How do you choose the right camping tent ?
A camping tent is an essential part of your camping gear. When choosing a camping tent you will have quite a number of options to consider.
Capacity or Size
Sleeping capacity means the number of campers that can sleep comfortably in the camping tent. However, you need to allow extra space for your camping gear or any extras that you may have.
Generally speaking I would add at least one or possibly two to the tent size. For example if there was two people sleeping in the tent I would advise you to look at four person camping tents. If it was for four people consider six person camping tents and so on.
As a general guide take note of the floor dimensions of each of the camping tents that you are considering . This would give you an idea of how much space you have left over for storage after you take into account the amount of room needed for sleeping bags or other bedding and extras.
The extra space should also provide you with plenty of room for everyone to be in the camping tent at the same time in case of wet weather.
If possible look for a tent with a vestibule. It is a great spot to store your boots, wet clothes and other gear, which means you will have more room inside the tent.
If you’re backpacking into a camping destination on your own, you typically need a lightweight tent that weighs less than 5 pounds, where as if you’re car camping, don’t worry about the weight, go for extra room and comfort.
Conditions or Season
Summer camping tents are ideal if you are camping only during the hotter part of the year. The fabric is light and there is plenty of mesh which provides plenty of ventilation. They will also have a rain fly that allows for maximum protection and ventilation.
Three season Tents are suitable for the most of the year. They are structured to handle strong winds and heavy rain but not heavy snow loads. They provide good shelter from the cold conditions and are a good choice for people that do a lot of camping. Three season tents are a little heavier than a summer tent and should include heavier zippers and a full rain fly.
Four season camping tents are heavier and designed to withstand the heavier snow falls and extreme weather conditions.
It is important that camping tents have plenty of ventilation, especially during the warmer months of the year. If you have the choice between single wall camping tents and double walled camping tents go with the double walled.
It might cost you a bit more but it will be worth it in the long run.
A one door tent is lighter than a two door tent, but has the disadvantage of causing people to crawl over each other to get in and out.
Two doors are obviously more convenient, especially when each door has its own vestibule, enabling each camper to have their own storage space.
A good rain fly is vital to staying dry and comfortable in wet weather. Invest in a tent with a FULL rain fly. The more the rain fly covers , the more weatherproof your camping tent will be.
A full rain fly will keep your tent drier from the inside out as well as letting your tent breathe.
Tarps and Footprints
Before you set your camping tent up it would be advisable to put a footprint down to protect the tent. A footprint is a tarp that is placed under camping tents to protect them from any water or wear and tear.
When you place a tarp under the tent it must be slightly smaller than the tent floor. If the tarp hangs out from beneath the tent water will run off the wall of the tent and under the floor of the tent.
Another option is to place a larger tarp inside your tent. As the tarp is wider and longer than the floor of your tent, the edges will curl up preventing a wet night if it rains. Ideally you could use both tarps. One as a footprint for wear and tear of the tent floor and the larger tarp inside the tent.