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 is the major attraction or it is only a base camp for local activities, this article will assist you in selecting the best camping tent for your needs—your home away from home while on vacation. (Prefer to camp in the backcountry?
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, 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 often supplied with a large number of mesh panels to improve air movement. 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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to guy lines, higher-quality tents will have loops on the exterior of the tent body for connecting them. Using guy lines, you can batten down the hatches without having to worry about the canvas flying in the wind.
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.
This is a groundcloth that is custom-fitted to your tent floor (it is normally supplied separately). Tent flooring might be resilient, but pebbles, twigs, and dirt ultimately take their toll on the surface of the ground. The cost of replacing a footprint is far less than that of a tent. The utilization of this feature is especially beneficial for family tents that receive a lot of in-and-out foot activity. Furthermore, because footprints are custom-sized to match your tent’s shape precisely, they will not collect water in the same way as a generic groundcloth that extends beyond the floor boundaries will.
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.
- 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.
- Each individual requires a minimum of 2 feet of elbow space.
- Will you be bringing a dog with you?
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 ultralight backpacking 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 backpacking trips. However, they are not recommended for long-distance hikes. A camping tent is an excellent choice for those who car camp on a regular basis but want to get 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- A tent serves as a temporary home away from home.
- And a fantastic one will prove to be a trusty travel companion.
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.
How to Choose a Tent for Camping
Tents are perhaps the most recognizable item of camping equipment. Having a shelter that packs down tiny enough to fit within your pack yet can be yanked out and put together in minutes makes it seem almost magical. An additional item of camping equipment that many people acquire is a tent, which is frequently purchased shortly after a sleeping bag. However, there is a vast array of various types and designs of tents available on the market, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
That’s why we’ve put together this detailed reference to the many tent styles and features to assist you in your search for the ideal tent for your needs.
Remember that, like with any other piece of equipment, there is no universally superior tent; rather, there is a superior tent that is tailored to your specific needs.
Choosing a Tent Based on the Type of CampingIntended Use
It is generally agreed that campers may be divided into two types of groups: those who trek into their campground with their belongings in a backpack and those who drive to their campsite. The fact that you want to travel long distances with your tent on your back will have a significant impact on the features and sizes that you should consider when searching for a tent. You can trek with just about any tent on your back, but the further you get from the trailhead, the more the extra pounds pain your hips and shoulders.
However, if you want to backpack, it is worthwhile to forego certain more features and capacity in exchange for a lighter weight.
WhenWhere Will You be Using Your Tent?
The second thing you should ask yourself is when and where you want to put your tent to use. Do you intend to camp in the desert solely on hot summer evenings during the summer months? Or are you seeking for a tent to use when climbing a volcano on skis in the winter? Make a note of the average weather conditions in the areas where you intend to camp, as well as the months in which you intend to camp. Low nighttime temperatures, as well as typical wind speeds, should be considered. If you camp in windy conditions on a regular basis, you’ll want to be sure your tent is designed to accommodate that.
How Many People Does the Tent Need to Fit?
Are you intending to go camping with your family? If so, what are your plans? What about your partner? Or is it only for single missions? Tents are often graded according to their capacity, thus a two-person tent will comfortably accommodate two average-sized people and their belongings, but will feel a little crowded. When going vehicle camping and not having to worry about the weight of your tent, it’s a good idea to choose one that has enough room for at least one more person than you want to have in it.
Furthermore, there is no difficulty to squeeze four people inside a six-person tent; nevertheless, the inverse will not work very well in the opposite situation.
It will allow you to keep all of your belongings dry and will also allow you to invite a companion if you so want.
For example, if you’re hiking with four people, it may be more cost effective to bring two two-person tents rather than one large four-person tent since it is easier to split the poles, fly, and body between four people rather than one large four-person tent that is more difficult to divide.
Different Types of Tents
There are five basic varieties of tents and camping shelters: four-season tents, three-season tents, tarps, bivy bags, and hammocks.
Four-season tents are the most common form of tent. We’ll go through each one’s advantages and disadvantages in detail.
Four Season Tents
Four-season tents, as the name indicates, are meant to be used all year round in any weather. Waterproof fly three season tents are often constructed with a single wall, as opposed to a mesh lining, and they have also have more strong tent poles that are better suited for dealing with severe winds. Despite the fact that four-season tents appear to be more adaptable than three-season tents, they are overkill for the majority of individuals. They’re often heavier and need more time to put up correctly, and they don’t provide the option of sleeping beneath the stars in a mesh tent as three-season tents do.
In addition, they may get rather hot throughout the warmer months.
In the winter, you’re better off using a three-season tent for a few snowy days than you are using a four-season tent for extended summer hiking excursions.
Three Season Tents
Three-season tents are built for usage in three seasons: spring, winter, and fall. That is not to imply that they cannot be used throughout the winter months. They just aren’t as warm and are far more prone to collapsing as a result of the wind or snow blowing through. Three-season tents are the best option for the majority of individuals. They’re quite versatile and perform admirably in a wide variety of environments. On warmer nights, you may sleep in the inner tent with mesh walls. You may use the fly to keep the tent dry on wet nights, and they’re less prone to moisture inside than four-season tents are.
For the most part, people should opt for a three-season tent that has adequate space for their group and has functional vestibules.
Camping tarps and pyramid shelters are becoming increasingly popular among people who are looking for the most lightweight and compact options available. These types of tents should only be considered if weight is more important to you than comfort. Tarps and pyramids don’t have floors; instead, they rely on trekking poles, pegs, and straps to construct a tent out of a simple tarp and other gear you’re already carrying, such as trekking poles. Tarps and pyramids are lightweight and easy to set up.
In contrast to three-season tents, they are generally more difficult to set up properly, and they are not nearly as comfortable.
However, for the majority of people, these options are too fiddly and uncomfortable to be practical.
Bivy bags, also known as bivy sacks, are specially constructed water- and wind-resistant bags that are intended to keep a single person warm and dry. They are designed to be worn over your sleeping bag and function as a tiny tent. Their most distinguishing feature is their compact size; most of them are approximately the size of a water bottle. That makes them an excellent backup to have in your bag if you don’t intend to stay the night, but you could find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere after dark.
Bivies have a propensity to become damp due to condensation and can be claustrophobic due to the fact that they are squeezed inside a sack that is slightly larger than your sleeping bag.
For those who aren’t expecting on spending much time sleeping and are only searching for a waterproof shelter to rest for a few hours before continuing their journey, a bivy bag is a terrific backup choice or an excellent solution.
We, on the other hand, should consider a three-season tent as our best option.
In recent years, the popularity of hammock camping has skyrocketed, with an increasing number of companies developing technical hammocks that are specifically intended for camping and trekking. One of the major advantages of hammocks is that they provide a comfortable area to relax even when you’re not sleeping in them. They are also quite lightweight, pack down little, and are simple to assemble. It’s important to make sure you’re comfortable sleeping in a hammock if you’re intending on going hammock camping.
Consider hammock camping if you have a sleeping pad that can be used in a hammock as well as a sleeping bag that is specifically made for hammock camping.
You’ll also be out of luck if you try to hammock camp in an area where there aren’t enough large trees spaced at the proper intervals.
Small enclosed regions outside the tent where the fly extends down to keep items dry. If possible, include at least two vestibules for storing shoes, packs and other items that you don’t need in the tent but would like to keep close and dry, such as sleeping bags.
Number of Doors
Due to the weight of zippers, lighter tents sometimes just have one door on one side. This reduces the overall weight of the tent by one pound. In other words, if you’re sharing a tent with someone and one of you has to get up in the middle of the night, they may have to crawl over you in order to reach the single door in the tent. Having a door on either side of the house might be really convenient.
In general, the smaller the inside space of a tent is, the lower the weight of the tent is. Some taller people may find that they are unable to sit up straight in their hiking tents as a result of this. Most tents will include a measurement for their ceiling height; if you intend on spending a lot of time in the tent, it’s a good idea to pay attention to that measurement.
Tents are becoming more and more sophisticated, with specific flaps and features that allow you to effortlessly fold back part of the fly and enjoy a better view of the night sky. Even while it adds a small amount of weight, it allows you to fall asleep while gazing at the stars, and it is simple to draw the fly back over your head if it starts to rain. This is what evo looks like. We are a ski, snowboard, wakeboard, skate, bike, surf, camp, and apparel online business with physical stores in Seattle, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, Whistler, Snoqualmie Pass, and Hood River, as well as online outlets in other locations.
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How To Choose A Tent
A high-quality tent can provide the ideal shelter for travelers who want to spend the night in the great outdoors. It is possible to have a better camping experience if you have the right tent for your needs. Be certain that the shelter you want to use for your next camping trip or mountain walk will meet your needs before you embark on your adventure. When deciding on the ideal tent for your needs, there are several features and variables to consider. Use these outdoor Pro Tips to assist you in identifying these characteristics and determining how to adapt your shelter to your own scenario.
TENT SHAPE AND STYLE
The first step in deciding on your future tent should be selecting which form or type would best suit your needs and circumstances. Tents are available in a number of styles, each of which is designed to serve a certain purpose. The following are some common tent forms and styles:
Options with a lot of space This construction is ideal for larger organizations searching for a strong, long-lasting framework. Some cabin tents include interior partitions that may be used to improve seclusion. Cabin tents, on the other hand, can be hefty and take up a significant amount of space.
This huge tent is ideal for family trips, as it provides ample living space for all members of the group. This style, which features vertical doors and a lot of mesh, may create a cool and comfortable atmosphere within the home. However, similar to cabin tents, this choice can be big, heavy, and time-consuming to set up, necessitating the assistance of many people.
Hoop tents might be an excellent option for people looking for a quick and simple setup. While pop-up tents are often lightweight and easy to transport, certain models can also include many doors and windows. Hoop tents, on the other hand, might be less spacious than other tents of a similar design.
Dome tents are popular because of its adaptability, durability, and height at the pinnacle of the structure. Dome tents may provide a large amount of floor space and are quite simple to erect. There are a variety of sizes available, although the sturdiness of the larger ones may be reduced.
Backpacking tents are sleek and efficient, making them ideal for wilderness hikers who want to travel light. Because of their smaller size, they may offer you a greater variety of alternatives when it comes to picking a camping location. Because of their size, hiking tents are not the greatest choice for big groups of people. Understanding the many sorts of tents available might assist you in narrowing down your search. It is considerably easier to match elements such as required capacity and load weight from this point on.
HOW MUCH SPACE DO YOU NEED?
Tent sizes are classified according to the number of people that can be accommodated in the shelter. A three-person tent, for example, may comfortably accommodate a maximum of three people if the description specifies that it is such a tent. However, because there is no industry standard for the proportions of each individual, the phrase “comfortable” can be interpreted in a variety of ways. If your company comprises taller travelers or if you like more elbow room when sleeping, a bigger tent may be the best option.
As a result, a party of two individuals, each bringing their own equipment, might consider renting a four-person tent for a more comfortable sleeping arrangement.
You should also think about whether or not you want to stand in the tent. If the peak height of your tent is lower than your own personal height, it may be difficult or unpleasant to stand up in it.
HOW FAR IN IS YOUR CAMPSITE?
The distance you want to go with your tent is another issue to consider while looking for the ideal tent for you. Depending on whether your campground is in the middle of nowhere or whether you’re trekking through, a lightweight tent may be your best option. Lightweight tents are sometimes preferable for longer expeditions since they are simpler to transport and are not as cumbersome as larger choices. However, in order to accomplish this reduced pack weight, you may have to make certain concessions on some characteristics such as prolonged endurance and inner room.
- Multi-room constructions constructed for six or more people will more than certainly exceed a tiny hiking tent made for two outdoorsmen who are just getting started in the outdoors.
- Tent fabric weight is measured in denier, which is the weight of the fabric’s yarn per 9,000 meters.
- Consider how large your shelter genuinely needs to be, as well as the types of weather conditions that your tent will be exposed to.
- In general, the packed weight of a tent comprises every component of the structure, such as stuff sacks, guy lines, stakes, and so on.
WHAT ADDED FEATURES ARE NEEDED?
Just because tents aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about luxurious lodgings doesn’t mean they can’t be handy and pleasant. Interior storage pockets can be useful for storing tiny camping equipment like as lights, compasses, and other small items. You may also seek for a tent that has internal loops for attaching a gear loft if that is what you want. This can assist you in keeping your stuff off the tent floor, allowing you to move about more easily inside. A rainfly is an additional element that must be included with your camping tent.
When you want to allow in more light while still protecting yourself from the weather, partial rainflies might be the ideal option.
WELCOME BONUS PRO TIP: A bigger rainfly may be extended over the entryway to function as an entrance vestibule.
Last but not least, be certain that your tent has adequate ventilation.
Mesh panels and doors can aid in the improvement of airflow throughout the interior, therefore assisting you in the management of condensation. Mesh panels are also useful for observing the stars and the night sky from the comfort of your tent during night time.
WHAT’S THE FORECAST?
When attempting to select the most appropriate tent for your anticipated weather circumstances, consider the seasonality of your tent. Numerous tents can be categorised as follows: three-season tents, three-season plus tents, and four-season tents. For different weather circumstances, each of these models is better suited.
Three-season tents, which are one of the most popular tent types, are most effective in temperate climates. A great alternative for the spring through fall seasons, this tent type can have a lot of mesh panels to keep you cool while you camp. Tents designed for three seasons are normally capable of withstanding an average downpour, but they are less than ideal when confronted with harsher circumstances such as severe winds or snowfall.
This tent design, sometimes known as extended-season tents, can be particularly useful in the early spring or late fall when you can meet snow. Three-plus-season tents, which often have more fabric panels and stronger poles, may also be used at higher elevations and are ideal for colder climates.
Four-season tents are designed to withstand the most extreme weather conditions. In addition to incorporating thicker materials for durability and heat retention, four-season tents are able to endure high winds and heavy snowfall without tearing. A spherical dome form is also common in four-season tents, which helps to keep snow from accumulating.
OPTIONAL TENT ACCESSORIES TO CONSIDER
Tent accessories can help you get the most out of your shelter by enhancing its functionality. A footprint is a desirable piece of equipment to have. This tent accessory is a ground fabric that is used to protect the ground beneath the tent floor. Footprints operate as a physical barrier between your shelter and the land beneath your feet. This can assist in preventing rips caused by projecting pebbles and other debris. It is also possible that footprints will assist prevent moisture from gathering at the bottom of your tent.
- Stakes can assist you in keeping your tent secure in a variety of scenarios.
- Finally, there are several alternatives for lighting a tent.
- String lights can also be used to produce general illumination.
- Make a list of your requirements for your future home away from home with these Pro Tips.
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. Here’s everything you need to know about purchasing a new camping tent, as well as some pointers on how to choose the best option for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Aluminum is a common material for camping tents, while carbon fiber is the ideal material for tents that may be exposed to strong winds.
- 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.
- If there is only a slight breeze, you can always choose to forego securing the guylines altogether.
- Most tents have only one main zipper, which helps to keep the weight of the tent down.
However, if someone has to get out of the house in the middle of the night, they may have to climb over one another. 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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Choosing a Tent for Camping & Backpacking
A tent is linked with camping for the vast majority of individuals who enjoy the great outdoors. Tents may be extremely necessary shelters in cold weather or severe storms; they can also be used to increase overall comfort and security by increasing the amount of space available (much appreciated when that black bear comes nosing around your campsite). The notion of purchasing a tent may be scary, especially for first-time campers and backpackers who are unfamiliar with the enormous diversity of sizes and types available, as well as the broad range of prices.
This will be on the basic side of things for experienced outdoorspeople, but it should be a great starting place for those who are new to the sport and aren’t sure where to start.
Car Camping vs. Backpacking Tents
Some of the most important decisions to make when purchasing a tent (which we’ll go over in more detail later) are the same whether you’re planning to use it for car camping or backpacking (which we’ll go over later). There are, however, some significant distinctions between the two. As opposed to hikers, car campers don’t have to be concerned about the size and weight of their tents because they aren’t transporting them over long distances on their shoulders. Additionally, they may scrimp a little more on quality and toughness since they have their automobiles on hand in case the weather turns completely wretched.
If backpackers are forced to spend an extended period of time inside their tents due to inclement weather (days and days of heavy rain, for example, or a prolonged period of socked-in mist that makes trekking hazardous), the livability factor becomes extremely important, as it should be (mountaineers striving for a summit are well accustomed to the reality of interminable days spent tentbound, awaiting a break in the weather).
After that, we’ll go over some general guidelines for selecting a hiking tent, which we’ll return to later in the essay. Before we get started, though, let’s go over some fundamental considerations for tent choosing!
How to Buy a Tent For Camping: Understanding Basic Tent QualitiesFeatures
While we go through some of the features to look for when looking for a tent, keep in mind that the best way to get a feel for a specific model is to pitch it before purchasing it, if at all feasible. For a little fee, many outdoor merchants will enable you to set up a tent in the store so that you can see firsthand what it takes to put one together as well as how its relative livability and utility match up with your requirements. If the worst case scenario occurs, you should absolutely set up your freshly purchased tent in your garden or anywhere else close by before embarking on a more distant camping excursion with it!
The capacity of a tent is measured by the number of people who can squat within it, however there is no universally accepted standard. Not only should you pay attention to the rating (one-person, two-person, three-person, four-person tents, and so on), but you should also pay attention to the square footage of the layout. Do you plan on putting up a tent for the adults, as well as for any children, pets, or a large amount of gear or equipment? In such situation, it goes without saying that you’ll need a bigger tent.
Taller campers may require more spacious floor lengths than the standard 80-odd inches in order to feel comfortable.
Consider the peak height of a tent: that is, how tall the inside is at its highest point of clearance.
This dimension is influenced by the overall form of the tent (which we’ll discuss in more detail later).
Tent Shape, DesignFeatures
Tougher tents with straighter walls provide greater clearance than those with more sloping walls, which, in turn, are more effective in shedding precipitation and wind. Using free-standing dome tents, which don’t require the use of stakes or guylines to set up, you’ll have the convenience of being able to move them once they’re fully set up—which comes in handy if your unwisely chosen campsite turns out to be a quagmire in a downpour—and shake them out before they collapse. The sloping walls of dome tents, on the other hand, mean that they have less interior space than cabin-style tents, which have more square or rectangular floorplans and straight (or nearly straight) walls.
- Multiple doors are obviously useful when sharing a tent with others, since they allow you to go to the bathroom without having to climb over your fellow campers, but they will almost surely add weight and expense.
- The standard double-wall tent does this by separating an inner tent made of breathable fabric from a waterproof rainfly, with room in between to allow for ventilation and to prevent a wet fly from transmitting moisture into the inner tent during the night.
- Single-wall tents, on the other hand, can trap moisture inside during hot weather since they are most efficient when the temperature outside the tent is significantly cooler than the temperature within.
- Such elements, of course, also serve to improve the perspective of the outside world.
- If possible, use the model-specific footprint if it is available from the manufacturer, since this will ensure that the tent’s floorplan is perfectly replicated.
Groundcloths that are too large will gather rainfall, but groundcloths that are too small will not provide adequate shelter from the elements.
When purchasing for a tent, another important thing to consider is the tent’s season classification. Most popular are three-season tents, which are great for camping vacations from late spring to early fall because of their versatility. There is usually lots of mesh to allow for ventilation on hot summer days (and for protection against winged hordes). Extended-season tents, which are often referred to as “3-4-season” or “3+-season,” are a little heavier-duty than three-season tents, and they typically have a pole or two additional poles and fewer or smaller mesh panels than three-season tents.
Four-season tents are the most durable of the bunch, and they are preferred by serious mountaineers and winter campers.
They are normally constructed up of at least three poles, which are often composed of aluminum or carbon fiber to provide the greatest amount of strength.
When camping in cooler weather, you can use an extended-season tent if you’re willing to spend a little more on your sleeping bag and liner than you would otherwise.
Ease of Setup
When selecting the proper tent, it’s important to consider how simple it is to set up and take down (this, of course, underscores the value of pitching a tent in the store before buying). Maintain your awareness of the fact that you will not always be able to set up camp in the most favorable of conditions (this is a little of understatement). The process of setting up a tent in a gale-force wind is vastly different than the process of doing it in a mild breeze. Many a camping trip does not get off to the start it was supposed to, and at some time you will most likely find yourself faced with the idea of (blearily) constructing your tent in the darkness, which is a terrifying notion.
Free-standing tents, pole clips rather than pole sleeves, color-coded pole segments and clips, and fewer poles in general are all features that make tent setup easier (however, it’s also true that practice makes perfect, and once you’re familiar with your given tent model’s setup process—even if it’s a fussier one—you’ll likely be able to complete it in double-time, unconsciously).
When it comes to tents, it’s often true that you get what you pay for, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a perfectly adequate camping shelter. In the case of a first-time camper, a low-cost tent is preferable to nothing and can serve as an excellent introduction to the activity. The investment in a high-quality tent is absolutely worthwhile if you plan on doing a lot of camping, and especially if you’re interested in colder-weather treks or severe backpacking: It will keep you more comfortable and protected, and it will last far longer as a result.
How to Choose a Tent for Backpacking: Additional Considerations
All of the factors listed above are taken into consideration when selecting a backpacking tent or a car-camping variant. As previously stated, hikers should be considerably more concerned with how much a tent weighs and how much room it takes up in their pack (keep in mind that you’ll also be carrying stuff like food pouches, canteens, insect spray, first aid basics, and other essentials). Heavy tents are normally more durable and waterproof, however lightweight tents may pack a lot of punch (for which you’ll have to pay a premium) these days.
Take into consideration that splitting up larger or heavier tents between members of your hiking group and leaving tent storage bags at home will help you lose weight.
The color of your tent is more than simply a matter of personal preference.
Bright, vivid colors in general make a tent easier to spot in the landscape: this is useful if you’re coming down from a hilltop and get a bit lost on your way back to camp, but it may also be too harsh for other people who prefer more muted hues.
It is possible for backpackers in particular to forego tents entirely in order to save on weight and space. There are a variety of alternatives to tents available, ranging from camping hammocks to bivy sacks to simple tarp-and-groundcloth shelters. That being said, if you’re just getting started with camping, you’ll definitely want to start with a tent and work your way up to one of these more basic choices over time.
When it comes to camping, tents may be a camper’s closest friend, and if they’re well-made, they can last for years or even decades of adventure. We might grow rather attached to our cherished tents, which serve as receptacles for a plethora of happy memories forged in the great outdoors throughout the years. Best of luck with your tent-hunting!