Complete Guide for Buying a Tent – Improve your Camping Experience

So, you are planning a trip to go camping in a tent? That’s awesome! We hope it will be as fun as we have had on every camping trip. But, how should you pick the right tent for that trip? Follow this guide and we will help you find the perfect tent that will make your experience much better.

When we were in northern Sweden in the middle of February it was frigid cold out there. Luckily, we were there with a local guide that had a military tent with a large fireplace in the middle. We had also good sleeping bags, that made our experience great in the end.

But my mind started to wonder, how would we ever have managed to find the right tent if we didn’t have a guide with us?

Let’s dive down into the different types of tents you can choose between.

1-Season Tent

One-season tents are mainly just used in summer conditions with high or normal temperatures. They will be more affordable but don’t provide you with the advantage to be used in any condition. However, if you are just going on a beautiful summer hike, then this will provide you with enough shelter.

Some tents are also branded as a festival tent, these will kind of fall into the one-season tent category. They will not provide you with any rainproof or little to none wind resistance. So if you are going to Coachella, then look for one of these.

3-Season Tent

3-season tents are light weighted tents that are made to be used in spring, summer or fall temperatures. They can withstand downpours and light snow; however, they are not good to withstand the harsh condition in storms, heavy snowfall, and extreme temperatures.

They are mainly designed to provide as much ventilation as possible, they will have mesh wall and many vents to constantly keep airflow through the tent. However, it will keep the people inside from feeling the wind directly.

Using a three-season tent in more hard conditions, like in the middle of winter, could cause more maintenance and in the worst-case scenario even cause damages to the tent. Therefore, if you live in a warm climate and will mainly use it in the summer and normal condition. Go for a three-season tent, otherwise, you should choose a four-season tent.

4-Season Tent

Normally just used in winter conditions. The tent will often be built completely mesh free and protect the users from snow, ice, hail, high winds and snow build-up. The material is mainly made by polyester of nylon to trap most of the body heat inside but also avoid any winds from penetrating the shelter.

Vents could be provided which can be open to control condensation, however, that is rarely an issue in cold climates. The frame design is more robust and mostly made of aluminum. If the need for even a more robust shelter, full fabric sleeves will be used.

The shape of a four-season tent is often an angled shaped tent, with outer and inner structure and the material will be much more resistant to the weather conditions.

Four season tents may be more expensive, but will it be an unnecessary investment? The short answer is no. In the end, you could be saving money since you can use the tent in all types of conditions. So instead of buying one three-season tent and one four-season tent, you will have one tent that fits all conditions.

Should I use 3-Season or 4-Season Tent?

The short answer is if you are going to go camping in the freezing temperatures, snowy conditions or conditions with high winds. Then you should choose a 4-season tent. However, they will be heavier, more expensive and could be more advanced to use.

If you are camping in the summer and in more normal conditions, then 3-season tents are the right choice for you. They will be much lighter weighted, more affordable and easier to use and set up.

What factors should you take into consideration?

There are many different factors you will need to take into consideration when choosing your tent.

Cost

As with almost everything, the more money you spend, most likely you will get a tent with better quality and life length.

The cheapest tents often tend to be less durable, heavier and less waterproof.

Usage 

Touring for example with a bicycle or motorcycle will need you to find a tent that is easy to use for pitching and striking the tent. Look for a tent that is light weighted and is fast to strike.

Backpacking finds a tent that is light weighted and that has minimal size. You will most likely get around well with one of the cheaper tents

Lengthy stays in one place, then you should find one that is as comfortable as possible with good ventilation and enough space to accommodate sleeping spaces for every user that will sleep in the tent.

Checklist

Make a checklist to determine what tent that will suit your needs.

  1. The number of people that will use the tent, take into consideration the age of every person using the tent. That will show you how many sleeping areas the tent will need to have
  2. Sunshine. If the tent will be placed in direct contact with the sun, then you should get a tent with an awning that could provide shade if necessary. Tents often have additional poles so the doorways could be used as awnings
  3. Inside height. Most manufacturers will provide the inside height of the tent. However, you should know that that measurement will often be lower in real conditions. So, check how long each person is that will be using the tent and then check the tents inside height and make sure it will fit accordingly
  4. Tent Color, this will be affected by sunshine, as a darker color will become much warmer than a light color. If you are hunting or in any other cases where you need to remain low visibility, go for a green, brown, khaki or tan color.
  5. Setup time, some tents will be much easier to setup. As a general rule, the more robust and heavier tent, the more time it will take to set up and dismantle.
  6. Weather conditions. If you are dealing with rainy or cold conditions you should check the water-resistance of the tent but as well the season type of the tent.
Camping tents for every purpose and capacity

I am still unsure about what tent I should buy

Don’t worry our fellow outdoor friend! Each article we will provide you with enough information for you to choose the best tent for you. We will for every tent we select to determine what the best usage is. If you still are unsure, just contact us, and we will help you. We are there for you always!

Freddie is our main outdoor expert, who has traveled most of the world. All from camping in the Outback in Australia to Northern Sweden. From extreme heat to extreme cold climates. He surely knows what you need to have the best experience out there.

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