Investing in gear for outdoor use in activities such as camping and fishing can be quite financially draining for you. When looking for the right items for your outdoor activities, you want to purchase high-quality products that will last you a while. But with high-quality items, high expenditure is always a by-product.
Good quality tents, for example, have always yielded high prices. However, in recent years, manufacturers have been making very good quality tents that come at a low cost. This allows you to be able to purchase more essentials without worrying about compromising on the quality of your tent.
Listed below are the 8 best inexpensive tents in 2021 for you to choose from and they offer quite competitive features to suit your needs.
- Budget tents are great! They allow you to experience nights under the stars and really get to know the outdoors at a fraction of the price of high-end tents, but there is a different price to pay: These tents are often not quite as strong as higher priced models and so require a little more care to ensure no damage occurs whilst pitching.
- Consider your intended usage carefully when choosing a budget tent - if you’re going out in bad weather then a flysheet cut closer to the ground offers more protection from wind; A tent with lots of ventilation will reduce condensation on cold, still nights; A tent with large vestibules will give you somewhere to store wet clothes and boots and keep your sleeping area dry.
- Don’t be fooled into thinking a budget tent is only for beginners. With proper care and carefully considered use vs conditions even the cheapest tent can offer seasoned campers all the features they need at a fraction of the cost.
How To Choose A Budget Tent – Buying Guide
Size And Weight
When choosing the best cheap tent to purchase, weight is an important factor to look at. Ideally, the average weight of affordable tents should not exceed 8 lbs. Budget tents are used in a range of different activities such as backpack camping, at the beach, mountaineering, and many others. Thus, when choosing the ideal weight for your tent, consider how you will use it.
You don’t want to find invest in heavy low-cost tents for backpack camping unless you want to be walking around with a load on your back. The overall choice of weight depends on your preference. But a mid-weight tent is ideal for cost-saving purposes and to be able to cater to a wide range of scenarios.
However, you don’t want a tent that is too light. Consider the weight of the frame, stakes, and poles when choosing the right tent. Poles, frames and stakes will determine the stability and balance of your tent. Thus, you want them to be durable. To ensure durability and quality, manufacturers use metal and fiberglass material to construct stakes, poles, and frames.
This practice adds more weight to protect the tent. But they do not have to be too heavy. So you need to have these items in mind to ensure your tent is safe. The construction and season use of tents might also affect weight. Consider a tent meant to be used in all weather such as during rainfall or on windy days. Features such as full and weather-protected rain flys might be slightly heavier.
Furthermore, the weight of cheap camping tents is also determined by their capacity. A 4 person tent will not weigh the same as a 2 person tent of the same quality. Size for the best affordable tents should be spacious enough to accommodate adults with their gear.
When choosing the right size, individual scrutiny of a tent is the way to go. A 4-person tent, for example, tends to squeeze and overcrowd with 4-people however, it perfectly fits 2-3 people and their gear. Based on your travel and camping habits, the actual dimensions listed for the tent you are thinking of purchasing will provide clarity on whether it will be enough or not. The most important factors to consider are – can you comfortably sit up and move around the tent?
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The quality of inexpensive tents is determined by many functional features from construction, material and even care. Using good quality and strong material in the construction helps, for example, using metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, and fiberglass on frames and poles to enhance the quality and performance of your tent.
Systems such as the weather Tec on Coleman provide a welded and inverted seam design that offers strong weatherproof qualities for the tent. However, one needs to understand that budget tents are normally light-weight due to the materials used, so you can expect some damage if special care for the tent is not taken.
The light fabric used in the tent, for example, can easily rip if scratched by sharp or large obstacles and items. The floor of inexpensive tents also tends to be too light thus; it is more susceptible to rough terrain. If cared for, however, and used by less frequent campers, the best cheap tent would last a while.
To add the quality and performance of the tents, some manufacturers incorporate functional features. For example, some tents come with marked footprints as a path guider, the footprints are normally reinforced with thicker material than the rest of the surrounding floor, and this helps to prevent strain on the tent floor when you are moving around the tent.
The material of low price tents contributes to their working capacity. Ripstop nylon and polyester material with polyurethane outer coating is used for most top rated budget tents. The material is naturally resilient and withstands a good deal of wear and tear. Polyester also helps the tent to hold its shape without shrinking and boasts excellent moisture wicking properties to enhance ventilation.
Polyurethane coating on the other end provides water-repelling abilities to the tent. When looking for durable and all-weather friendly tents go for those built with high-dernier fabric for enhanced ruggedness.
Frames, stakes, and poles on the best cheap tents on the other end are built with strong metals and plastics such as aluminum, stainless steel, and fiberglass. This gives them shock absorbent and stable hold on the tent. Metal alloys and composites such as fiberglass are also weatherproof and thus, ideal for the outdoors.
Tent Rain Flys
Some budgets come with removable rain flys whilst others come with fixed ones. A rain fly is fitted at the top of the tent completely covering the top (some unique design fully covers the tent as a second layer of protection) and provides a waterproof cover to the tent during rainfall. The rain fly is also used interchangeably. Over cooler days, it can be pulled down to provide extra warmth and on warmer days, most open up to reveal a mesh roof for added air circulation (and a star-studded view at night).
Ventilation is another key feature in tents; you don’t want a tent with high condensation. Some of the best cheap tents come with two entryways with mesh window panels to enhance ventilation. Look for tents with mesh walls and mesh windows to ensure air is properly circulated.
The top vent/mesh roof, when there is the rain fly is removed, also contributes to proper ventilation whilst some doors can even roll aside like curtains to leave the entryway open. Putting aside protection from bugs and mosquitoes, large mesh panels offer more ventilation. However, go for this if you will not be exposed to the risk of bugs, mosquitoes and crawlies bites.
It is important to fully examine and understand the waterproof abilities of your tent. Many may be labeled as waterproof but are not fully waterproof. Most budget tents are water-resistant; they will guarantee protection from light rain whilst the heavier can withstand a little bit more rain.
Fully seamed outer construction helps to keep heavy rain and water out. Additionally, rain flys and fully seam-sealed floors with a scoop shape (bent on the edges like a sink to cover the whole tent with no spacing) enhance waterproof abilities. After purchase, you can also waterproof your tent to fully seal it.
Related Review: Waterproof Tent
Tent poles are normally attached to the tent’s sleeves to hold it upright. Tent poles are available in different materials such as fiberglass, aluminum, and stainless steel. Aluminum is the best option because it is more rugged and boasts excellent weatherproof qualities thus; it can function more in the outdoors.
Aluminum is also more expensive than other materials thus; the price of a budget tent is slightly higher than others because of the costly aluminum material. If the light-weight factor is the most important feature for you, then, pay for the extra cost. Fiberglass on the end, is also used however, it tends to be of lower quality and easier to break.
Tent Poles structures also determine how efficient they are when pitching. Many manufacturers make shorter-sleeved and clip-attachments to ease the time-consuming process of fitting them into a longer tent sleeve. Attaching poles to clips makes the process also easier than it is to traditionally thread the poles into the sleeve.
The shape and size of you tend to determine its balance and stability. Additionally, the shape of the tents can also effect extra space for more comfortability. Peak height is also an important feature to check because it also determines to what extent you can comfortably perform tasks.
Unlike cabin-style tents that are more upright, most budget tents are dome-shaped. The dome shape provides stability especially for smaller and lighter tents due to their lower center of mass. The dome shape also allows more space to move and perform tasks such as easily changing clothing.
You want the peak height (center height) of your budget tend to be at least 4 – 5 feet tall. This enhances space availability and ventilation inside the tent. A higher peak height that at least lets you stand tall enough to change your clothing and be able to move to access your belongings. However, most budget cabin tents do not let you stand upright.
Related Review: Cabin Tents
A properly designed door on the tent goes a long way. If you are purchasing a tent for more than 1 person, a tent with two doors provides a doorway for each person (in the case of a 2-door tent). This offers easy accessibility and space for each person.
Additionally, doors offer protection from the outside environment as well. Other than offering full closure, a door with mesh window panels enhances air circulation within the inside of the tent as well as protection from bugs and mosquitoes.
A D-shaped door with sealed edges delivers ease of use and guarantee protection around the entryway. Some doors open up to the outdoors with an awning or covered vestibules which offer extra space as the door acts as a barrier. This means that you can leave your dirty gear and boots outside then enter through the door – so your tent is always clean.
Some budget tents come with doors that can be closed by pulling them to the sides like curtains. So, on a sunny and warm day, you can simply pull back the curtains to optimize ventilation and enjoy the outside view.
Ease Of Set-Up
Some low-cost tents are free-standing whilst some are not. Non-free standing tents come with stakes, guy lines, and trekking poles for pitching. The disassembled design offer light-weight qualities to the tent, thus, it is ideal for those who are particular with weight. However, due to the separated material, pitching such tents is time-consuming and will require more space. Additionally, this particular type of tent requires more practice to perfect the skill of pitching.
The freestanding tent design is more favored and available for budget tents. Freestanding tents come pre-fixed with a pole system to allow set up anywhere. Typically, set up for this tent takes no more than 5 – 10 minutes. These types of tents are typically set up by simply pulling up the tent structure.
Related Review: Freestanding Tent
The majority of budget tents feature a 3-season rating. Thus, many are built to function in the fall, spring and summer seasons. Typically exhibited through their design, low-cost tents are built to enhance as much ventilation and air circulation, which is typically needed on those seasons.
The tents also further decided to keep out moderately bad weather such as drizzles and wind. Although, ventilation is still needed even during winter times for breathability, many cheap tents ill not work for the season because they are not built to provide warmth and insulation. 3-season tents provide privacy so you can comfortably rest and change clothing if you need to. They also keep our bugs and keep you dry when it rains or snows lightly.
Q: How Big Should The Tent Be?
Budget tents are not built to be as big as cabin tents. Typically, the size of the tent depends on the capacity of the tent. Budget tents are not built to provide a home-like space. They only require enough space to fit in the capacity of people and to allow you to move comfortably and perform basic tasks without straining yourself.
Many 4 person cheap tents may even be overcrowded with four people and their gear. Because many budget tents are used for travel camping or activities that require you to move with the tent, they are built to provide a basic and temporary shelter so all you need is a protected place to sleep and store some of your valuable belongings. Additionally, weight also increases as size increases thus, for a typical budget tent high weight would be a problem.
Typically, the size of a budget tent would be a length and width of 8-9 feet x 7-8 feet whilst the height will not exceed 5 feet. The overall size would not be more than 360 cubic feet.
Q: What Layout Should I Look For?
Unlike other types of tents, budget tents don't feature fancy or extended layouts. Because of their small size, budget tents come with a small single room layout to accommodate all; the most are up to 4 people. The tent will have one or two doors, two windows, and a covered tent floor.
Additionally, some manufacturers have tried to revolutionize budget tent layouts to enhance their functionality even with their small-sized nature. Tents come with vestibules that provide extra space for gear whilst some have a porch like space where you can dump and safely store your dirtier gear thus, keeping the tent clan at all times.
Q: Should I Be Able To Stand Up Inside?
Standing up inside a budget tent is a pretty rare chance. The majority of cheap tents have an average maximum of 5 feet, thus, although children can stand, many adults are not. The small size build gives the tent a more compact and lightweight finish.
Globo Surf Overview
The cheap tent reviews shine a light on ideal cost-cutting options. It gets even more exciting knowing that quality is not compromised in any way. The guide on buying the best cheap camping tents also provides quite useful tips and know-how information to better pair their features for just the right tent. The list of the 8 best above lives by the buying guide – the choice is simply yours to pick one that appeals to your needs.
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