Whether you are going on a weekend camping trip or backpacking across the country, having a quality tent is very important. What many people find when they start shopping for a tent, however, is that there is such a wide variety of options available that they simply do not know where to start. Here you will find some simple tips to help you learn what to look for when buying a tent to ensure that you get one that meets your needs.
Understanding the Main Tent Types
Before you start shopping for a tent you need to know what kind of tent you need. There are four main types of tents:
• Summer/Screen Tent – This type of tent is designed to facilitate maximum ventilation as well as protection from bugs. A good summer tent will have a strong skeletal system with removable full-coverage flies in case of rain. This type of tent should be sturdy enough to withstand all kinds of summer weather from a light breeze to a thunderstorm.
• Three-Season Tent – This style of tent is designed to withstand weather in three seasons of the year – spring through fall. A three-season tent will have a sturdy skeletal system strong enough to handle strong winds and the walls should have ventilation panels that can be covered with a fly in case of rain or chilly weather.
• Convertible Tent – This is a hybrid style of tent that is designed for campers who camp in all types of conditions. A convertible tent comes with options that enable you to strip it down into a summer tent with good ventilation or you can zip up solid nylon panels for colder weather. One thing to keep in mind with these tents is that they can be a little heavier.
• Winter/Mountaineering Tent – This is the kind of tent you want if you are camping during the winter or in other extreme conditions. A mountaineering tent has sturdy poles and tough fabrics with a lot of guy-out points on the outside (those loops that hold the fly in place). They also usually have a lower profile to help shed the wind.
Things to Consider When Tent Shopping
Having a better understanding of the different types of tent that are available, you should now have a better idea what you are looking for. Once you know what kind of tent you need, consider the following factors when comparing different models:
• Floor Space – How many people do you plan to sleep in your tent and how much space do you need for storage? Winter tents tend to have larger vestibules for extra storage while summer tents are designed mainly just for sleeping.
• Headroom – In addition to actual floor space, you need to think about how much headroom the tent provides. If you plan to use the tent only for sleeping you won’t need as much headroom as you would if you might end up spending extended time in the tent during bad weather.
• Shape – Different tent shapes are better for certain types of weather so take the time to review the options and think about what kind of camping you plan on doing.
• Weight – If you are a backpacker, the weight of your tent is very important since you will be carrying it around on your back. For weekend trips or family camping trips, the weight may not matter as much as other factors like size.
Now that you know what to look for when you go tent shopping you are ready to go! Keep these tips in mind as you shop to find the perfect tent to suit your needs.