A camping tent is an important investment for a camper and should not only provide comfort but keep away the rain, snow, cold and harmful insects. Always buy a good quality tent, even if it means you have to spend more money on it. Before buying your camping tent, determine the kind of camping you will be doing, in what climactic conditions and how many people will be staying in the tent with you.
Typically, camping tents are rated by the number of people they can accommodate. If it is a four people tent, then it means that only four people and nothing else will fit in it. So depending on the amount of people staying in it, you need to size it up to approximately double to accommodate all your camping and hiking paraphernalia along as well. Also, consider the width and length of the tent you are looking to buy. If you are six feet tall, ensure that you a foot more at least to stretch comfortably. The height should be enough to kneel, stand upright or at least stand partially. It helps reduce the struggle of putting on clothes when inside. Keep space for an inflatable air mattress if you choose to carry one. It is infinitely more comfortable than waking up on a cold pad. However, the only drawback here is that, if you give in to the size constraints, the tent does become heavier to carry.
Among the smaller variety of tents the following are the most popular:
The 2-Person / 3-Person MSR Velo Tent is perfect for solo travellers who require larger space for their gear. MSR has a full-rainfly, bathtub floor, taped seams to keep even the heaviest downpour out and mesh doors that provide plenty of ventilation. The 9lbs 8oz Velo with DAC Featherlite poles, pole sleeves, and 7 GroundHog Stakes, is better suited for camping than hiking.
The Velo MSR is good for a two-person stay with lots of storage as well.
The North Face Rock 22 Tent is another 2-Person / 3-Season tent offering complete rain protection. It has a taped bathtub floor and an excellent full-rainfly that prevents the water from coming in and spoiling your gear. It weighs 6 lbs 11 oz and has some great aluminum poles.
Medium sized tents
The 8lbs 11oz Kelly Gunnison is a 4 Person, 3 Season Tent with a full-rainfly cover for maximum protection. It is slightly heavier than most other tents and is better suited for car camping than backpacking unless you are able to split the load. The excellent quality DAC aluminum poles increase durability, while the taped seams, bathtub floor and full-rainfly keep you dry. Besides this the vestibule and storage packets keep all your equipment dry and protected. A four person tent is good for two people and lots of gear.
Medium Large / Family Tents
The Kelly Mantra 7 weighs 23 lbs 8 oz and is ideal for car camping. It is a big family tent that provides good protection from the wind and the rain. The 7 Person 3 Season Kelly Mantra 7 Tent is 6 feet high and offers lots of floor space and is perfect for large family camping tents. The DAC aluminum poles are more durable than fiberglass and the full-rainfly, sealed seams, and bathtub floor are excellent protection from rains and thunderstorms.
The Kelly Crestone 2 Tent is a lightweight camping tent ideal for backpacking. The 2 person 3 Season comes in at 4 lbs and 12 oz with two doors for easier access and two large space vestibules for storing all your gear.
Camping Tents to be used during Winter and Rain
The North Face VE-25 is an all season tent and perfect for protection from severe climactic conditions like wind-driven rain, snow and sleet. It is equipped with a 5 layer waterproof barrier, 5 DAC Featherlite SL poles, bathtub floor, and full rainfly. This three-person expedition tent also has polyurethane windows that have been cold-crack tested to -60 degrees Fahrenheit. It weighs 11lbs 1oz but can be whittled down to 9lb 13 oz and can be used for car camping or split up between two backpackers. However, this tent may be a little too over heated for hot and damp conditions.
Styles in Camping Tents
Most of the tents have some underlying common styles. Some are listed below:
A-Frame – A-frame camping tents are typically patterned with a single layer of fabric wall supported by one or two poles. These sometimes tend to sag at the sides using up space inside the tent. The risk of this kind of tent is that if you bump it, during the rains, it may cause a leak.
Cabin Camping or Canvas Tents – These are heavy-duty frame based and spacious. Some even have space for a picnic table or a wood stove making them great for winter hunting. However, they are heavy, about 35 to 160 pounds, bulky, take longer to dry, and take about an hour for two heavy packers to set up.
Dome Camping or Geodesic Tents- These dome shaped camping tents are extremely popular because of their snow, rain and wind resistant properties. They offer good headroom and are the aluminum poles make them quite strong. The free-standing design doesn’t require tent stakes or guy lines for them to remain upright.
Summer Camping Tents- These tents are designed for the summer and are light-weight with very good ventilation.
Tunnel Camping or Hoop Tents – These are straight and narrow in shape and quite light as well.
Backpacking and Ultra light weight camping tents
Bivy Sacks or Shelters- A bivouac is a small shelter used by light traveler or where bigger camping tents would be inappropriate. They’re only large enough to accommodate you and your sleeping bag and are typically good for climbers who need to spend the night on vertical rock. They weigh between one and three pounds and have a height of 1.5-3.5 feet.
Sleep Screen – Another light-weight minimalist warm-weather shelter that can be enclosed.
Sleep screens use mesh to help keep away bugs, however they are unable to provide protection from the rain.
Tarp Tents- A minimalist 3-season shelter, this tent protects you form mild rain. The bottoms are usually open in the Tarp.
Sierra Design’s Meterolight is a 2 Person 3 Season tent and weighs about 7lbs. It is bigger than most 2 person camping tents and performs well in the wind and rain.
Recreational camper Tents
3-Season tents are good for recreational campers and have more zipped mesh panels for camping summer, spring, as wellas temperate areas. Although they offer protection from the wind and rain, they are not strong enough for the snow.
Convertible camping tents are similar to a 4-season that converts to a 3-season tent by simply removing the tent cover, a pole or two, and opening the zippered windows for ventilation. 4-Season Tent- These are serious winter camping tents designed to shield you from snow during winter camping and mountaineering expeditions. They’re strong and hold up under the weight of snow or strong winds. They do not however, offer as much mesh for ventilation and are thus not good for hot weather conditions.