This blog is going to briefly explain you the different kinds of tents available in the market and the factors which must be kept in mind before buying one. You might be thinking let me just go to the nearest decathlon store and get one, but you will be investing something around 2k and it better be the best in that price range, right? I just want people to know that there is a lot more to choose from than decathlon product so that they can decide which is best for their situation.
The below graphic will give you an idea of the different kinds of tents available in the market :
Now you know about the looks and types of tents. Next is buying one. So some of the few things you have to keep in mind before buying a tent are listed down below:
1) Size and Height
You have to buy a tent according to the number of people who are going to stay in it. Also when it says its a 2 person tent, there will be space for exact 2 people and no space to keep your luggage and other stuff. So it’s always advised to buy a tent size 2 persons bigger than the actual persons who will be using it so that there will be room to keep your rucksack as well as some space to move around. For example if 2 people are going to stay in the tent then buy a 4 person tent which will be more spacious.
Now coming to the height of the tent, I prefer to have a tent in which I can sit upright without my head touching the top of it. This is important because you will have to change inside the tent and it’s not nice if it’s too low for you to even sit in it.
Also consider if you would like to have vestibule for your tent. A vestibule is the space which is a part of the tent just outside like a porch area which is very helpful if you are going to cook your own food, or keep some of the dirty shoes and trek poles outside. It’s helpful especially when it’s raining since it protects your items which you wouldn’t want to keep inside and dirty your tent. You also don’t want to wake up and see that your shoes are wet either due to rain or dew!
Zen mountain gears has a variety of tents suiting your choice and they are offering 10% off on your first purchase off their website. Here are some of the good choice tents by Coleman which has the perfect size and height for camping. I have listed down 2, 3, 4 and 6-person tents below (All tested in Himalayas for its durability and quality):
2) Weight and Compactness
If you are an avid backpacker then this is the most important factor to consider before buying your tent. All of the tents are designed to be light but if you are going to be carrying it around on your back for several days then you better buy the lightest of the lot! Suppose if you are going to some place by vehicle and camping then the weight doesn’t matter.
The extra sleeping bags, floor mats also add up to your weight so consider everything before buying one. Also make sure that it’s easy to fold the tent into a compact bag such that it’ll easily fit into your rucksack or any bag you are carrying on your trek. You can compare the size of your rucksack as well as the folded tent for more accurate choice.
I found this super cool 4 person ultra-light tent by Gipfel and it’s a good quality tent tested in the Himalayas. Am sharing a direct link to this tent below so you can have a look at it:
3) Weather friendly tents
There are different kinds of tents for different climatic conditions and the places you are going to camp on so make sure the tent you are buying fits the purpose. If it’s an extreme condition terrain like the Himalayas then you have to make sure there are sturdy holdings which make sure the tent does not fly off due to the heavy winds at that altitude. Even it’s safer to carry extra pegs for this terrain. If you are going in rainy season then it’s very important to take one which has a rain-fly or an optional one so that you can use it in the summer as well without the fly.
If you will be using in less extreme conditions like the Sahyadri’s (Western Ghats) then these things are not so important and you can go for a tent which has mesh so that lot of ventilation will be present.
A good tent for the less extreme conditions is the Coleman tents linked in the first point. Some of the other good tents for this conditions are :
Below are some of the tents of very high quality and durability for Himalayan extreme conditions. All are for high altitude mountain and glacier regions :
4) Amount of effort to set up a tent
Ofcourse you will want to be able to set up your tent easily with minimum effort. There are 2 types of tents in this category – freestanding and non freestanding. Freestanding tents are those which do not require pegs for support and should be held in place by our own luggage or rucksack. Non freestanding tents are those which you see normally which requires pegs to stand in place. Freestanding tents can be set up within minutes whereas non freestanding comes with a learning curve to know how to set it up.
Some of the family tents also comes with inflators and its really easy to set them up by just blowing air into them by the help of a pump.
One such tent which is large and can be used for camping when going with a big group or family is the below tent by Coleman :
5) Useful features
Some of the other extra features which you can look forward to are:
- Side pockets and loops : It’s useful to have side pockets inside the tent to keep headlamp and other small gadgets which you will need at night. Even you can hang certain emergency stuff to the ceiling loops straps.
- Thick tent floor mat : If the tent itself has a solid thick floor cover then you need not carry an additional mat while going camping hence reducing the weight of your backpack.
- Double walls : Firstly, this makes sure that the rain water does not seep into the tent and secondly, when the weather is good you can remove one of the top wall covers and do star gazing chilling inside the tent. Also it gives better ventilation.
- Double zipper : This is extremely necessary sometimes as you cannot go searching for a repair shop if your zipper stops working. Also while buying make sure that it moves freely and does not get stuck to the fabric in some places.
- Stitching of seams : Make sure everything in the tent is atleast double stitched and it’s important that the floor material is stitched up about 6 inches on all the sides so that rain water does not seep into the tent.
- A tent having good seam sealings – Fira 4 (Aluminium Poles)
- A tent with good waterproofing and protection in rain and snow – Gipfel Lupus 2
- A have-it-all tent for mountaineers which literally consolidates all the above features in this single tent. It has bombproof shelter, stability, weather-resistance, ventilation, space to live and store, and most importantly has a high ‘usability quotient’. Perfect for expeditions – KILI 3 PLUS
6) Tips :
If you are not a regular camper then there are 2 options for u –
- 1) Use a tarp tent – Tarp tent is the simplest form of tent which gives just basic shelter and is most useful if you’re not looking for a very comfortable stay and just need shelter for the night. It’s main advantage is that it is ultra-light, cheap and very easy to setup. If you are going in a large gang then also you can use these types of tents to hangout. They are made up of any waterproof material and are help by pegs and poles. Whereas you cannot expect it to provide much protection from winds and rain as it is a kind of open tent.
Here is one such tarp tent by Gipfel which I found online for a reasonable rate. There are also various ways to set this tent up and is mentioned with a pictorial representation in the below link :
- 2) Renting a tent – If you are that kind of person who goes camping once in a bluemoon and just for chilling, then the best option for you to just rent a tent. This way you will get great brand tents for very cheap price as low as Rs.200 per day. If you search online, you will get a lot of options and shops for renting a tent.
- For regular backpackers this won’t work out as for the amount they may spend for renting, they might as well buy a brand new tent for that money.
Below is a pictorial graphic which represents all of the above information in buying a tent in a nutshell. Thanks for reading 🙂