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Tents Buying Guide

A tent is your home away from home on your camping trip, so choosing the right one is essential.

 
 

Your tent can make or break your camping trip. Choose a tent that is the right size and that can withstand the weather conditions and insects that you may encounter to minimize the frustrations and maximize the fun that your outdoor vacation has to offer.

How to Choose

Size

Tents should have enough room for everyone on the trip, as well as storage for backpacks, supplies and more. The general rule is to pick a tent with room for 2 people more than will be occupying it; and if you end up with bad weather, you will welcome the extra space. If you like to be able to stand upright in your tent, check the centre height in the specifications, and choose a tent with a tall centre height. Additionally, if privacy is a concern, choose a tent with more than one room.

 

Types of Tents

Cabin tents are more vertical and have steeper walls. These allow for most people to stand upright within them, and can be easier to get in and out of. They have more useable space but because of the high walls, may not be ideal for windy conditions. Larger versions can have vestibules and room dividers, which are better suited for large groups of campers.

Dome tents have a lower profile and can be easier to set up as they require fewer poles and stakes. However, head room is limited, so individuals may not be able to stand upright. They sit lower to the ground and are better for windy conditions. They can be lighter and better for trips where you will be hiking longer distances.

 

Three- or Four-Season Tents

When will you be doing the majority of your camping? Most tents are designed for three-season use (Spring, Summer & Fall). They have good ventilation for warm weather, but also have windows that can be zipped shut when the temperature drops. If you are hardy enough to take on winter camping, or will be staying in an area where there are high winds or heavy rains, you should consider a four-season tent. These tents are made to handle extreme conditions year-round. They have better ventilation and are more heavy duty, but are also more expensive and heavier than most three-season versions.

Also, it’s a good idea to set up your tent at home to make sure that no items are missing, and that you can assemble it easily, even in the dark.