Outdoor Tents: A Buyer’s Guide

Camping in the untamed wilderness can be a great way to relieve stress, enjoy the quiet, and relax. But choosing the wrong outdoor tent can lead to water-logged sleeping bags, insect attacks, and restless nights. There are many outdoor tents to choose from, but several factors need to be considered. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when choosing your next tent.

Durability. Outdoor tents that are well constructed from high quality materials can last decades. They are often expensive, but even cheap tents can last several years with proper care. Tarps placed underneath tents in use can increase their lifespan, as can packing and storing them properly.

Weight and size. The weight and size of outdoor tents isn’t an issue with car campers. Large, heavy tents can make hiking more dangerous and stressful as they can increase the weight and awkwardness of hiking packs. Although light tents are easy to pack and great for hiking, weatherproofing should be considered if hazardous weather is a possibility.

Living space. An important consideration is how much room outdoor tents provide. There should be room for everyone to sleep comfortably, and enough space to store camping gear. It is much easier getting dressed in a tent that allows you to stand up, which can make ceiling clearance an important feature.

Comfort. Tents should be comfortable, allowing their occupants to get a restful nights sleep. According to David Street , car campers should use a tent that is designed for 1 or 2 more people than are actually using it. This provides maximum comfort and freedom within the tent. Comfort is less of a concern for backpackers, who value weight and carrying size over roominess.

Weatherproofing. The outdoors can be unpredictable, especially when it comes to weather. Make sure the tent you buy matches your weatherproofing needs.

The weather-worthiness of a tent is measured in seasons. The more seasons a tent is rated for, the more weatherproof it is. Most tents are rated for three seasons, which means they fair well in moderated weather during spring, summer, and fall. Tents that are rated for four seasons perform great during all times of the year, even heavy snow. They can get hot during warmer weather due to their high amounts of insulation.

There are separate measurements for a tent’s level of water protection. Tents are rated in psi, which is a measurement of the pounds of water per square inch of material a tent can sustain before leaking. The higher the psi the greater the tent’s water resistance.

Price. Buy the tent you can afford. Many low-priced three season tents are perfect for light use, but constant abuse or exposure to extreme elements requires a more expensive and durable 4 season tent.

Features. Many features make outdoor tents comfortable, waterproof, and functional. Features can include: tent color, windows for observation, ventilations screens, rain covers, large entry doors, and others. Decide what features and characteristics are important to you, and buy a tent with only those features. There is no need to pay for features you don’t want.

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