One of the most important gear items that you are going to take on your camping trip will be your tent. Choosing the best camping tents can be a little challenging because there are so many different factors that must be taken into consideration.
Not every tent out there is one of the best tents for camping, although there are few that are not intended for that purpose. Knowing what to look for when it comes to camping tents will allow you to make a properly informed decision and buy the best camping tent to protect you and your family from animals and insects.
USA Today outdoors reporter Tina Lassen also advises to pick your tent material based upon the conditions you are expecting. Lots of mesh in the hot climates and thick canvas for winter camping.
A camping tent is a durable, portable structure that can be constructed at your campsite and protect you from the rain, wind or snow while you are sleeping or relaxing. A good camping tent also keeps out insects and prevents small, curious animals from entering your tent.
There are a huge variety of tents out there to choose from these days, categorized by everything from the amount of people that it is intended to sleep to the amount of time that it takes to put the tent up (or take it down). Choosing the best camping tent requires that you know what factors to look at before you buy.
If you want to choose the best camping tents for your money, you want to understand the factors that should be weighed when choosing your tent. Below are the seven things that you should be examining when you are shopping to determine if a tent is right for you.
When you are choosing the best tents for family camping there are several things that you want to consider. First is the actual interior space. If you are going to have your entire family in a tent you want everyone to be able to sleep comfortably, not crammed in like sardines in a can.
The right family tent for you should allow everyone plenty of space to sleep, roll over and even position themselves in the most comfortable spot possible – since sometimes sharp rocks and mounds of dirt can make sleeping in a tent a little difficult. In addition, features like partitions can make it easier to sleep in the same tent as children, especially if they require a night light for sleeping.
As with many other camping products, the brand name isn’t the most important thing that you should be looking at. However, that’s not to say that the brand isn’t important, because when you choose a solid brand that has a great reputation you are much more likely to get a quality product.
There are lots of great brands out there but Coleman camping tents is one of the most well-known and highly rated. They have been making camping supplies for several decades and have developed a solid product line that consistently gets great reviews – as well as offering budget tents for very low prices. A couple of other good brands are Mountain Trails and Sundome.
If you only plan on sleeping one or two people, a two person camping tent is probably sufficient. Choosing the best two person camp tent is usually a little easier than other tent sizes because most people that are shopping for them are buying for them and their partner.
If you are planning to sleep a small family or have some friends camping with you a four person camp tent might be more your style. Choosing the best four person tent is a little more challenging because you want everyone to fit comfortably and not be squeezed in together.
This means that you want to do more research than just find tents that are rated for four people – particularly looking at the style of the tent. A square or geodesic tent that sleeps four people is probably going to be a great deal more spacious than a ridge tent that promises to do the same.
This is probably your most important consideration when it comes to buying tents. The internet has allowed consumers to make better buying decisions by looking at product reviews. However, the rating is only part of the story. You want to make sure that enough people have tried the tent so that you can discover some of the negatives of buying one.
A tent that has four stars and hundreds of reviews is a much better purchase than one that has five stars with only five reviews. Make sure that you actually read the reviews and find out why people have rated the tent as they did.
Large camping tents are categorized as those that will comfortably sleep five to nine people – six man and eight man tents are the normal size guideline. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a tent this large. The first is that a tent that is large enough for six men but only sleeps one or two is not going to be as warm as having six people in it.
This is simply body heat science. Your sleeping bag may still keep you warm in a large tent but when you get out of your sleeping bag, larger tents might be colder. In addition, you have to know your campsite fairly well when using large tents. If you don’t have enough space to put up a larger tent, you’ll need to downsize or find a more spacious camp area.
There are also extra-large camping tents such as 10 person camping tents. These tents are made for groups and have plenty of space for everyone. They also have an extremely large footprint so you are going to need a big empty space devoid of trees or large boulders in order to set one up. In addition, some larger tents require anchoring and need to be near a large tree or another solid object.
There are some great winter camping tents out there, but what you really want to concentrate on is the stakes, according to outdoorsman Hans Schneider. He says that titanium, 7075-t6 aluminum or steel tent stakes are vital for winter tents, because they will hold up in the snow.
As far as tents go, you can find thick-walled tents that are intended to keep you warmer in the winter. Of course, nothing beats a well-insulated sleeping bag, but if you are planning on camping in the snow, brands like Arctic are made for keeping out the cold.
Pop up tents for camping have become extremely popular. They are one of the most convenient ways to camp because they go up immediately and can be staked down and used right away.
The way that pop up tents work is that they fold down into a flat storage configuration and are tied and put into a bag or box. When you take them out of the bag and release the tension, the metal rods pop into place and the tent is complete. They usually take less than a minute to put up.
Another popular instant tent options is the inflatable tent. These actually have an added advantage other than the fact that they can be put up in a minute or two – with an air pump. Because the walls are thick enough to allow air in between, these tents tend to stay a little warmer than canvas ones.
Of course, the other advantage is that they can be inflated quickly and used. But there are a couple of disadvantages to be aware of as well. First, even though the rubber material they are made of is fairly resistant to popping, it does happen, and you should have a patch kit with you at all times. In addition, these are almost impossible to blow up without some sort of air pump.
There are four things that you need to pay attention to when it comes to heavy-duty camping tents. These are the factors that will let you know just how sturdy and solid your tent will be.
You want your tent material to be thick and very tear-resistant. You also want sturdy poles and high-quality stakes, particularly if you are camping in the winter. Finally, you want the floor material to be strong enough to withstand lots of use and wear-and-tear. Weight is an important factor here because generally, you can judge how heavy-duty a tent is by the weight. Stronger tents are usually a great deal heavier.
About.com travel writer David Sweet says to make sure that your heavy-duty tent has a one piece tub floor and double stitching with folded seams, because otherwise water is going to leak through your tent somewhere when a rainstorm happens. You should also have a tarp to protect from the rain.
Here are the ten best camping tents out there, from some of the top brands. You will have no problems getting the quality and features you want if you choose from these.
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Sundome 4 Person Tent
Sundome 3 Person Tent
Sundome 2 Person Tent
Coleman 8-Person Red Canyon Tent
Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent
Mountain Trails Twin Peaks Tent - 3 Person
Coleman Montana 8-Person Tent
Coleman WeatherMaster 10 Person Tent
Coleman Evanston Screened Tent
Coleman Pop-Up Tent
First up is the Sundome 4 person tent. Sundome is a Coleman brand so you can be sure that it is a quality tent. This is a six foot tent at the center point with fiberglass poles and a polyethylene floor that is made to last.
Although it is a four person tent, those are somewhat tight quarters so you might want to stick with two or three if everyone wants their own sleeping space. It does have an electric access port which is vital to have these days – even if you are camping.
Another Sundome tent is next up on the list. This is a made-in-the-USA product from Coleman featuring fiberglass poles and an electric access port that allows you to plug in your devices. It sleeps three people comfortably but those who need a little extra room might want to get it for two. It is about five feet tall in the center so most people will be able to stand comfortably and it features a dome structure with a single door.
This is a really great Coleman Sundome tent. It is made for two people and will sleep a single person really comfortably with plenty of room to move around. It is a very light tent, weighing in at only seven pounds and has a very large entry door and two windows that give you ventilation and a view of the wilderness. It isn’t quite big enough to stand up in but it does have a rain fly so you don’t have to worry about tarping it when the skies get cloudy.
Next up is Coleman’s 8 person Red Canyon tent. This is a very large tent with a big footprint. You will need to find a good, large space to set it up but it has enough room inside for even the tallest person to walk upright without having to bend over. It also features Coleman’s Weathertec technology which is intended to keep your tent completely dry and it comes with everything you need for set up in just minutes. This tent measures 17 feet by 10 feet.
The eight person family tent from Wenzel is a very good tent for winter camping. The Klondike tent has double stakes on the corners so that your tent is stable even in a windstorm and it has a polyurethane coating over polyester that not only keeps it warm, it also keeps it safe from the elements like snow, ice and rain.
The tent isn’t as light as some of the others on here but it is big enough for the whole family to sleep comfortably and it features a sun room with screens all the way around so that you can sit and enjoy the day without worrying about insects or rain.
This three person tent from Mountain Trails is a smart-looking dome tent that has a solid fiberglass frame that uses pockets to hold the poles in place for extremely good stability. It has roof ventilation so that you can let the sun in or just look up at the sky and it is extremely light to carry, even with solid, high-quality, steel poles.
The footprint is 7x7 with a four foot interior that makes it easy to get around in. The door is large and it easily stores in the duffel bag system, breaking down in minutes.
The Montana tent from Coleman has a 16x7 footprint and is tall enough for most people to stand up in without even bowing their heads. Featuring high-quality fiberglass poles and an expanded dome structure that has reverse windows and electrical access ports. This is perfect for kids with a polyethylene floor that will stand up to lots of little feet.
The Coleman WeatherMaster is aptly named as you will be high and dry inside this ten person tent. This tent is perfect for winter camping as well as for areas that gets a lot of rain. It has a hinged door that allows quick access and there is no need to tarp your tent when it rains, as the included rain fly will keep you try.
Featuring Coleman’s WeatherTec system to keep the rain from leaking in on the seams and through the floors, this 17x9 tent is perfect for a large family or a small one that wants a ton of room.
This screened tent is 14x10 and has a high enough center that no one will need to bow their head when they enter the tent, no matter how tall they are. There is a front screened area that allows you to enjoy the view bug-free and four huge windows that will keep the tent ventilated and allow you views out into the wilderness on all sides. This tent sleeps six comfortably and is guaranteed to keep you dry even in the wettest climates.
Finally, the Coleman pop up tent for two people sets up in literally sixty seconds and folds up flat so that you can carry it easily. This is a super light tent that you won’t even remember that you’re carrying, with lots of ventilation and an attached rollaway canvas so that you can have protection from the weather. The footprint is 4.5 x 7.5.