Now that you are going to need a travel tent, you must know which one to choose. If you’re driving from your home directly to your camping location, you can have whatever size tent you want, since you won’t be carrying it very far. However, if you’re planning on traveling long distances and hiking into a new location, you want a tent suited for your kind of travel. Luckily, backpacking and travel tents are made to suit every need. Before you purchase one, make sure you know exactly what you are looking for.
The size of your tent will directly affect its weight and how easy it is to pack. First, decide how many people will be sleeping in the tent. Ideally, you want about 25 square feet per person, although a little less is acceptable. This includes room for closing the tent and having space to move around at night when sleeping.
Many tents are advertised as two or four person. This is the absolute maximum number of people you can cram in, and this makes no allowance for comfort. Unless you absolutely need to save space, divide the advertised number in half or look at the actual dimensions before making your decision.
Ease of Assembly
The next thing you need to consider is how easy the tent is to assemble. If you need to put it together in the dark after walking all day, you’ll want to make sure that you can put it together fairly quickly. Pop-up tents are easier to put together, but are also more expensive and incredibly lightweight. If you don’t stake them down properly, they have a chance of blowing away in the wind. Pole tents are more difficult to set up, but are often more durable once they are assembled.
Purchase a nylon stuff stack from a sporting goods store, and put your tent into it. In many cases, your tent can take up far less space than the bag that it came in.
The poles your tent uses will affect both the weight and how easy the tent is to pack. Metal poles are heavy, and don’t collapse into a smaller shape. If you’re looking to stuff your tent into the bottom of a travel backpack, look for something that uses collapsible poles or a pop-up structure. That way, you’ll be able to conserve as much space in your bags as possible. If you have to use metal poles for your tent for some reason, hang onto the bag they came in to make packing easier.
Fabric and Netting
If you’re traveling, it’s essential that your tent have good seams and bug netting. “No-see-um” netting is specifically designed to keep out even those tiny critters that you can’t see, and is standard on many modern tents. Double check the tent specifications to make sure the netting will allow air in, but keep bugs out.
The next thing you need to look into is how strong and waterproof the fabric is. Nylon is standard and waterproof as long as you maintain the seams of the tent. Thicker nylon will keep more heat in, but will make packing more difficult. Thinner fabric is easy to collapse, but less likely to keep out the cold.
The right travel tent will be lightweight, easy to pack, and simple to set up. If you’re backpacking across a country, there’s a chance you will be sleeping in that tent nearly every night. Even if you’re just planning on camping once you get to your destination, you still want to take as little as possible. Look for a tent that has enough room for you, and that can fold down to a small size. If you choose correctly, you’ll barely even notice the extra weight.