Tent camping is one of the basic and easiest ways to get started camping.

A tent according to Webster a tent is a collapsible shelter of fabric (as nylon or canvas) stretched and sustained by poles and used for camping outdoors or as a temporary building.

There are many styles of tents on the market. Picking the right one for you can be a challenge but all you really need to do is think about a couple of things to pick the right one.

Lets go over the type of tents first. Here are the basic types. Most tents can fit into one of these categories.

Pup Tent

The Pup tent is the simplest of tents and can be as simple as a piece of fabric or plastic strung between two poles. These are good for quick shelters, and as a tent for backpacking. Their main drawback is that they are not very strong, and do not hold up to high winds, and they are small, normally just big enough for one person and their gear.

Dome Tent

Dome tents come in a large number of sizes and ratings. There are also hybrid dome/cabin tents that are big enough for 10 people. Dome tents can be lite weight and just right for backpacking. They can be simple to put up or be a lot of work if they are made for extreme winds and temperature settings. Most people will probably use a dome tent for most of the camping they will every do. Most dome tents can be setup by two people in only a couple of minutes. The main draw back to dome tents is that there are so many on the market that you have to be careful or you will get one that will be more trouble then it is worth.

Cabin Tent

The Cabin Tent is a straight wall tent normally with metal poles that have two or more rooms. The Cabin tent can be setup so you have sleeping quarters on one side and an eating area on the other. These are great for larger families and for extended camping in one place. The draw back is that they can be heavy and hard to setup without two or more people.

There are other styles, but most will fit into one of the above categories or be a variation on them.

When picking out your tent lets consider a couple of things:

  • Size: How big do you need? Pick one big enough for you, and your gear. If you are going to be camping for a couple of days you need room for all your gear. You need enough room for every one and their gear.  
  • Weather: When looking at tents think about the weather that you will be camping in, will it be summer with sun and maybe a light rain, spring with lots of rain, fall with high winds, or winter with snow. Look for a solid structure and a good rain-fly. Check the type of floor, cheaper tents use thin nylon on the floor that can leak and easily rip, heavy nylon or polyester or a trap like bottom will last longer. Look at what type of seems the tent has, double seems that have been folded and coated will last longer. Make sure the tent is waterproof, and the rain-fly need to cover the tent well.
  • Strength: Good solid material, sturdy poles, good stakes, and heavy duty zippers, will make the tent last longer.
  • Features: You want a tent with windows that have good mesh to keep the bugs out and let air in. Ventilation is very important.
  • Finally Setup: How many people does it take to put up the tent and how long? You can have a great tent but if it take four people over an hour to setup it is not worth it, pick one that can be put up by one or two people in 10-25 minutes.

Remember when looking at tents that you do get what you pay for. You can find good deals but you do have to look around.

A couple of things to also consider when picking a tent is that if you are camping with outs that you will want a little extra room per person, and if you are going to use cots that most tent are narrower at the top than the bottom, so give yourself a little extra room for that also.

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