Choosing the Right Tents
for Camping and Hiking

Leave the stress behind, pack your tents for camping and head out into the wild wilderness! (Or a state/provincial run campground).

If you are new to camping or haven't done it in a while the best family tent you choose is one of the most important pieces of camping equipment you'll invest in.

As you look up at the starry sky listening to owls hooting or loons calling you enter your "wilderness bedroom". 

Once inside you lie back listening to your evening's entertainment of nature's best sounds.

If you don't know where to start take a look at this tent I recommend for families.  The Agnes flying diamond 8 is a really great family camping tent.  But this is an investment and if you are going to spend parts of your summers I highly recommend this one.  You can have one large room or easily turn this tent into a two room tent for some night time privacy.  This is more like a two room condo than a tent.  The poles are even color coded making it easier to set up.  There are cheaper tents and it's worth looking at but I like to invest in great equipment that offers quality and comfort that I can use year after year without thinking of replacing.  This is $699 you will appreciate after your first camping trip. 

Ask yourself some of the following questions to help narrow down the field of tents.  What do you really need?  What will make you feel comfortable?  Do you need a...

4 person tent

4 season tent
hiking tents

lightweight tents

one man tents

tarp tents

get rid of any condensation inside your tent

When shopping for a new 3 or 4 season tent make sure it comes with simple and easy instructions. One of the things we love about our newer tents for camping is that the poles are easy to set up and are color coded with the tent for amazingly easy installation. We can have our 3 person tent and our 6 person size up in no time.

The tents for camping that you choose for this amazing experience is critical.

When looking at tents for camping ask yourself these questions:

How many people will be sleeping in the tent?

Do you need to stand up in the tent ?

Is this tent for car camping or backpacking?

How many seasons will you want to use your tent ?

You need to decide how many people will be sleeping in the camping tent.When you are shopping, keep in mind that when a tent says it is a 4 person tent that this is just a guideline. My husband and I can easily sleep in a 2 person tent but we much prefer the bit of extra room that a 3 person tent offers.

If you are thinking about a family camping tent and the kids are 6 and older, you might want to consider one tent for the kids and one tent for the adults. They'll have more fun and so will you! This is how we go car camping with our kids and it gives them more room for all their "stuff". It also gives them a great playroom in the center of the tent during the day, especially if it rains. During the day we place the kids' camping sleeping pads along the inside walls of the tent and this gives them the whole center area for play space.

When we went shopping for our latest large tent we looked for atent that we could stand up in. This is a huge plus for the kids. This is a Marmot Halo 6 person tent without the fly attached. It is one of our favorite family camping tent.

If you are going to be using your tent for car camping then the weight really doesn't matter, but for hiking up to a fantastic base camp you'll need a lightweight backpacking tent.

Tents for Camping Tip: If the kids are going to sleep in their own tent consider a lightweight tent that you can use for car camping and future backpacking adventures.

Decide also during which seasons you are going to use your tent.Most tents for camping work well as 3 season tents. Unless you plan on camping during the winter, you don't need to look at the 4 season tent or winter tents for camping.

And if you are ever camping solo or your teens need some extra privacy, you might want to consider a one man tent or a hammock tent . There are also tarp tents to consider if you prefer a more open style.

Choose a tent carefully. This is a big investment towards your camping equipment. This is an area of camping that we don't get cheap on.

Still in use after 20 years!

We want our tents to last formany years, in fact we have one tent that we're still using and we bought over 20 years ago! That's quality for you.

There are many things to consider once you've decided on the type of tent to meet your needs. First of all I can't stress quality enough.

Tents for Camping Basics:

You want to make sure that your tent will stay dry-no matter what the weather is like outside. Keep in mind that all nylon is not the same. The nylon on the tent floor must be waterproof and the floor material should come up a few inches up the walls of the tent. This will keep any ground moisture out.

The tent walls and roof are usually not waterproof.
This is to keep the moisture that is released from the campers and damp clothes from being trapped inside the tent. The fabric used on the walls and roof is a more permeable material to allow moisture to pass through the tent fabric. A dry camper is a happy camper!

And that brings us to the fly. This is the waterproof "roof" of the tent that is seperated by a few inches from the tent walls and roof to keep the rain from getting in and allow the moisture from the inside to get out.

The tent footprint is important too. This is the ground cover you place underneath your tent to further protect the floor and allows you more life from your tent.

Most tents do not come with a footprint. You can either purchase the footprint that matches the dimensions of your tent or use a tarp underneath.

Doors and ventilation-- Every tent should come with plenty of ventilation. And check out whether the tent you like has one door or two. It can be very handy to have two doors in any tent during the night so you don't have to crawl over sleeping bodies to get out!

Vestibule space--what's this you ask? The space of coverage between the outside of your tent and the outside of your camping spot. It's that little bit of room that still has protection from the elements without being inside the tent. Some have larger areas for either play space or gear storage and some are smaller.
Decide what is important to you.

Storage pockets--those handy little mesh pockets in the corners and top of the tent.

Will you need them? How many would you like? Consider what you would use them for. We like these tent pockets for lightweight things like tissues, toilet paper, flashlights and other smaller items that you want easy and quick access to. You'll also want a tent that is quick and easy to put together. Most good tents are
easy to put up and have a really easy system to follow and your tent will be up and ready to go in mere minutes.

In the end, buy the best tent you can afford as this is a really important part of your camping and hiking experience. Consider the points outlined here and know what your needs are before you hit the stores or camping websites like Campsaver or REI, two of our favorites.

We recommend heading to an outdoor store that has the actual tents for camping on display. Take your shoes off and get inside. Lie down, look up, visualize whether that tent meets your needs.
You'll have your new tents for camping for a very long time so choose wisely and take you time, this
can be a fun process!

View from our tent!

Return from Tents for Camping to Home Page

Read about Hiking Tents

Read about Hiking with Baby

Read about reducing condensation in your tent

How to make a solar oven for kids

How to do laundry while hiking

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