Camping calls whenever you want to reach out to nature, and to pour the essence of it within you. But the perfect connection with nature can only be made if there is no interruption made by extrinsic factors such as a noncompliant tent.
Buying the right kind of tent can be tricky with all the variants included. Accordingly, this guide will help you through.
Table of Contents
Things to be Considered First
Before you invest in a tent, you must acknowledge that tent manufacturing is unstandardized with respect to measurements. The sizes may vary with brands. Therefore, it is recommended that if it is a tent for four people, consider it a 2 person tent as sleeping bags and supplies also take up room. Moreover, if there are teenagers who would want privacy, it would be wise to get a tent with room dividers. It is also suggested to buy a tent that would allow everyone to sleep inside the sleeping bags to avoid cold and condensed interior walls dripping.
Contemplate on the Use
It is crucial to decide if you really need the tent you have your eyes on i.e. is it worth all the money you are willing to spend? Ultra-lightweight tents would only be required if your trip involves hiking or mountaineering. Otherwise, slightly heavier tents would suffice you for overnight or weekend trips.
Decide an Appropriate Size
As advised earlier, always upgrade your tent by one or two sizes to add in a little extra space for your comfort. (Read: to be able to breathe.) A 4-person tent would be too uncomfortable and tight for four; you would have to stay put in one position for everybody to live.
Therefore, a 6 person tent would be a better option for you to fit in all the backpacks, gear, and storage. Similarly, for a solo backpacker, a lighter 2 person tent would be sufficient.
On the other hand, if you need a tent for car camping, go bigger. The bigger the tent, the convenient your trip will be.
Another factor to be kept in mind while revising the size of your tent is the height of everybody on the trip. There must be enough headroom for all the tall people, and so you must keep the tent dimensions in mind: the peak height, the floor dimensions, and volume, etc. Also bear in mind that the greater the size of the tent, the difficult it would be to set up.
Consider the Weight
If you plan on car camping, then you need not worry about the portability of your tent. Otherwise, it is recommended to buy good quality backpacking tents (made up of lightweight materials) if your tent requires carrying it on your back. For regular campers, it is advised to go for freestanding tents which tend to be easier to set up and pack.
Meanwhile, there are two types of weights you need to know before you buy a specific model: the trail weight (lightest) which only includes the weight of the essential parts of the tent- tent body, poles, rainfly. Alongside, packaged weight (heaviest) includes the complete packaging of a tent: the essential parts and all the gear including the stakes, pole/stuff sack, etc.
Consider the Seasonality
Single-season tents, though cheap, are least recommended, for they are a weary and unreliable option in unforeseen weather conditions. If you are camping in controlled weather conditions where you don’t have to deal with snow or ice, then a 3-season tent would serve you well- it can adequately cope up with cold, winds, and rain. A 4-season tent would only be needed if you are camping in extremely cold weather or high alpine environments.
Consider the Right Material
Tent fabrics variably affect the insulation, breathability, and water resistance of a tent. Following are a few materials you may consider as per the circumstances.
Tents made up of nylon are the best option for backpackers since the material is lightweight and breathable. If covered in polyurethane (waterproof), it also functions to deter water.
Though reasonably priced, the possibility of the waterproof coating wearing off may serve as a disadvantage.
Its functionality is similar to that of nylon, but with added resilience and durability in heavy rain. It can also withstand sunlight to a greater extent, with the tent not being deteriorated with time.
Canvas is a traditional tent material, irrespective of the weight it offers. It is considerably durable and breathable, and also flexible to different weather conditions- keeping cool in summer, and warm in winter. It is also waterproof, but would only be suitable for campers as of its bulkiness.
This is a great option for 3-4 season campers, considering it has breathability and insulation properties as well. Though costly, it is highly water-resistant and would be ideal for winter camping. Other Factors to be considered…
Make sure your tent is made up of a breathable material to enhance ventilation, meanwhile preventing condensation. Mesh would perform well as a ventilator, but it is prone to rips and tears.
The rainfly acts as the second wall of a tent, which may be avoided if the weather is dry and warm. In poor weather, however, the fly comes in handy to repel rain and wind- also keeping you warm. Hence, double walls are highly recommended unless you are backpacking.
Tent pole material influences the strength and structure of a tent. This may include Aluminum Alloy- lightweight, sturdy, and flexible. The disadvantage would be the bending of poles when failing.
Carbon Fiber poles are pricier but are ideal for high-end tent models and long-distance trips pertaining to their ultra-lightweight property, and resilience against unwanted forces.
The third and least recommended material is Fiberglass, which tends to break easily with its heavyweight.
Consider the Price
If you want to invest in a high-quality tent, then you better make peace with their high price. They would be more durable in the long run as compared to cheaper options. Keeping the weather conditions in mind, make sure you invest wisely in the rightly featured and priced tent. But also remember to check up on reviews and sales for your own sake.