There are so many camping tents on the market, that finding the right one can seem quite daunting. However, if you narrow down these few things it will definitely make the choice a little easier.
How much space do you need?
What are you are using it for?
Is the weight of the tent important?
What time of the year will you go camping?
How far do you have to carry it?
Some quick tips
Chose a tent that is easy to set up.
Make sure it provides enough weather protection for your needs.
Choosing a backpacking tent
Unless you are camping close to your car you will have to carry your tent, which means weight and packability will win over size and space.
What does it all mean?
Single vs double walled tents:
Most tents are double walled, which means they have a breathable inner tent overlayed with a waterproof outer tent/fly. This allows condensation to more to the outer layer keeping your tent dryer on the inside.
Weight: If carrying your tent any distance, look for a tent that weighs around 2 pounds per person.
Important for keeping out sandflies and mosquitos and also for allowing the tent to breathe.
Aluminium: Great weight to strength ratio which makes it an excellent choice. However, they need looking after if you camp close to the sea due to corrosion.
Fibreglass: Lightweight, inexpensive but can shatter under pressure.
Carbon Fibre: Super lightweight but expensive.
Steel: Strong and rigid but heavy and corrosive.
Air Beams: Easy to set up and cope well with changeable winds however they can leak and at the moment tend to be more expensive.
Although weight is an important factor to consider with your tent stakes, the ability to penetrate the ground is sometimes more important. However, using the natural environment, such as rocks, roots and trees to tie down your tent is the best option.
This is the “entrance” to the tent, usually in the form of a protective “awning” where you can store your boots and packs leaving the space inside the tent just for sleeping. Downside is it requires a larger “footprint”.
Look for pockets and lofts to keep small personal items within easy reach. Look for internal loops that also allow you to hang things from.
Look for a smooth zipper and if you have a two man tent then two doors can be advantageous.
Height and wall shape:
If you are hiking in exposed areas you will want a low profile design that will help deflect wind and rain at the expense of space. However, look for good internal space that can be created by clever design.
Important for keeping the moisture off the floor of your tent.
Look for tents with taped seams, which helps keep tents both warm and dry.