How To Choose A Camping Tent

Camping Tent

How about some tips and personal accounts on how to choose your camping tent? I’m sure that most of you already own and know all about choosing tents. But then again, there are some of you who are just getting into camping, and this article is mostly for you. Although, there might be something new here for the more experienced camper as well. Perhaps the following will provide you with at least a tidbit of usable information.

I‘m sure this will seem obvious to everyone reading, but the first thing you will need to consider is whether or not you will even need to bring a tent. If you are just spending the day in nature or taking a short hike, and if you know the weather won’t turn on you, then you shouldn’t need to bring any shelter or tent. But, it does not hurt to be prepared for the surprises Mother Nature might throw your way.

Your second consideration is a big one, what season of the year do you plan to camp. Camping tents are rated for how many seasons the tents and their materials are engineered to endure. 2-season tents are for warmer, milder weather such as summer, late spring, or early autumn with light to moderate rain. 3-season tents are for use during spring, summer, and fall when it can rain heavily and can get windy. 4-season tents are made to withstand the extremes of winter and are designed for year round camping endurance.

Do not make the mistake of pitching (setting up) a cheap 2-season tent in the late autumn when it’s raining hard and it’s cold and windy. I found out the hard way many years ago that a cheap 2-season tent is better at holding rain water in than it is at keeping the wind-driven rain out. And by cheap, we mean poor quality.

The third consideration would be choosing the right size tent. Let’s face it, you don’t really need a three-room cabin tent or a 198 square-foot dome tent if you are camping by yourself, unless you are claustrophobic, or you are planning on staying for several days or longer. On the other hand, it might not be wise to bring only a backpacking tent, if you’re family camping. And if you are 6 feet tall or taller, make sure your tent’s sleeping area is at least 7 feet long.

When determining tent size, you also should decide how much head room you would like, keeping in mind that a taller tent will be affected by the wind more than a shorter tent. If you plan on having a table and a chair or two in your tent or if you have a lot of gear to store, then, of course, you will want a larger tent.

Your forth consideration before choosing your camping tent is determining how rugged the terrain you will be hiking in is and to knowing how far you will have to carry your tent and gear to where you want to set up camp. Sure, it would be nice camping in a 70-plus pound, multi-room tent set up with every comfort you could stuff inside, but carrying that much weight up a rugged mountain slope would be impractical for backpacker. For the backpacker, smaller and lighter is almost always better.

A brief discussion of tent features will be the fifth and final consideration in how to choose your camping tent. I don’t want to get into the pros and cons of the various materials used in tent manufacturing. If you buy a quality camping tent that is designed for the seasons and conditions in which you plan to camp, it will already be constructed with appropriate materials.

Camping Tents

usu Here are some important features to look for in a quality camping tent.

Make sure your tent is made of a weather resistant material, such as a coated polyester fiber combined with an anti-wicking thread. Be sure the zippers and any webbing are also anti-wicking, which will prevent rain water from soaking through.

Look for tents that have rainflys with leak-proof tent seams, taped seams. Leak-free seams had better be found on the rainfly and may be found on some tents.
You will want protected floor seams, which is when the floor seams are inverted to hide the needle holes and keep them away from the rain.

Another important feature is a waterproof floor, where the tent floor is welded to the tent, strengthening the floor and eliminating stitching and needle holes.

Something most of us either don’t think of or else we take for granted would be a zipper cuff to prevent the zipper from direct exposure to the elements.

And one last feature to look for is ventillation. At the least, get a tent with a closable, screened window opposite from the doorway's screened entry, for cross ventillation, and screened vent overhead, to prevent condensation.

I have presented you with the basics you should become familiar with before ordering your new tent. Hopefully, this article has provided you with enough insight for you to make an informed decision on choosing the camping tent appropriate for your needs. So, get to it. Get your gear, and get outside.

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