Camping, Equipment, Hiking, Outdoors, Travel

Which tent? Part 1

Which tent?

Hi there, hope you’re all doing well and staying safe!

Today we are going to go over a guide for buying a tent.  When you go out to buy a tent there are many aspects that you need to consider, so grab yourself a cuppa and let’s get started!

Every now and then I get asked about tents; which one should I buy?  Which one’s the best? In reality, I can’t answer that question for everybody individually without a lot of information, so I wanted to take some time to make this post for you and present you with different aspects that you need to consider when the time comes to purchase a tent.  Very rarely will there be a one tent fits all solution and that’s what I’m going to go over here.

If you’re the type of person that likes to go camping in the same spot at the same time of year every single year, you could probably get away with using always the same tent.  But if you like to explore and to go to different places every year, a one tent solution isn’t going to work.

As you may know, there is a big difference between a three-season tent and a four-season tent.  Three-season tents are good for late spring, summer, and early autumn (of course that depends on where you live or want to camp, the environment, the climate, and so on).  A four-season tent is made mainly for those colder, more extreme weather months.  They’re heavier, they’re beefier, they’re made to take more abuse and intensity from the weather including stronger winds, heavier snow, etc.  A three-season tent cannot handle those type of conditions.  During the warmer months, you wouldn’t want to use a four-season tent.  You wouldn’t want to carry that extra weight that comes along with it.  Four season tents typically are warmer than three-season tents.  Three season tents are typically cooler and provide better airflow.  You need to consider for yourself the environment that you’re going to be using your tent in, the climate, the sort of weather that you’re going to be faced with.

Weight

One aspect that we need to touch upon is weight.  Weight is incredibly important.  If you are a car camper and you’re driving someplace and you’re not carrying your tent, then it really doesn’t matter.  You can have a 10 pound, 20 pound tent, it doesn’t matter at all, but, if you’re going to be hiking, every single ounce counts!  Weight also translates to comfort.  The lighter the weight of the pack in general, and that includes your tent, the more comfortable and the more fun you’re going to have on your adventure, and the further you will go.  That’s why weight is very important to consider.  Typically, the lighter the tent is, the less durable the materials are, so that is something else that you need to consider.

Price

We also have to talk about the cost.  This one is always controversial with some people.  When it comes to cost you have to pick a range that makes sense for you.  If you’re the type of person that goes out once a year and it’s just going to be for a couple of miles, you know you don’t need to spend a ton of money.  If on the other hand, you are very serious about backpacking, then you might need to consider spending that extra bit of money on a better piece of kit because you’re going to continue to use it year after year.  Typically, when you spend a higher amount you’re going to get a better product, it’s going to be lighter weight, it’s going to be better materials, more durable and so on.  So you really have to consider what the right range for you is.

Protection

Protection is a very important aspect to any tent that you need to consider.  A tent that doesn’t protect you is absolutely worthless and it’s also dangerous.  People die from hypothermia in the warmer months too.  You would think of that to be in the coldest part of the winter but that’s not the case.  All you have to do is let your body temperature drop and one way to do that is by getting soaking wet inside of your tent.  You need a tent that is strong enough, that can offer enough protection from the elements to get you through your night, through your trip, so that you can enjoy yourself and have a great time.  If you’re thinking of going camping in bad weather, there’s a lot of really cheap tents out there that will not handle thunderstorms and bad weather very well so, research, research, research.  If you’re thinking about buying a tent, you need to make sure that that tent can stand up to your average thunderstorm.  It doesn’t have to be a hurricane or anything like that, but it has to be able to offer you adequate protection.

Freestanding vs non-freestanding

The next aspect that you need to consider when purchasing a tent is this; is it going to be a freestanding tent or a non-freestanding tent.  A freestanding tent means that you can basically set that tent up anywhere.  All you have to do is throw in the poles, follow some instructions and set it up.  You do not have to stake it out.  A non-freestanding tent means that it has to be staked out, it has to be hunkered down to the ground.  You’re not going to be able to just pick it up and move it because it’s going to be connected directly to the ground.  So of course, it really depends on where you are going.  Freestanding tents typically are quicker to set up than non-freestanding tents.  Non-freestanding tents typically are lighter weight than freestanding tents because you don’t necessarily have to have an elaborate pole system.  You can use trekking poles, a couple of tent stakes and you’re set.  In my opinion one is not better than the other, it really just depends on your needs and where you’re going.

Capacity

How big of a tent do you need?  For myself, if I’m going alone, I like two-person tents because I could stretch out a bit.  It gives me a lot of space where I can also fit my gear inside the tent.  I do like one-person tents and if I’m going to go for a very long trip, I want to go lighter weight, so I don’t mind that smaller size.  Sometimes with a single person tent you’re going to be limited on space and how much you can actually put inside of that tent.  So your gear will have to go on the outside, and that’s something to consider.  If you’re going to have your kit outside, it has to be protected from the elements and animals, but we can talk about that in another post.  A two-person tent can still be very lightweight and for one person it can be an absolute palace.  So again, consider what you need and what you are going to be doing with it.

So that’s it for now folks.  Hope that gave you some points to consider before buying a new tent.  I will go into some more detail and information in the next post.  Until then, stay safe! 😊

You can find some good tents and other camping and hiking accessories at jonoutdoorsstore.com 😊

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