5 Things to Consider When Buying a Tent

There are few things to consider when reviewing and purchasing a new camping tent. You need to look for features that you will enjoy and use for years to come. Deciding ahead of time what your new tent budget is will narrow your choices greatly. Once you have your budget in mind, it’s time to analyze the features of the camping tents in your price range. Let’s get going by checking the most important features for your new tent.


The size of the tent is probably the most important decision when buying a new tent. Tent capacity is based on the total square footage, how many average size adults and gear will fit in it. One that holds all your gear and is the correct size for the number of people that will occupy it is the right size for you. For example, a 4-person tent will accommodate four people, but there may be very little elbow room or extra storage space.

You’ll find a 5-person tent will be more comfortable for four people and you will have additional space to spread out and store some gear too. For a family of four I would recommend a 5 or 6 person model, this will ensure you do have enough room for all campers and their gear. Tents with screen rooms attached are great for storing gear and providing a place to eat or relax.


The weight of your tent is usually only a concern if you’re backpacking or hiking trails. Your ability may also depend on fellow campers and the material your tent is made of. Canvas tents are much heavier than nylon and may require additional help or stronger bodies for assembly. Choosing wisely will save you time and make setup a breeze.

Ease of Assembly:

Most camping tents are simple to setup, but some are much easier than others. New designs with what is known as Insta frames are buy far the easiest and quickest to set up, but are usually smaller in size. For standard frame models, look for ones that have shock corded poles. This helps keep the poles from getting mixed up, makes for quick and easy setup.

Tent Fabrics:

Their it a lot of debate over which fabric is best for a camping tent, Canvas has been used for over a hundred years and for many is a good and popular choice. Nylon is relativity new compared to canvas, but you will find most tents are made with this for several reasons, one being weight and another is cost.

When treated properly, canvas tents will most likely outlast the nylon models. Just keep in mind that canvas products are usually about twice the weight and require much stronger poles.

Tent Poles:

Your frame system can be made from several types of materials including, steel, aluminum and fiberglass. Some exotic tents may even have carbon fiber for poles, but those are generally not what the average camper is looking for. I personally use tents with steel frames, but have occasionally used aluminum or fiberglass.

Most cabin style tents will feature steel frames and almost all dome tents will use aluminum or fiberglass. If purchasing a cabin style tent, your probably limited to steel, which is good since these tents are usually larger and heavier.

Dome style tents should be obtained with aluminum poles if possible, fiberglass poles are usually reserved for less expensive tents.

Additional Considerations:

A full coverage fly is essential for rain protection, roof vents for control of condensation and tube style floors for camping in rainy areas. Types of window screen is another import consideration, standard mesh will keep most insects out, but for complete protection, no-see-um mesh is essential. Everything else that may come into play are generally convenience items, storage pockets, room separators in cabin tents and vestibules for gear storage.

Choosing your new tent wisely will ensure years of use and enjoyment for you and your family.