A tent…uhhhh, that little piece of material is the only thing separating you and that huge Grizzly bear outside. Fear not, 99% of the time they won’t do a thing.
Anyway, I review tents and often get comments asking what they should be looking for when they buy one.
I’m here to help you to know what you have to look for when you are purchasing one, my tent camping buying guide will answer all questions you have.
It’s not all about purchasing the first expensive one JUST because you think it will be good. I will get more into this in my article below.
What Is A Tent For?
First of all, what is a tent and what is its main cause? Too many people still don’t know what the main reason for a tent is.
The MAIN reason why you use a tent is to keep you safe from the elements, that’s it. It is not there to keep you warm, that’s what your sleeping bag and clothes are for.
So when some people purchase tents they try and buy one with no ventilation once it is all closed up, resulting in condensation buildup overnight. Then when they touch the sides of the walls it starts raining in there.
I’m not one to judge though, you’ve been given false information, probably from the consumer who just wants your money.
What To Look For When Purchasing A Tent
Waterproofing Capabilities: Of course, every manufacturer is going to say their tent is top quality and going to keep you bone dry. What you CAN do, is some research on that specific tent and see if it is truly able to hold water out.
In this case, the internet is your best source of information.
If you are in a retailer shop, you can take a look at the seams. This is a good indicator and will tell you if the rest of the tent is any good as well. Try and see if the stitching is poor.
Bathtub Floor: This is when the flooring comes up about 6 inches off the ground. Not all tents have these but if you can find a tent with this feature, you are likely to stay dry even in hours of downpour.
Zippers: Are the zippers any good? Because every tent owner should know that once the zippers are gone, so is your tent and it’s ready for the rubbish – well close to it anyway.
Ventilation: Ventilation is also an important aspect to look at when purchasing a tent, without ventilation your tent is going to get filled up with condensation, with most of it dripping on you as you sleep.
Stakes: Some stakes are RUBBISH, actually most of them are. So don’t be surprised if you get some bad ones. If you want to get the most out of your tent I would suggest you purchase stronger stakes.
If you get better stakes your tent is also more likely to stay standing when strong winds pass through the night.
Flooring Material: Your tent is not good without a flooring either, try and see if the flooring is strong.
If you are on the fence about purchasing a tent because the flooring material is bad but everything else about the tent is great, then still go ahead with the purchase.
You can always use a footprint or a tarp underneath the tent to protect your investment 🙂
Anything else to consider? Above, I have basically outlined the main aspects you should look out for when you purchase a tent, anything else is only minor things.
Neglect the ‘what to look out for’ features above and you’re more than likely going to purchase a bad tent that will NOT stand in strong winds and not going to keep the rain out or even last long.
Consider Going Bigger
A LOT of people make the mistake of choosing a small tent, and here’s why:
Manufacturers are weird and will base their tent occupancy by lining you up like sardines with no gear inside.
A rule of thumb to follow
I always go one up, however some people go 2 up, but I guess it all depends on the size of you.
A 2 person tent is only good for 2 people and no gear. So if you go for a 3 person tent, you are creating room for your gear as well.
Or you can also purchase a 2 person tent with a vestibule, meaning there’s room outside under the rain fly for your gear.
A 4 person tent is only good for 2-3 people + gear.
See the trend? Consider going 1 up so you are ensuring you have room for gear. A vestibule is a great feature to consider as well.
Don’t Just Go Expensive From The Get-Go
Don’t ALWAYS go for the expensive tent.
We know that most tents that are higher in price are much better quality, however if you do the research and shop around a little bit more, you can actually buy a tent that’s better quality than the more expensive one, getting yourself a bargain!
A good rule of thumb to follow
So it really is up to you. If you’re stuck for time and in a rush and you aren’t willing to do the research then by all means, go for the more expensive tent.
However, if you have plenty of time and you don’t have a lot of money to spend, then you’re better off shopping around and doing some research on specific tents before you dive in and make a purchase.
All tents are created differently and not all will fit your needs. It is your job to find a tent that will fit for you and your family.
Fortunately for you, I am here to help and have already done the ground work. I enjoy reviewing tents while I provide my honest opinion.
Don’t get me wrong though, I have a lot of tents on my site that are completely rubbish, but don’t worry – I tell you they are no good as well, just like the Coleman Juniper Lake Tent < A waste of money
The Guide Gear Teepee Tent is also one to stay away from.
Need a good tent?
The Eureka Solitaire is a good 1 person tent.
I can recommend the ALPS Mountaineering Taurus (2 person tent with vestibule).
This ALPS Mountaineering Extreme (3 person tent with vestibule) works incredibly well in thunderstorms.
The Slumberjack Trail Tent (4 person tent with vestibule) works wonders too.
The CORE Instant Cabin tent (6 person tent) is better than I thought.
While the Red Canyon (8 person tent) is ‘okay’ and still capable of getting the job done.
As you can see, I’m in love with tents that contain vestibules, and that’s because they WORK – and a valuable feature for any outdoorsman.
If you found this post helpful please leave a nice comment below 🙂 I’ll also be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.