How to Choose a Tent for Camping and Backpacking

Camping and backpacking are common recreational activities in life. However, a quality tent is a must for an enjoyable camping experience. They protect you from the adversity of the wilderness and create out-of-the-world moments. Whether you are planning for a camping or backpacking, a tent is a must. So we have come up with everything you need to know about the best tents for you to choose from for your next camping or backpacking. To learn about tent types, materials, storage and tent care, continue reading this article to the end.

 

1. Choosing a Tent for Camping

To be able to choose the right tent for camping, you have to consider the spot, season, and the number of people camping because these are the things that determine what to look for in a great tent to serve your purpose. Below is a list of things you must know about before choosing a tent for camping.

 

In-Store Evaluation

At the store, try setting up the tent of your choice, and see if it is intuitive and the poles snap together easily. Crawl inside and stretch out. In addition, check if your head or toes touch the walls. Evaluate the doors and ventilation.

 

Doors & Zippers

Look for a tent with a simple-shaped door and multiple entrances to easily get in and out. Check if the zippers are YKK. This type of zipper doesn’t snag or break easily. Multiple doors help avoid climbing over each other while getting out of the tent. Cabin-style tents tend to shine in this area. YKK zippers are good at resisting snagging and breaking.

 

Ruggedness

Ruggedness determines the level of protection a tent delivers from rain, wind or snow. High denier fabrics are thick, rugged and durable in this regard.

 

Ventilation

In hot weather, heat gets trapped inside a tent. So a well-ventilated tent is essential to discharge the heat. For ventilation, choose a tent with mesh panels, ceiling, and multiple windows. In humid climates, a bigger mesh panel is the thing necessary for your tent.

 

Rainfly

This additional layer protects your tent from rainwater and retains extra warmth in cold weather. You will find two types of rainfly on the market: full coverage and roof-only. A roof-only rainfly delivers more light visibility and maximum protection like a full coverage rainfly.

 

Poles

Aluminum poles are more durable and stronger than fiberglass. A tent’s pole structure determines whether it is easy or hard to pitch. Fewer poles allow faster setups. It’s also easier to attach poles to clips than it is to thread them through long pole sleeves. Many tents use both clips and short pole sleeves in an effort to balance strength, ventilation and setup ease. The pole also clips make setup faster.

 

Weight

While a heavy tent is difficult to carry, remember that the heavier the tent, the more high-quality and durable it is.

 

Flooring

Flooring is important for rainy weather. There are two types of floors in a tent: bathtub floor and regular floor. Bathtub floor works great in keeping rainwater out during a downpour outside. However, if you are going to pick up a tent with a bathtub floor, please be aware of your wet accessories like a raincoat or wet boot.

 

Vestibule, Interior loops & pockets

A vestibule is suitable for rainy weather where you can put your muddy gear. Interior loops to hang small items like clothes or lanterns. Interior pockets are good for arranging stuff better. So look for these features when choosing your tents. With Guyout loops, you can batten down the hatches to stop flapping fabric during high winds.

 

Center Height

Center-height is important as it creates sufficient room for your head. So look for a tent with a 6-foot center-height.

 

Tents Seasonality

You will find different tents based on seasons. If you are likely to camp in the winter season, buy a 4-season tent. If you are not likely to camp in the winter season, then a 3-season tent will do the job. 3-season tents are popular and lightweight. They are designed for relatively temperate conditions of spring, summer and fall. They usually come up with ample mesh panels to boost air flow. Mesh panels keep out insects. With a taut rainfly, a 3-season tent can withstand downpours. However, for sustained exposure to harsh storms, violent winds or heavy snow, a 4-season tent is all you need. It uses more poles and heavier fabrics. Its rounded dome design eliminates snow.

 

2. Choosing a Tent for Backpacking

Backpacking tents come in variety of designs. To choose the right backpacking tent, consider the following points: capacity, seasonality, weight, ease of access, and ease of setup. Backpacking tents prioritize weight and pack-ability with pole configurations that pop out the walls, allowing more livable space than ever before. Touted as three-season, backpacking tents provide ventilation and weather protection with large mesh panels covered by retractable rainfly. They are ideal for most backcountry pursuits and provide nearly year-round coverage. For serious backpacking, look for tents weighing around 2 pounds that comes with an integrated internal light and a pole configuration designed to maximize headspace while still proving light and pack-ability.

 

Mountaineering Tent

While hiking above the tree line with wind and snow, a mountaineering tent can help. It is designed to deflect strong wind and bear heavy snow loads. These four-season tents are often constructed with additional poles and more durable materials, adding weight and cost with peace of mind and overall protection.

 

Tent Poles

Tents usually come with aluminum tubing poles connected with an elastic cord. Poles slide through nylon sleeves or clip into durable plastic clips to loft the tent. In addition, a pin at the end of the pole inserts into a ringed grommet. More complex tents come with designs with color coded poles having hooks and grommets for an easier setup.

 

Vestibule, Interior loops & pockets

A vestibule is suitable for rainy weather where you can put your muddy gear. Interior loops to hang small items like clothes or lanterns. Interior pockets are good for arranging stuff better. So look for these features when choosing your tents. With Guyout loops, you can batten down the hatches to stop flapping fabric during high winds.

 

Doors & Zippers

A good door will have a smooth zipper, providing ample room to wiggle out while sealing out the elements. A pair of hikers may find separate ports of entry helpful instead of crawling over one another to get out a single side door.

 

Guylines

Tents often come with a knot of cord. These are your guylines and help draw the tent taut. Some tent shapes, like dome tents, don’t need guylines to keep them pitched. Other designs require guylines. Either way, it’s a good idea to sling the tent prior to hitting the trail to ensure your tent will be camp ready.

 

Rainfly

A rainfly is a separate waterproof cover used over the roof of the tent. Use it if you need a little extra warmth. Two rainfly types are common. Roof-only rainflies allow more light and views while offering fair rain protection. Full-coverage rainflies offer maximum protection from wind and rain.

 

Tent Height & Wall Shape

Tents with vertical walls, allow campers to stand up and change. While a low-profile backpacking tent will sling low to the ground to deflect wind and rain. Some unique designs can have more air, either by flipping the traditional wedge upside down or using bent pole configuration to loft more internal space.

 

Tent Weight

On the opposite side of the tent’s label, you will see two listed weights- the packaged weight and the trail weight. The packaged weight includes cords, repair kit, and extra stakes. On the contrary, the trail weight is the minimum weight to erect the tent that includes the tent body, fly, poles, and minimum stakes. If you choose carefully, you should be able to find a lightweight tent that feels reasonably roomy and comfortable to you. You will have to pay more for a premium ultralight tent made of strong materials. Whatever you choose, check specs carefully when you shop.

 

Backpacking Tent Capacity

Backpacking tents come in different capacities. You will find models that can contain from 1 to 4 people. As there are no standard per-person dimensions for tents, the size of a 2-person tent can vary depending on the brands. However, ultralight models are likely to be compact compared to others. Compare dimensions between tents if more floor space is important.

 

Backpacking Tent Seasonality

You will find different tents based on seasons. If you are likely to camp in the winter season, buy a 4-season tent. If you are not likely to camp in the winter season, then a 3-season tent will do the job. 3-season tents are popular and lightweight. In addition, they are designed for relatively temperate conditions of spring, summer and fall. They usually come up with ample mesh panels to boost air flow. Mesh panels keep out insects. With a taut rainfly, a 3-season tent can withstand downpours and light snow. However, for sustained exposure to harsh storms, violent winds or heavy snow, a 4-season tent is all you need. It uses more poles and heavier fabrics. Its rounded dome design eliminates snow.

 

Final Thoughts

To choose the best tent for you, consider the tent type, size, and shape that meet your needs. In this article, we have come up with all the features you need to consider before making your final decision. We believe this article would help you to grasp all the necessary information to choose the best tent for your camping or backpacking purposes.

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