There are so many styles of tents for camping!
A tent is a major purchase. How can you know which tent is the right one for your family?
You don't want to spend more than you have to, but you don't want to end up with a piece of equipment that doesn't meet your needs either.
The sheer number of options can be quite confusing - and what is right for one family might not be the right choice for you.
Fortunately, it's not hard to make a good decision, once you know what you need. Follow these easy steps and choose the perfect tent for your family.
You'll be able to haul large tents for camping.
You'll need something very small and light.
You'll want something in between.
Perhaps you'll need a tent for an extra sleeping area. Or maybe you want a screen tent for dining or for storage.
A three season tent will be fine.
A sturdy three season tent should be adequate - unless you will encounter strong winds. In that case, consider a four season tent.
You should look at four season tents. These tents can handle strong winds and even a load of snow.
You'll want to be sure that you have warm sleeping bags. Read all about the many sleeping bag options here.
Unless you are planning to camp only in the desert, and only during the dry season, there will be rain sooner or later. Prepare for rain, and you won't have any unpleasant surprises.
I highly recommend that you get a tent with a rain fly that extends right to the ground. You can be warm, dry and cozy in a sturdy tent with a good fly!
A roof-only rainfly won't give any protection at all in a real rainstorm.
How many are adults and how many are children? (Remember, tiny children won't stay tiny for long!)
If there are four of you, get a five or six person tent - especially if you are all adult or near-adult sized.
If you get a four person tent for four people, you will be very cozy (or should I say "cramped") - and there will be no room for anything except your four bodies.
Is it just for sleeping, or will you be playing and hanging out there too?
You might want to purchase a screen tent as a place to play, hang out and eat. It will protect you from sun, rain - and mosquitoes!
Keep in mind that a screen tent is not designed to be a sleeping tent.
Tents for camping have a variety of features. Which of these are important to you?
All tent poles are not created equal! Learn about the types of camping tent poles so that you can be sure to choose a tent with a reliable and easy-to-use pole system.
As I mentioned before, it is going to rain - but that's okay!
As long as you choose a tent that's designed to keep out the rain, and you set it up properly and apply a good tent waterproofing product when necessary, you'll enjoy any weather.
Find out what others have learned about tents for camping.
Talk to your camping friends.
Visit tent forums and read tent reviews.
If possible, visit a local outdoor store. It's great to be able to see the actual tent before buying.
Large camping stores will have tents for camping that are set up, and they will encourage you to crawl inside. Do so!
Look around. Lie down and imagine spending a night here. Is there room for all of you?
Congratulations! You've done your research and chosen the perfect tent for your family.
You might want to buy some extra tent stakes, guy ropes and replacement poles now too. It's nice to be prepared!
In the comfort of your home, unpack your new tent and spread it out. Check the parts list: is everything here?
Set up the tent in your backyard - or in a local park, if you have to. Don't wait until your first camping trip to learn how to do this!
The good news is that setting up a tent is not hard at all once you know how!
Perhaps you have heard of self-erecting tents for camping. They sound like a cool
idea. A pop up tent can be a good choice in certain conditions - but it probably shouldn't be your main sleeping tent. Here's what you need to know about self erecting tents.
A tent is a major purchase. You'll have it for many years. Taking the time to do your research will ensure that you choose the best tent for your family.
Once you have your tent and are planning your first trip, read these tips about choosing a tent site in a campground.
If you are going backpacking, here's how to choose a tent camping site in the backcountry.