How to Choose a Camping Tent

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dsc 0511 smallCamping has quickly become a favorite pastime of many. There is something uniquely rustic about spending a few nights under the starlit sky, on the bare soil, in the warmth of mother nature, surrounded by the calls of nature and utter silence.

The entire camping experience, whether alone or with family and friends, is one that is usually recalled with hints of nostalgia and love years later. Camping has become less of outdoor activity and more of a wholesome experience with nature.

While camping might seem like the most enjoyable experience in the world, it also comes with its set of challenges. A successful camping trip heavily relies on the organization, planning, and execution of the trip. One key aspect that factors into making the most of a camping excursion, is the tent. It is extremely important to understand which type of tent to choose for the camping trip. There are several factors that can help determine the perfect tent for every occasion:

Table of Contents

Spacing

When selecting the tent, it is important to first lay out a blueprint of the number of individuals in the camping group, their gear and spacing requirements, and account for the pets and added packing requirements. Once the blueprint is laid out, the tent spacing can be calculated.

There is no set standard by which to measure the individual dimension of any tent. However, tenting companies usually provide a headcount for their tents which can help determine the sleeping capacity of the tent. In case of large groups, or extra spacing needs, just upsize the tent’s spacing needs by one person. For example, if your camping group consists of 5 people, a typical 5–6-person tent would be a feasible option. If, however, a pet or extra luggage is being taken on the trip then upsizing to a 7–8-person tent would be a more suitable fit.

Seasonality

All tents are not built to withstand all sorts of weather and climate conditions. Different tents have different metrics for shelter against nature’s elements. Some tents are waterproof to protect against harsh rains while others are lightweight to provide ample ventilation in hot weather. It is important to pick a tent that suits the prospective weather and season for the camping trip.

Typically, there are two kinds of tents available for avid campers. The 3-season tent is specifically structured to provide adequate ventilation, protection, and warmth for approximately 3 seasons of the year – spring, summer, and fall. These tents are made of a vinyl polyamide material that not only protects against rain and light snow but also provides adequate ventilation via its strategically placed mesh panels.

The 4-season tent is a heavy-duty tent that is built to withstand all sorts of weather conditions. From thick snow to blazing winds, from cold mountain air to humid summer haze, the 4-season tent is built for multipurpose camping. Its thicker material protects against harsh snow, winds, or rain while also providing adequate ventilation with adjustable mess panels and open-top entryways.

Specs

The tent specs play an important role in the choice of tent. Once the seasonality and capacity of the tents have been sorted, the specs of the tent must be listed down to choose the best tent for the group.

Screen Shot 2021 03 25 at 2.09.18 PMThe height of the tent is one such aspect that depends on the personal preferences of the camp goers. Individuals who prefer to have standing room in the tent for stretching or changing should opt for tents with tall peak heights which are usually listed on tent specs charts. Individuals who do not care much for standing space can opt for an average height tent.

The weight of the tent is also a key spec to consider when selecting a tent. The weight is important on long-distance camping trips where the tent needs to be carried large distances to the campsite. In such cases, a lightweight tent would be a suitable option. For camping sites that allow vehicle parking nearby, a heavier tent weight can be neglected.

Rain-flies are very important for campsites that are in locations with unpredictable weather. A rainfly is a separate waterproof cover for the tent. It can be installed onto the tent when rain is expected to protect against the rain and provide warmth. Most tenting companies provide a rainfly with the purchase of a tent. However, for some tents, a rainfly needs to purchase separately

Vestibules are shelters that attach to the side of the tent for storage space for luggage or shoes. For some campers, vestibules are important in order to prevent muddy tracks in the tent, to provide extra storage space for luggage, or to provide a nook for pets to rest in.

Lighting crevices and interior loops are essential for the internal lighting of the tent. These provide hanging hooks for lanterns or lighting mechanisms for campers. Most ready-to-assemble tents provide internal built-in lighting in the central poles while others provide hooks and loops for campers to hang their lanterns.

Keeping these few specs in mind when going tent shopping will not only ensure that the perfect tent is sought for the trip but also ensures that the entire camping trip is a success.