Did you decide that your family will camp outdoors to bond and connect with nature? Camping is a wonderful activity that can help you to relax and learn something new. If you are a camping newbie you should know that choosing the right tent isn’t always easy. You’ll need to think on all the various tent features and needs as well as size and pricing.
Let’s see what things you should pay attention to when choosing your first family tent.
Consider a tent’s features and your camping needs
The majority of the tents are a 3 or 4 season. What does each season mean? If you plan to camp in the spring, summer and fall, when the weather isn’t too harsh, you will be okay with a 3 season tent.
If you will be camping through the whole year then it is best to get a 4 season tent. This type of tent has more material and less mesh to protect you in harsh weather conditions. So, think about what time you will be camping the most. If you don’t plan to camp in the winter or at remote cold areas then choose a 3 season one.
Tents come with weather-protecting fabrics and coatings. The most common tent materials are polyester, nylon, cotton and polycotton. Which material is the best? First you should know a few things about these fabrics.
Polyester and nylon: Nylon and polyester material are the most used for making tents. These are synthetic materials which are both lightweight and water-repellent. This means that if you are looking to carry a tent, you’ll want a lightweight polyester or nylon tent. However, these fabrics aren’t as breathable as natural fibers.
Cotton or Canvas: Cotton canvas was mostly used in the past for making tents. Cotton or canvas is a breathable material which will prevent condensation in your tent and help keep the air circulating. These types of tents are quite heavy due to their material type. They also dries slower than a tent made of synthetic materials.
Coatings: Tent manufacturers often coat their tents with synthetic coatings to make a tent even more waterproof. If you plan to camp in humid or rainy areas, make sure that your tent has a proper coating to protect you from the moisture.
How many of you will be sleeping in the tent? I recommend that you chose a slightly bigger tent than the number of sleepers.
For example, let’s say that you have 4 people in your family. I would recommend you consider a 5 person tent or even larger because you will have more space for sleeping and even more for storage.
Sometimes tent manufacturers specify a number of occupants but the customers frequently find it too small for that number of sleepers so make sure you have an opportunity to see the tent set up with sleeping pads inside, or if worried, buy a larger one.
A note here – if you plan to backpack this tent, know that oftentimes lightweight tent’s sizing is more accurate and a 3 person tent will likely fit 3 people just fine.
Which tent brand to choose?
There are several quality camping tent brands on the market today and you shouldn’t have difficulties when choosing a good tent for your needs. Check on-line reviews and it’s probably good advice that you don’t purchase the cheapest one.
A tent with a rainfly and vestibule or not?
Tents often come with a rainfly and vestibule. It is always better to have these as they will protect you in case of bad weather. You can always put a rainfly down (take it off of the tent) if you want. A vestibule is great to have because it serves as a storage space and a sheltered spot for your gear.
Cabin or dome shaped tent?
You have a choice of choosing an ordinary dome tent for camping or a cabin tent that will offer you the luxury outdoors. In a smaller dome tent you won’t be able to stand, but they are usually lighter in weight than cabin tents.
Cabin tents have vertical walls which enables a high center height so you will be able to move inside without bending. Cabin tents are meant for a longer camping vacation and can be quite heavy so you won’t be able to carry them on your back. These are the typical car-camping type tent.
I hope these tips and considerations will help you in choosing your next tent. Remember, price is important, but not always the most important factor.
“We live in a technological era but nature is reminding us more and more that we should go to the places where our heart and soul feel like home.” – Tadej Kozar
Want to read more about camping and buying tents? Check out these posts:
- Your guide to buying the perfect tent
- Make sure you have all the camping gear you need with this camping equipment list
- How to choose the perfect campground