Buying your first camping tent? Learn how to get the best camping tent; what to look for & what to avoid
So, you and your family or group of friends has decided to try out the outdoors and go camping? And so, a major purchase that is necessary will be to buy a camping tent. But, you’ve never bought one in the past so you plan to just walk into an outdoors store and look for a good tent. Wrong move. There’s more to buying a camping tent, especially for the first time, than meets the eye.
1) How do you plan to use your tent?
The very first thing to consider is where and how are you planning to use your tent. Are you planning to camp along the beach? Are you going to a tropical country for camping? Perhaps you want to go camping in snowy side of Alberta? No two tents are manufactured alike.
There are different types of tents, and these are just few of them:
- Backpacking tents, as the name implies, are tents made for 1-3 persons and can be carried in a backpack. Most backpack tents are made for all 3 seasons (winter, summer, and rainy conditions).
- Ultralight tents use lighter materials, are made only for 2 persons, are less durable, and are made only for fair weather conditions, preferably when camping along the beach.
- Car Camping tents are made for 2-4 persons and is more durable than backpacking tents, are heavier, and is made for all 3 seasons including windy conditions. They are tents that are made to be carried in vehicles and are supposed to be set up beside vehicles in large camping areas since the tent has a bigger floor area and almost standing height. For large families of up to 4-5,
- Family tents are heavy, made of very durable materials, and may take time to set up. They do provide standing room, separate sleeping areas, good ventilation, and even come with some camping furniture.
2) Weather Resistance
Depending on your planned camping experience, don’t just buy any tent just because it’s on clearance sale. Always inquire and research if the tent you’re buying can adequately repel rain or snow should the weather suddenly go sideways. While snow can easily be repelled, the cold can’t, so make sure the tent can keep you warm. Rain is your most dangerous camping enemy so make sure that the tent repels, rather than absorbs, heavy rain. Also inquire how the tent fares in windy conditions. For camping in hot or tropical conditions, make sure the tent has adequate ventilation, but can still resist heavy rain that often happens in tropical weather.
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Consider the weight you’re carrying in your backpack. A good tent should be lightweight yet durable enough to match any rugged camping experience. Also consider that aside from the tent carried in a backpack you will also need to carry poles and stakes and anything else extra that comes with the tent.
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4) Livability and comfort
Just how much space do you need from your tent? One thing to consider is that your tent should give you enough space should you need to hang out inside, day or night. It should also be comfortable enough for sleeping, napping, reading, and most of all, escaping from the elements like wind, rain, cold, sun, and bugs.
5) Ease of setting up
When selecting a tent, unless it’s a car camping or family type, it should be easy enough to set up even in the dark and by just one person. Two at the most in case of windy conditions. Before purchasing a tent, it would be good if the store could give a demonstration of how fast or easy it is for one person to set it up. Insist that you want a tent that can be set up by one person in case you need to go camping alone, even if you’re not planning to.
To wrap it up, invest in a tent that’s lightweight and portable enough that you can carry it your next backpacking trip, sturdy enough that it can withstand the harshest atmospheric conditions, comfortable enough that it shouldn’t compromise your sleep.