It’s a great way to get back to nature and spend time with friends and family. Choosing the right tent can make all the difference in your camping experience, so it’s worth taking some time to find out what types are available and which will suit you best.
There are three main categories: dome tents, cabin tents, and pop-up tents. Dome or A-frame tents have steep walls that allow for more headroom than cabins but less floor space than both cabin and pop-ups; they’re also heavier than other types. Cabin tents give you more living space but less headroom; they’re also bulkier than dome or pop-ups because their design includes a central pole. Pop-ups are the lightest type of tent, but they can be cramped and usually don’t have a floor or walls
What to consider when choosing a tent?
There are three main categories:
Dome tents – Dome or A-frame tents have steep walls that allow for more headroom than cabins but less floor space than both cabin and pop-ups; they’re also heavier than other types.
Cabin tents – Cabin tents give you more living space but less headroom; they’re also bulkier than dome or pop-ups because their design includes a central pole.
Pop-up tents – Pop-ups are the lightest type of tent, but they can be cramped and usually don’t have a floor or walls.
Size and capacity
Tents usually come in standard sizes, but it’s wise to double-check measurements before you buy. A larger tent isn’t necessarily the best option because the more space there is inside, the heavier and bulkier it will be. For families of four or five people, a 6-8 person tent should provide plenty of living space without being too heavy or bulky to carry or fit in the car.
Poles and pole sleeves
Most tents have a central pole that runs from top to bottom, with poles at either end. The number of poles a tent has determined how sturdy it is – more is better! Poles are usually made from fiberglass, carbon fiber or a combination of the two
Tent fabric and seams
Tent fabric needs to be strong, waterproof, and breathable; tent seams should be taped for additional waterproofing. Look for fastenings that are easy to use and secure.
Poles, fabric, and seams usually come with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers faulty materials or workmanship
Camping tents range in price from less than $100 to more than $500, depending on their size, capacity, materials used, number of poles, etc.
For three-season camping, a tent with a waterproof/breathable rainfly and sealed floor seams is essential – they’re usually more expensive but worth the investment. Tents that have both mesh inner tents and full rainfly are suitable for warm weather camping as well as cooler conditions.
Other features to consider
Storage pockets, insect mesh, and an awning over the door allow more airflow and make it easier to keep your tent clean; some tents also come with an electrical port for powering items such as phones, lamps or small fans.
Accessories, such as poles, footprint groundsheets, and guy ropes can be bought separately if needed
Choosing the right tent can be the difference between a great camping trip and an uncomfortable one. It’s worth taking your time to get it right.