How to choose a tourist tent

Do you want to know someone better? Go with him on a camping trip with tents.

Many like hiking, but few know how to choose a good tent. Size, weight, design, material – all this matters and affects the cost. How to choose a tent that meets your tourist preferences, learn from this article.

Do you need a camping trip?

If it is short – yes. Of course, you can spend the night in a sleeping bag under a canopy, but this is:

  • uncomfortable (at nights, even in summer, it’s cold in nature, it may rain or a strong wind may rise – weather forecasts do not always come true);
  • insecure (insects, snakes, small rodents – not a complete list of sources of “thrill” when spending the night in the open air).

Therefore, accept as an axiom: a tent in the campaign is necessary.

Which tent is right for you?

The answer depends on the answer to another question: what kind of recreation do you prefer in nature?

If you like equipped camping with a car park, then you can safely take a large tent.

A camping tent is a large tall tent, often with a tambour and windows. It is intended for autotourism, rest with family and overnight stays in one place for 34 days. Pros: comfortable conditions (you can stand in full growth), high capacity. Cons: heavy weight, poor warm-up.

Large tent for camping
Large tent for camping

If you are planning a long walking or cycling trip, weight and size of the shelter become important criteria. You will need a tracking tent.

Tracking tent is a small tent used for flat hikes, rest along hiking trails. Pros: light, easy to transport. Cons: not designed for strong wind and rain.

Trekking tent
Trekking tent

Even more important, the dimensions and weight of the tent become during a hike into the mountains or across rough terrain. Here we need an assault tent.

The assault (or alpine) tent is an ultra-light tent designed for serious hikes (complex route, long transitions). Pros: very light and reliable, not afraid of strong wind, quickly installed and assembled. Cons: usually small (even one person may be cramped).

Assault Tent
Assault Tent, Konstantin Shishkin /

What is the seasonality of the tent?

Beginners mistakenly believe that if you divide tents according to the seasons, then there should be spring, summer, autumn and winter. In fact, there are:

  • Summer tents. For warm or hot weather. An important point here is ventilation: the fabric is well blown, and the edge of the awning is usually raised above the ground. But such a tent will not save you from strong wind or rain.
  • Three-season tents. The name speaks for itself – are calculated on three basic hiking seasons (spring, summer, autumn). Made from a denser fabric, which can withstand cold and demi-season winds and torrential rains.
  • Winter (or all-weather) tents. Designed for use in difficult climatic conditions (snow, wind), but can also be used in summer in calm weather. They differ in the stability of the construction, dense waterproof material.

How to determine the size?

Boas in a well-known cartoon were measured by parrots, and tents are measured by men. Many heard: single tent, double, triple and so on. In the first case, this means that one adult man will fit comfortably in the tent (with all the belongings); in the second there are two; in the third – three and so on.

“Men are different,” you will say. Right. Therefore, to get a clearer idea of ​​the dimensions of the tent, before you buy, study its length and width on the Internet. Then “recreate” these dimensions on your floor, take a sleeping bag and try to fit in the resulting square. Managed? You can take! No? Perhaps it is worth to buy a two or three-seat tent.

Example of the size of a single tent, cm
Example of the size of a single tent, cm

How many layers to choose?

Depending on the design, tents are divided into single-layer and two-layer.

In the first case, the tent is made from a waterproof awning and is a single canvas. It is easy to add and install. But there is a significant drawback – condensate. In wet or hot weather, it inevitably forms on the inner walls. If you do not provide ventilation, wake up in a wet sleeping bag. Fortunately, scientists are actively working on solving this problem – they come up with various “breathing” and thus non-inflating fabrics. Tents with membrane tents are already on the market, but they are quite expensive.

The two-layer tent consists of a waterproof awning (outer layer) and a light “breathable” tent (inner layer). Between them, as a rule, 1015-centimeter gap. This tent is somewhat heavier, but it does not accumulate condensate, while it is reliably protected from rain.

Another advantage of double-layer tents is the presence of a tambour.

Tambour – additional space under the external tent of the tent. Serves for storing things and dirty shoes.

Do we need windows in the tent?

In general, no. As a rule, in the tent you are at night – there’s nothing to look through. If you consider the window as an additional vent, then with two-layer structures it is not necessary, and in a single-layer with the task of supplying fresh air, the slightly opened zipper at the entrance is doing just fine.

The only exception is camping tents. In this case, the tent with windows looks like a house and creates a greater comfort.

Which material should I prefer?

Poly Taffeta 210T 3000 PU is not a magical spell, but seeing such an inscription in the description of the tent, an inexperienced tourist can fall into a trance. What do all these numbers and letters mean?

In fact, everything is simple. When making tents, two types of fabrics are used:

  • polyamide (Nylon);
  • polyester (Polyester).

The first are fairly strong and very affordable, but they are easily stretchable when wet and sensitive to ultraviolet light. The latter are even more durable and do not tear when wet, but they are more expensive. Thus, the first word in the labeling of the tent (Poly) means that it is made of polyester material.

Taffeta is the most common way of weaving threads. In addition to it, there is also Oxford (creates additional strength and, as a rule, is used for the bottom of the tent) and Rip Stop (increases the strength due to reinforced yarn, without weighting).

The next element (210T) is the density of the weave. It is measured in tex and affects the strength of the material. The larger the T, the denser, stronger and heavier the fabric. In addition, the marking of the tent may contain numbers and the letter D. This indicates the thickness of the yarns from which the material is made. This indicator also affects the strength and weight of the tent.

Finally, PU means that the fabric is impregnated with polyurethane, due to which it is water resistant. There is also a silicone impregnation (SI), it is more quality and durable, but also more expensive.

Polyurethane cover the material from the inside. At the same time, two layers of PU-impregnation provide waterproofness in 3 000 mm of water column; three layers – 5 000 mm. Silicone coating is applied from the outside. Here the acceptable level of water resistance is 2 000 mm.

So, which material should I prefer? If you choose to nature infrequently and at the same time keep to the trampled hiking trails, then a nylon tent with Taffeta or Rip Stop weaving and a density of 190T to 210T. A good addition to this is silicone water repellent impregnation.

What should be the bottom of the tent?

Durable, durable and yet again durable! The bottom of the tent is hardest: you put it on sharp stones, on the snow, on the sand.

As a rule, the bottom is made of the same material as the outer awning. Suitable for this nylon fabric with weaving Oxford, with a weaving density of at least 210T and a thickness of yarns of at least 210D. But the main indicator is water resistance. It is desirable that the bottom material withstand from 5 000 mm of water column.

Sometimes the bottom is also made of reinforced polyethylene (designated PE, tarpaulin). This material is practically waterproof, quite affordable, but much heavier than polyester and nylon.

In addition, many tents have a so-called skirt, which prevents wind blowing and rainfall between the inner and outer tent.

Skirt is an additional strip of fabric around the perimeter of the tent. Can be sewn or removable.

A tent with a skirt is worth buying if you are going on a winter trip: it will provide additional heat. For trekking summer tents a skirt is an unnecessary load. Because of it, only condensation will accumulate.

Which design should I choose?

There are three main forms of tourist tents:

1. The hemisphere

It consists of two or more arcs crossed between themselves, thus creating a dome. This is a universal and very popular form. Tents in the form of a hemisphere can be used even in extreme campaigns: they withstand a strong wind, water easily slips from them.

Tent in the form of a hemisphere
Tent in the form of a hemisphere

2. Polubochka

Typically, a large and roomy tent (often with a tambour). The arcs of such a tent are parallel to one another and do not cross each other. It is not particularly stable and will not withstand any bad weather. This construction is often found in camping tents.

Tent in the shape of a half-brow
Tent in the shape of a half-brow

3. House

Gable tents in the form of a house are considered classics. Rain and snow easily slip from them, but the wind resistance of the structure leaves much to be desired. In addition, this type of tent is considered the most troublesome in terms of installation.

Tent “house”

In addition, single tourists often prefer single-seat frameless tents. They are light and compact, in fact it’s just a tent, attached on ropes to trees or holding on several racks (usually sticks).

Frameless tent
Frameless tent

Tips for buying and using

Now you know about tents enough to make a purchase. But do not rush to run to the mall or open an online store site. There are several tricks that will help you save money.

  • The old models of famous brands are no worse than their new models, but much cheaper.
  • Do not be afraid to buy tents of little-known firms, the main thing is that the specification should correspond to reality.
  • Study the reviews, consult with friends, if possible try out this or that tent in the case before buying (for example, borrow from a friend).

Having bought a tent, do not rush to go to the forest immediately. First, collect her at home to understand how it is arranged, and in the campaign to collect and disassemble it quickly and easily. After that, walk around the seams with a water-repellent spray to be sure to protect yourself from moisture. And that the tent served you for a long time, after returning from the campaign do not forget to dry it properly.