The best tents are
- Waterproof. Nothing
ruins a camping trip like wet people and damp equipment. A tent should have
bathtub-style floors to keep water from seeping in, sealed seams and a good
- Well ventilated. Tents
should have good venting even when they need to be sealed against the rain or
cold. Poorly ventilated tents can leave a camper feeling uncomfortable and
- Resistant to wind. Look for
at least two guylines with multiple guyouts to add more in high wind
conditions. Poles should bend but not break. Fabric, doors and windows should
not flap around.
- Easy to set up. While
not every tent sets up instantaneously, it shouldn't take more than about 15 to
30 minutes for even the largest tent. Ideally, it can be set up by one person.
Fast-pitch options are considered a necessity for serious backpackers.
- Simple to repack. Tents
should fit neatly back into whatever pack or bag they were removed from.
Know before you go
size do you need? Take into
consideration how many people you'll be sharing your tent with on a regular
basis. Also, will you have your car available for storing your gear, or do you
plan to store your equipment in your tent? Experts and avid campers suggest
buying a tent rated for two more occupants than you typically plan to share it
with in order to have sufficient room.
will the weather be like? If you are camping in harsh conditions, you will
need a tent that can withstand high winds. For wintertime camping, your tent
should have steep sides to keep the snow from accumulating.
you have help setting up camp? Consider the skill level of campers joining you.
If you are the only adult and must set up the tent alone, you'll need an easy-to-assemble
you be carrying the tent? If you must carry the tent to your pitch site, you'll want to choose
the lightest tent you can find.