When you have been camping, hiking or backpacking, you definitely know something about tents - busted zippers, pounding wind, deluging rain, and the frustration of trying to get all those poles into the right sleeves so the thing will stay up. However, tents really don’t have to be this hard. While none of us can promise good weather, you should be able to be relaxed about tents will help make your next backcountry excursion more bearable. You need to consider destination, amount of people, and type of trip and you’re already well on your way. If you’re a newbie when it comes to camping and the likes, you will need to familiarize yourself with tent terminology. We’ll help you with a few basic terminologies and you can add more to your vocabulary as you go!
A tent footprint is a large, tarp-like piece of fabric that is placed under the tent to protect it from abrasive ground textures like gravel. Double-walled tents include a main tent and a rain fly, which is a separate cover, whereas single-wall tents don’t have that separate rain fly; they’re just one piece. A tent vestibule is kind of like a porch; it’s outside of the main tent, usually above a door, and it provides coverage from the elements and this is where you can put your things.
The market is full of options and features today and it can be too complicated to know how to choose a tent that suits your needs. We’ve created this guide to give you a good place to start.
So, how to choose the right tent?
You may need to ask yourself which climates you are most often going to use your tent. If you plan on camping in high winds or during the winter months, you need a 4-season expedition/ mountaineering tent. It’s always best to choose a tent designed to withstand the worst conditions you expect to encounter.
Is this going to be a solo hike or a trip with your friends or partner? All backpacking tents are categorized with the occupancy and capacity - and come in solo to 4-person models. Therefore, consider how much gear you plan to bring and how you intent to use it. When buying, get inside and see for yourself if it will be enough room for the trip you are planning.
Tents can have 1 or 2 doors; the primary advantage of a 2-door tent is that it provides much more ventilation than a 1-door.
Weight is crucial as the tent will get packed into your backpack and it would be a good idea to get an ultralight tent or at least one that’s light. It has mostly been observed that if the weight is lesser, you might have to compromise on durability.
Freestanding / Pegged
A freestanding tent gives you a lot of freedom as to where you can put your tent as it’s without pegs; this makes it heavy but it’s useful.
This should be one of the top deciding factors while choosing a tent. Simply put, it means how easy is it for the air to enter and escape the tent through the material. Poor ventilation also leads to condensation.
Most of the camping tents are made of nylon. No-see-um mesh is used for the window screens, breathable nylon is normally used for tent walls and coated nylon is used for the fly and floor for waterproofing. Tent weight increases if you choose thicker and denser fabrics.
There is really no BEST tent, but there is a RIGHT tent for you. And choosing the RIGHT tent would mean determining what your tent needs to be able to do on your adventures. In the end, only you can decide and choose which tent is the right tent for you, but since it will literally be your home in the backcountry, we urge you to choose wisely. Choosing the right camping tent is an essential part of having a great camping experience!