From the article, you will learn how to choose the right camping tent, what to look for, how much such a tent costs, how to use it. The information will be useful for novice travelers – those who are just mastering outdoor recreation in campsites.
I have a lot of experience of living in tents: hiking in Russia, camping in Europe even spent the night in frost. For me, living in a tent is not torture, but comfortable rest.
The most important thing is that the tent should be two-layer.
Don’t even look at single-layer tents. A camping tent is a greenhouse, but if it has two layers, it is a ventilated greenhouse. Moreover, in two-layer and cold weather, it is warmer and drier.
The two-layer tent consists of a waterproof awning and the tent itself is made of thin breathable fabric. The awning covers the top from rain. There is a decent ventilation gap between it and the ground.
The inner tent is thin, lightweight, and has windows that can be opened in any weather because there will be an awning above you. Depending on the design of the awning, it can also be opened if it’s hot and you still won’t get wet with rain.
The single-layer tent is all waterproof. It will be chilly in the morning, and you will wake up in a puddle of what you breathed during the night. Small vents won’t help even if you sleep there alone. The same will happen in the rain. The tent will be damp due to condensation.
Types of tents
The tents are divided according to their shape and purpose.
The form is not very important for the choice, it’s a matter of taste. But the purpose must be taken into account.
There are tourist tents according to their intended purpose (the names may differ for different manufacturers and stores):
- Trekking (hiking, expeditionary) – for hiking tours. They are light and small, you cannot stand in them at full height.
- Extreme (mountain, assault) – for ascents and overnight stays in places where, as a rule, it is very scary. They are even smaller and lighter than the previous ones.
- Fishing – designed for winter fishing and often has no gender. Very common in the form of a cube.
- Camping – large tents with a large vestibule. You can stand up in them, arrange a kitchen and a bedroom. Sometimes they have several rooms.
Varieties of tents
In this article, we are reviewing camping and trekking tents. For family holidays, other options are not suitable.
Camping or trekking?
If you are not planning to go hiking, but are only going to drive a car into nature, then buy a camping tent.
But if you want to walk or ride a bike, and sometimes get out by car with the whole family, then camping is not suitable. It is difficult to drag it on foot, it takes up a lot of space. But you can put the tracking machine in the car, it is more universal.
The advantage of a trekking tent is that it is more compact. Even a place to install it is easier to find. And it’s easier to put it. But at the campsite, you can stand up to your full height, and in the trekking room, you will have to crawl.
The tents can be divided by design:
The latter need to be tied to something, and these are mainly old Soviet tents. We will choose between frame and umbrellas.
The most common tents are two, three, or four people.
There are also singles, but they are more suitable for hiking than camping. You can find five-seater and more.
With places in the tent, everything is clear: if there are two of you, take a double, if four – a four-seater. Places at the tents are indicated for a recumbent adult with a small margin to turn and bend the knees.
You can take with a margin, for example, a three-seater for two, but you should not take less. Different companies have different dimensions, and three people can fit in a two-person tent, but it’s better not to do that.
Choose a camping tent so that an air mattress fits into it.
Pick up a set at once: tent + air mattress.
If you are traveling by car, then you don’t have to worry about the weight and size when assembled. Camping tents are usually large.
It is better to buy a trekking tent as light and compact as possible when assembled. You should carry it on your hikes.
But you shouldn’t get too carried away either, otherwise, in pursuit of compactness, you will climb into the zone of extreme tents, and they are expensive.
The tambour should be big.
Tramp Grot 4 tent with large vestibule
The camping tent will have a kitchen or dining room, and the trekking tent will store backpacks. It is very convenient when there are vestibules on both sides.
You cannot equip a kitchen in the vestibule of a trekking tent (you can still cook food in the rain), but this can always be done under an additional awning.
Waterproofness (water resistance)
The bottom and outer awning should be waterproof.
Modern tents are almost all arranged this way and keep rain and puddles under you well if it has formed there. You don’t have to go into the water-resistance values much, you will have enough of it.
If you don’t know already, water-resistance is measured in millimeters of the water column.
Awning near the tent – The water-resistance of the awning is usually 1000, 2000, or 3000 mm water column. 1000mm is less waterproof than 3000mm. In practice, this means that in a heavy downpour, one tent will get wet earlier, the other later.
A long downpour is rare, and prolonged rains are not heavy. Therefore, the value of 2000 mm of water column is enough for us. Just keep in mind that water resistance will slowly deteriorate over time.
The bottom of the tent
Water resistance for the bottom is usually made by 10,000 mm of the water column. The figure may differ slightly, but, in any case, if a puddle has formed under the tent, the bottom will not get wet. Although it is better to choose such an installation location so that a puddle does not appear there in principle.
Camping umbrella tent Outventure Second 2
Opens in one motion almost like an umbrella.
The advantage of this option is the installation speed. Minus in price, weight, reliability, maintainability, and size in the transport condition.
Frame tents (tents on arches)
The Salewa Denali II trekking tent with the awning removed. The tent is stretched out on arcs.
This is the most common construction of all types of modern tents.
The fabric of the tent is supported by a frame made of aluminum or plastic rods. The frame can be easily and cheaply repaired by replacing a part or directly in the forest using electrical tape.
Tip: Choose a tent with two or three arcs. A large number of arcs are more difficult to install.
The tent can be attached to the arches in different ways. It doesn’t matter for the first tent. Then, with experience, you will understand how it is more convenient for you.
The frame (arcs) is:
- aluminum – more reliable and lighter,
- plastic – cheaper and not much worse than aluminum,
- inflatable (rarely and only for camping) – faster to install, difficult to repair.
Camping tent Easy Camp with inflatable arches
Why tent stretchers
Stretchers are strings that hang from the outside. They are needed to prevent the tent from being blown away by a strong wind.
If you are buying a large camping tent, I advise you to always install all the guy wires. They should be stretched and tied tightly to pegs or trees. The weather can change quickly and a large tent is easily blown away by the wind.
What is the tent skirt for
Winter tent Lotus with skirt and stove
The skirt is part of the outer awning, the pieces of fabric that cover the gap between the awning and the ground. It is needed to keep it warmer.
The skirt impairs ventilation, in summer it is better to twist and fasten it to the awning. In winter, it is lowered and covered with snow on top.
Do I need a floor in the vestibule?
Not needed and usually, it is not there. It is convenient to take off your shoes in the vestibule under the awning. And if there is a floor, it will always be dirty, water will accumulate on it.
For camping tents, this is less relevant due to their large size.
What to look for
What makes the tent more comfortable and cozy:
- A shelf under the arch is an optional but handy thing.
- Pockets on the walls – there are in many tents, it is convenient to lay out all the little things from the pockets in them before going to bed.
- Mosquito nets are a must at all entrances and windows of the inner tent.
- Two entrances are optional, but very convenient, especially when someone needs to go out at night.
- Large vestibule – for camping tents, it is better to choose a larger and full-length vestibule.
- Stretching from the wind – on camping tents are required because they have a lot of wind.
- Transparent windows are not needed – this is the first thing that breaks in your tent. They are polyethylene (or something like that), under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, the windows will turn yellow and begin to crack.
- Ventilation – in some tents, the roof is made of breathable fabric. It’s good for the summer. There are tents with a chimney hole – this is a must for those who love winter fishing, ski trips, and a tourist bath.
- Weight – Lightweight is only important if you are going to carry the tent in your backpack while hiking.
- Folded size is also critical, mainly for hikers, but if the tent is very huge, then it will be a problem for motorists too.
Transparent windows on Salewa tent
How to make it comfortable
To the tent, you need to buy at least something else, on which you will sleep, but it is also better to buy something in which you will do it.
What to sleep on
The best option for a camping tent is an air mattress.
It is soft, warm, inexpensive, easy to inflate with a mechanical compressor, and, most importantly, it smooths out uneven ground well. It is only important to remember that the size of the tent must be such that this mattress fits there.
It is more difficult to find a mattress for a trekking tent, but still possible. If you plan to use it for hiking, then instead of a mattress, you need to buy a tourist mat (foam). Better thicker, it will be more difficult to twist it into a pipe, but it will be softer and warmer. It will be cold on thin.
Using a blanket or blanket as your only bedding is a very bad idea. Primarily because you will feel every bump on the ground. You will also be cold.
There are two more options for sleeping in a tent (but they are expensive):
- folding bed – good for camping, but expensive and takes up a lot of space in the car.
- A self-inflating rug is like an ordinary tourist rug, only expensive. Its advantage is its compactness when carrying.
Lifehack: when we spend the night in a tent in spring or autumn, we put another layer of foil roll insulation under the rugs so that the child is not cold.
What to sleep in
Sleeping is best in a sleeping bag. The choice of a sleeping bag is a topic for a separate conversation.
Briefly about sleeping bags:
- The advantage of the sleeping bag over the PBC is that it is more compact, lighter, and warmer. But for it to warm, it must be fastened completely and all the strings must be tightened.
- The best sleeping bag is downy, but it is more expensive. Holofiber is also not bad, but more voluminous.
- By design, sleeping bags are in the form of cocoons and blankets. The cocoon is warmer but more expensive. For summer camping, a blanket is enough, for hiking it is better to buy a cocoon.
- Choose the temperature of the sleeping bag in the range of + 10-15 ° C (it is indicated on it). The temperature is very approximate, almost a finger to the sky.
- The bedrooms can be fastened and slept together, but you need to select models that match each other and it is better to buy both at once.
Do you need a pillow?
You can take pillows to camp by car You don’t need to go on a hike. I get around with a jacket tucked into the sleeping bag cover.
How to live in a tent
Camp in the woods and another option for installing an awning
Here are some more tips to make your tent life more comfortable.
- Leave your shoes under the awning, do not bring them into the tent. Bring rubber slates for camping or camping.
- If the nights are cold, it is better to tie the sleeping bag with all the ties and fasteners.
- Always keep zippers closed in the sleeping area of the tent. This way you will have fewer mosquitoes, and sometimes snakes will crawl there.
- If you see that a thunderstorm is coming, tie all the guy wires and stick in all the pegs. For camping tents, this is a must at all times. Otherwise, the wind will put your tent on the ground and break the frame. Or take it somewhere.
- If it’s cold, wear woolen socks first. If you run out of clothes at night on a hike, and you are still freezing, you can put your legs along with a sleeping bag in a backpack.
Tent and camping life can be made more comfortable by purchasing additional equipment. Now so many things have been invented that a campground can be furnished no worse than an apartment if only there was money.
I will list only what I use:
- A large awning – so as not to sit in the tent in the rain, and in sunny weather, there is a shade.
- Awning poles are a useful thing to avoid climbing trees and tying strings there.
- Chairs – highly recommend for camping. Sitting is better on chairs than on the ground or tree stump. But if you think that the chairs are expensive, buy at least a seat cushion (a piece of foam, fastened to the bottom with an elastic band)
- The table is also better off the ground.
- Mesh under the table – we have it but have not yet used it.
- Gas burner – you can cook over a fire, but the pot will be covered with a layer of soot, this is the main and very unpleasant minus. It is better to cook on a tourist burner and light a fire for the entourage.
In the end, let me remind you once again that the tent should be two-layer. Hope I helped you decide. In the comments write what model of tent you have and why it is good.