Tents: how to find the best tent for camping

A good tent is meant to help keep you dry and warm, as well as keep biting insects away. Tents can make a big difference to your camping trip, but they don’t have to come at a high price. If you know what to look for and how to buy, you can save yourself a lot of money.

store size

There are different sizes of tents, usually labeled by how many people they sleep. There are also larger tents, which you may want to consider if you are traveling with a family or planning to spend more time inside the tent. For example, there are tents that have screen rooms attached. These give you extra interior space if you want to avoid bug bites.

If you want to store additional gear in your tent, keep that in mind when choosing a tent. You don’t want to trip over your bags and gear while trying to get to your sleeping bag.

tent shape

There are frame tents and dome tents. Domes are more popular, but A-frames are generally the easiest to install due to their simple design. Both styles can be freestanding or nailed to the ground.

The A-frame style has steeper walls like a pyramid, while most dome tents are more rounded like igloos. Because of this design, A-frames tend to feel smaller on the inside, while domed ones provide better access to floor space and feel larger.

There are also “car tents” that are designed to be attached to the back of a sport utility vehicle or truck. These conveniently provide campers with additional space in the tent and easy access to the interior of the car.

environmental characteristics

Once you’ve decided on the size and shape you want, think about where and when you’ll camp. Some tents are lighter and designed just for summer camping. Others are built with heavier materials to withstand harsher weather conditions.

If you plan to camp in an area with a lot of mosquitoes or other biting insects, you may want to consider a style with a screened “porch.” If there’s a chance of rain, you’ll want a tent roof or cover to put over the top of your tent for extra protection. Covers usually come as part of the store package, but check to make sure.

tent weight

If you need a lightweight backpacking tent, look for a smaller style with fewer stakes and poles and fewer features. If the weather is warm enough, you may prefer a tarp over a tent. No stakes or poles are required as the tarp can be tied between trees.


In general, the smaller and simpler the tent, the cheaper the price. Once you start adding size, extra features, and more durable materials for colder weather conditions, the price goes up. You don’t have to go with a brand name manufacturer to get a high quality tent. You can compare stores online, read reviews, and even find bargain-priced Coleman camping tents online that can give you years of use.

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