How to Choose a Tent


There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a tent: number of people, weather, durability, ventilation and space.  Below we explain how each factor will affect your decision.  For a list of gear we've tested and can recommend, check out our gear page.

Number of people: This is an obvious one, mostly.  Manufacturers will tell you how many people will fit into your tent.  However, you'll want to check the measurements of your tent to ensure that everyone's sleeping pads actually fit - more often than not, they won't all fit.  You'll also want to think about how close you want to be to the other guests in your tent and if you want to be able to keep your gear inside the tent (rather than in the vestibules) in case of bad weather.  Of course, the bigger the tent, the heavier it will be (more weight to carry, less space in your bag).

Weather: You have your 4-season tents that are built for winter and you have your 3 season tents that are meant for all other seasons.  

Durability: Its always better to have a tent that can stand up to the elements than not.  Better safe than sorry, but some folks might tell you otherwise. The higher the denier rating, the more durable the tent.  One way to increase durability and the longevity of the tent is to have a footprint (manufacturers normally make custom footprints that fit each tent) - this provides extra protection for the floor of the tent which will take the most beating.

Ventilation: If you don't have good ventilation in the tent, you'll have more of a chance of condensation that will accumulate in the roof of your tent and drop down on everything inside, making everything wet - not a great time.  When you're looking for a tent, look for vents near the top of the tent; a vent on two of four sides is the best.