When you are shopping for a backpacking tent you will be faced with a lot of options so to help narrow down your choices consider where you are going, when you are going, what you are going to use it for (more details below), how you will need to transport it and how many people need to sleep in it.
Where you are hiking
The climate you are hiking to matters when purchasing a tent. A smaller tent with less height is better for colder temperatures because it will retain heat better with less air space inside.
A larger tent is better for warmer or hot climates because there is more internal space for air circulation which will help keep the temperature down.
What are you using your backpacking tent for
Sort of a funny question because of course it is for sleeping but sometimes you need to cook inside your tent and use it as a general living area. Think about how your needs and choose one that fits your needs.
How will you transport your tent
If you are driving to your destination then weight really isn’t an issue but if you are carrying it on your back you will want to choose the lightest weight tent as possible. Another consideration is how many people can share the weight. When my husband and I go backpacking together we divvy up the tent parts and share the weight of it between us.
How many people are sleeping in your tent
My husband and I go backpacking with a lightweight three person tent. It’s really more comfortable for the two of us and allows us to keep all our gear inside the tent if we need to with room for air circulation and on unexpected rainy days we can hang out in the tent comfortably during the day. We also have the option of taking one of our oldest kids with us without having to pack another tent.
Remember that this is your home away from home and its main function is to give you a warm dry shelter for you to sleep but may need to provide cooking space and living space during poor weather conditions.
Your tent should be large enough to allow sleeping space and ventilation and enough height that you can sit up comfortably.
Things to check for when choosing a backpacking tent
How heavy is it? Pick it up in the store and get the exact weight of it.
Are you paying for features that you really don’t need?
Ensure the stitching is very well done and strain points are reinforced.
Make sure the poles are strong enough to withstand strong winds.
How easy is it to pitch the tent and how many people will it take?
The right backpacking tent can make your hiking trip very comfortable and help instill a love of the outdoors so take your time, ask questions and choose the one right for you.
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