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How To Choose The Best Tent: Top 3 Factors To Consider

orange camping tent under the blue sky on top of a hill

You’ll need shelter after a day of adventure if you’re going backpacking or camping. A proper tent that meets your needs enhances your outdoor experience. However, given the numerous options available from various brands on the market, selecting the best tent can be difficult, that’s why I have listed the best 3 considerations for choosing a tent

Many options equal confusion, which leads to making poor decisions or simply giving up. However, certain characteristics and considerations will assist you in narrowing it down. Here are the top three factors to think about when making the best decision.

Top 3 Considerations For Choosing The Best Tent

  1. The amount of space you need

The amount of space required depends on the number of people and the equipment you  carry. In most cases, the size of the tent is indicated by the number of people it can accommodate or the size of the floor. For example, if your tent is listed as a 4-person tent, it can comfortably accommodate 4 people. 

However, there is no industry standard for tent capacity. You can push it into a  tent for 4 people with the other 3 people. For comfort, we recommend considering a larger size. Especially in the case of car camping, a rough guide is to buy a tent that sleeps one or two more people than planned.

When backpacking, you may want to forego some comfort in exchange for a lightweight tent. As a result, it is best to purchase a tent that is rated for the number of people you intend to sleep with.

Aside from the size of the tent floor, you should also consider the headroom. Check your height in relation to the peak height of the tent. If you intend to spend more time inside, the tent should allow you to stand comfortably. For more information, look at the shelter’s dimensions. If you are taller than the average person, you should consider purchasing a tall person tent.

  1. Type of camping you plan to do

The best tent for you will depend on the season and the type of camping you plan to do. Will you be camping in a backcountry where you have to carry a tent in a kayak or backpack, or in a makeshift park next to your car? Are you planning to travel in summer, winter, spring, or fall?

Backpacking, canoeing, hiking, or bike touring

Size and weight are important considerations when planning a camping trip that will require you to carry the tent through muddy portages or on your back. It’s worth noting that you’ll also be carrying other supplies like clothing, cooking gear, food, and water, so having an ultra-lightweight shelter comes in handy.

Buy a backpacking tent as they are:

  • Compact, which saves space in your pack
  • Lightweight
  • Smaller so it will fit in squeezed wild campsites
  • N/B: With lightweight tents, you may sacrifice interior space and durability. Always try to make a balance between these three factors.

Car camping or vehicle camping

There are numerous tent options if you plan to go car camping. Because you will not be carrying the tent and other gear over long distances, size and weight become secondary considerations. Therefore, you can afford to aim for a tent with more capacity such as a 10 person tent

You should look for a camping tent that has the following features:

  • Large and spacious, with enough headroom to stand comfortably inside
  • There are numerous windows for lighting and ventilation
  • The largest tent that can sleep +1 or +2 more people than you intend to sleep in
  • Although it is not intended to be compact or lightweight, you should ensure that the foldable size fits in your car trunk

Camping in winter

The best tent to choose depends on the weather and season, whether you are car camping or backpacking. If you plan to go camping during winter season, invest in a four-season tent to keep you safe from the elements. As a result, four-season tents are ideal for mountaineering excursions, winter camping, and ski touring because they can withstand strong winds and shed heavy snow.

Camping in spring, fall, and summer

If you plan on camping in the spring, fall, or summer, you should invest in a three-season tent. During the winter, the 3-season tent can withstand rain and wind but cannot shed heavy snow. Consider one with more mesh panels for ventilation if you’re going camping during the summer. If it’s likely to rain while you’re camping, invest in a rainfly tent to keep water away from your shelter. In any case, when camping in the summer, you should look for a tent that is designed for hot weather.

  1. Additional features and accessories

Tents can be comfortable and practical even if they are only used as temporary accommodation. Consider the following extra features and accessories for a pleasurable time in the wilderness:


Vestibules are the camping tent’s front porches, mudrooms, and garages. This is where you can store your equipment and even remove your shoes. Choose a tent with a vestibule if your chosen tent has the same capacity as the people you intend to sleep with. Some tents, however, do not include vestibules but do offer the option to purchase one.


If you’re going with family or friends, you might want to consider a tent with multiple doors. An extra door allows you to exit the tent without tripping over others. The additional doors, however, make the tent bulkier and heavier, and if backpacking, you may want to avoid extras. If you require a bit of privacy when camping with children or friends, then consider investing in a multi-room tent.

Pockets and organization

Tent pockets may appear to be opulent until you can’t find your belongings inside the shelter. Imagine waking up and being unable to locate your car keys or finding everything cluttered. That’s where the value of pockets and organizers will become apparent. Consider a tent with at least one or two pockets, and if you have a lot of gear, a tent with multiple pockets might be the best option.

Ease of setup

After a long day of adventure, the last thing you want to do is spend hours setting up a tent. Look for a tent with color-coded poles and attachments that takes less time to set up. A shelter with printed instructions is ideal because you won’t have to worry about misplacing the guide. It’s worth noting that larger tents typically take longer to set up than smaller ones.


A rainfly is an important feature to think about, especially if you’re camping during the rainy season. It’s a waterproof roof that you can put over your tent’s top. For maximum protection from the elements, such as storms, choose a tent with a full rainfly, or a partial rainfly if you want more light.


To avoid waking up to condensation all over your tent, purchase a tent with adequate ventilation. Wetness causes your bedding and clothing to become damp, which can make you sick. A shelter with strategically placed vents and rainfly ventilation is the best option.


The tent floor sees a lot of use and abuse, particularly in family tents. Look for a tent with a sturdy floor made of long-lasting materials. This ensures that the tent lasts a long time and keeps moisture out. Nonetheless, it is always best to use a tent footprint, which is a fabric that goes underneath your tent to protect it from abrasions.

Ability to customize

It is critical to purchase an easy-to-customize tent because you may not be able to obtain all of the features and accessories in a single tent. If your tent doesn’t have enough pockets or pre-installed lights, make sure it has loops on the wall or ceiling that will allow you to install a gear loft and lights.

Final Thoughts

The best tent for you should meet your needs in terms of space, camping activities, additional features, and accessories. Once you’ve decided on one, inspect the material quality and purchase one that is within your price range. However, if you want quality and durability, you should always be willing to spend a little more.

About the author: 

Name: Ally Mash

Bio: A world traveler and outdoor enthusiast, Ally has spent most of his free time backpacking through South America, Iceland, Vietnam, and Europe. His mission is to get more people in the mindset of protecting our planet by sharing its beauty with fellow adventurers like him on Adventures Pursuit!

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