How to Select the Best Tent For Your Outdoor Adventure

Your camping adventure can be made even better with the right tent. Whether you plan to hike a long way to your campsite or park your vehicle right next to your tent, having a comfy place to stretch out and enjoy the great outdoors while staying out of wind and rain will help you get reconnected with the natural world with little hardship.

Cabin or Dome?

How much time will you be spending in the tent? For those who only plan to use the tent for sleeping, a small dome tent could be all you need. A slightly bigger cabin tent will give you more headroom, and many cabin tents also offer a room divider or screened porch for fresh air and more comfort.

For those camping with children or planning a trip to the desert, that front screened area can be a wonderful way to cut down on grit and sand in the sleeping area. Even if you designate a shoe drop-off outside the tent, it's easy to track dirt into the tent. A divider helps.

Be aware that if you have four people, a four-person tent will have enough room for you to sleep side by side, but will not offer much else space. Getting a tent that is a bit bigger than your clan needs is always a good choice.

Consider a Teepee

If you are

  • expecting to camp in windy areas
  • taller than average
  • willing to stand out a bit

a teepee could be a terrific choice. Many of these units are easy to set up on your own. Additionally, the inherent design of a teepee means you will have more headroom at the center and quite a bit of floor room by the time it's all set up and ready to use. A tent you can stand up in can make your camping trip a lot more comfortable. Modern teepees often feature screens, windows, and even a carbon monoxide detector.

Follow the Weather

For those heading into cold country, asoftshell rooftop tent could be just what you need. Not only do these versatile tents guarantee a flat surface, but you have the option to step down into fresh snow on a crisp winter morning instead of having to move it to get out of your tent.

Because a rooftop tent is built to store on the roof, you will have a lot more room in your vehicle for other supplies. If you are ready for a long stretch of peace and quiet in the woods, you will need room for food and more gear inside the vehicle. Your rooftop tent will be conveniently out of the way until you need it.

Allow for More Room in the Cold

No matter the tent you choose, make sure that you buy an oversized tent for your cold weather camping adventures. Winter gear is much bulkier and takes up more room. Making sure that everyone in your party of three or four can get to their pack easily in the middle of the night will be a lot more manageable if you have room for six people in your tent.

Weight Considerations

If you are planning to hike out and rough it, your tent choices will be very different. For example, you may choose to have each member of your party carry their own ultralight tent, or you may give one person the two-person tent and put the other person in charge of most of the other gear.

Be aware that ultralight tents are designed to be crawled into. Do not plan to spend part of a rainy day in your ultralight if you want to sit up, stretch or cook. However, if you are planning a trip to an extremely remote area at the end of a long hike, an ultralight can be an excellent shelter.

The great outdoors is a lot more enjoyable after a good night's sleep. Invest in a tent that gives you enough room to easily stretch out, read, and sleep. Unless you must reduce as much weight as possible, go a bit bigger. If you already have a tent that works well for sleeping but not much else, consider investing in a clamshell or screen shelter for daytime fun.

Sheryl Wright

Sheryl Wright is a freelance writer who specializes in digital marketing, inclusive business, and interior design. If she is not at home reading, she is at a farmer's market or climbing in the Rockies. She currently lives in Nashville, TN.