Camping out in the forest, sea sides or on the mountains is really an amazing feeling. It is the best way to feel connected to nature. Most of us love to go trekking and camping to take a break from our regular life. The best part about going camping or trekking is living in the tent. It feels like sleeping the lap of nature and enjoying every bit of it while staying in the tent.

Everyone prefers to have a backpacking tent while going for trekking or camping. This tent can be packed in a backpack with all the necessary trekking gear. A backpacking tent is perfect for those who love taking a break almost anywhere while trekking. It is small, portable and easy to carry.

The question arises, how to choose a backpacking tent? There are various factors you should look into before choosing a backpacking tent. Let’s discuss some of them:

Basic Factors to Consider while Selecting a Backpacking Tent

1. Number of Peoples

Most of the backpacking tents are differentiated based on their capacity. The capacity of a backpacking tent ranges from one person to four persons. The optimal tent to buy is a two-person tent. It is easy to carry and can accommodate two persons with their gears.

Usually, a backpacking tent floor space ranges from 1.2 to 1.7 square meter per person. In case of solo tents, it ranges from 1.4 to 2.3 square meter of space. The lower end tent will be lighter but you will be cramped inside whereas the higher end tents are a bit heavier but spacious.

Even if you don’t need it, the recommended backpacking tent is a two-person tent. It will give you more space to keep your gear as it has room for one more person.

2. Weight of the Backpacking Tent

The weight of the tent is a key factor while choosing one for yourself. The weight of the backpacking tent should not be more as it would be difficult to move with. Backpacking tent designs have improved with the time.

The optimal weight of the backpacking tent should be less than 3 pounds per person. While considering the weight of the backpacking tent, there are three weights to be considered. These three types of weight are listed below:

Packaged Weight

Packaged weight refers to the complete weight of the backpacking tent. It combines weight of every component of the tent. Trail weight includes the weight of guy lines, stuff sacks & packaging. It is the heaviest weight.

Trail Weight

Trail weight is the lightest weight of all the weights. It includes the weight of tent, pole and flies. It does not consider the weight of strakes, guy lines or stuff stacks..

Fast Pitch

Fast pitch includes just poles, footprint and rainfly.

3. Price

Price is always the biggest factor while buying anything. Costly backpacking tents are not always better than cheap ones. It is always recommended to go with a budget-friendly backpacking tent.

Once you have considered different criteria for selecting the backpacking tent. Next, you should look at features offered by the backpacking tent.

Features to Look in the Backpacking Tent

Here are few features to look into a backpacking tent before buying one.

1. Structure

The structure of the backpack should be stable. It should be stable enough not to be uprooted in case of rainfalls and storms. It also should not easily collapse in a harsh climate. Having a stable tent will save you from lots of issues that you might encounter while camping.

The structure of the tent depends upon two main factors i.e. frame and fabric used. The frame of the tent determines its strength. It is the key factor which will make sure your tent withstand harsh weather conditions.

2. Fabric

The fabric of the tent also plays an important role. If the fabric is very soft, the tent won’t stand still properly. The fabric will protect you from different situations such as storm, snowfall or rain. The fabric should not be very soft or very rough.

2. Vestibule

The vestibule is the part of the tent which extends beyond the tent door. A tent having extended size vestibule is always helpful. The vestibule covers extra space beyond the tent doors. Hence, the area can be used to keep dirty clothes or muddy boots.

In case of rain or storm, you can also use the vestibule space for cooking. Just make sure there is proper ventilation or else you may end up putting your tent on fire.

3. Ventilation

Ventilation is what you will always need whether it’s cold or warm climate. The air inside the tent needs to be exchanged for maintaining the freshness. The ventilation in the tent will help to keep air movement inside the tent proper.

4 Doors:

The question about the number of doors a tent should have always arises when you purchase a tent. If you are looking for a single-person tent, one door is enough. But if you are looking to get a many-person tent, then it’s better if it has two doors. The extra door will allow you to go through the other door in case someone is sleeping near one of the doors.

5. Rainfly

A rainfly is the fabric on the upper layer of the tent. It is used to protect the tent from rainwater getting inside it. It is not to be kept on the top of tent all the time. But you need to use it as a rain cover to protect yourself from the rain.

Make sure the backpacking tent comes with a rainfly cover. There are two different types of rainfly cover, namely roof-only and full-coverage rainfly covers. Roof-only rainfly gives better ventilation to the tent. It lets more light and air come inside the tent. The disadvantage of roof-only rainfly is that it gives fair protection from rain.

Full-cover rainflies provide better protection than roof-only rainfly. They cover the entire tent area. They don’t let storm or rain affect the environment inside the tent. Putting the full-cover rainfly during the summer season may be a bit uncomfortable because it doesn’t let heat inside the tent escape. Still, it gives the best protection against rain and storm.

6. Tent Materials

The tent material is an important aspect to consider while choosing a backpacking tent. There are two materials used as the tent fabric. They are nylon and polyester. Both of these have their unique properties.

The benefit of Polyester is that it weighs low even while it is wet. It also has an advantage of absorbing less water and getting dried faster compared to other fabrics.

Nylon has a property of expanding after getting wet. It expands by 3.5% as it absorbs water easily. It is not a big issue for smaller tents but it matters while buying many person tents.

7. Peak Heights

If you want a tent with large living area, then go for a higher peak height tent. The higher peak height indicates more space inside the tent to live in. But the peak height is measured from only one spot. So it can’t be predicted that every tent having higher peak height has extra space.

8.Floor Area

While looking at the floor area, don’t just consider the square footage. You should check the dimensions of the floor as well. A tall person would need a longer length floor. Having a greater floor length will also give you more space to keep your belongings.

9. Footprint

A footprint is the base cloth used in the tent. It protects you and your belongings from getting weight. Also, it helps to prevent insects getting inside the tent. It measures exactly to the dimension of the tent. It should be light and waterproof to keep you dry from moist ground.

10. Light Loop

There are tents which come with a built-in light in them. They are overpriced because of this feature. Find a tent with a light loop where you can attach your own light. This will make the tent hassle-free and will help you save some money.

Types of Backpacking Tent

The different types of backpacking tents available in the market are listed below:

1. Single Wall Tents

single wall tent

Single wall tents are the best ones to go with during summer and dry conditions. They do not have extra rainfly which makes them lightweight. It consists of just a tent body and has great ventilation.

The tent fabric is waterproof itself. Hence, it will not let get rainwater inside. It is an ideal choice for tropical or warm conditions.

2. Bivy Sacks

Bivy Sacks tent

If you want the least space backpacking tent, then Bivy Sacks will be the best option for you. This tent is quite small and confined. It can’t hold anything except a sleeping bag. It has just enough space to get inside. You won’t get any sitting space or place to keep your things.

This is the lightest option among backpacking tents and can be set up fast with ease. But this tent is not for those who are claustrophobic. Additionally, there won’t be any space for keeping your gear either. Hence, this one is not recommended.

3. Tarp Shelters/Floorless Tents/Tarps

Tarp Shelters

Tarps or floorless tents are not the main forms of tents. They are used for temporary shelters during rain or storm. Setting up a tarp is good for protection from sun, storm, rain or snowfall but it won’t help you against bugs.

If you want to be safe from rain or heat for some time, a tarp is a great option. But it will be very difficult for you to spend a night under it. It may be risky as well. As it is open, insects and bugs may easily crawl inside it.

4. Hammocks

Hammocks

Hammocks are those kinds of the tent which are suspended in the air. They are fixed between two trees. These type of backpacking tents are very easy to set up but it needs sometimes to get used to it.

They even come with bug netting and rainfly. It is the lightest backpacking tent among all the tents.

These backpacking tents are designed to keep you safe from bugs. They won’t help you against the harsh weather conditions such as wind and rain. Still, they are used for relaxation during moderate summer and during the spring season. The main function of these tents is to help you against bugs.

The walls of these tents are usually bug netting except the floor. Make sure not to take this during rainy or winter season. It won’t save you from rain or cold.

5. Ultralight Tents

Ultralight Tents

Ultralight tents are the latest trend and it weighs above 1 pound per person. There isn’t an industrial standard for its weight but the lesser it is, the better. Ultralight tents are less spacious compared to the normal ones. They are designed with fewer features to decrease the weight.

6. Seasonal Tent

Seasonal Tent

There are few tents based on the weather conditions. They have been designed and constructed to withstand various conditions of the weathers. Based on the weather conditions, there are two types of backpacking tents. They are 3 season tents and 4 season tents.

3 Season Tents

They are the lightweight tents. They are designed to be used in moderate as well as high temperatures. These backpacking tents are helpful during summer, spring and fall. This category of tent lacks different features. Some features are removed to make it lightweight and cut down the price.

They are easy to set up and come with mesh panels for better ventilation. It is not durable in the long run as the mesh panel makes the tent weaker. Three season tents can help you against light rain & snowfall. But it is definitely not a good choice for harsh weather conditions.

4 Season Tents

These tents are designed to withstand every weather conditions. They can be used all year round. The major function of the 4 season tents is to protect you from any type of anomalous weather conditions.

These type of tents use heavier poles and are made of better fabric. They are quite heavier in comparison to three season tents. They have many layers of wall to protect you from extreme cold or snowfall.

Tent Tips

1. Are you new to Camping?

If you are new to camping, do proper research before buying a tent for yourself. If possible, borrow or rent for the first time before deciding to get one for yourself. Understand the basics of the tents and learn how to set up a tent.

2. Have you bought a new tent?

If you get a new tent for yourself, practise to set it up at home first. Do not take it for camping directly without any prior practice of setting up.

3. Are you going to camp in Snow?

If you are going to camp in a snowy place or where it snows, make sure that you build a snow wall towards the direction the wind is coming from. Also, the door of the tent should be in the opposite direction of the wind. It will help to protect your tent and keep you warm inside.

Final Word

Go through the above checklist before you decide to buy a backpacking tent. The right tent will always help you against the extreme weather conditions. So think well before you buy one. If you feel that we missed something out, kindly let us know via comment box below.

How to Choose a Backpacking Tent? A Complete Guide to Select Tent
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