How to Choose a Tent For Camping

Tent Setting up

Many people love to go on vacation, and one way to do this that won’t break the bank is to take a camping trip. Many people consider camping to be the ultimate outdoor recreational activity. Buying a new tent can be an exciting time, but there are a few things that you need to know before sinking money into one of the most expensive items on your list. There is an endless list of different camping tents you can choose from, and there are several different aspects to them that you should have on your “perfect tent” checklist. This article will help you understand how to choose a tent for camping. Or, perhaps you already know you are looking for a 2 person tent or maybe even a shade tent or one that is winterized.

How much space does your tent need?

Buying a new tent leaves many options, large and small

Many tent manufacturers will list the size of the tent by how many people can sleep in it. Several of these will also provide a footprint diagram or drawing to show prospective buyers what the tent looks like from an aerial view. This is a great way to see how the tent is set up when there aren’t any set up to show customers. It can also help you when buying a tent online.

When looking into buying a new tent, it’s helpful to remember that the sleeping space does not take into consideration the camping gear and other supplies needed, such as food, coolers, boots and shoes, and anything else that you’ll be bringing along. If these items are to be left outside, like your cooking gear, that’s cool, but there is more than you might realize that you’ll be bringing into the tent with you. Add a sleeping space, or two, to the number of people who will be coming with you, and you should be fine space-wise.

Space also matters if you are a backpacker. Your tent and your sleeping bag will have to be carried, thus it has to work with your pack. You can learn about choosing the right camping backpack here.

How to choose a tent with proper headroom

Short people have fewer problems with tents than taller people do, and it’s because many tents are not very tall. If you’re average height or taller, make sure you are going to have at least some space on the floor where you can stand all the way up. Many tents are the tallest right inside the doorway. This might be fine for some, but changing clothing can sometimes be awkward when you can’t stand all the way up to your full height, except right in front of the door.

How to choose a tent designed to keep heat in

The best camping tents for tall people are those in which the tallest part runs farther back, to the back of the tent, Or at least midway, giving you more room to move around. It might seem like it won’t get on your nerves if your head keeps bumping into the tent’s ceiling, but it can knock hats off, be difficult to find space for longer or taller equipment (like fishing poles and boat oars), and just become a pain in the neck (sometimes literally) if there isn’t enough height in the tent.

Number of windows you want

How many windows do you want in your tent? That depends on the reason for going camping in the first place, where you are going, and what kind of weather you expect. If you’re going with the family and you have children, you might want to have several windows to keep an eye on them while you are doing things inside, but in reality, fewer windows mean that there are fewer zippers to end up breaking. If a window doesn’t exist, it can’t be broken or torn. Fewer windows can also mean more privacy when camping in a populated campground.

On the other hand, having more windows means if you are going solo, or with only one or two other people and it’s to study nature and the wildlife in it, a tent with several windows can be a good way to remain unseen. You can still see the wildlife, but they won’t be able to see you as easily as if you were sitting out in front of your tent.

Does your tent need a porch

Some camping tent makers take into consideration, not just the weather when making their tents but also the insect population. Being able to enjoy your meals inside a screened porch can be the difference between making or breaking a camping trip when biting flies and mosquitoes are buzzing around. If you are in the Southern States, you should look into a camping tent that has a screened porch, with a built-in floor to avoid fire ants, in addition to mosquitoes and biting flies.

Tent with a large porch for dry, bug free entry

In other areas of the USA, screened porches without a built-in floor can be adequate for meal times. Either way, a screened porch can help you by having additional space attached directly to the tent itself, instead of having a separate gazebo or awning positioned nearby. It will save on space when packing up, and it will save time when setting up camp and tearing things down. The additional cost is often much less than the price of a separate gazebo, as well.

Type of floor

The floor that you have in your camping tent can be just as important as the material that the ceiling is made from. Because you are camping on the ground, you will need something that is durable and also easily repaired. Rocks, stick, and even broken glass from previous campers can cut through almost any floor. When buying a camping tent, check to see how thick the floor is, and compare it to other tents that are available. If you are down to a few different camping tents and don’t know which one to choose, go with the thickest floor. These measurements are in micrometers and are very tiny, but just like garbage bags, the thickness, even this small, can make a huge difference in your overall experience. Also, be sure to have a great sleeping pad with you, even if you are seeking lightweight options for backpackers.

Because you are camping outdoors, there is the inevitable dirt that will be tracked into your tent. Many tents come with a small attached floor mat just outside the tent’s entrance. These are often made of the same material and do very little in removing dirt from shoes and flip-flops. An additional floor mat just in front of the door can help with decreasing the amount of dirt and sand that is tracked into the tent, though. A small whisk broom and dustpan, especially a child’s toy version, is the perfect remedy for keeping dirt cleaned up inside your tent. Don’t forget to do a thorough cleaning prior to packing up, and allow it to completely dry before taking it down and folding it back up. To avoid this scenario altogether, consider investing in a cot tent.

Establish your price point

The price you pay for a camping tent is surprisingly not always in keeping with the old adage “you get what you pay for”. Often, you can find a well-constructed tent with all the qualities you want for a lower price than some “fancier” tents. Your best bet is to look at online reviews of the tents you are interested in and see what other people have to say about them.

With newer tents, there might not be any reviews for the particular models you want to learn more about. In that case, look at the manufacturers’ other tents for reviews on those. This can help you learn how to choose a tent that meets your needs, and use a company with a good track record.

You now know how to choose a tent for camping

Finding the perfect camping tent can be an adventure in its own right, but it will get you excited to go camping and to feel free of the constraints of being at home. So get out there and be a happy camper.