Unless you own an RV, your tent will be your home while you are camping. As anyone who has ever slept in a tent knows it is important to get the right one or you may be in for a rough night or nights. There are so many tents on the market these days; how do you know which one is the one you need? There are a few questions to ask yourself before making your big purchase.
1. How many people will be sleeping in your tent? If you are making a solo trip, you probably don't need the biggest tent you can buy. On the other hand, if you are taking your spouse and three children, you don't want to be cramped up in too close quarters. Most tents will have a label that indicates its dimensions and how many people it will hold.
2. What are your other basic needs? What is the weather expected to be like where you are camping? Will you be camping in extreme heat or cold? Answers to these questions can help you narrow down your requirements for your tent.
3. What is your budget? This is pretty self-explanatory. You always want to get the best for what you can afford, even if you are on a very low budget.
4. How will you be getting the tent to your campsite? If you plan to go backpacking and it will be up to you or your companions to carry the tent, you want to know how much it is going to weigh and if you are capable of taking it as far as you need to. Many new campers think of tents as just a soft bit of material you can fold up and stuff in your bag; they do not realize tents have poles and other components.
5. Do you need special features? Many modern tents have features you would never imagine. From shock-cords that allow for a speedy set-up to mesh panels that keep the bugs out and the breeze in, again, figure out what your basic needs are. If you are camping in the middle of January, breezes and bugs probably aren't that high on your priority list.
6. What color and fabric should you choose? This is not just an aesthetic question; different fabrics and colors can make a big difference when it comes to your tent. Some fabrics are more durable than others, and some are warmer or cooler. Darker colors attract more heat, while lighter colors are better for summer camping trips.
7. Do you need a waterproof tent? If there is even the slightest chance your tent could get wet, you will want a tent that is coated to be waterproof. If your tent gets wet, you can forget sleeping. Even worse, in colder temperatures, you can find yourself facing hypothermia. A waterproof tent will have a shiny coating on the floor and on the rain fly. Also, most tents have a weather rating - be sure your tent is suitable for whatever conditions you will be camping in.