How to choose the right tent
A tent is often a major investment, so you need to choose well to make sure you end up with the tent that’s right for you and your needs. Here are some pointers to help you out.
You can also take a look at our guide which deals specifically with tents for summer or winter use.
When we refer to a tent as a one-man, two-man or three-man tent, we do so based on a calculation of the number of sleeping spaces in the tent. If three people share a three-man tent, there’s room for everyone to sleep but that’s about it. It may feel a little cramped when it’s time to cook or fit all the kit inside.
There are also countless roll mats on the market, and it’s important to select the right size mat for the person who will be using it. This is because some tents are square while others taper off at the foot end.
Most of our tent series include different sizes of the same tent.
In summer, when you spend a lot of time outside, space matters less. However, you should still bear in mind that a bit more room might be great if the weather was to take a turn for the worse.
In winter, we generally recommend going up a tent size. This is because we tend to carry more kit and clothing with us in winter, as well as larger sleeping bags and roll mats, which must all fit in the tent. For example, if three people will be going on a winter hike, we recommend a four-man tent.
Porches and kit areas also affect tent size. Some like to have these, and some like to have several. There are multiple options here. A porch can be used for kit storage, cooking and other things that you wish to keep outside of your sleeping area. If you have a large porch, you can get away with having less space inside the tent itself. In winter it might be practical to use one porch for kit and another for cooking.
It all depends on what people prefer. We simply want to point out that it’s something to bear in mind.
Weight and internal volume (ceiling height)
Tall tents are both practical and comfortable, but they are also heavier. Moreover, taller tents will be easier for the wind to get a hold of, and you’ll need to put in more effort to retain warmth inside the tent. Many choose to use a Primus stove to cook inside the tent and doing so requires a ceiling height of at least one metre. Lighting a flame inside the tent requires experience, and we recommend cooking outside if possible.
All our tents feature a warning not to light flames or use open fires inside them. However, we know that many still do, especially on longer trips when the weather does not allow for outdoor cooking.
Do please note that you do this at your own risk and be very careful.
How much internal volume you need thus depends on your comfort requirements and how much weight you’re willing to carry. One challenge when shopping for a tent and trying to make this call is that it isn’t always possible to see the tent pitched before you buy it.
Our website and selected stores with interactive product guides offer sketches of all the tents in our range. Well-stocked sporting goods stores will most likely also let you pitch the tent indoors in order to get a better idea, provided that there’s enough room to do so.
The tent’s weight is easier to judge. Lift it up and compare it with other models. Put it in a backpack and carry it around the store. Again, it’s entirely up to you: How much is the tent allowed to weigh? Our lightest tent has a total weight of just 990 grams. This is ideal for those for whom a light pack is the top priority, but it’s not necessarily the option that offers the most comfort or the best internal volume.
If you’re looking for an all-year-round or a winter tent, choosing a tent that weighs a few hundred grams more can buy you a whole lot more comfort and may be well worth it.
Having a single entrance for a group of people can be impractical. Having to crawl over each other every time someone wants to go outside soon gets annoying. Two entrances improves tent access and allows you to keep kit on one side and do your cooking at the other. In winter, two entrances also increases the odds of at least one of them being sheltered from weather and wind, and if a zip was to break, you’ll have a back-up.
A storm flap is a piece of material 20-25 cm wide that runs along the bottom of the tent. Rocks or snow are placed on top to keep the tent even more secure in windy and inclement weather conditions. We find that many believe that winter tents should have storm flaps, and we agree that the serve an important purpose.
However, you need to be aware that when storm flaps are completely covered by snow, the tent will be even more sealed, making it even more important to ensure sufficient airflow and ventilation.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to make choosing a tent model easier:
- Is the tent going to be used all-year-round or only in a specific season?
- How many people does the tent need to sleep?
- How important is weight compared to internal volume and comfort?
- Will you be using the tent alone often (if so, choose a model that is easy to pitch alone)?
- Do you often camp on rocky ground or other surfaces where pegs cannot be used (you should consider a free-standing dome tent)?
- Will you be cooking inside the tent (using a Primus stove, etc.)?
- Do you tend to travel in high mountain settings, in woodland or in the lowlands (high-altitude camping requires extra wind-resistant tents)?
- Will you be using the tent on long trips in winter, and/or in areas what are particularly exposed or storm-prone (if so, you should choose from the strongest and more wind-resistant tents available)?
If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d be happy to help you find the tent that’s right for you.