How to choose a hiking tent

Michael Balle Hansen by Michael Balle Hansen

There’s two main factors to consider when purchasing a hiking tent and those are:

  1. Cost.
  2. Weight.

There’s of course other factors such as number of sleepers, quality and such, but the 2 main factors are cost and weight for most people. You want to find a good balance of good value and lower weight since you will be carrying this tent to the camping spot.

Often times the lower the weight the higher cost.


Questions to ask yourself


What capacity do you need?

How many people will sleep in this tent? The typical capacities are: 1 – 4. You can see the capacity in the name typically.


How important is low weight to you?

The lower the weight the higher the cost. It helps to look at lowering your weight by removing other parts, such as water. Bring limited water and have water purification tablets or a water filtration system with you and you can save money by buying a heavier tent.


How important is quality to you?

How important is quality to you? Higher quality = higher cost. Do you need all the extras? Factors that increase quality are things like:

  • Floor area.
  • Peak height.
  • Wall shape. The more vertical the walls the more open space you’ll have.
  • Doors. Do you need multiple doors for each sleeper? More doors will add more cost and more weight.
  • Ventilation. This is why panels and mesh windows are important. The moisture generated by your exhales will exit through these ventilation spots which is very important.
  • Free standing? Free standing means the tent can stand without the use of stakes. Makes the setup much quicker.

What season(s) will you be using your tent in?

What season will you be using the tent. Often times a “almost” year round tent is the best unless you’re a die hard hiker. 

Typically tents offer the choice of 3 season or 4 season. Most will choose 3 seasons as that is good enough for most. Will you really be hiking in the die hard winter time after all?


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