It's not easy to define hiking tents into exact categories but it is easy to say that the lighter the better because you need to carry it on your back.
They come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
The best tents for family camping are going to be different from what you'll want for hiking or backpacking.
These are some things worth consideration:
You'll be carrying everything on your back so obviously the lighter the better. I would try to find a tent under 5 pounds including the ground cover and fly.
You don't need to take the carrying bag it comes in, save a bit of weight there.
Also, if two adults are hiking together, split the weight up. One could carry the poles and ground cover while the other person carries the tent and fly.
How many people need to fit inside? We have a two person and a three person hiking tent because one of our children likes to go on longer backpacking trips with us now. We've met families of two adults and two small children who all fit nicely in a 3 person.
Once there are 4 of you hiking overnight I would consider taking along two 2 person lightweight tents. You are also unlikely to need to stand up inside. That'll save some weight and space too.
Do you want to store you gear inside with you?
We like having this option and if you do too then consider brands like the REI tents that make models in extra long lengths.
We're tall anyways but having that little bit of extra length is great for gear, especially during an unexpected rain storm.
The amount of effort to set up a tent varies. We've had to set up ours in some pretty cold, windy weather so the easier and faster you can set yours up the better!
The strength of the fabric and construction of the tent and poles will determine how well it will stand up to strong winds and rain. Expect the unexpected and look for a tent that is going to stand up to harsher elements.
Tents need to breathe to avoid large amounts of condensation inside. A waterproof fly with mesh vents built into the tent walls will help against interior moisture build up.
Hiking tents also come in a variety of prices. Determine what you want, how long you want it to last and buy the tent that best meets your needs.
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