Choosing the Right Tent

Buying a camping tent is not as easy as you may think. You can’t just pick one up at the local sporting goods store without knowing exactly what you are buying and the primary use of it. When you get out in the field with your tent, and you end up freezing or overheating, you’ll realize that you should have spent more time reviewing the options when purchasing your camping tent. Camping tents are made for use in various seasons, and some tents can keep you drier than others. If you are planning a trip to a snowy region in winter, it certainly wouldn’t be recommended that you drag out your 3-season tent you used for summer camping at the lake.

This chapter is a camping tent guide for helping you choose the right tent for the right conditions. These considerations will help you decide what kind of tent will be the best for your next adventure.

Tents come in a whole variety of different sizes and styles that can accommodate anywhere from a single person to a dozen people or even more. The tent that is most suitable and the best choice for you will obviously depend on your needs and your budget. Tents range hugely in price and functionality so, some of the main questions you must ask yourself before considering which tent to purchase while shopping for a tent might be:

  • What is the total number of people that will be joining you on your camping trip?
  • Will you require a tent big enough to accommodate a large number of people?
  • Are you comfortable with a single sleeping area or would you prefer separate compartments based on the number of people will be joining you?
  • Is your camping trip more hiking-based?
  • Will you be carrying the tent on your back or traveling by vehicle?

Note that the size of the tent will be crucial if you plan on carrying it with you.

Here are the main things to consider when buying a tent:

1. Time of Year You’re Going Camping

There are generally three camping classifications of tents, and each mainly depends on the time of year that they will be utilized.

All-season tents or convertible tents – these are used predominantly all year round, but despite the name, these tents do not function well in severe winter weather. The weight of the tent is not an issue.

The all-season camping tent is typically thought of as regards a family or car tent. Most cabin tents are all-season tents. These are ideal for relaxed summer camping.

3-season – this type of tent works well for all the seasons except the harshest cold weather conditions like snow.

The 3-season camping tent is what I would consider the most versatile. Some of the smaller two person tents are great for hiking and some of the larger tents are perfect for family campouts. These are usually always a dome tent.

4-season – purpose built for extreme cold weather climates, but extremely hot during summer.

2. Staying Dry

While camping, there is nothing worse than waking up in a pool of water or feeling a drip on your forehead at night. The main reason this happens is the way tents are made these days. Once you touch the fabric on the inside to the outside flysheet, the tent will start to leak especially when it rains heavily, and sometimes from the morning dew.

Hold on; you say I could just use a poncho as a rain fly and stay dry. You’re right. You could pick up a poncho as well to drape over your shelter half. But out the door goes your ventilation! The point is, technology is a wonderful thing. You can purchase camping tents that have a water-resistant coating and still allows for ventilation. Most camping tents have a waterproof rain fly that attaches to the tent poles and still allows for ventilation. And lastly, many camping tents have floors sewn into the bottom.

3. Easy Setup

Your camping tent should be easy to set up within little time. At no time will this be more apparent to you than when it is raining or when it is dark.

So how do I know if the tent is easy to set up? A-frame and dome camping tents are easy to pitch. A cabin tent is not necessarily easy. The next section will deal with the designs of tents.

Lastly, when you are ready to take your tent down, or strike camp, you will want it folded into a neat, compact, and easy to store package.

4. Ventilation

It is a must that your camping tent has adequate ventilation. A camping tent with proper ventilation will have openings on all sides.

Most camping tents will have mesh screens on each side as well. This is to ensure that air flows through the tent even when you are trying to keep out the bugs or debris if it becomes windy.

You’ll want to choose a tent that has a large mesh opening if you think that the bugs where you’ll be camping will be annoying.