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What You Need to Know When Buying a Camping Tent?

How to Buy a Tent?

A tent is probably the most essential part of camping. It’s your home away from home, your “shelter from the storm” so to speak. Buying a tent is the most important purchase you will make when you decide to go camping. So how do you buy a tent? What should go into making that decision?

camping tent

The Size of the Tent You Need

To buy a tent you will want to start by figuring out how large a tent you will need. You will want to count how many people will be in the tent and then add one. For example; if you have a family of four you will want to buy a tent that sleeps 5 or more.

Why should you do this? Tent manufacturers base the recommended number of people per tent on laying vertical without much thought to the space around that person. They don’t really take into consideration the time spent in the tent if it rains or if other activities are going on inside the tent. So if you want some room to move around, look at the next size up when buying a tent.

Sleeping Capacity

Do not believe the measurement that a two-man tent would, in fact, let two adults sleep inside the tent comfortably, it does not work. The specification merely means that two adults in sleeping bags could fit inside tightly with no excess space for bags and clothes. Hence, a two-man tent actually is ideal for one person with some room to keep your backpack and some other personal belongings. Similarly, for a family of four, the tent size you should be looking at is a six-person tent.

Is it Good in Ventilation?

Another consideration when buying a tent is ventilation. Make sure your tent has enough vented areas that will allow a cross-breeze. Window flaps that roll up are helpful too. You will find this invaluable if you are camping in the south where the ventilation of the window is important during hot summer nights.

Is it Waterproof?

All tents now are manufactured with built-in waterproofing but it’s always a good idea to check before you buy a tent. You will want to make sure there are at least six inches of flooring that goes up the side of the tent to keep the water out. As with waterproofing, this is a pretty standard item in tent manufacturing.

Does it come with a Ground Cover?

You will want to make sure your tent has a ground cover. This adds extra protection to your tent bottom as well as prevents the moisture from the ground from causing condensation on the bottom of your tent. If your tent doesn’t come with a ground cover, a regular tarp will work well.

So now you know how to buy a tent. Some of the places you can go to buy a tent include department stores, sporting good stores, army surplus stores, and discount stores. And don’t forget yard sales – you never know what you might find, but be careful to check for wear. Rental companies are a good option if you are not sure whether camping is something you will want to do.

Choosing a Right Family Camping Tent

Choosing the right tent for your family’s first camping trip will save you some money as you have avoided having to consider an upgrade shortly after. This article lists some key factors to help you decide which tent is best suited for your family.


Tents are graded by seasons. 3-season tent s are the most popular type as they are lightweight and designed for the moderate temperature of the spring, summer, and fall. It can protect against heavy rains but may not be able to withstand strong winds, extreme storms, or snow.

An extended season tent (3+ season) is designed especially for early spring and late fall when there is still snow. It often has more poles and fewer panels. This type of tent is more suitable for high altitude camping conditions.

Although very sturdy, it may not protect you against an extreme winter environment as a 4-season tent described below.

4-season tents are also known as mountaineering or expedition tents. They are built to be able to stand firm against very strong wind and heavy snow. They have even more poles and the fabrics used are much heavier. In harsh winter weather, this is the right tent to relied upon.

Other Features

  • Doors. Two or more doors are appropriate for family camping as it offers the least disturbances whenever anyone needs to go for toilet breaks at night.
  • Floor-length. For a taller person, consider too with a floor-length of 90 inches instead of the standard 84 to 88 inches.
  • Peak Height. If you prefer a high ceiling or being able to stand up while changing clothes, then go for a taller peak.
  • Dome Tent. The design is the most popular as it offers excellent strength and shield against strong winds.
  • Tent Poles. All family tents nowadays are with fewer poles and much easier to pitch. It is freestanding and can be lifted up easily and relocate to a new spot to your liking.
  • Rainfly. This extra waterproof cover is important to keep your tent and the content inside nice and dry during heavy storms.
  • Storage pockets. Most tents offer one or two pockets for keeping smaller items off the floor and make them easier to find.
  • Vestibules. This is a fabric awning extended out from the tent creating small storage space to keep your muddy boots or backpacks.

Optional accessories

  • Tent repair kit
  • Seam sealer
  • Floor mat
  • Portable fan with light
  • Paracord

How to choose a Backpacking Tent

A backpacking tent is designed as a shelter to safeguard hikers/campers from the weather, a little bit of personal privacy from other campers, and a shield from nasty sand flies or other insects. Selecting the proper one consists of being aware of your personal preferences and probable climatic conditions. Discovering the appropriate balance between space, weight, and price.

Backpacking tents are graded according to the number of sleepers and the weather season.

The key question to ask still is “How many people will sleep in the tent?”

Backpacking tents are typically found by their capacity sizing ranging from 1 to 3 people. To retain minimal weight as the major marketing point, tents are intentionally designed to fit compactly without any excess space for storing your gears and utensils.

Hence, for the solo camper, it is highly recommended to opt for a two-person tent in order to be able to always keep your backpack, food, and shoes safely inside the tent. In case you bring along a pet or a child, be sure to increase the capacity accordingly.

To be sure, pay the store a visit as most have at least a few of the tents already set up for you to peek inside and judge what dimensions and brand name matches your needs comfortably.

Another significant factor to judge is the weight. What is the tolerable limit for your backpack?

Single person tents normally weigh between 2 to 3 pounds. Two-person tents quite often are between 3 to 5 pounds. As a general rule, tents that offer per person weight of 2 pounds or less, is definitely a good option.

What weather conditions are you expecting?

Backpackers favor a 3-season tent as it is best suited almost year-round moderate, spring to fall climatic conditions. An extended season tent is more appropriate for the cold and windy natural environment. If you choose to camp out during the winter month, it is best advised to go for the expedition tent, also categorized as a 4-season tent.

Lastly, experienced backpackers own at least two good quality tents to cope with the weather conditions they anticipate to encounter at the different month of the year.

Tips: Two small but important tent features to look for.

1. Ultra-lightweight tents frequently is a single door design. For a two-man tent, it is prudent to pick a two doors version as it provides each sleeper a separate zipper door to use. This is especially convenient in case if one wishes to sleep early while the other may like to watch the stars or stay late. Each door usually comes with Vestibules, an extendable rainfly forming small but precious storage space for your backpack, gears, and shoes.

2. Modern tents are simpler, with fewer poles and very easy to set up, just grab the poles and the tent can be moved easily to a new spot.

Tent for Kids

For kids, it can be fun for them to have a tent that they can experience to stay with. Since the tent is for the kid to have fun, it is not necessary for them to get an expensive one. You can buy a basic tent and place in their room.

By having a tent, kids can enjoy playing inside. As long as the tent is easy for them to go in and come out. Another factor would be the tent need to be light so that it can be effortless for kids or adults to bring around. It is also fun for them to set up and assemble in the backyard.

Top 10 Brands of Camping Tent

  • Coleman
  • Que Chua
  • Eureka
  • Big Agnes
  • Kelty
  • The North Face
  • Mountain Safety Research(MSR)
  • Black Diamond
  • Nemo Equipment
  • Hilleberg

Where to Buy The Tent?

You can buy it in any sports store near you. If you want to save money or don’t mind to have a secondhand one, the places that you can get the tent are garage sales, Craigslist, estate sales, and thrift stores.

Read also: A Brief Guide of 1 to 10 Man Tent

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