Everyone is a bargain hunter, well…a lot of us are anyway.
I want to discuss cheap and low quality tents.
In this day and age technology is getting bigger and better, meaning cheaper tents at our disposal.
But the real question is: Is it really worth getting a cheap tent instead of going more expensive and higher quality?
Well lets find out.
What Will You Use the Tent For?
This should be the very first question you ask yourself before looking for any tent.
If you’re heading into the mountains for two nights, expecting 50-60 MPH winds and lots of snow, are you going to use a cheap $70 tent?
Are you camping in the backyard with the kids?
A $70 tent will fit the bill.
Where People Make Mistakes
There’s a fine line between mountain camping and backyard camping – cheap and expensive.
It’s called mistakes, because this is what people do.
Lets say someone is searching for a good tent for a weekend getaway at their nearest campsite.
However, instead of going expensive and high quality, they attempt to go cheap to save some moolah.
Not only do they NOT do their research, but they get one without enough room!
The silly mistake here is that they’re left to abandon their brand new tent at 2 in the morning due to a sudden storm.
And the kicker? There’s 20 tents in the same campsite abandoned as well, all filled with rain water.
You see it all the time, but you can’t help but laugh.
A lot of these situations can be avoided just by checking the weather often, knowing how bad it’s going to be (or isn’t), and then making your decision to stay or leave BEFORE disaster strikes.
Furthermore, a decent, good quality tent that has a bathtub floor will resist a lot of that ground water as well.
Let Me Tell You This
There are cheap tents that are good, but every one is different for the type of trip you’re going on.
For example: You can get an awesome, $80 heavy tent that would be good for camping but not backpacking.
Whereas a backpacking tent might not be for you since weight won’t be an issue (assuming you’re car camping).
How Cheap is too Cheap?
In my years of camping and reviewing outdoor products, one thing’s for sure – online reviews are a good indicator on how well products perform.
[Read: Finding a good tent on Amazon]
When you see a $40 tent with 3 stars (often times even less!), you may want to run in the opposite direction.
The Stansport Scout Backpack Tent is a good example. It’s $22 with a 3-star average rating.
The major con with this product is the bad weatherproofing and mass condensation buildup (which are only 2 out of the 7).
But does this mean it’s not salable? Not 100%. It could be used as a kids fort or a backyard tent if an extra tarp is thrown over top.
However, that is the only time I will use it if I were to purchase it (which will never happen anyway :D).
Finding a Balance
The real struggle is finding a balance between quality and price.
If you go too cheap, you give up quality.
Whereas if you go higher price, you are usually paying for quality – MOST of the time anyway.
One expensive tent – which is a 2-person from MSR! – has a bad design and too many cons.
The secret is in the research, and it is literally the most time-consuming.
A Good Rule of Thumb
Okay, so as you know I’ve been doing this for a long time now.
I know the ins and outs, the good tricks and the bad, and I have discovered a good rule of thumb.
I am talking about online ratings here, so listen to what I have to say because it might actually save you a heck of a lot of money one day.
3 stars = BAD.
4 stars = Okay, but there has to be some major flaws, and you need to find them.
4.5 stars = Really good. Often times the product only has minor flaws and that’s it.
5 stars = Need I say more? Get the tent! The Kodiak Canvas still holds a solid 5-star rating today.
So Brandon, Is It Worth Getting a Cheap Tent or Not?!?
Like I said, you can find some great bargains if you know what you’re using the tent for, and of course if you’re willing to spend the time to do the research.
So I will say this: It is worth going cheap if you do the research.
Find the flaws and make your mind up whether you can live with them or not.
And remember; even the best tents have minor flaws so don’t think you’re going to find something perfect, as perfection doesn’t even exist anyway.
So what are you going to do?
“Find the flaws, see if you can live with them or not. If not, move on to another tent”.
If you still need help or don’t understand what I’m talking about, check out my full Amazon buying guide.
It is the most comprehensive you will find on the net!
And if you still have problems, I’m only a comment away! Leave them below and I’ll get back to you asap.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.