How to Choose a Tent for Your Next Outdoor Adventure
Tents come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. From inflatable to large, family orientated tents, the options are endless. Determining the best tent for your needs is no easy task, but to help you do so we’ve put together some insider tips on how to choose a tent for your next outdoor adventure.
Setting: Where Will You Be Using the Tent?
Are you going camping in changeable weather or heading off to a music festival for the weekend? Or are you planning on doing some long-distance hiking? Where you’re making camp during your adventure ultimately determines what features you'll need in a tent.
For a music festival, you're better off with a cheap, disposable tent. If you’re going hiking, weight is everything – the more lightweight and durable the tent the better. For long-distance hikes, you may want to invest in a tent with some extra features like perimeter-cut floors for optimal floor-space or aluminum poles to decrease weight.
Spend some time thinking about where you’re going to camp. This will help you to enjoy the full outdoor experience.
Setting: What will the weather be like?
If you plan to use the tent in all seasons, it's important to select one with sewn-in groundsheets and a waterproof rating of around 4000 mm. Waterproof ratings are measured in mm and refer to the water pressure that the tent can withstand. So a tent with a 4000 mm waterproof rating can withstand 4000 mm of water before the water leaks into the tent!
For winter camping, insulation or internal heat sources are essential. For additional installation, choose a tent made of canvas or poly-cotton materials. Alternatively, a wood-burning stove can be safely used as an internal heating source within tipi tents – just be sure to read your tent’s specific guidelines before starting a fire.
You may also want to consider a tent with increased ventilation as the moisture from our breath, without proper ventilation, can create condensation on the underside of the tent's canopy and rainfly. If enough condensation builds up, the inside of the tent can become wet which in cold weather can be disastrous.
Difficulty: How complicated is it to set-up the tent?
You may want to consider how difficult it will be to set-up a tent. An easy way to determine how complicated the tent will be to set up is by its architecture. For example, tunnel tents, which feature a series of curved poles to create a tunnel shape, are more complicated to set-up as they require more than one pair of hands. Novices or people camping in bad weather may want to opt for tents that are easier to set-up such as a dome or pop-up tents.
Size: Who Will be Coming with You?
You also need to consider how many people you'll be traveling with and if you'll need a large, family-sized tent, or if a small, two-person one will do. Be aware that tent capacity is calculated based on the maximum number of people that can fit within a tent. As a rule, try to keep the actual number of people sleeping in the tent to one below the recommended capacity and make sure you factor in space for luggage, too.
On the other hand, remember a tent that's too big and weighty can result in an unnecessarily heavy load. Before you go anywhere, think carefully about what size suits you and your group.
Weight: How Will You Transport the Tent?
If you only plan to transport the tent by car, then you don't need to worry too much about its weight and dimensions as long as you have a large enough car boot! You might be planning on carrying the tent (at least for part of the way), in which case you'll need one that is lightweight and easy to carry.
Money: How Often Will You Use It?
How often you plan to use the tent will help determine how much you need to spend. For a tent that will only be used on rare occasions and in fairly placid conditions, it's best to buy a cheaper model. If you’re planning on using it frequently; for instance, on several long-distance hikes it's better to buy a more expensive model. Tent styles vary in price according to their features with some models costing closer to £1,000 and others a little over a tenner.
Style: What Tent Suits You?
Tents are generally available as either mountain, backpacking or campsite styles.
- Mountain tents are designed to cope with tough conditions. They use lightweight and durable materials to repel snow and water. Mountain tents are normally freestanding with a bathtub floor for increased installation. They also often include guy-lines for extra stability during windy nights.
If you're looking for a mountain tent, you'll want to purchase a North Face tent. North Face is the internationally recognized go-to brand for extreme weather camping and offers a full range of tent styles and features to meet every need. Check out the North Face 2-Meter Dome which has been designed for camping in the Himalayas or even Antarctica.
- Backpacking tents are designed for hiking trips. They use innovative features to provide hikers with sturdy, space-efficient, and lightweight shelters. Often include additional features like freestanding architecture (decreases weight as stakes aren't required), aluminum poles, or vestibules for extra space.
For backpacking tents, you should consider Fjällräven or North Face tents. Fjällräven is known for designing excellent trekking tents like the Abisko Shape 2 tent, while superstar company North Face designs EXTREMELY lightweight tents like the Mountain 25, which only weighs 8 lbs.
- Campsite tents are usually fairly spacious and easy to set up. Tents in this category generally prioritize comfort and convenience over weight. As such, they often feature additional pockets for storage, more than one door, vestibules, and are quick and easy to set-up.
For campsite tents, check out top global brands like Nordisk or Helmplant. Nordisk, a Swedish company, designs stylish yet functional cotton tents that are great for family camping. They even include a few tipi models for an extra hygge vibe. Families will also love Helmplant inflatable tents (no poles required – simply blow and go) as they are easy to set-up and accommodate large groups.
Get ready to experience the great outdoors like never before.