that has a zipper entrance on both sides to make entering and exiting the tent a little more convenient.

Maintenance and Storage

Owner of Technical Equipment Cleaners Daniel Cates advises customers to “keep everything clean and dry!” The firm, which is located in California, cleans and repairs outdoor equipment such as ski clothes, sleeping bags, and tents. When it comes to tents, mold is the most typical problem we encounter. Cates advises that after returning from a camping trip, you should carefully wash the tent and rainfly with a little detergent and water and allow it to dry completely before putting it away.” “Even the tiniest amount of moisture can result in mold growth.” Keeping it inside, in a room that is not subjected to extreme temperature or illumination swings, was also advocated by Cates (so avoid the garage or basement).

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How to Choose a Tent

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation Camping may be a pretty enjoyable hobby, whether you’re doing it with a large group at a local campsite or on a backpacking trip with your significant other. A high-quality tent, on the other hand, is an absolute must if you want to get the most out of your camping trip. It is possible to buy and use many various types of tents, and the ideal tent to purchase and use will be the one that is appropriate for the activities for which you will be using it.

When selecting a tent for camping, you should consider the number of people who will be sleeping in it and for how long, the weather conditions in which you will be camping, and the materials from which the tent will be constructed.

  1. 1For maximum adaptability, go for a three-season tent. When in doubt, a three-season tent is an excellent option to consider. It meets the majority of fundamental camping requirements and is well-equipped to withstand the elements in the spring, summer, and fall. Despite being very lightweight, this style of tent provides excellent ventilation in the summer heat and contains a roof cover that is effective at keeping the rain out
  2. 2 If you want to travel to campgrounds by car, invest in a family tent. Even while family tents are often heavier than other types of tents, they also have lofty walls and, in some cases, many rooms, which provide for plenty of space and comfort. You should choose this option if you are used to auto camping, which implies driving to the site rather than walking. It’s also a wonderful alternative if you’re camping with a large group of folks at the same time. Advertisement
  3. s3 If you want to camp in the cold, you should invest in a four-season tent. Despite the fact that they are referred to as four-season tents, this variety is designed primarily for use in cold weather. These tents have the ability to be completely closed off from the outside environment, and they are often constructed of durable materials that can withstand severe winds and snow. If you camp in cold, snowy environments on a regular basis, this could be the ideal option for you. For extended hikes, invest in a traveling tent. These are frequently designed to accommodate only one person and are created with weight and packability in mind rather than size. For extended hiking journeys, aim for a backpacking tent that weights no more than two pounds if you do so frequently. Advertisement
  1. 1 Make sure that each individual has at least 30 square feet (2.8 square meters) of floor space. Consider the number of people you’ll be camping with, how long you’ll be camping for, and what you’ll be doing in the tent before you buy a tent. A minimum of 30 square feet of room for each person in the tent should be provided by the tent you purchase, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • It is technically possible for two adults to sleep in a tent that measures 5 by 7 feet (1.5 by 2.1 meters), but a 10 by 10 foot (3.1 by 3.1 meters) tent would provide more space for changing, storing clothing and even adding cots or an air mattress.
  • ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT From the age of eight to sixteen, Britt Edelen was an active member of his local Boy Scouts troop near Athens, Georgia. His Scouting experience included hundreds of camping excursions, the learning and practice of several wilderness survival skills, and countless hours spent admiring the beauty of the natural world. In addition, Britt spent several summers as a counselor at an adventure camp in his hometown, where he was able to share his love of the outdoors and knowledge of the outdoors with others while also earning money. Britt Edelen is a model and actress. Educator in the Great Outdoors Our Subject Matter Expert Agrees: Purchase a tent that has enough space for one additional person than you will require. For those who enjoy trekking alone, it might be tempting to buy the tiniest tent that they can fit in their car or on their back. However, if you’re out in the elements and it’s cold, you’ll want to keep all of your belongings inside the tent, so you’ll be grateful for the additional room
  • 2 Don’t go overboard with the size. The design and weight of tents that are much larger than 10×10 feet (3.1m x 3.1m) might be problematic, making them difficult to transport over long distances. It might also be difficult to locate a flat location large enough to accommodate these tents. 3 To save money, go for a straightforward A-frame. A-frame tents are the most prevalent design and are popular because they are less costly and lighter than other types of tents. The only significant disadvantage of this form is that the sloping side walls tend to restrict available area.
  • When exposed to extreme weather conditions, this design does not perform well since the sides can be readily battered by high winds. There are also modified A-frame tents, which have the basic design of an A-frame but have had minor alterations made to them in order to maximize the amount of inside space available.
  • 4 If you want plenty of headroom, a dome form is the way to go. Tents with a dome form are supported by flexible poles that pass over the top of the tent and support the roof. They have a lot of headroom because of the way they are constructed.
  • Larger dome tents are less sturdy than smaller dome tents, so if you want to have several people sleep in your tent, you should consider a different form.
  1. 5Invest in a geodesic tent for maximum stability. Dome tents are similar to geodesic tents in that their poles cross one other, but geodesic tents are distinct in that the crossed poles form triangles. As a result of its stability, this is an excellent form for those who camp a lot throughout the winter months. Advertisement
  1. 1If you want plenty of standing area, opt for the umbrella form. Since of its huge windows and lofty walls, the umbrella form is a fantastic choice for bigger gatherings because it gives the impression of being very roomy. 2 Choose a tent that is simple to up and take down. A long, grueling work week or a day of trekking will leave you with little desire to spend a lot of time putting up a shelter at the end of the day. When the rain starts pouring or the sun begins to set, you’ll be especially happy for a tent that can be put up fast.
  • Try to look for terms and phrases such as “pop-up,” “quick-opening, immediate, and “instant-opening” in the tent’s name or description.
  • 3) Check to see if the tent offers sufficient weather protection. Whether you just camp during the hot summer months or you camp every month of the year, you’ll need a tent that can withstand all types of weather. The type of protection you require may vary depending on the environment of the place where you will be camping, but rain is one type of weather from which practically every camper will require protection.
  • Make certain that your tent is equipped with a rainfly that provides complete covering. Due to the fact that a single enormous continuous sheet of cloth covers the entirety of the tent floor, tub flooring keeps rain from getting inside the tent. While it may appear to be a cost-effective solution at the time, purchasing a low-cost tent may result in rainwater leaking inside the tent and destroying your goods.
  • ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT From the age of eight to sixteen, Britt Edelen was an active member of his local Boy Scouts troop near Athens, Georgia. His Scouting experience included hundreds of camping excursions, the learning and practice of several wilderness survival skills, and countless hours spent admiring the beauty of the natural world. In addition, Britt spent several summers as a counselor at an adventure camp in his hometown, where he was able to share his love of the outdoors and knowledge of the outdoors with others while also earning money. Britt Edelen is a model and actress. Educator in the Great Outdoors Your tent should be made of a lightweight, long-lasting material. In order to keep your belongings safe, you need a tent that is entirely waterproof, windproof, and fire resistant. It must, however, be portable and lightweight due to the fact that it must be carried. A synthetic material such as nylon is most often used in this application. 4 When hiking, consider the weight and packability of your gear. Particularly if you want to hike for an extended period of time while toting your tent, you’ll want one that’s as light as possible and that’s readily compactable
  • The tent will be more expensive the lighter the material used to make it.
  • 5 Make use of vestibules to maximize storage space. If you have a lot of supplies, clothing, and other belongings, investing in a tent with at least one vestibule can significantly increase your storage space. These can be placed in the front or back of the tent, as well as on one of the tent’s sides. They also make the procedure of getting into and out of the tent considerably more efficient.
  • A square-shaped floor can also aid to optimize the amount of storage space available.
  • 6 Don’t forget to get a tent footprint to match with your tent. A footprint is a piece of material that is placed beneath your tent. In addition to protecting the tent floor from rocks and debris, this can also prevent ground moisture from collecting inside the tent if you pitch your tent in a cold, wet location.
  • The bottom of many tents may be secured to the ground with a matching footprint that can be snapped or fastened to the bottom of the tent.
  • 7 Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of single and double walls. The majority of tents are classified as either single-wall or double-wall structures. There are positive and negative aspects to each of them, so weigh the pros and disadvantages of each to choose which one is more worthwhile for you.
  • Despite the fact that single-wall tents are lighter and faster to set up, they give significantly less shelter and storage space. Double-wall tents offer additional space and protection, but they are much heavier than single-wall tents.
  1. Invest in a tent constructed of finely woven, rip-resistant canvas. Tents of superior quality are constructed of high-grade materials that are robust, lightweight, and water-resistant in nature. Fabrics used to make the highest-quality tents are generally nylon or polyester with a cotton canvas or polycotton outer shell.
  • 2 Select aluminum tent poles for your tent. There are numerous various materials that may be used to make tent poles, including carbon composite and fiberglass. Tents with aluminum poles are the strongest and most durable alternative available, so look for one with them.
  • The disadvantage of using aluminum poles is that they are a little heavier than steel poles.
  • 3 Purchase a tent with long-lasting zippers. Take a close check at the zippers on the doors and windows of the tent before purchasing it. The zippers on your jeans are sure to bind or break at some time if they look anything like the ones on your shoes. High-quality zippers are essential since they play as important a role in keeping you safe as the fabric and seams of your tent.
  1. 4Use mesh panels to allow for proper airflow. The prospect of being confined in a stuffy enclosed tent with too much body heat and little fresh air is particularly unpleasant during the summer months. Get a tent with mesh panels on the ceiling, doors, and/or windows to allow for adequate ventilation and to keep moisture at bay when camping. Advertisement
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  • Make sure you get some tent seam sealant to use with your tent. Keeping your seams taped or spraying them on a yearly basis can keep them stronger and more effective. Tent doors should always be completely closed to prevent spiders, mosquitoes, and other insects out. Suspend a tent lamp or a flashlight from the roof of your tent to offer light inside during the nighttime hours. Preparing the tent location prior to erecting the tent is essential. Remove any sharp pebbles, sticks, glass, or other debris from the area by “sweeping” it. Make sure you have your new tent set up in your backyard before you take it on your first excursion. By doing so, you will get more comfortable with how to pitch it, as well as knowing that you have all of the necessary components.


  • Never use an open flame to heat the interior of the tent. This is a potential fire danger.


About This Article

Summary of the Article XWhen selecting a tent, seek for one that provides at least 30 square feet of room per person who will be sleeping in it. If you’re looking for something inexpensive and straightforward to set up, an A-frame tent, which is the most popular tent form, is a good choice. For something with a bit more headroom, a dome-shaped tent may be the best option. Look for umbrella-shaped tents if you’d like a more roomy tent in which you can stand up comfortably. Make sure you choose a four-season tent, which is intended to endure wind, snow, and freezing temperatures if you’re going to be camping in the winter.

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There are several tents available for purchase; as of this writing, OGE has over 140 tents available for purchase. For those who are unfamiliar with the process of purchasing one, it might be scary to go shopping for one. So, let’s attempt to divide this down into reasonable bits of information. It’s simple to fling technical phrases about and leave you hanging in a sea of ambiguity—to butcher a metaphor—but that’s not what we’re going to do. We’ll answer all of your questions and assist you in selecting the most appropriate tent for your needs.

Types of Tents

At their most basic level, tents may be divided into three categories: backpacking tents, camping tents, and climbing tents. From right to left, we have: A hiking tent, a camping tent, and a climbing tent are all good options. If you are going to be hiking for an extended period of time to reach your campground, you should invest in a backpacking tent. Backpacking tents are designed to be both lightweight and small, allowing them to be transported over long distances (ideally, they should weigh no more than 2 lbs per person) and simply stowed within a backpack.

Weight is not something most camping tents take into consideration, with most weighing 4-6 pounds or more—with large-capacity family camping tents weighing as much as 20 lbs.

If you’re going on a high-altitude mountaineering excursion or planned on camping during the winter, you’ll want to invest in a mountain climbing tent.

The first step in purchasing a tent is determining which activity you will be using it for the most of the time, and then proceeding from there.

Also keep in mind that you can’t really backpack with a sleeping bag. Once you’ve decided on the sort of tent you want, you can start looking into the specifics of how it will be constructed.

Space and Livability Concerns

The floor design of an MSR Elixir 2-person hiking tent has four different sizes: 1-person, 2-person, 3-person, and 8-person. The size of a tent at the surface level refers to how many people can fit within it by taking up around 25 inches of space (about the width of a sleeping pad). The following is a good rule of thumb to follow while shopping for tents: go up one person in order to enhance your comfort: 1-person tents are typically too small for one person, 2-person tents are typically too small for two people, and so on.

It all comes down to finding the right balance between space and weight.

How will I know I have enough space in my tent?

The simplest approach to determine whether or not you’ll have adequate room is to look at the following two tent specs in particular: The maximum height and floor area. The peak height of a tent is the amount of height (measured in inches) that the tent has between the ground and the highest point of the structure. This, coupled with your height, is a crucial factor to consider when determining your livability level. When it comes to sitting inside your tent, it indicates whether you’ll be able to sit upright, squat, or even stand (in certain situations).

The floor area of a tent is measured in square feet, and it is quite straightforward to estimate from tent specs found online.

If you’re taller, make sure you have at least 2 additional feet in the tent lengthwise so that your head and feet don’t come into contact with the tent’s ends, which will become wet from condensation throughout the night.

If at all possible, visit your local gear store, where the workers should be more than ready to assist you in setting up any tent you might be interested in.

Tent Construction Questions

From the inside, it seems to be a double-walled tent. The fact that the mesh tent body is separate from the fly helps to prevent condensation significantly. Double-walled tents are the most popular style of tent construction. They are comprised of two parts: the tent body, which comprises the floor and (typically) mesh walls, and the fly, which is the waterproof section that is attached to the outside of the tent. They provide greater ventilation, and as a result, have less condensation problems; but, they do not retain heat or resist wind as effectively as single-wall tents do.

They are most frequently employed during climbing and winter camping, activities that need less ventilation while also requiring more warmth retention and wind resistance.

Single-walled tents (particularly those designed for mountaineering) are often lighter and more packable than double-walled tents since the tent body and fly are constructed as a single piece. Double-wall tents are recommended if you are not intending on doing winter camping or mountaineering.

What’s the difference between a 3- and 4-season tent?

A three-season tent is the finest choice for moderate weather conditions such as spring, summer, and fall. They are not appropriate for use during the winter camping season. Tents with two walls are virtually always used for this purpose. As a matter of fact, the title “4-season” is a bit of a misnomer because 4 season tents are really only ideal for cold weather camping—because they are not very breathable, you wouldn’t want to use them in warm weather. Tents with only one wall are generally always used for this purpose.

Should I get a freestanding tent? A non-freestanding tent?

A three-season tent is the finest choice for moderate weather conditions such as spring, summer, and autumn. For winter camping, they are insufficient. Tents with two walls are nearly often used. As a matter of fact, the phrase “4-season” is a bit of a misnomer because 4 season tents are actually only ideal for cold weather camping—because they are not particularly breathable, you wouldn’t really want to use them in warm weather. Tents with only one wall are usually always used.

There are lot of different pole configurations. What’s the best?

Tent pole arrangement is the single most important aspect in determining how easy it is to set up a tent: A dome-style tent, such as theNemo GalaxiorMarmot Tungsten, is made out of two poles that are joined together to form a ‘X’ shape. It is one of the simplest styles of tent to erect. As tent designers strive to improve the amount of usable space within the tent while also reducing its weight, the pole combinations can grow increasingly complicated. TheNemo WagontopTent, which places a strong emphasis on general livability and comfort, looks like this: It’s essentially an apartment that you can take with you when you travel.

There isn’t always a “better” form of pole construction to choose from.

What should tent poles be made of?

Tent poles are typically constructed of aluminum and come in a variety of weights and thicknesses. Some poles are still constructed of fiberglass to keep costs down, and some manufacturers are beginning to develop carbon fiber poles to reduce weight—albeit at a higher cost—to reduce weight. Aluminum poles are the most durable and long-lasting, and they do not cost or weigh much more than steel poles. They are also very simple to repair in remote areas of the wilderness. If at all possible, avoid using fiberglass poles because they have a tendency to split quickly.

Tent Features and Terms

No-see-um Mesh:This is the type of mesh that can be found in almost every tent on the market these days. No-see-ums and other flying insects as little as black flies and gnats can’t get through because of the fineness of the material. Depending on your requirements, you may wish to include more or less netting into your tent. More mesh means greater ventilation, more possibilities for stargazing, and nice breezes on hot summer evenings, but it might also mean it gets chilly in the winter and spring.

Bathtub flooring: Keep an eye out for this feature since it will keep you from getting wet or soaked in your tent during storms due to rain, wind, or wind-blown rain.

A footprint helps to extend the life of your tent by shielding the bottom from sharp pebbles or twigs on the ground when you set up your tent on top of it.

Tent guylines: Tent guylines are lines linked to the tent fly that may be staked out to make the tent more wind resistant, assist shed water during extended rainstorms, and make the tent less prone to fly away during a strong storm.

As the name implies, the vestibule of a tent is the region immediately outside the tent’s entryway that is covered by the tent fly when it has been staked out.

In terms of door layout and the amount of available doors, tents will feature either one or two doors.

It is sufficient to have only one door in your tent while hiking by yourself.

Weight of a tent’s packed contents (also known as trail weight or fast-pitch weight): The weight of a tent’s packaged contents includes everything you purchased at the shop, including the instructions, additional guylines, stakes, and the bag it comes in.

The fast-pitch weight (or fast-fly weight for Big Agnes tents) is the weight of the tent fly, footprint, poles, and stakes alone, without the rest of the tent structure. Obviously, this method is not applicable to every tent setup.

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