Tents have been around forever, and modern tents are designed for all sorts of camping situations and setups. Choosing a good tent is a critical part to enjoying camping, and in this blog, we’ll help you find your new temporary home.
The first thing to consider when looking for a tent is location. Where will you be using this tent? If you plan on using a tent in a warm environment, you’ll probably want a tent with good cooling and lots of ventilation. The opposite is true for cold environments. Tents are often described by their manufacturers by what seasons they are useful for.
Lots of the tents that would be good for warm weather are classified under three season tents, while tents designed for mountaineering and cold weather camping are frequently categorized under four season. Four season tents have more insulation than three season tents, making them ideal for cold windy nights at the base camp, while three season tents tend to have more ventilation and be overall lighter in weight, making them ideal for kayak camping the rio grande or taking to a music festival. Of course, this is not a given, but rather a good rule of thumb. When in doubt, almost all manufacturers will state the sort of environments a tent can do well in.
Number of Campers
The next thing to consider is how many people you’ll be taking with you, although I will add a caveat to this. As a rule of thumb, filling a tent to its maximum capacity can get pretty cramped, so if you want a comfortable amount of space for camping with guests, it’s always wise to choose a tent that can hold a few more people than you actually intend to bring. This allows for extra room for gear, as well as spreading out.
If you have a family of five, for instance, that you want to take out into the great outdoors, you could probably get away with a tent with a maximum capacity of 5, but you’ll likely be much, much happier with an 8 person tent. This rule is also a good one for solo campers. A single person tent is a fantastic option for camping alone, but if you intend to have more gear with you in your tent, or you just like the extra room, it’s not at all uncommon to go with a larger two person tent.
The number of people in a tent is definitely important to consider, but it is certainly not the only consideration you should take into account when it comes to size. A larger tent will always weight more than a smaller tent, so ultra light campers and those who are weight conscious (looking at you, kayak campers), should consider going for the smallest tent they can comfortably use to fill their needs.
Some ultralight campers go so far as to use the most barebones tents possible, simply called shelters or tarps, which are not really tents at all. Rather, they are lightweight fabrics that can be suspended from hiking poles or paracord, creating the most minimal shelter possible. Obviously, this is not a great solution for camping with your family at the state park, however. Family size tents are heavier, but well worth the extra weight due to the extra space they provide.
So with these factors in mind, what tents should I look at? Let’s say you are just trying to get into camping, and you’ll be camping in fair weather with a couple of close friends. Then all you’ll really want to get is a simple a-frame or dome tent, probably with a 4 to 6 person capacity, that is rated for 3 seasons.
What about a solo mountaineering? What if you want to venture alone into the dark cold unknown? Well, when the snow starts coming down, you’ll probably want a good four season tent. These tents are super strong, super insulating, and great choices for cold weather solo or double adventures.
If you are want help choosing the right tent for you and your adventure, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts here at ACK. We love getting people outside with the right gear almost as much as we love getting out there ourselves. If you are interested in picking up any of the gear featured in this video, or any of our other products here at ACK, feel free to drop by at ACK.com and let us outfit your adventure.