Choosing The Right Tent, A Tent Buying Guide

Choosing the right tent for camping can be no easy task. There are many shapes and sizes of camping tents. As well as tents made for winter, tents made for summer, tents made for backpacking, and the list goes on.

Buying a tent can be overwhelming, especially for a beginner camper. Luckily we have compiled a list of things to look for when buying a tent. Hopefully these tips will help make your tent shopping easier. As well as your next adventure awesome.

  • Figure out your primary mission for your tent. What we mean by that is, think about what you are going to be using your tent for. As we said before, there is a tent for almost everything. So really think about what you are gonna use it for. If you are going to be summer camping, a nice well ventilated tent that is water proof like the Coleman Camping Tent could be a perfect match. If you are primarily a backpack camper, then you will need something like the Featherstone Outdoor UL Granite 2 Person Backpacking Tent. You get the idea of what we are saying with determine your mission. Just think about it before you decide what tent to buy.
  • Think about your budget. Come up with a number that you are willing to spend on your tent. I would put aside at least $70 for a good camping tent. Your aren’t going to camp on Mount Everest with a $70 budget, but you can be rather comfortable in something like the Coleman, Sundome Dome Tent during the summer months for a pretty low cost. A beginner will usually start in something like the Sundome and then graduate to a more rugged camping tent later on.
  • How many people does it need to sleep? Think about how many people are going to be sleeping in your tent. Maybe you have kids that will be going on the tent camping trip. The person rating on a tent is usually measured by adults with no gear. So if you have a 4 person tent with 4 people and gear, its going to get quite cramped. With a non backpacking tent, I will usually get the next size of tent up. So if I need a tent that sleeps 2 people, I will get the 4 person version if it’s available. That way you won’t have to worry about having room for your camping gear that needs to stay dry and out of the weather.
  • What is the weather like in the area you will camp? Think about the weather in the places you will go tent camping. A summertime camping tent will sometimes have issues staying dry in heavy rain. Due to the added ventilation that these tents have. So somewhere like the Pacific Northwest will need a more waterproof tent than someone in Southern California. The same goes for wind. Camping on the beach can be a nightmare if your tent is flimsy and not staked down properly. So always look for reviews from people who have taking the camping tent to those types of places.
  • Be mindful of how much the tent weighs. Generally speaking, a tent that will hold more people will also weigh substantially more. Keep this in mind when you are thinking about which tent to buy. Think about how far you are going to have to carry your tent to the site. If you are planning on hiking in to the site, you should probably have a lightweight camping tent. Instead of a 40 lb cabin style tent. Even if you are in a drive up campsite. The more you can carry at once, the faster you can get camping. Multiple trips over and over can get tiresome after a bit, so keep this in mind.
  • How long does the tent take to Setup? How difficult is the process? There is nothing worse than getting your campsite while it’s pouring rain and you need an engineering degree to set your new tent up. By the time you’re done, you’re soaking wet and too tired to enjoy the rest of the day. Most tents generally take about 10 minutes to set up. They are usually a 4 pole, or a 2 pole tent design. The 2 pole camping tent usually take less time to set up. The first time you set your new tent up will take the longest. As a personal rule, I always set a new camping tent up at home before trying it at the campsite. This way allows me to find any issues I may encounter. As well as knowing exactly how to put it together.

Choosing a tent doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Just use some of these tips from our tent buying guide as well as thinking up your own ideas for what you will need out of your camping tent. As a last tip, make sure that the stakes that come with whatever tent you buy are heavy duty. If not purchase some heavy duty tent stakes such as the MSR Groundhog Tent Stake Kit. When a summer storm rolls in and your tent holds strong you will thank me. There isn’t much worse than a tent that comes loose from its stakes and you have to chase it down.

I always carry an emergency tarp when tent camping also. I usually carry the REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tent Tarp. It has saved me a few times when my tent started leaking.You can place your tent on top of it to keep it off of the wet ground. As well as over top of it to stop any leaks in a pinch.

We have also done a review of the Coleman Sundome Tent for camping. The review can be found here – It’s one of the most popular camping tents on the market. As well as the most budget and user friendly camping tents.

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