Tents come in all shapes and sizes and finding the right one for your needs will guarantee a better and fun camping experience. After all, the tent you choose is going to be your home away from home, in a literal sense.
So, how heavy should your tent be? In general, a tent must weigh around 2.5 lbs per person (1.13 Kg). Since there are different weights, features, sizes, and constructions, you need to be extra mindful before you settle for a particular tent.
While all adventurers have their own specific needs, a three-season, double-wall, a freestanding tent is the best choice for almost all situations.
The Choice between Double-Wall and Single-Wall Tents
One of the first things you have to decide is whether you will buy a double-wall or single-wall tent. Every time people think of tents, they usually conjure the image of double-wall construction.
The tent body is the first wall and the rain fly is the second wall.
This kind of setup ensures greater comfort and versatility. During warm clear nights, you can just pitch your tent with no fly.
It will allow for better ventilation and much cooler sleep. During bad weather, using the rain fly offers added warmth and weather protection.
For the lightweight option, there are double-wall tents that allow quick-pitch setup. Poles, fly, and a footprint is combined with the lightweight setup with no tent body.
This means that you can enjoy using one tent in three different ways which depends on your specific needs.
If these double-wall tents ventilate better and are more versatile, why should you even consider single-wall tents?
A single-wall tent combines the waterproof fly and tent body in one fabric. Alpinists and mountaineers prefer these tents because of their smaller volume when packed and lighter weight.
The only problem with a single-wall tent is that it is not as versatile. Condensation may also form on the interior walls of the tent.
Should You Go for Four Seasons or Three Seasons?
Three-season tents are most suitable for most conditions and climates. These tents also feature double-wall construction.
In general, these tents feature a mesh paneling in their tent body to improve ventilation and ensure that the tent stays cool even when using the rain fly.
More mesh will result in a lighter tent although durability may be reduced.
Three-season tents are usually fitted with some convenient features like rainfly vents, multiple doors, and gear pockets/lofts. Backpackers and car campers can use these tents.
A four-season tent is perfect for use all-year-round although it is mostly meant for winter trips.
This kind of tent has been built to withstand high winds, heavy snow, and low temperatures. This is the right tent for you if you will ever face such weather.
Four-season tents are heavier compared to three-season ones, with burlier poles, less mesh, and heavier and more durable fabric.
Among the notable differences is that four-season tents feature a fly that reaches down to the snowpack or ground to seal out snowdrifts and wind.
These tents also have internal pole support that provides more rigidity and are easier to set up during foul weather. Four-season tents are available in double and single-wall construction alike.
How about Living Space?
Living space is among the most critical qualities of a tent but it is also the most difficult to measure.
The usual dimensions of a tent-like the peak height, length, and width only tell one part of the whole story.
The vestibule space determines the amount of gear you can safely keep outside the tent body, with wall geometry being a crucial factor that will help you identify a tent’s living space.
It is relatively easy to choose floor dimensions. A length of 80 inches and a width of 25 inches per person is apt for most people.
Taller campers or those who have their dog with them may consider tents with a length of 90 inches. It is also generally appropriate to choose a tent depending on how many occupants will use it.
Peak height refers to the height measurement at the tent’s tallest point. The value and location dictate the tent’s living space.
Although a greater peak height will generally yield a roomier tent provided that the floor dimensions are similar, the peak height’s location is equally important.
A huge peak height at the center of the tent means you must be seated at the center for you to effectively experience the roominess.
Meanwhile, a huge peak height on one corner of the tent means the tent is going to feel roomier when seated or lying in the sleeping bag.
Wall geometry is another factor to determine the roominess of a tent. Wall geometry plays a big role in the tent’s interior volume.
Try to shop for a tent that has more vertical walls to get a roomier feel. There are tents with poles starting out vertical close to the bottom and converge only when they are off the ground.
Such pole design is the perfect combination of weight savings and roominess.
The exterior space of a tent also influences its interior space. Tents with large vestibules let you store more gear outside your tent to free up much needed interior space.
In general, two-door tents excel here because they feature two vestibules with a considerable size.
Pay Attention to the Weight of the Tent
Light is right is a phrase you can often hear in the outdoor industry. Although lightweight products are often the best way to go, this is not really the case all the time.
There should be a balance between durability and lightweight materials when it comes to the design of a tent. Lighter tents are most likely made of more delicate materials while heavier tents are more durable.
Generally speaking, tents should weigh around 2.5 lbs per person (1.13 Kg). Take note that if you will backpack with several people, you can just split the overall weight by dividing the poles, rainfly, and tent.
As far as tent weights are concerned, there are three weights that are advertised. Knowing how these three differ will help you choose your tent.
- Fastpitch – It refers to the weight of the poles, footprint, and fly.
- Trail weight – It is the lightest complete setup. This includes the poles, fly, and tent. It doesn’t include the stakes, stuff sacks, or guy lines.
- Packaged weight – It is the heaviest weight including everything included in the tent, from the guy lines, to packaging, sacks, and more.