How to choose the best camping tents : A comprehensive guide with reviews
At the camping store, you will find tents for every possible use imaginable so you need to look at the tents from every angle before choosing the best camping tents you will take with you. We have tried to guide you about different types of tents, about different parts and features of tents and a complete guideline for selecting the best camping tents.
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What type of tent we really need? A guide to choose the best camping tents
Are you a frequent traveler? Do you need tents more than once in a year? Or you are camping just for once and for fun and amusement? Is it for just an experience of adventure or you intended to do it frequently? Is it just camping in the backward for kids? Would it be ok with you if you won’t get a cozy mattress underneath you while sleeping?
Answer to these questions is really important.Because choosing the wrong tent would spoil your adventure and enthusiasm. There are different types of tents available in market for different purpose and with different features. Which would serve your purpose? Just comparing the price and quality is not enough to finalize your buying decision. The tent that is suitable for one camper may not suit for another.
When buying the best camping tents, it is necessary not only to consider the model, but also the price and weight of the model. There are still a much more important selection criteria : the purpose of the trip and the use to be made of this tent.
A trekking tent will have to be deployed every day for example, so it will have to be easy to mount, not too heavy and strong enough to offer you a safe shelter, everywhere. Backpackers use some packed together, lightweight tents on their way up to long trail. But this types of tent would not be useful for the campers who wants to go for hunting in cold frigid area.
A 1-person tent absolutely fits for the lonely camper or hunter on his treks up the slopes of mountains. While a cabin-style tent that may provide space for the whole family so well every summer. But this same tent would be a burden when you would not find your kids to set up the tent.
10 things we need to think of before buying the best camping tents
1. The season when you will be using the tent?
It’s the comfortable weather that people generally choose for camping. Therefore summer, late spring or early fall is the best time for camping. Keeping this idea in mind the companies mostly make 3-season tents. The 3 seasons tents maintain proper ventilation which keeps them comfortable in heat and at the same time give the campers protection from sun and rain. But as for a bit uncomfortable weather, campers need something tougher.
For a little tough weather, like winter, late fall or early spring, 4-season tents would be great! They are designed with heavier materials, often comes with coverings named rain fly. These covering are expanded to the ground.
2. The place where you will be using your tent?
The climate of the place you are traveling may be a factor in narrowing down your choice for the best camping tents. You may not like too much sun exposure. Or if you just want enjoy with your kids in the backward then your choice would be something less complicated.
Or if scenario is different, therefore if you are going to face desert wind where you want the air blow excluding the sands, then your requirement would be a little more complicated. Or will you be camping on the soft forest floor or a rocky mountain outcropping? Do you want a little isolation from the swarming campground? Do you want to camp out on far-off mountain highland and enjoy the incredible view of mountains?
3. Weight and size: Carrying matters!
You need to think about the things that accompany with you while travelling. For example: backpack, bicycle, motorbike or car. Lightweight tents would be much better if you think of traveling miles or more on your feet. Your purchase should exclude extra bells and whistles. But if you have heavy duty car than you can easily go for a family tent which can provide space for a group of people. In that case, you need to check whether there are enough baggage rooms to store the tent and other equipment.
4. How frequently will we be using the tent?
Some people go for camping once in every few year. Others are frequent campers. They like take off into camping every other weekend. This decision would help you to save money when you are buying a tent for the first time.
5. Number of people and tent capacity
The tents vary according to the capacity to provide room for people. There is no defined industry standard for bench-marking the dimensions of per-person tent. There are tents for just one person and there are tent which can provide rooms for 10 persons. You need to choose the model according to your group‘s size. Most of the tents come with sleeping capacity with a very little squirm space. Some people choose a tent where it is possible to provide for one extra person. Some wants some more space to keep the camping gears. In case of extra person, consider up-sizing your tent capacity by 1 person, particularly if you or your usual tent companions are claustrophobic.
7. Height of the tent:
Not only for claustrophobic people but also for other people who don’t like stuffy environment, height is severely important. A cabin tent would be best if you go for a family camping or camping with friends for a long time. Cabin-style tents provide you with more standing room.
Dome tents are high but only in the center. You may need to crouch to enter into a dome tent.
8. How it is constructed:
Is your tent designed well according to your requirements? How would you inspect that? What are the criteria that you would start with to determine the quality for the best camping tents?
As for the construction you should start with the floor. You have to be sure about the making of seam- whether it lopes round the base of the tent or is it heaved a little off the ground.You need to make sure both to ensure that water doesn't leak in through the seam. This is called “tub floor” structure. If it is ensured then we can say that the tent is up to a mark as per the indicator of constructed.
Poles makes your tents stand against all odds. Replacing poles is a little difficult. So you should be choosy in selecting the right poles. Fiberglass poles are strong but not as strong as aluminum. They can be broke easily. So using metal poles should be the correct decision.
Also you need to keep in mind about the clip or sleeves that help you to fix the poles with the tent. Clips would help you to mount the tent on your own .
If you don’t have enough room for your camping gears it would be wise to use a vestibules or mud flaps. It would be an extended space beyond your tent. Besides ensuring the protection of your gears from rain, it would also give you the chance to enjoy the rain with the tent door open. Tents also comes with more necessary accessories like mesh shelves, footprints or tarps that keep the base of the tent ground smooth enough to lay on. Tent fan and mesh panels maintain proper ventilation.
9. The material used:
Nylon or polyester is used mostly in modern tents Nylon tents are stronger and less weight. But they are expensive. The advantage of nylon made tent is that, they don't shack water.
Some tents are coated with polyurethane or silicone. This coating helps tents to keep away water and give protection from UV rays.
Never use a heater in your tent. It can cause a major fire risk.Especially, when the body and other parts of the tents are intrinsically flammable. Heater also increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a silent and unscented killer. It deteriorates the health and lungs of campers gradually.
Variation of tents according to your purpose
Family camping tents
Family camping tents are ideal for family camping for an extended period of time. Most models offer separate sleeping compartments, a large living area and, very often, a very practical awning. They are strong, made of cotton or polyester fabric (with or without Ripstop) and often have a PE floor mat to keep the tent clean inside.
You will find mainly tunnel-shaped models, which adds a little more to the level of stability in harsher climatic conditions. You will find tents that can accommodate 2 to 7 people. They are therefore spacious enough to accommodate most families, while providing space for your entire luggage. To know more about best family camping tents please check this post - How to choose the best family camping tent
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Weight will play a big role in choosing your trekking tent. The combination of a featherweight tent, which combines space and weather resistance and will preferably have a breathable under-tent, will prove to be a must. That is why we have chosen the Vaude, Vango and Coleman brands, which meet and respect all these characteristics scrupulously.
These types of tents are designed to resist severe weather conditions. Mountaineering tents serve the purpose of wilderness camping. These tents offer separate room for living sleeping and storage of gear. That means there should be complete arrangements so that someone can survive in unfavorable condition. The form of a mountaineering tent looks similar to that of many other tents. But the construction and the material that is used for designing these type of tent is much more different. The use of fabric may vary from nylon to canvas but the exterior body would be heavily coated to protect the tent from heavy shower and snow. There is also difference in setting up the poles and supports. A mountaineering tent generally comes with metal poles and strong frameworks to keep the proper shape. The exterior framework provides more floor space.
Variation of tents according to your purpose:
3-seasons tents are the trendiest preference among the tents. They are designed in a way that they can be used in summer, spring and fall. Therefore, in comparatively clement conditions. They come with sufficient mesh panels. These mesh panels enhance flow of air and keep out bugs. 3-season tents can hold out heavy shower and keep you dry during rain or light snow as they are fittingly stretched with tight rainfly. But it is not that functional if expose to harsh storms, violent winds or heavy snow.
Extended Season Tents
3+ season tents are designed so that the usage of tents can be lengthened more than 3-season.They are fit for summer use but can also be used in early spring and late fall when there is moderate snow. They provide a balance in ventilation, and maintain proper warmth.
Unlike typical 3 season tents, this types of tents generally comes with 1 or more poles. The number of mash panels is fewer than those of typical 3-season tents. With these features they become sturdier and warmer. If you chose to be a frequent traveler, these types of tents are perfect for you. They can be over-exposed to unfriendly weather and good for high- distance from the ground. But we won’t recommend it in case of very harsh winter weather.
4-season tents are designed to endure violent winds and extensive snow loads. Even mountaineers can use these tents in any season. They can stand strong and stay steady in facing the rough weather especially in winter. They come with more poles and heavier fabrics than typical 3-season tents. The dome is designed in rounded shape so that it removes flat roof spaces and therefore can collect snow. They have fewer mesh panels and rainflies. This give protectin from rough wind and make the interior of the tent warmer and comfortable in harsh winter.
Variation of tents according to shape and size:
The dome tents
Dome tents have a semi-spherical shape with superior strength. They are wind resistant and can be moved when mounted. It is possible to dispense with stakes when mounted on hard ground. They stand tall in the center. The walls have more of a slant which to some extent shrinks livable space. Arches are crossed. They are made of polycotton or polyester fabric.
Tunnel tents can never be mounted without stakes. Their structure is simple, they offer a lot of space and resist very well to the winds thanks to their rounded shape. All the hoops are parallel. They are made of polyester or nylon.
Hybrid tents are a combination of different models. They have a rear section identical to that of a dome tent and a straight awning mast similar to that of tunnel tents. Hybrid tents offer good resistance to winds but their flat roof could retain snow. They are generally made of polyester cloth.
Pyramid tents offer a large floor area and a high standing height, while having few frame parts. Thanks to their soft roof slope, these tents resist storms and are comfortable. They are made of sturdy cotton fabric.
Cabin-style tents feature near-vertical walls make the best use of your space. It increases the overall peak height and habitable space. Some models come with features like room divider, awning, and vestibule door. These features would please you if you want a family atmosphere.
Inflatable tents are ideal due to their quick assembly, a big advantage when you want to camp in various places for smaller periods. They are made of sturdy Tencate canvas, are storm-resistant and offer a high standing height.
Main features of the best camping tents that we need to know
Floor Length of Tent:
For a person with nearly 6 feet height we need to consider a tent with a floor length of 90 inches. The typical length of floor is 84-88 inches.
Door of Tent:
The shape and number of doors are the important criteria to be considered. Multiple doors would be useful naturally if you are camping with family. Climbing over each other can be avoided in case of going outside.
For more doors Cabin style tents are prefect. The zip need to be open and shut more easily and with less noise. YKK zippers on the doors resist snagging and breaking better than others.
It is the criteria with which you can know about the usability of your tent. Therefore it a good pole structure means how easily you can set up the tent. Almost every family tent is now freestanding. They do not need stakes to set them up. This a great advantage when you are thinking of shifting it from one location to another frequently. It is easy
to wobble dirt out of it before taking it down.
Fewer poles allow faster setups. It's also easier to attach poles to clips than it is to thread them through long pole sleeves. Many tents use both clips and short pole sleeves in an effort to balance strength, ventilation and setup ease. Color-coded corners and pole clips also make setup faster. Aluminum poles are stronger and more durable than fiberglass.
A rainfly works as a waterproof cover for your tent. It is separated from the tent and made such as to fit over the roof of tent. If it is rainy season or there is a possibility for dew drop or if it is a little cold and you want some comfort then this Rainfly can be very useful.
Generally you would find 2 types of rainfly.
1. Roof-only rainflies:
With this type of rainfly you would have extra light and vision and at the same time protection from rain.
2. Full-coverage rainflies
It gives you highest shield from rain and wind.
The more denier the fabric, the more well you would feel with your tent. This is because, rugged terrain in necessary for canopies and rainflies and higher-denier fabrics provides you with that coarseness. It is more jagged. This is true as well for tent floor. Higher-denier fabrics lessen the chance of unexpected leakage. And it comes with seam tape, things would be better.
You would want your mud-spattered or dirty boots out of your tent but under a shelter. So a shelters or awnings joined to your tent for storing the boots and other gears would be helpful. You don’t need to be worry about your boots and other gears. These garages may come with rainfly or you can buy them separately.
If you want to enjoy view of outside from your tent and like to improve the ventilation in your tent, you may go for mesh panels. Mesh panel is normally used in the Doors, windows or ceiling of the tent. It controls the condensation which is a necessary if the weather id humid and hot.
Interior Loops and Pockets
Your tent would be much more organized if you use interior loops and pockets. A gear loft can help you to fix a interlock shelf so that you can keep small items off of the tent floor. On the top-center, you can hang a lantern with lantern-loop. Gear lofts are sold separately. Like loops, pockets would help you to keep your small belongings safe.
Tents with high quality often come with loops on the outer surface of the tent. They are attaches to fix the guy lines. During high winds, you can batten down the hatches with the guy lines for attaching guy lines so that there will be no flattering fabric.
For your tent floor a floor-cloth is need which is normally customized so as to fit your tent shape closely. They usually sold separately. The tent floors can be harsh with rocks, brushwood and grime. A footprint would be a great help especially for family tent. Because, in a family tent there are frequent entry and exits. There is less possibility to catch water. But ordinary floor-cloth sticks out further than the floor boundaries. With a tent floor cloth the water can find a way to run underneath the tent and soak through the floor fabric.
Awning for caravan or motor home
Awning for caravan or motor home
The range of canopies for caravans is endless. It is therefore not possible for us to present you a complete list of all the brands and types. Here is a brief overview to give you an idea of all the possibilities available to you:
Simple awnings and sliding canopies, with or without sunshades.
Awnings for caravans or motorhomes, equipped with a crank mechanism (brands: Fiamma, Omnistor).
Awnings-gates and winter gates.
Quality awnings, from simple models to polygonal awnings with extra part and kitchen elements. Brands: Isabella, Dorema, Ventura and StarCamp.
Awnings for motor homes of Outwell.
Other necessary accessories:
- Stakes and anchors for varying site conditions
- Broom and dustpan
- Inside/outside floor mat
- Tent repair kit
- Seam sealer
- Utility cord
- Battery-powered ventilation fan
Small tips for mounting your tent
Before mounting your tent, it is advisable to check if the chosen place is sufficiently flat. There is nothing more unpleasant than sleeping on uneven ground and, once mounted, it becomes very difficult to move a larger tent.
A flat place at the bottom of a slope will not prove to be a good choice either. Because in case of rainfall, the water will descend the slope and will accumulate on the first flat it will meet. The idea is to find a slightly rounded ground.
All tie rope fasteners should be used. This will keep you safe during wind gusts and will spare you many worries of bent or broken armatures. Close all zippers before pushing in the tent pins.