Choosing the right tent can be a tough task for even the most experienced camper, because you can never know fully what to expect. In Britain especially, a joyful sunlit morning can swiftly derail into a soggy afternoon spent glumly munching Hob Nobs beside an extinguished bonfire. But you can greatly increase your comfort and general happiness by investing in the right camping equipment, and most importantly, the best possible tent for the job. A tent is your temporary home for the duration of your stay, so if it's not suited to the conditions, you could be in for a bumpy (and wet!) ride. We've compiled this handy buyers' guide to purchasing a tent, so you can make the most informed purchase.
What to consider when buying your tent:
You'll need to consider how you'll be transporting your tent. If you're travelling by car, you could probably treat yourself to a heavier weight tent, for example our Hyperion 3 person tent, which has fully taped seams and is more or less guaranteed to stay sturdy even in the growliest of storms. If you're backpacking on the other hand, you'll need something lightweight like our Lightweight Backpacker Tent, which is ideal for on-the-go adventurers. If you're camping in conditions that you know are going to be moderate and mild, you could even go for our Pop Up 2 person single skin tent, which is 1.84KG, and therefore very lightweight and easy to carry.
Weight is also highly affected by the tent poles that you use. Most of our tent poles are constructed with high strength, lightweight aluminium. Bear in mind that some of our tents do have fibre glass poles, which are slightly heavier, but not enough to make an obvious difference to your overall weight.
The weight you choose will also be dictated by the temperatures you're planning on camping in.
If you're going to be camping in warm summer conditions, then a lighter tent is going to be more suitable than a heavy tent. A lightweight tent like the Pop Up Single Skin tent would be good for warm, dry conditions but wouldn't stand up to heavy rain. Ventilation is key in avoiding condensation; look for tents with generous amounts of mesh for summer camping, as well as a rain fly that ends a few inches off the ground. You should purchase your tent anticipating the coldest weather you are likely to encounter.
Consider how many people are going to be staying in the tent, and then accommodate for this. It's generally best to buy a tent that is a size larger than you think you'll need, as camping equipment, outdoor clothing and accessories take up a fair amount of room and you can guarantee that you'll enjoy the extra space. So if there are two of you, go for a 3-4 person tent, and so on. Your festival fun will be that much more enjoyable with the extra space; our Festival Patterned Dome or Hyperion 2 person tent will be ideal. A large communal vestibule can be a great method of storage, so if you plan to take a lot of outdoor gear and equipment, consider purchasing a tent that has one of these; the Callisto 4 person tent might be a wise choice.
Tips and Tricks:
It may be a good idea to practice pitching your tent in the back garden before you let yourself loose into the wild.
Colour: If you're using your tent at a festival, it can be a good idea to choose a distinctive patterned or coloured tent that will stand out in a crowd, letting you find it easily. A brightly coloured tent can also be handy if you're camping in a remote location, as it means you can be found easily. Aesthetically, it can also be pleasant to have a colour that casts a warm, ambient glow as opposed to a gloomy one; pinks, reds and oranges can do this, whereas blue will seem darker and colder – although this is down to personal preference.
Consider whether you want separate sleeping areas, or whether you would like one big room.
Hydrostatic Head: The British standard for any fabric to be classed as fully waterproof is 1500mm. The Hydrostatic head is tested by placing a column of water 1cm2 over the fabric and adjusting the height of the column to obtain the rating.
Tunnel: These tents contain a number of hoop shaped poles that give the tent its tunnel shape. Tunnels are popular among family campers due to the extra head room created by this structure.
Dome: Among the most popular styles of tents available. Made up of two poles that cross over in the centre and affix to each corner, they are quick and easy to pitch and provide unbeatable stability in windy conditions. They also have a spacious inner, subject to the tents size.
Taped seams: This means that the seams are completely sealed; a tent that has this feature will be much more waterproof than one that does not.