You've decided to take the plunge! You have always thought about it, and it does seem fun, but now you're finally going to go camping. Suddenly, the next thing to cross your mind is, "I don't have a tent!" Don't worry!
At No Trace Outdoor Gear we have consulted our experts and prepared the ultimate guide to picking out your new tent so that you can enjoy outdoor living for years to come.
Ask yourself, what is my plan? Do I plan to hike for miles in the wilderness, or spend a relaxing weekend camping close to your car, town and the local amenities?
Once you have made that decision, you can decide the style of tent that will meet the challenges of your desired trip.
If you are planning on hiking for days and reaching deep into uncharted territory, weight is your number one concern. There are plenty of tents that can provide some moderate comfort and be easier on the legs during a long trek.
On the flip side, if your plan is to stay close to the car, and a town so you can hit up the local watering hole in the evenings, weight should not a priority. Instead, go for comfort, capacity and amenities in your tent.
Your second thought should be, how many people do I need to accommodate?
If you are traveling long distances it is advisable to stick with tents that have the capacity for 1-2 people and made with lightweight materials. Ideally, each person would be carrying their own equipment on a multi-day trek. The extra weight may not seem like much on mile one, but as the days wear on each step with a few extra pounds will take its toll. A general rule to keep in mind is that for each person the tent can accommodate it should weigh 2 pounds or less (ie. a tent for 2 should weigh no more than 4 lbs).
If you decided staying close to the comfort of your vehicle is more your style then weight isn't a priority. Choose a tent that accommodates your group and has plenty of amenities, including zipping ventilation, pockets and storage for extra gear.
Last, and probably most important, think of the weather near your camp site. Nothing is worse than being unprepared for the weather with a tent that isn't up to the task. Most tents are rated for 3 seasons (spring, summer and fall). This rating is sufficient for temperatures above 45 degrees, moderate rain showers and should have zippered doors with netting to protect from insects but provide ventilation for summer heat.
If you plan on camping during the colder winter months, look for a 4 season tent. These tents are rated for much colder temperatures and built with more sturdy materials that can withstand the extra stress from snow, wind and the unexpected storm.
Before Your Trip
We cannot stress this enough, test your tent before your trip! Do a practice run and get familiar with the different components and how they fit together. Trust us you do not want to arrive at camp tired, cold and in the dark and be confused and unable to setup your tent.
Once your tent is up get inside, sit, stand, lay down, stretch out and evaluate whether you have adequate space for your gear and yourself. Do you notice conveniently placed pockets that help you can keep your stuff organized? Can you shift and move around without disturbing your tent mates? Be realistic about what you can and can live without. Each person is different.
Finally take a look at the doors and ventilation. Your doors should be spacious and easy to enter or exit.
If you are a car camper the Cabin Tent is a great option for large groups. The vertical walls and shape resemble a cabin giving this group their name. This type of tent is great for a large family, and feature a lot of headroom, large doors and tons of interior space. The extra space allows you to move easily and is great for children and the extra gear.
Cabin tents are not ideal for poor weather. Their vertical walls make them vulnerable to strong winds. Cabin Tents are also typically heavy and can be complicated to setup.
Even with the drawbacks the tall ceiling and incredible interior space is ideal for large groups.
Due to versatility, camping tents are the most notable ones in the market. They allow the space of at least two. However, being lightweight, they are considered ideal while going for weekend hikes or short overnight camping.
The backpacking tent is built and designed for the adventurous hiker and also for the tired and weary. These workhorses are versatile and lightweight making them ideal for both long treks and quick getaway.
On the positive side these tents are easy to pitch because of their simple designs. Because these tents are typically lightweight they can be stowed away and carried over long distances. The compact and aerodynamic design gives them the ability to withstand harsh winds and heavy rain.
On the downside, a backpacking tent is specially made with serious hikers in mind. They provide few amenities.
Dome tents are. Dome tents are one of the most common types of tent available. These tents are designed to be easy to put up and take down with lots of headroom, and are typically less expensive than most other types of tents their size.
At No Trace Outdoor Gear we suggest limiting the size of your dome tent to four people or less. The larger a dome tent becomes the less stable it is to wind and other weather conditions.
Geodesic tents were born from designers working to make dome tents more stable and stronger to withstand tougher weather conditions.
These tents typically have more poles than the average tent making them more difficult to pitch. All of those extra parts and pieces create the strongest class of tents on the market. These tents are ideally suited for bad weather situations and winter camping.
For the solo camper and extreme hikers, the Ultralight shelter is the go-to! These shelters (we use that word, because you can hardly call them tents) are built with lightweight as the number one priority.
This type of structure provides just enough protection to keep the user dry. A bivy tent of hammock tent is the most common setup.
You would get plenty of options in the market. To make the best choice for you, be honest about what you want and what would best suit your camping style. We have a wide variety of tents and outdoor gear at NoTraceOutdoorGear.com. Check it out and as always we will see you out there!