How to pick the perfect tent
As the final stretch of summer heats up, now is a great time to plan a camping excursion.
But whether you are new to sleeping outdoors or a seasoned backpacker, picking just the right tent can be time-consuming and challenging. The selection is vast, and it always seems like there’s a new feature to complicate the selection process.
Here are some ways to help you pick the best tent for your next camping trip:
First, pick a tent based on how many people you want to sleep inside it. Camping with your family versus sleeping alone will point you toward very different tents. Although it’s better to have too much space rather than too little, don’t overdo it. The point of camping is not to spend much of your time under cover.
And if you are backpacking and carrying it on your pack (or biking or motorcycling), a too-big tent can unnecessarily weigh you down. Consider the weight and size, as well. Large tents are also harder to keep warm.
Also consider the length of stay. You will want a bigger tent for longer stays.
A great four-person tent is the REI Kingdom 4 Tent, which has a small divider between two two-person “rooms.” This provides organization, a little bit of privacy and is great for couples or families. Or you can unzip the divider for a bigger, more open space. REI Kingdom 4 Tent, $389 (plus 4% Cash Back), rei.com.
Know the weather
Where you are headed will determine the type of tent you need. Are you snow camping? Headed to the rainy Oregon beach? Will you have shade or will you be exposed on the sand dunes? Pick a tent that complements the weather to keep you the most comfortable.
REI.com says the most popular tent type is a three-season tent, appropriate for spring, summer and fall. These often feature mesh openings for airflow — but beware of these if you are headed to the sand.
A quintessential three-season tent is the Coleman tent at Target.com. It’s only basic, with a rainfly and single door, but it’s also great if you’re on a budget and new to camping. Coleman Hooligan 3-Person Tent, $99 (plus .5% Cash Back), target.com