People who need help in buying the right tent for their needs often already had some bad experiences and needed better guidance, or don’t have much input on the topic at all. So I’m here today to help guide you with my personal experience with camping tents. I’ll try to cover all the important things that will help you know how to pick the right camping tent for your personal preference.
How Many Sizes Of A Tent Are There?
Tents come in many different sizes, and they are expressed by the number of people they can fit. The sizes go from 1 up to 16. Depending on how much space do you need. If you need a tent just for sleeping, then you can fit four persons in a tent that is made for two.
Of course, not all tents have the same dimensions, but you can check that easily in the description of the tent. And one more thing is important, and that is the height of tent that varies based on the type of the tent and the brand. All these things should be checked in detail before making any purchases.
How Big Of A Tent Do I Need?
Mostly it depends on the number of persons that are going on a camping trip. Start with that, then as I already mentioned, check with your plans will you need some extra space for equipment, further narrowing down the choice.
If you are planning a camping trip with one more person and you want to bring some extra equipment and feel comfortable at the same time, then, by all means, get the four-person tent. If it fits your budget, of course.
If the size is your priority, then you can pick the one that doesn’t have that many extra features but offers a lot of space, so you don’t break your budget.
1-2 Person Tent
Tents for up to two persons usually are 8x10ft big. They offer the sleeping space of two persons at 30 square ft. Of course, the tents exclusively made for one person only can be smaller in size, but of course, you can choose the bigger one if you so like.
Most of the time when backpacking alone, you will need that extra space for your equipment, and one man tent can be too snug for you. However, if you’re traveling light, you should be fine.
3-4 Person Tent
If you have a party of three people and are looking to share a tent for a festival, then you might need the one that fits four. If you are car camping than the one that is made for three persons should be enough.
Even though they are designed for three people, some tents can be ideal for a couple in certain circumstances. Especially if you plan on camping for a longer period of time.
5-6 Person Tent
Like the previous sizes, this tent category has a wide range of styles and dimensions. There are smaller dome-shaped tents which are mainly to be used for sleeping, and the bigger ones who can be ideal for all purposes needed for camping.
The five-person tent category can be great for family camping trips. It can be ideal, for the family of four. You will all be able to have enough comfort for sleeping and to store all the things you took with you.
8 Persons Tent
These tents tend to have more than three bedrooms separated. It will be more than enough for six of you, it will provide enough flexibility and space for sleeping, and a bit more space for storage.
If you have a group of eight people, you will be able to fit inside sleep in it, but your equipment will be little limited. Also, make sure to check can the tent fit in the car.
10 Persons Tent
A ten-person tent can comfortably fit a family of six. The max number of people is, of course, ten, but for at least 25 square feet per person, the number reduces to six.
If your family is six persons, or more, big but smaller than nine, then the ten-person tent should be enough to fit you and your belongings.
12 Person Tent
For a family of eight or ten persons, the twelve-person tent will be the right choice in terms of size. If you have the big group of adults who can share one tent, then this size should be enough for eight to nine people with a certain amount of comfort.
For a big group of ten people that has a lot of equipment or belongings, you might consider taking two eight-person tents.
How Many Types Of Tents Are There?
With modern innovations and technology, tents come in a wide variety of shapes and types. There are now tents built to perform better in certain weather conditions, to have some extra features and to be more durable in general.
The Basic Ridge Tent
The old classic shape which is very well known to people. It got his name from its build design. It has two poles, one at each end and a pole across them on the top, which forms the roof.
Tents in this shape come in different sizes, and they are very easy to set up. The disadvantage of this tent is its height. So the best way to utilize these types of tents is for sleeping only.
Once the people try to have a family camping trip and they encounter bad weather conditions, they get the idea of just how the tent is not suitable to spend the time inside of it.
There are usually two flexible poles on this tent, which make up its construction. The poles are strapped to the tent and go from the top to the bottom.
Two poles give it the squared shape, while three poles create a hexagon. Compared to ridge tents, the dome ones have more ceiling height, but they lack in stability. The higher the ceiling of the tent, the less stability it will have.
Geodesic and Semi-Geodesic
The shortest and straight-to-the-point way to describe these tents is to say that they have poles which crisscross over the surface of the tent. They intersect and form triangles. This build makes the tent the most stable option out there, making it ideal for extreme weather conditions.
They are widely used for conquering difficult terrain like Mount Everest. If you plan on taking a trip where there is a high possibility of wind, this type of tent is the right choice.
Instant or Quick-Pitch Tents
The term instant-tent comes from their possibility to be set up by themselves. The frame is already fitted in the fabric, and by twisting the tent, it becomes a package. It uses a spring mechanism to set itself up, and it converts the bag into the tent in a matter of seconds.
Since their discovery, instant tents were suitable only for good weather conditions. But, lately, with new improvements, they became a bit more resistant to bad weather conditions. I would still say that they are best used for one night or for at a festival.
These tents are quite rare, and they tend to be heavier than other types. I can’t say that they are the most practical options since they require you to bring a compressor with you.
Yes, they do erect themselves in a couple of minutes, but, still, you will need to have a compressor with you. It would be the best to say that they can be used for family trips in which you have the luxury to bring an extra tool with you.
Tunnel tents are a kind of upgraded dome tents. They are constructed of flexible poles which form semi-circles thus forming a tunnel-shaped tent. These types are probably the most used by families today and come in a large variety of sizes.
For a big space for a big family, you won’t go wrong with the tunnel-shaped tent.
Large Family Tents
For a family that wants to have even more comfort than tunnel tent can provide, the designers came up with the tents for that special purpose.
They are mostly the combination of more styles. They can have the separate sleeping area, which is tunnel-shaped, and the living area which is dome-shaped. They are not the most stable option out there; the tunnel tents beat them at that traits easily.
Frame tents are one of the most stable ones out there. Due to their rigid construction, they offer a good amount of space and superior stability.
The problem with frame tents is that they can be quite heavy and not that easy to set up. You will need quite some time to erect this type of tent.
Pod living tents are the largest you can find today. They have several sections (pods), which all connect to the central living area. They are great for the family since everyone gets their own space.
But, the cons of this type of tent is exactly what is its advantage too, its size. It covers a very large ground area, for which some camping sites may charge you more, and it’s not that easy to transport it.
How to Pick the Right Tent?
Picking the right tent is considering the type of camping trip you will be going on, the number of people participating and the type of the terrain and weather conditions you might be facing.
How Big Should It Be?
This decision comes to the type of the trip. If you need a tent for a festival or just to sleep over one night, you will be fine with some smaller ones with fewer options.
If, however, you plan to go on a multiple day camping trips, you will need something spacier in case you have to spend a part of the day inside of it due to the weather conditions.
Of course, the first thing that determines the size of the tent is the number of people that are coming with you, and how comfortable can you all be with the certain amount of space provided.
Can You Stand Up Inside?
This can be a major issue to the people that are mildly claustrophobic, and I’m not even kidding, some people don’t even realize they are until they spend some time inside of the tent in which they cannot stand up completely.
Of course, that is the issue when you are facing bad weather conditions, which means you have to stay inside. Of course, tents which are made just to be used to spend the night won’t even have to be considered for this, but the big ones should be able to provide you with the right height, so you can stand up straight.
You can check this by going through the details of the tent, and check its highest point in the center.
What Material Is The Tent Made Of?
The quality of the tent is based on the material of which it is made of. Also, the material dictates its rain proofing ability and heat resistance as much as the heat retaining ability.
The tents can be made of cotton, PVC, polycotton, polyester, and nylon. The cotton tents tend to have leakages until the certain amount of time has passed. The PVC coated ones tend to be strong and waterproof.
Polycotton tents are made of a material that is a mix of cotton and polyester to make it stronger and more water resistant. Polyester tents are a very common option, the important thing about these tents is that they are able to breathe but without letting the moisture in.
Nylon tents are usually the smallest ones. The fabric makes the tent very light and very much resistant to water.
What Shape Should You Choose?
The shape that will fit you depends mostly on which weather conditions you will be using it. For harsh weather conditions, go for the geodesic one, for windy weather most of them will be fine except the ridge tents.
The shape can vary based on your other needs, like weight, size, the ease of setup, etc. But, the most important thing to consider while choosing the shape is how stable the tent will be. It doesn’t matter if you have all the space you need if the tent will turn into the kite even with the small breeze.
What About Groundsheets?
Groundsheets are there to waterproof the floor of your tent. A lot of them have a built-in groundsheet, so if you see it in the list of options, it will be a great addition to have.
The groundsheet also provides a bit more warmth and isolation from the cold ground. If the tent doesn’t have the groundsheet and you get one, you will double its waterproofing ability. The groundsheet also helps you achieve the perfect pitch every time you set up the tent.
What About Doors And Windows?
Family tents are the ones that should have the most doors and windows. Well, every tent that is built for bigger groups of people should have multiple doors. It’s not really convenient to climb over each other in the middle of the night while trying to go on a bathroom break.
The more windows the tent has, the more ventilation it will have also. Good air ventilation is important for a good night sleep and rainy days when you have no choice but to stay inside for a while.
When you’re looking for a tent that has multiple doors and windows, pay attention to the zippers. Examine then and try to investigate are the loud, do they break off easily, etc.
Here are some tips I thought you might find useful once you start using your tent in the wilds.
How To Clean A Tent
The tent should be cleaned after every longer camping trip. If you only go for multiple shorter trips, than you can gently clean it every once in a while.
It’s important not to machine wash it or dry it. Machine washing and drying can damage the fabric of the tent making it practically unusable after that. Instead, use a non-abrasive sponge, cold or warmish water with a non-detergent type of soap.
Gently scrub the tent with your hand and avoid the cleaners which are used for dishwashing or the ones for stain removal. Clean the zippers and poles; they tend to collect a lot of dirt. After you’re done, you can even consider spraying the tent with UV resistant spray to prevent the sun damage.
How To Get Rid Of Tent Worms
Tent worms can be picked out by hand; the nests are easily visible. The best time to do this is in the early morning or early evening when they are most likely to be in the nest.
You can remove large nests by winding them on a stick and destroy. In order to problem solves itself in a way is to create the friendly environment for the birds around the tent, which will feed upon the caterpillars.
You can even use an insecticide specially made to destroy them. It kills the caterpillars instantly, and it’s safe for other creatures in the wilds.
How To Waterproof A Tent
You can waterproof your tent by sealing leaking spots. You can use the seam sealer on those spots and on any place where the seam tape is.
Before waterproofing it, the surface has to be cleaned gently. After that, you can apply the polyurethane sealant. That is if your tent has a polyurethane coating. Make sure you get the right sealant for your tent’s coating.
How to Heat up a Tent
One way is to light up the fire close to it, but it’s the measure I would least recommend since you will have to get up few times and check on it.
The other way is to get a groundsheet if the tent doesn’t have it, put a lukewarm water bottle in the sleeping bag, or bring an inflatable bed which will create more space between you and the ground.
I hope I was of help to you in your search on how to pick the right camping tent for your needs. If you already had some experiences and had some advice you think could be useful, please share them with me. Make a good choice and happy camping!
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