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Tents Buying Guide Hero Image

Tent Buying Guide

Shopping for a tent is like shopping for a home; there are dozens of styles, designs, sizes, and features to consider.

How do you intend to use this tent?

I'm driving to a campsite. Comfort and utility are my top priorities.

I will be camping in harsh conditions with heavy wind and snow.

I'm hiking in to a campsite, I need compact lightweight shelter.

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Car Camping

I'm driving to a campsite. Comfort and utility are my top priorities.

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Backpacking

I'm hiking in to a campsite, I need compact lightweight shelter.

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Expedition or Mountaineering

I will be camping in harsh conditions with heavy wind and snow.

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Other

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Seasons

Three-season tents are structured to handle strong winds (but not snow loads), and the walls are made from mesh, which strikes a good balance between ventilation and protection. Four-season tents feature tough fabrics, sturdy …

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Trail Weight

If you’re backpacking into a camping destination on your own, you typically want a tent that weighs less than 5 pounds; whereas if you’re backpacking with a group and are dividing the weight, you can go up to 8 pounds. If …

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Pole Material

The vast majority of good backpacking tents use aluminum poles, which are strong, light, and easy to replace. Fiberglass poles are found on inexpensive, light-duty tents; they're cheaper, heavier, and less durable. Carbon …

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Design Type

Tents come in several configurations; each has its pros and cons.

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Number of Doors

A tent with just one door is lighter than a two door tent, but causes people to crawl over each other to get in and out. Two doors really boost the comfort/livability factor of a tent, especially when each door is protected by …

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Sleeping Capacity

Sleeping capacity generally denotes the number of campers that can sleep snugly in a tent, with little room for gear. Get a tent with additional capacity if you intend to store gear inside or if you have a dog. When looking at …

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