From oh-so-tiny featherweight one-man tents to tents so large they could double as a detached house, the breadth of tent sizes is aew-inspiring. And while it might seem pretty obvious that a four-man tent will suit four people, while a two-man tent will suit two people, there is a little more to think about when it comes to buying your own tent.
Why buy a tent in the first place?
A tent offers a budget friendly way to go on holiday. Once you have bought your tent and a few accessories, you only need to pay a small charge for pitching it at a campsite. In Scotland, you can wild camp for free, so long as you act in a responsible manner and do not camp in someone’s private back garden. A tent can be a very cheap way to take the family on holiday, spend a weekend at a festival or head off into the hills for a few days of hiking.
The first thing to consider when buying a tent
Do you plan to carry you tent with you to your camping spot, or will you be driving to your campsite and unloading directly from car to pitch? You’ll need to consider this, because if you’re carrying your tent you want to go for a lightweight tent that is more compact. So, in this case, if you’re camping solo, you should choose a lightweight one-man tent. Or choose a two-man tent if there will be two sharing and one person is kindly carrying the tent for the both of you. Buying a tent that is bigger than the purpose you require it for will add weight to your rucksack.
If you’ll be “car camping” you can choose a tent that is bigger. Many of today’s tents do pack up into neat bags but the larger the tent, the larger the carrying bag is likely to be. If you are driving to you camping place, you can choose a tent that offers lots more room.
So, if there are two of you camping, you could choose a three-man tent for extra space, or for a family group of four, you could buy a tent with two bedrooms and a living area. For even bigger groups, or for families that like to spread out, choose a tent that has a bedroom each, or a spare bedroom for stowing clothing and kit etc. These days you can even buy tents designed to fit groups bigger than 10 people!
Useful tent features to consider
* Many people like to be able to stand up in their tent, so look out for maximum height details.
* If you plan to spend a lot of time hanging out in your tent and cooking, choose one with a good-sized living area.
* If you like the idea of a blow-up mattress, single or double, make sure you choose a tent with the right bedroom space.
* Also check the details of the tent to make sure it is the right one for coping with a range of conditions. For example, if you’re planning a trip to Mount Everest, you’ll want a very robust tent that can withstand high winds! Most tents sold today will be great for windy and rainy conditions since they are waterproof and designed to be sturdy.
* Would you like to be able to see outside when you are indoors? If so, choose a tent with “windows”.
* If you’re going somewhere with mosquitoes or midges, make sure the tent as an anti-bug net built in.
* A built-in ground sheet is a good idea, especially if you want to keep the wet ground away from your sleeping quarters.
Do looks matter when buying a tent?
Looks shouldn’t really matter but if there are a couple of tents in the size range that you’re looking for and they cost about the same, why not choose one that you like the look of? You would do the same when buying a home, wouldn’t you?
Build your tent before you go
All good quality tents should come with straightforward instructions, and once you have erected a couple of styles of tent, you’ll realise that they all follow similar formats. However, it’s a good idea to practise putting up you tent in the garden if you have the time or space before you head off on holiday. This will avoid the common “build your tent domestic” that can so often cause a camping holiday to get off to a bad start!
Taking the tent down
Make sure the tent is dry when you take it down. If this isn’t possible because of rain, you should hang the tent out to dry when you get home. A damp tent will not last as long as one that is kept dry and looked after. Ensure you keep all the tent pegs and groundsheets in one place, too, so that they are all there when you come to go camping again… Which we’re sure you will.
Happy camping this summer!