So lets be honest, a lot of tents on the market (both online and offline) are downright bad.
Although many are decent quality, there are a lot that shouldn’t have even pass the design stage.
Frankly, they get released to the public, bought and then fall over or leak in a sudden storm.
But then you get the tents that perform BEYOND expectations.
And that is exactly what I’ll be talking about today.
What a Flawless Tent is in a Perfect World
If we were in a perfect world–which we definitely are not, and far from–a flawless tent would be this:
- Keeps rain out no matter what
- Continues to stand even in the highest wind conditions
- Doesn’t break or bend in strong winds
- Lasts for 10+ years even with careless use
- Offers all the features you need plus more
Now in reality, I guarantee you will not find a tent that will do all these things.
Luckily there are actually good tents out there that will perform better than expected though.
My Personal Definition of a Flawless Tent
A “flawless” tent does NOT need absolutely nothing wrong with it to fit this category.
In fact, even if the stakes are bad but the weatherproofing and everything else is exceptional, I will class it as flawless.
One little con or fault does NOT outweigh the mass amounts of pros it offers.
Basically, if a tent has 1 minor and 1 major con, I will class it as an “okay” tent.
Therefore, a tent with 2-3 minor cons is “good”.
However, a tent with 1 minor con is absolutely flawless in my opinion.
On the flip side?
A tent with 2+ major cons is bad and you should stay away from it at all costs.
What are Major Cons?
A major con is what you’ll see when you check online feedback/reviews.
There will be a few minor issues and usually a big one (or 2).
The secret is to find the major con(s) and then figuring out if you can put up with it or not.
A major con will be something along the lines of:
- Bad water-resistance
- Bad wind-resistance
- Bad stitching
- Bad quality (poles bend easy even in low winds, floor rips easily, no durability, etc)
- Designs that worsen the tent rather than make it better (the MSR Flylite is great example)
And What’s a Minor Con?
A minor con is when the problem won’t be THAT bad.
- Bad stakes
- Minimal condensation buildup (any more than that and it turns into a major con)
- No storage pockets
- No vestibule
- Only 1 door
- Difficult or time-consuming to setup
- Not enough mesh fabric for stargazing or panoramic views
Check full review on the Marmot Limelight >>>
As you can see, these cons aren’t going to cause any major problems for you while you’re out in the great outdoors.
If a tent has bad stakes, so what. Spend a little more and get higher quality ones.
A lot of factory stakes are bad anyway.
A little condensation buildup isn’t going to flood your tent either. As long as it’s kept to a minimum it shouldn’t be an issue.
There are more important problems at hand; like your tent COMPLETELY leaking in the rain or blowing over in a storm at 2 in the morning!
This is all based on personal opinion, of course.
This is the result of my findings after the many years of camping, trying out new tents and putting reviews on my blog.
The reason you should not worry about minor cons is simply because no tent will be 100% perfect anyway.
It is better to use a tent with 2 minor cons than one with 1 major.
A rule of thumb: Major cons can make or break your total camping experience, whereas minor cons cause a nuisance only.
Thanks for reading.
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24 thoughts on “My Definition of a Flawless Tent”
Thank you for this honest article. I can see you love camping and have many years of experience.
We are checking out some of the tents you recommend and will be getting one of them soon!
Keep the good job, your website looks great 🙂
Oh thank you very much Martha.
Please let me know if you need help choosing a tent, as I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
Great info. I’m in the market for a new tent for my family of 6. It’s been tough making a decision, sifting through reviews. Your insight into the pros and cons was extremely helpful.
What do you recommend for a family of 6, with 3 rather tall adult size people?
Hey brother. For a family of 6 you’ll be good to go with the CORE 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent.
It’s very roomy with a tall center height, has great water protection and you can even stargaze the bright skies on warmer nights just by removing the rain fly.
Hope this helps, and if you need anymore help just hit me up. I’m always happy to help.
Brandon, it looks like you certainly know your tents! Very easy to follow the article, I enjoyed the mention of the panoramic style tent where you can easily have a nice view and stargaze at night. I might have to pick me up one of those for this summer.
What’s up Donovan. What do you need, a solo tent or family tent? I’ve got a lot of reviews here on my site with panoramic views and stargazing opportunities. Just tell me your size and I have your tent brother!
Great post. You learn something new everyday.
You really do. Some more than others.
Great post for everybody that wants to know what to look for when they buying tents!
I look forward to going on camping trips when my son gets a little older so we can set up a tent on a beautiful spot together. I really like him to get used to being out in nature just like I was when I was younger.
Thanks for sharing your tips and I will shore come back to your site for more inspiration!
Great choice my friend. Quality time with the little ones out in mother nature is absolutely priceless. I know the both of you will have a blast! Good luck 🙂
I think you really hit the nail on the head with finding the right tent. Your logic is sound and makes perfect sense to me. I found value in this as I often camp and have purchased tents that ended up being a disappointment in the past. Are there any brands or types I should look out for in my next purchase that are really good overall?!
Hey Bruce, there are certainly some brands you should keep on your must-have list. You can find them here.
I’m currently working on the worst tent brands as well, so be sure to look out for that!
Great informative article, reading through made me laugh thinking about my many disastrous camping trips when I was younger with dodgy tents. Your knowledge is vast and extremely helpful so any reader will be thankful for it. Thank you
I bet you can laugh about it now but at the time it happened you would’ve been swearing and cursing, and probably regretted the entire trip, lol.
Your kind words mean a lot Ali.
Thanks for the comment 😀
I agree that the perfect tent has to meet certain guidelines. The last time I went camping, it rained and our tent got soaked so bad, we had to sleep in the car.
Worst camping trip ever. Lol
That being said, a priority for me is one that is weather resistant, has a decent sized door, sturdy stakes, and can fit two queen size air mattresses.
Thanks for the awesome post!
-camper in Florida
Sorry to hear of your bad experience Diana.
Being weather resistant is most certainly #1 priority. I mean, that is the whole purpose of a tent in the first place isn’t it, to keep you sheltered from the harsh outdoor elements?
You’ll absolutely love the Coleman Steel Creek 6 Person Tent, as it fits your description perfectly.
I enjoyed the information in your post. We too like camping, and we tended to use cheap tents at first, and they were how you described…not at all durable. Finally last year we got a proper family tent with 2 bedrooms and 2 opening. We love it! It rained while we were camping, but it did not leak at all. Great tips. Thanks.
Nice one! It’s a great feeling when you’ve got no idea if your tents going to hold up well, then when the time comes to show its true capabilities it performs like a charm.
Hi. I appreciate your love of camping.My husband and I did quite a bit of camping and canoeing, including one trip to the Quetico Superior. Awesome.
Your information is very well organized and easy to navigate. For real outdoor folks, this is a plus. Finding the right tent for yourself or a family is critical to the enjoyment of the whole trip. I know personally what a poorly made tent can do to your morale.
The thoroughness of your resources makes your website a one-stop-shop.
Wow, I can’t thank you enough for your kind words Judy. Thanks and have a great day!
This is a awesome post. I don’t know a lot about tents and I didn’t know there was that many kind of tents. 12 Person tent wow. Great website. I will definitely come here for suggestions if I ever decide to go camping. It’s good that you have a section for beginners. Great work.
Thanks YWalden. Just give me a buzz when you need help looking for a tent.
Thanks for your article, I enjoyed reading it.
It really comes down to personal preference and need. Your article made me think of things that might be important that I otherwise would not have thought of. I have read a few of your other articles and I forwarded your site info to my Son who loves to hike and camp.
Do you have any suggestions on camping with young children?
Thanks for the recommendation to your son Pam. And yes, here’s an article on the dos and don’ts when camping with kids. Hope you enjoy it 🙂