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When choosing your tent, first choose a model based on your group's size and whether or not you might need additional space for extra friends, gear or dogs. Keep in mind, however, that no industry standard exists that defines per-person tent dimensions.
When evaluating tent capacity ratings, our general advice is this: Assume a close fit. If you seek more room, consider upsizing your tent capacity by 1 person, particularly if you or your usual tent companion(s):
By far the most popular choice of tents, 3-season tents are lightweight shelters designed for the relatively temperate conditions of spring, summer and fall. They are usually equipped with ample mesh panels to boost air flow. Mesh panels keep out insects (but can still let in powdery blowing sand). Properly pitched with a taut rainfly, 3-season tents can withstand downpours but are not the best choice for sustained exposure to harsh storms, violent winds or heavy snow.
Extended-season (3+ season) tents are engineered for prolonged 3-season usage, suitable for summer use but also trips in early spring and late fall when moderate snow may be encountered. Their goal: offer a balance of ventilation, strength and warmth-retention.
Typically they include 1 or 2 more poles and fewer mesh panels than pure 3-season models. This makes them sturdier and warmer than their 3-season cousins. Extended-season tents are a good choice for those who make frequent trips to exposed, high-elevation destinations. While very sturdy, they are not as fully fortified for harsh winter weather as 4-season tents.
Engineered to withstand fierce winds and substantial snow loads, mountaineering tents can be used in any season. Their chief function, though, is to stand firm in the face of seriously inhospitable weather, principally in winter or above treeline.
They use more poles and heavier fabrics than 3-season tents. Their rounded dome designs eliminate flat roof spaces where snow can collect. They offer few mesh panels and rainflies that extend close to the ground. This hinders ventilation and can make them feel warm and stuffy in mild weather. But when foul winds begin to howl, a 4-season tent provides a reassuring place of refuge.
Cabin-style tents feature near-vertical walls to maximize overall peak height and livable space, (and some models come with family-pleasing features such as room dividers and an awning, or a vestibule door that can be staked out as such).
Dome-style tents offer superior strength and wind-shedding abilities, both of which you'll appreciate on a stormy night. They stand tall in the center, but their walls have more of a slope which slightly reduces livable space.
When choosing your tent, think about the number of doors you need as well as their shape and orientation. If you're camping with your family, multiple doors help you avoid climbing over each other for midnight bathroom breaks. Cabin-style tents tend to shine in this area. Also note how easy or noisy the doors are to zip open and shut. YKK zippers on the doors resist snagging and breaking better than others.
A tent's pole structure helps determines how easy or hard it is to pitch. Virtually all family tents these days are freestanding. This means they do not require stakes to set up. The big advantage of this is that you can pick the tent up and move it to a different location prior to staking. You can also easily shake dirt out of it before taking it down.
Fewer poles allow faster setups. It's also easier to attach poles to clips than it is to thread them through long pole sleeves. Many tents use both clips and short pole sleeves in an effort to balance strength, ventilation and setup ease. Color-coded corners and pole clips also make setup faster. Aluminum poles are stronger and more durable than fiberglass.
A rainfly is a separate waterproof cover designed to fit over the roof of your tent. Use it whenever rain or dew is expected, or any time you want to retain a little extra warmth. Two rainfly types are common. Roof-only rainflies allow more light and views while offering fair rain protection. Full-coverage rainflies offer maximum protection from wind and rain.
Shelters or awnings attach to your tent for the purpose of storing or sheltering your muddy or dusty boots or keeping your packs out of the rain. They can be an integral part of the rainfly or add-on items that are sold separately.
Mesh panels are often used in the ceiling, doors and windows of tents. This allows views and enhances cross-ventilation to help manage condensation. For hot, humid climates, seek out larger mesh panels.
A lantern loop is often placed at the top-center of a tent's ceiling for hanging a lantern. Loops on interior tent walls can be used to attach a mesh shelf (called a gear loft, sold separately) to keep small items off of the tent floor. Similarly, interior pockets help keep your tent organized.
This is a custom-fitted groundcloth (usually sold separately) that goes under your tent floor. Tent floors can be tough, but rocks, twigs and dirt eventually take a toll. A footprint costs far less to replace than a tent. For family tents that get a lot of in/out foot traffic, this is especially useful. Also, footprints are sized to fit your tent shape exactly, so they won't catch water like a generic groundcloth that sticks out beyond the floor edges. Water caught that way flows underneath your tent and can seep through the floor fabric.
Items to bring on camping trips vary depending on the destination and who's going with you. Equipment that every camping experience has in common, however, include basics such tents, cooking tools, sleeping bags, a light source, food, cooler, water, sealable freezer bags and garbage bags. Here are some tips on what to add to your kit for three camping experiences that require a little additional preparation.
Spacious, user-friendly, and feature-rich, camping tents are made for a relatively luxurious experience in the outdoors. Many of these behemoths offer enough room to set up cots or even chairs and a table for card games on a rainy day. For car campers who take a couple trips each year during the summer months, even the cheapest tents on this list should perform fine. For tougher weather conditions or more frequent use, it's worth spending up for better materials and interior space. Below we break down the best camping tents of 2023. For more background information, see our comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
NEMO always seems to come out with thoughtful and creative tent designs, and the second option from their collection to make our list this year is the Wagontop 4P. This tent has excellent interior space with a standing-height ceiling at the entrance (this unique design beats out dome-shaped tents in terms of headroom), a hubbed pole structure with near-vertical walls, and an optional garage accessory for even more storage. Throw in fun panoramic windows and add-ons like a Victory Blanket (sold separately) that matches the tent floor dimensions, and you have a fun and fully featured camping tent.
As we touched on in the section above, a weather-worthy tent is one of the main reasons to upgrade to a premium camping model. In most cases, the pole materials (aluminum is better than fiberglass) and designs are more robust, seam sealing and waterproof fabrics improve in quality, and the inclusion of full-coverage rainflies help keep out blowing rain. It's good to keep in mind that the weather can still get plenty rowdy in the summer, particularly in the mountains (and some national parks).
Weight is the most important consideration, but you still need to make sure your tent fits in your backpack or easily straps to the outside of it. Once you buy, practice packing the tent in its stuff sack, and think about the best way to distribute the load among multiple packs.
This is another online search or, better yet, a conversation with a camping store employee. Most tents these days are pretty intuitive, but some are easier than other to set up in a gale-force wind or in the pitch dark. Tip: Always practice setting up your tent in your backyard before you go camping.
An RV Pass is required for each RV to enter the campgrounds (think of it like a festival ticket for your RV). Each RV space will be 20' x 50', and tents can be set up if they are within this space. Any slides or awnings must fit within the designated space as well.
Ready to talk numbers Just like in a race where you need to pace yourself and strategize, it's important to weigh your options and do your research to ensure that you're making the right decision for your budget and needs when it comes to investing in a tent for your event.
Renting a tent may seem like a no-brainer for a one-time event, but it's important to consider the recurring costs that can quickly run up. If you're planning to pitch your tent multiple times, buying is where it's at. With a purchased tent, you'll have a faithful companion for all your future events and business needs. Plus, you'll have the freedom to choose the quality and style that suits your needs, without the hassle of availability or rental fees. American Tent has got your back with our top-of-the-line, commercial-grade event tents that are built to last a marathon of events. And with our affordable purchase prices and financing options, investing in a tent has never been easier. Whether you decide to rent or buy, we're here to help you make the right call.
While purchasing a tent definitely has its perks, it's important to also consider the advantages of renting. If you're planning a short-term event and need a tent, renting can provide the agility and speed you need to make it happen without breaking the bank. And let's not forget about the stress-free benefits of renting: maintenance and storage are taken care of by the rental company, so you can kick back and enjoy the event. Plus, if you're not quite ready to make a big purchase, renting can be a budget-friendly option. At the end of the day, it's all about finding that sweet spot between cost and value that works best for you. 59ce067264