At first glance, selecting a tent for camping may appear simple, but when confronted with the reality of the numerous options available, you may get confused and upset. When deciding to purchase your own tents, there are several variables to consider, like weight, capacity (how many people can sleep inside), and durability (ability to withstand extreme wind, rain, and so on). In this post, we’ll attempt to assist you in making the best option possible while keeping all of those precise aspects in mind.
Your first concern should be to decide if you’ll camp close to home, drive there, or hike cross-country. You will have alternatives in each of these two scenarios. Naturally, the most critical factor in backpacking is weight, therefore your tent must be lightweight and small, at least in contrast to the other choices.
Advice and tips on tents for camping
The very first thing to consider when purchasing a tent is the number of people who will sleep inside. Generally, there is no clear criterion for determining a person’s size. Per-person pricing varies per manufacturer, so the secret here is to consider the amount of room you’ll have.
If you can’t imagine sleeping for eight hours in a small space, go for a tent with one additional sleeping space per person. As a result, you will all have greater space to walk about freely. If your tent lacks an additional compartment, you can store items in the existing places. An additional room is also recommended for those who are claustrophobic, or if you are traveling with a young child or a pet (dog).
We must also discuss the weather properties. Three-season tents are the most common type of tent. In difficult winter circumstances, very few individuals go camping or trekking. Therefore, people who prefer more moderate weather should choose for a three-season tent. It offers complete protection from mosquitoes and insects (unless you leave the tent unzipped). Additionally, it keeps you secure and dry when it gently rains or snows, and is constructed in such a way that the air within circulates freely. Typically, the walls are built of mesh panels to enhance ventilation.
If you want to camp during the transitional season between winter and spring or fall, a longer tent may be a better option. It is a three-season tent with the added benefit of being able to endure some harder winds and keeping you warmer inside.
How to Pick The Best Tent
Of course, the more daring can opt for a four-season tent. These are far stronger and provide enough protection from even the most harsh weather and winds. Mountaineers typically use four-season tents at high altitudes. They provide an excellent combination of ventilation and warmth. They include rounded domes to prevent snow accumulation on the roof area’s flat surfaces. If you’re interested in finding out which items are the finest in this area, check out our post on cold weather tents.
Choose tent for situation
Thus, based on all of these primary categories into which tents fall, you may confidently choose the best for your situation. If this is the case, there are a few more tent characteristics to consider.
The dome-shaped or cabin-shaped tent dictates the shape and size of the tent. If you’re driving to your campsite, you’ll want to invest in a cabin-shaped tent. It features high walls and plenty of interior space. They are ideal for households with youngsters (even dogs). While they are pricy, the comfort these tents provide is well worth the investment. We have an excellent post on the best vehicle camping tent that includes user reviews and comments.
If you want to go shopping on a budget, a dome-shaped tent is the best option. If you get a large tent and keep in mind the additional room for one person, you may have a rather comfortable stay inside. It may lack the luxury of vertical room, but it will provide shelter anyway. Additionally, we have an excellent collection of reviews for campers on a budget in our post on inexpensive camping tents.
Consider the tent’s entrance openings as well. If you have a large family, you will surely want to have many doors so that you do not walk on each other throughout the night. If there are just two or three people, perhaps one door opening will enough.
When it comes to poles, the majority of large family tents perform admirably. They can be employed with less or no stakes at all. Additionally, they are portable when standing. If the tent requires fewer poles, it will take less time to erect.
You’ll have two options for the rainfly — one that covers simply the roof or one that covers the complete top. The first provides a reasonable amount of ventilation, a pleasant view, and adequate protection from the elements. The other is more resistant to rain and wind. It lacks the luxury of a view.
Consider purchasing a tent that has an additional compartment or vestibule. If you intend to store a large number of items in the tent during the night, you will undoubtedly require storage space. Certain vestibules are available individually.
Another point to remember is to pay close attention to the mesh walls and parts. Mesh walls allow for maximum ventilation and keep the tent ‘breathable’ in hot, humid climates. If you want to camp throughout the summer, consider purchasing a tent with mesh walls and additional mesh components, such as rainflies and mesh panels.
Tent suggestions for rural or cross-country camping
If you’re more adventurous and want to spend time away from society, including your own vehicle, and prefer to hike on your own two feet, another sort of tent is for you.
Whether you go camping alone or with your family, you must still consider the tent’s capacity. The preceding suggestions about more person space should still be considered. While it is true that you must consider your bag weight when camping, if you cannot picture sleeping in a cramped location where you elbow each other, then invest in a tent with additional room. Additionally, in your instance, you may need to choose a dome-shaped tent, which is more compact and lighter than cabin-shaped tents. Our post on the best hiking tent contains some excellent product suggestions.
When it comes to the weather, the preceding advice is still applicable. Choose a three-season tent if you’ll be camping in mild climates, and a four-season tent if you’ll be out in the dead of winter.
We must also discuss the tent’s size. As previously said, one individual cannot describe the sizes of all people. On the tent’s label, you may find the tent’s true dimensions, including its height and square feet surface area. It will provide you with a more specific estimate of how many people can fit inside snugly. Typically, the height is what makes a tent seem claustrophobic or spacy. Thus, the more vertical the walls, the more space the structure gives, and the higher the roof, the more headroom the structure provides. If you enjoy family camping, check out our post on the best family camping tent for some fantastic reviews and goods.
If these factors are critical to you, carefully read the label for these warnings. You may even request that the store assistant build up a tent for you to try it out in real time if you choose. Bear in mind, however, that the more space a tent provides, the heavier it will be.
A word of advice from us: because the floor area is proportional to how steep the walls are and how much space they give, those seeking additional space should opt for a larger floor area. This implies that the walls will be further away from you and the angle will be proportionately greater than the available area. As a result, it will feel spacious, despite its proportions being similar to those of a tent with a smaller floor surface. What is significant are the dimensions and the amount of space produced over your head. This is especially true for those who are taller or bigger in stature.
To continue the discussion of size, another type of tents exists. These tents are referred to as lightweight (minimalist). They are crafted from ultra-light materials and take up very little space. Because they are constructed of very thin fabric, they require cautious site selection, avoiding rocky regions, pinecones near the tent, and so on. These may wreak havoc on the fabric of the tent. This is a disadvantage with lightweight tents, but it should not deter you.
Tent with a single wall
We must include single-wall tents in this tiny category. They are often utilized throughout the winter. They lack inside capacity once again, but keep the tent properly ventilated thanks to the use of GoreTex technology on the walls. It offers fresh air for the occupants and eliminates condensation through the application of vapor pressure. Due to the permeable walls, these tents lack rainflies and hence lack a view opening. These tents are far lighter than their two-wall brethren.
What you should know before purchasing a tent?
In addition to the aforementioned lists and descriptions of many types of tents and their qualities, there are a few things you should be aware of.
During warm, even hot weather, mesh walls give the required freshness and ventilation. The sole disadvantage is that on frigid nights, cold air enters unhindered, meaning that mesh walls are not insulating against the cold. Thus, if you install the rain-fly before sleeping, it is anticipated that you would experience an increase in temperature of up to ten degrees inside. Therefore, keep in mind that the rainfly might act as a heat source. After all, even in the summer, evenings may be rather chilly.
Additionally, some remarks about the poles and stakes. Nowadays, the majority of tents are constructed in such a way that they can remain firm without the need of posts. A tent can be relocated if the initial location proved inconvenient.
Of course, it is highly recommended that you always install the stakes before sleeping, since unexpected gusts of wind might occur. The stakes will ensure that it is firmly planted and solid. What’s very convenient is that you can just grab the tent and shake away any dirt or debris while it’s still attached to the pegs.
When it comes to strength, it’s important to examine the poles. They are mostly constructed of fiberglass or aluminum. Fiberglass is brittle and will break if repeatedly arced (in case of strong winds). Aluminum is now the greatest material for engineers to use. It’s the optimal weight-to-strength ratio.
And when we discuss strength and substance, we must discuss the walls. The most often used tent materials nowadays are nylon and polyester. They are both the lightest materials available, with nylon being somewhat lighter (sometimes even insignificantly). When shopping for a tent, look for the denier (D) designation. It indicates the weight of the cloth. The greater the number, the more substantial the object. The lower the value, the more favorable the weight-to-strength ratio. The majority of rainflies are constructed of polyester, which is a more water-resistant fabric.
Tent walls are frequently covered as well. This implies that producers apply a coating to the exterior, interior, or both sides of the tent wall to enhance the material’s water-resistance. Polyurethane and silicon are the most often utilized coatings. Polyurethane (PU) provides extra waterproofing and is often sprayed to the tent wall’s outside. Silicone is added to the tent fabric to increase its flexibility and strength.
As a result, the fabric is somewhat more resistant to tearing during severe gusts of wind. The majority of producers utilize a combination of coatings, for example, PU on the exterior and silicon on the interior. Additionally, while the rainfly is constructed of water-resistant polyester, the tent walls are made of nylon, which absorbs water significantly. When silicon is put to nylon fabric, it increases the fabric’s resistance to water absorption. Thus, a polyester coated with PU is equally as waterproof as a nylon covered with silicon, often known as ‘silnylon’. Of course, polyester can still be siliconized.
You must also consider the floor. You may either purchase a separate footprint designed specifically for your tent (manufacturers make such footprints that fit the floor of your tent perfectly), or you can rely on traditional sleeping pads. Generally, a footprint is a superior choice since it prevents water from leaking in or moisture from penetrating the tent, but it is ultimately your choice. While a footprint adds weight to your bag, so do sleeping pads.
When erecting your tent in your chosen camp spot, position it so that the doors face away from the direction of the wind. If you have many doors, you may select which one to use while entering and exiting. At all times, one of the doors should be facing away from the wind. Consider the location of the tent carefully. Avoid dense shrubs, pinecones, and other plants with pointed branches or leaves. They may exert pressure on the materials and easily shred them in high winds. Your tent is built to resist wind, not branch piercing.
That is not to say that you must be completely exposed out there. You can still choose a calmer location that gives some protection from the winds. The goal is to be cautious of shrubs and pinecones that may be close to your tent.
Additionally, we recommend practicing setting up the tent at home or in the garden. Repeat multiple times until you’ve mastered it. While in the wilderness, you may need to set up the tent quickly, which might be quite difficult if you’ve never done so before. At home, read the handbook and give it some time in peace and quiet. Additionally, avoid folding the tent at the same creases each time. The more times the same crease is used, the weaker the cloth becomes and it may tear easily.
Additionally, if this is your first time camping, it is a good idea to borrow a tent. You have no idea if this is your thing and lack expertise, so borrowing is the wisest course of action. Again, practice setting it up at home and consult the owner for assistance and recommendations on how to properly care for your tent.
When storing the tent, it is nearly always best to keep it loose in its sack. It should remain unattached in a closet, garage, or similar location. Additionally, if the item is moist, avoid packing it for an extended period of time. Mildew may grow and eventually destroy your tent.
Along with these recommendations, suggestions, descriptions, and hits, we aim to have provided you with an in-depth review of how to select a tent for your camping vacation. If you follow these suggestions and make informed choices, you should be alright. Of course, practice makes perfect, so repeat the technique as necessary until you feel comfortable with it.
Caution should be exercised when folding and utilizing the poles. After all, while the tent is designed to survive adverse weather conditions, some rough handling can quickly ruin it. As long as you know what you’re doing, you should have a great time camping.