How to choose a tent: tips for beginners and experienced campers

Tent – the best friend of the tourist and hiker, but, strangely enough, not every tourist will answer the question – how to choose a tent. Usually guided by the capacity, appearance, popularity of the manufacturer, the recommendations of friends, but very few people know all the nuances and parameters that you need to pay attention. If you want your “camping house” does not leak in the rain, firmly withstand a snowstorm in the mountains, and the sunny afternoon does not resemble a sauna, it is worth knowing a number of points.


Construction and purpose of tents

How to choose a tent for a campaign

Seasonality and shape

How to choose the right tent: other criteria

How to choose a tourist tent with additional elements

How much does it cost?

Construction and purpose of tents

If with the construction of the tent everything is clear – the frame and the awning, which is stretched on it, then with the varieties of models all more complicated. There are high-mountain, mid-mountain and plain tents, so if you need the equipment for a picnic in the nearest park, then you can not even look at the first option. But in the case if you’re going to hike to Everest’s base camp, a high-quality mountain tent can, without exaggeration, save your life.

But these three types of equipment classification is not limited. For example, high-altitude tents, which are specially designed to withstand extreme natural conditions, are divided into the following subspecies:

Expeditionary – climbers call this type “Himalayan”. These tents are designed to stay in one place for a long time in those treks when base camps are created as you climb to the summit. The main advantage of this type is the rigid frame, which easily withstands the storm wind, snow and rain, and the tent material allows you to maintain a comfortable temperature inside;

Assault or “alpine” – as the name suggests, are taken on a high-speed “assault” summit, that is, in such an ascent, in which the base camp is not supposed to set. Therefore, there is no need for strong and heavy frame, and in the first place is a small weight of the construction.

Equipment for mid-altitude mountaineering can be confidently called semi-professional. It will not suit for a base camp on the slopes of the Himalayas, and it will weigh more than an assault tent, but those who like comfort will appreciate it. And the simplest option – for those who are going out with a tent in the nearest woods for kebabs or on a simple hike through the plains and forests and so called – plain tent.

How to choose a tent for a hike

The camping tent is the most comfortable option – its undoubted advantage. But also the most expensive and heavy is its minus. Camping model is a small portable “apartment”, which may have several “rooms”, entrances, as well as vestibule, canopy and many other useful design features. An ordinary hiker does not need such a “monster”, and to carry it on him problematically, but for a large family in a car – ideal;

universal – the most popular option with average characteristics. A good universal tent will not survive a tropical downpour, but will not leak in the autumn rain, will not be suitable for high-altitude climbing, but will provide a good level of comfort in the plains, and so on. All in all, a sturdy “medium”;

trekking – the lightest, simplest and, therefore, the least comfortable version of camping equipment. This tent is light, small, easy to unfold and fold, accommodates only 1-2 people. For recreation in good weather in a short hike – ideal, for long hikes, as well as a large number of things, low temperatures, rains, strong winds is not suitable at all.

These are the basic types of tents, but there are also models with well “pumped” individual parameters. For example, equipment for water camping, which boasts increased resistance to moisture, “NATO” tents, which themselves unfold in a few seconds, and so on. Before you choose a tourist tent, decide exactly where you’re going to go with it, and then already pay attention to other parameters.

Seasonality and shape

The seasonality of equipment is a parameter that even a person far from tourism and hiking understands. In the case of tents, the classification is simple:

Summer – for hiking in the heat. Accordingly, the most important criterion is quality ventilation. If you do not want your comfortable dwelling to turn into a very uncomfortable “greenhouse” with the sunrise, pay attention to the number, size and location of ventilation holes, and try to choose models with “breathable” fabric. A little secret for better breathability is the edge of the awning, raised above the ground. Minus summer models – low resistance to rain and wind, which is logical.

Winter – a strong frame, dense material with moisture impregnation, good sealing. Winter gear can be used in the summer, while summer gear cannot be used in the winter.

Tri-seasonal – for summer, spring and fall. Not dense enough to keep you warm and comfortable on winter hikes, but enough for fall and spring rains and easy bad weather.

Inexperienced campers pay little attention to the form of the tent, and in vain, because it depends on the stability of the design in different manifestations of the elements. If you want to know how to choose the right camping tent or universal model – here’s what you need to know about the shape:

Gabled – If you’re under 20 years old, you’ve probably only seen this shape in old movies, although there is now a “second birth” of gabled tents. Previously, these heavy canvas “mahy” took a lot of time and effort to install, and from the wind, rain or snow did not protect very well, but the use of modern lightweight materials made it possible to make them much easier and more comfortable. For example, the latest “fashion” among hikers on the plains is considered a gabled tent, instead of the poles which can be put poles for trekking. Alas, but the wind resistance of the design does not improve, so keep this point in mind, buying equipment for hiking in the mountains.

“Half barrel” – also called “tunnel” tent. Not the most popular option, which was designed for climbers, but over time has become popular among fans of camping. The matter is that the shape of the construction makes it stable to the wind and provides a lot of free space inside, but it takes a long and difficult to set up, and in the conditions of a mountain hike is the speed of installation plays a critical role. Another disadvantage of the “tunnel” – often broken arcs, as they need to be bent heavily during installation.

The dome or hemisphere is the most popular option, it is also the easiest to install. The most trivial hiking “turtle” is two arcs, on which the awning is stretched. The frame in such a model can be inside or outside. The outer frame means faster assembly and hypothetical protection from rain when installing the inner part. Of course, if the ground is still dry. And also a dome tent can be carried from place to place in assembled form, sometimes even with things.

How to choose the right tent: other criteria

Before you choose a tent, you should also decide on the following characteristics:

Size – many people brag that they can easily accommodate four people in a two-person tent. In fact, it is not the number of people indicated by the manufacturer that matters, but the length and width of the structure. A man is a man, and if you’re not comfortable enough for the width, which is specified in the single-seat model, then you can without remorse take a two-seater just for yourself, your favorite.

The number of layers – there may be one or two. If you need quality for hiking further than the city park or the nearest landing, then pay attention to the two-layer version. The first inner layer in it is lightweight and breathable, while the outer layer is dense and waterproof. In a single-layer, the fabric is also dense, but this results in breathable condensation on the inside surface in hot weather. A two-ply tent is larger and heavier, but more comfortable.

The material of the tent is nylon and polyester, which translates as polyamide and polyester, respectively. The first option is lighter and cheaper, the second is heavier and more expensive. In addition, polyamide burns in the sun, tears and stretches when wet, in general, is suitable only for light models for trips to the suburban forest. In addition to the material itself, you should pay attention to the density of the thread weave. There are many labels, the letter T stands for the actual density, D – thickness of the thread, PU – the presence of polyurethane impregnation for resistance to moisture, SI – silicone impregnation. The label Rip Stop stands for the strongest reinforced weave. Naturally, this version is the heaviest.

The bottom material is the same as for the tent, but denser. The minimum recommended weave density is 210T and the thread thickness is 210D. If you plan to wait out the rain in your tent and still want your stuff to stay dry, the bottom should be able to withstand at least 5,000 mm of rainfall. And the most reliable in terms of water resistance is PE, aka reinforced polyethylene or terpaulin.

The frame material is fiberglass, aluminum or carbon. Fiberglass is the cheapest, and that is all its advantages. But it has lots of disadvantages – the material is afraid of high and low temperatures, easily splits and breaks, so the framework of it is the most short-lived. Aluminum is slightly more expensive, but also much stronger, and of the disadvantages we can note that aluminum arcs bend under heavy loads. A carbon or carbon frame is the ultimate. Carbon fiber arcs are light, strong and reliable, so the high price is their only disadvantage.

Before you choose a camping, mountain or plain tent, look carefully at what materials all of its components are made of. It’s this determines the reliability and durability of equipment, and saving on materials, you can pay twice, and even three times: when after the first rain your house will start to leak or crack arcs after the first strong gust of wind. And it’s not just about money.

Also it’s worth paying attention to the quality of seams and fittings, the material of pegs and the availability of mosquito net. A tent without the last element is a very bad tent.

How to choose a tourist tent with additional elements

Comfort comes from the little things – this also applies to the design of the tent. Additional elements make it more comfortable to use. These include:

A vestibule – a convenient place to store things, food, shoes, and more. A good tambour is equipped with a separate arch and has its own bottom, then things in it will not get wet in the rain. The vestibule can be located at the entrance to the tent or on the side;

“skirt” – a special band around the perimeter of the structure, which protects the inner space from drafts, and in the heat, on the contrary, gives the opportunity to make additional ventilation;

storm stretching – a system of strong cords that can be used to increase the stability of the structure in windy weather;

repair kit – comes with very high quality models, allows you to quickly fix the leak and patch the tent;

Cover – the better it is, the more convenient it is to fold and transport your equipment.

In addition, you need to take into account all of the above points, as well as to select a model clearly for their needs. Remember that it will be very difficult to carry on your back the camping model, and the assault model will be too unprotected in cold weather.

How much does it cost?

The price range for tents is very large: it depends on the manufacturer, type, material and many other factors. A simple model for uncomplicated hiking can be bought for $ 50, but a good camping equipment will cost $ 700-800. It is also worth considering the recent rise in price of travel gear.

The best models of tents

It is very difficult to make a top models on any general indicator, so below are the best options in different categories .

For camping – Alexika Maxima 6 Luxe. Two rooms, which are independently attached to the outer frame, can be installed as you like. You can install just one, or you can not install them at all and use the construction as a warehouse for the equipment or products. Not only impregnated against moisture, but also against fire, and included is a removable floor for the vestibule and storm extensions. Designed for the comfort of 6 people.

For trekking, the Vaude CAMPO. Practically all-season, reliable duraluminium arcs, two entrances, quite spacious and easy to install. Moisture-proof tent, mosquito nets. Lightweight – 3.7 kg

For extreme conditions – Pinguin Gemini 150 Extreme. For rugged mountain climbing, quite light – 3.4 kg – but holds 3 people. Watertight bottom – 12000 mm of water. Half-sphere formed by 3 arcs made of aluminum. two entrances, excellent ventilation. Not cheap.