Camping has long been one of the most exciting parts about summertime. With the help of the best tents, camping has even turned into glamping. This means that you can have a luxury experience even while getting down and dirty with the great outdoors. The best camping tent is one that will allow you to have a safe and enjoyable camping trip. With so many amazing options on the market, choosing the right one for you can be hard. To help, we have created our list of top picks on the market.

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How To Choose A Camping Tent – Buying Guide

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Before selecting your next camping tent, we recommend you do your homework. While all outdoor gear is important, a tent will act as your shelter when you are in the great outdoors. Having a high quality shelter is important to ensure that you are safe and protected. Doing your homework and finding the best tent can make your camping trip much more enjoyable. We recommend considering the following.

Weight

The weight of your tent can play a significant role in what you can do with it. Even though it may seem insignificant but a few ounces here and there can add up to limit your range. If you’re the type of person who drives to their location and simply sets up their tent the weight of it won’t seem like anything you should worry about. But this factor can play a significant role with backpackers.

The larger a tent is the more it will weigh. If you’re looking to hike into your final location you may want to think about the size and, therefore, weight of your tent. It’s more than just the size that will dictate the weight as well. Materials play a huge part in increasing the weight. Most people want a waterproof material to keep them dry but this adds weight to the tent. Rain flies also add bulk and weight which may not be necessary if you’re only camping in summer months.

The number of tent poles will also play a significant part in keeping your weight down. Larger tents will need more of these to keep them upright and strong enough to stand up to high winds.

Protection

Tents sole purpose is to give you a safe place to sleep. This means they will have to stand up against things like winds and the occasional rain shower. A poorly designed tent with no protection against the elements can actually be dangerous especially in cooler months of the year.

Space

If you are tent camping with children you may want to have your own separate room. Most larger tents (around 5 people and larger) will come with a room divider which allows you to have some privacy. Floor space can be limited in the smaller tents so if this is important to you we strongly suggest looking for a larger option.

Capacity

All tents will come rated by how many people can comfortably sleep in them. A 2 person tent will generally be the smallest (even though there are single person tents) while upwards of 8 or 12 people will be some of the larger ones.

Hikers will want to stick to the smaller side so they can travel longer distances. But if you’re simply taking the tent out of your vehicle and setting up a larger tent may suit you better. Larger tents are also great for group camping. Having enough space for friends and family to crash in will make your tent able to be used more often.

Season

Most people usually use their tents solely during the summer months. But some tents have been designed for upwards of 3 or even 4 seasons. Having a tent that is able to be used for more than just warm times will allow you to camp for longer in the year. Companies have done this by making their tents with more durable and insulated material. Just keep in mind that a 4 season tent may not be able to handle extreme cold conditions like snow.

A 3 season tent will be able to be used for summer along with fall and spring. These will be lightweight and use materials like mesh and thin fabric. 3 season tents will be the ones backpackers like as they are small and lightweight. With that being said, they will not be able to handle cold nights especially snowy winter conditions.

3.5 season tents are more durable but still come up short when it comes to winter. These tents will have more well designed poles so they can handle higher winds and rain. Panels will also be able to cover the mesh windows so that you can retain more heat.

The strongest and most robust are 4 season tents. These will be able to withstand winter conditions. Even more, reinforced poles will allow 4 season tents to be able to handle snow build up.

Design

The design of your tent is an important consideration. As more and more people are taking on life in a tent, companies are going the extra mile to create the most unique and functional tent to stand out in a crowded market. For that reason, you can now easily find tents that are made for more glamorous trips, those that can be separated into enough rooms to fit a large family, tents that have separate areas for indoor-outdoor living and much more. We recommend using this to your advantage in finding the best tent for you.

Set Up

A lot of freestanding tents will use poles to support the weight of the walls and roof. Most companies will have easy systems allowing them to be set up in under 10 minutes. Some have even been made so that all you have to do is lift up the top and the tent will set itself up.

Some will have to use stakes and guylines to give them a more rigid structure. These are generally older systems that limit where you can set them up. Freestanding options can be set up nearly anywhere in almost no time at all.

Wall Construction

Nearly all tents nowadays have a double wall construction. This includes a mesh body with a separate rain fly. These tents will allow condensation and moisture to exit the tent ensuring you don’t get dripped on in the middle of the night. The mesh also gives the tent some airflow so you won’t get too hot when you’re sleeping. Older single wall tents, on the other hand, won’t have this mesh and can be susceptible to moisture build ups. You’ll also get even less floor space with this type as touching the wall of a single walled tent will make your sleeping bag damp.

Doors And Vestibules

Tents will usually come with at least 2 doors. When these are open you can expect a nice breeze, especially during the summer months. These doors will also have a built in mesh siding that keeps bugs out. We strongly recommend tents that have two doors so that you have more than one way to enter and exit your tent.

Every door will have a vestibule just on the outside. This is an area that is like a small room covered by the tents rain fly. They are great for storing things like muddy hiking boots or waterproof bags.

Durability

Tents that are on the lighter side also suffer from being less durable. Lighter means thin materials that can easily rip or tear in high wind situations. You’ll find there is a trade off with weight and durability. 4 season tents will not only be able to stand up to harsher environments but also be much more durable due to the thicker material.

Durability also refers to the base of the tent. Most modern tents have a bucket style base that creates a watertight area. This base is also made from thicker material, and usually has 2 layers of protection, making it much more durable.

Footprint

The footprint of a tent refers to how much area it needs at its base. This will affect where you can set it up and use it. If you are in a heavily wooded forest, for example, you’ll need a tent with a smaller footprint than if you are camping in a field with unlimited space. A tent with a large footprint will usually have more floor space than smaller options.

Value

As there are so many tents on the market, you can now find a high quality tent for a very affordable price. While you may be tempted to go for the tent with the smallest price tag, we recommend not compromising on quality. The best tent is one that balances quality with price in order to give you the best value.

Comfort

This factor couldn’t be more important when looking for a tent. As you will be spending so much time in your tent it is important to be comfortable in it. While hikers may see it as a simple place to crash and have the simple requirement of being big enough to sleep in, others may have a bit more on their criteria. This becomes even more apparent when sharing a tent with multiple people.

If you are planning to camp for a longer time, or are bringing along the whole family or some friends, your comfort will be most important. While a tent may be rated to fit 6 people, we recommend looking at the dimensions to see how many air mattresses can fit inside. Additionally, a tent with ceilings that are high enough to stand in will go a long way in adding comfort.

Water Resistance

Depending on where you live, how water resistant your tent is can be the most important consideration. If you plan to set up camp in wetter climates, you will want to ensure your tent can stand up to the added moisture.

When looking at the water resistance, you will want to pay most of your consideration to the floor of your tent. Next, you will want to consider the fly that goes on top of your tent.  While you can add a tarp on top of your tent if your rainfly doesn’t hold up, you really need protection from any groundwater that you may come into contact with.

How water resistant your tent is will depend on the materials used as well as any coatings it may use. Over time and with prolonged use, this technology may begin to break down and allow for more moisture to enter. To prevent this, you will want to regularly inspect your tent and use seals and patches to prolong your tents life. There are many spray on coatings or paint that will do the trick.

Be sure to make note of the weak points in a tent that may let in moisture. This includes seams and zippers. Many companies have gotten wise to these weak spots and have developed technologies such as inverted seams and zipper covers to prevent water from entering.

Ease Of Set Up

Every camper knows how much of a headache setting up a tent can be. In fact, Hollywood has made it the center of many family feuds on popular sitcoms. With our modern need for simplicity and ease, many companies are going the extra mile to make setting up your tent even easier.

With the help of color coded poles, continuing pole holes and even pop up tent designs, it is now easier than ever to set yours up. Tents will always come with instruction manuals to show you how to do it – in fact, there is probably even a youtube video about it.

You can expect bigger tents to have more moving parts that can seem more complicated to set up, they still don’t have to be too complicated. Most tents are designed to be able to be set up by one person to create ease. Nonetheless, we recommend looking at camping tent reviews to get a good idea of how easy your tent will really be. Remember – it is always easier to set your tent up when there is still light out.

Workmanship

We will almost always advocate for quality over anything else – especially when talking about outdoor gear. When considering the workmanship gone into creating your tent, it is wise to look for the features that your tent has. Things like inverted seams show the extra care the manufacturer had.

With tents, one of the first things to cause problems is the material that holds your poles in. The sharp edges of your pole can go straight through this material making it so your tent has a shorter lifespan. You will want to ensure rip proof material combines with durable stitching to avoid any problems. This will allow your tent to last much longer.

While we are all for advocating the success of smaller companies, bigger companies oftentimes got their name from being a leader in their niche. That is why you will find so many Coleman tents on our list – they have earned their spot on the top of the charts. With that being said, we recommend taking the time to look at smaller names where you may be able to find high quality products at much more affordable prices.

Packed Size

While you will likely have looked at how large your tent is when fully set up, and how many people can fit inside, it is incredibly important to consider the packed size as well. This means the size your tent is when folded and put inside its carrying bag. You will also want to make sure that all your tents gear can easily fit inside the carrying case. Having the poles and stakes in the same bag as the tent will reduce the chances of losing anything.

Camping requires a lot of gear which means you will need all the space you can get. Even if you don’t plan on backpacking into your site, you will want to ensure your tent has a modest size in order to be able to pack all your other gear along with you.

Material

The material that your tent is made from will be directly related to the tents quality. This can be seen in how durable the tent is. Many companies choose to use high quality tear resistant materials, such as strong polyesters, to create their tents. You will also want a material with a tight weave pattern in order to ensure the tent offers more weather resistance. While this is important, you will also want a material that is breathable enough to allow for appropriate ventilation.

Type

Size

The size of the tent you end up choosing should depend on both the number of people you plan to camp with and also the type of camper you are. Even if you are only camping with one other person, you may still find value in a tent rated for 6 people. This will allow you the ability to easily move around, create an indoor living space, and even have enough room to stand up and walk around in.

Many people are now treating their tent as a cabin and having luxurious glamping experiences. For this reason, we recommend not looking at the number of people your tent can hold but rather focusing on the physical dimensions. One of our favorite numbers to pay attention to is the height of the tent. Never underestimate how luxurious it can be to be able to stand up straight inside a tent.

Weather Resistance

While you may be thinking that water resistant and weather resistant are the same thing, they are actually quite different. Weather resistance refers to your tents ability to protect you from rainfall and harsher winds. This will most often be referring to your tents rainfly. It is most ideal to have a rainfly that is large enough to be able to fully cover your tent, even from those times the rain is coming down at extreme angles.

In order to consider how weather resistant your tent is, you will want to consider whether it has bathtub floors or not. This refers to whether the floor of your tent continues up the side of your tent at all in order to account for splashes and puddles. Lastly, consider how wind resistant the frame of your tent is. While you are less likely to experience harsh winds if you are tucked between trees, those that plan to go to fields or less protected areas will need wind protection.

Ventilation

Ventilation in a tent is incredibly important, especially in tents designed to house many people. Most tents will come with screens for windows and doors that allow for adequate airflow. In addition, most tents have mesh roofs that allow for full airflow on warm dry nights.

You will want to make sure your tent has a way of offering ventilation even when it is pouring rain. This can be done with ventilation pockets that many tents incorporate. Having a rainfly that has canopies over windows or doors will allow you to keep these areas open even when it is raining.

Ventilation will allow you to breathe in the fresh air of the great outdoors but will also reduce condensation on the inside of your tents. This is especially important in cooler months as a tent that is dripping on the inside from condensation can make you much colder.

Storage

When camping, you will undoubtedly end up bringing a lot of gear along with you. Having a tent that is spacious enough to hold all your gear is important. Most tents will come with interior storage pockets that allow you to store your most valuable gear. Some tents have outdoor canopy areas that allow you a safe and dry area to keep your gear outside of your tent.

FAQs

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Q: What Is A Four Season Camping Tent?

A: Four season camping tents are rare and often much harder to find. These are tents that can be used for camping virtually all year round. That means that they can even be used for camping in the middle of the winter. Tents that are able to withstand these harsh conditions often come at a higher price as they incorporate much more heavy duty materials and construction.

Many avid campers won’t let a bit of rain or snow stop them from spending time in the great outdoors. While this can be a very fun experience, it is more important than ever that you have the right gear when heading out in such treacherous conditions. One of the biggest things you will need in a four season tent is insulation in the form of wind resistance. You will also need a tent with a strong floor that can withstand constant moisture. Lastly, you will need the tent to be incredibly water resistant to be able to keep you safe and dry.

Four season tents are a great option for those who live in cooler or wet environments as the superior technology will keep you protected even in the rainy parts of the fall. Due to the heavy duty construction of these tents, you can most often expect them to be bulkier in design and have a higher weight.

Q: Are All Tents Water-Resistant?

A: While you may think that as tents are designed for outdoor use, they can all withstand some water and rough outdoor use. Sadly, this isn’t the case and there are many tents out there that are not water resistant. Furthermore, even tents that are labeled as water resistant will vary in their degree of protection making it even more complicated.

When considering your next tent, we recommend paying close attention to the materials used to make your tent. The quality and type of materials used will play the biggest role in determining how water or weather resistant your tent will be. While you may not need a water resistant tent if you are going to be camping in the middle of the Nevada desert, you will certainly need one if you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest.

Q: Should I Clean My Tent While It Is Set Up Or When I Take It Down?

A: Like any outdoor gear, it is incredibly important that you clean and maintains it to ensure it lasts for many years to come. While you can’t simply throw a tent in the washing machine, it is still important to make sure it is clean after every use. This will go a long way in ensuring your gear lasts and also make your next camping trip much easier.

The optimal time to clean your tent out is after every camping trip. You might be surprised to hear this as most people fold their tent up never thinking about it until their next camping trip. It is only when they are ready to use it again that they will think to clean it beforehand. While it may seem like the last thing you want to do, don’t worry it doesn’t have to be tedious.

We recommend choosing a warm dry day to set your tent up outside and take a wet cloth to it. Wiping out the floor and shaking out the interior should do the trick. Be sure to open up all the windows and doors allowing for air to move through it. If you find your tent starting to have a campfire odor, try spraying some air freshener inside to eliminate the odors and allow it to air dry.

Globo Surf Overview

With the right gear, there is no reason that camping has to be restricted to only a couple months of the year. With any of the top quality camping tents that made it on our list, you will be able to get the most from your camping experience. With so many excellent options on the market, you will have no problem finding a tent that has all your desired features at an affordable price.

Have you ever tried one of the camping tents that made it on our list? Let us know how you liked it in the comment section below.

Globo Surf Camping Tents Reviews

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Great article. Your buying guide is detailed and has all the points. Thank you for your help in choosing a tent.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!