The Right Tent
So you are after a tent? Whether it is heading off to the wilds of Scotland, or even worse, off to Glastonbury festival, Webtogs will help you find the tent that is right for you.
The guide is split in to several sections, simply click on the links below to get taken straight to them.
- What Do I Need To Ask Myself Before I Buy My Tent?
- What Types Of Tent Are There Out There?
- Features To Look Out For
What Do I Need To Ask Myself Before I Buy My Tent?
There are a couple of things you need to ask yourself before you work out what tent to buy
How will you be lugging it around? Will it be by car or on your back? Fairly critical either for your wallet or your back! If you are travelling around by car and camping out of the boot, you might not need that ultra expensive, super lightweight an ant could carry kind of tent. At the same time if you are backpacking, carrying the 10 person de-luxe family tent with sauna, may result in you moving a couple of metres a day. Go for the tent that is appropriate for your transportation. If travelling by car, a little more weight is not a problem, if it’s all in your pack however, you need to watch the weight of the tent you are carrying.
How many people will it be sleeping? Fairly easy one to answer this. One top tip we would give families though is always get a tent with slightly more space than you need right now in case that little brother or sister comes along. Along the same lines if you get a tent too small for your needs, it can force you and your sleeping bag into contact with condensation-wetted walls and allow water through. Make sure you have enough space both to sleep and for your kit.
What sort of weather are you going to be camping in? Summer camping will never be a problem, but if you fancy camping in spring or autumn you will need a tent that can cope with the weather conditions those seasons can throw at you. If you want to Winter camp, it’s even more critical that you ensure the tent can cope with four season pitching. All manufacturers will give you a guide as to what seasons a tent can cope with.
Where will you be camping? If you are off to a festival, our motto would be keep it as cheap as possible, as the chances of your tent getting stepped on by the drunk from the next field down at 3am in the morning is high. It’s probably therefore not going to need to be that technical or have a mass of features. Likewise if you are camping on the top of mountains you will need a robust tent to cope with the high winds and to ensure that your tent remains stable, most probably a geodesic tent. Think carefully about the range of environments you are likely to visit and ensure that your tent can cope with the worst of them.
Are you feeling flush? The million dollar question, and only you can answer this, is how much can you afford? It always amuses me that people spend a fortune on hard shell jackets and really skimp when it comes to tents. I’ve always found it a little easier to cope with a bit of leakage in a jacket if I am moving around. I definitely don’t want to be coping with leaks when I am safely tucked up in my sleeping bag though! Simply put, go for the best you can afford.
What Types Of Tent Are There Out There?
There are lots and lots of designs out there, knowing what’s what will help you choose the best design for your needs.
• Dome Tent - Generally a good design for getting a lot of height, but isn’t the most stable design in the world. Great for festivals and summer camping.
• Tunnel Tent - Pitched so that the end faces the direction of the wind, these can offer a good amount of space and stability. Most lightweight tents feature a variation of this.
• Frame Tent - Older design for large family tents, pretty darn heavy to get up but once up, it’ll take something serious weather wise to trouble it.
• Ridge Tent - Older design rarely seen in new tents, think old style Scouts and Guides tents! Needs guy lines to maintain structure as not very stable but easy to put up Otherwise known as an A frame tent.
• Semi Geodesic Dome Tent - Geodesic structures are some of the strongest in nature and geodesic tents rely on poles to interlock giving rigidity and still distributing stress across the structure. Mostly high end tents use this design.
• Fully Geodesic Dome Tent - Same as above though has an extra pole to make it completely geodesic. The most stable tent design though relatively heavy due to the extra pole. Full on mountain expedition tents tend to use this design.
Features To Look Out For
• Vestibule - Place for you to store your gear, also stops wind and rain coming directly in to the inner tent. Depending on the size, can let you cook if the weather is not agreeable.
• Ventilation – The more ventilation a tent has the drier you will be as they are the sole means of getting rid of condensation. Unlike hard shells, tent fabric is not breathable, so vents are crucial to keep you dry.
• Insect Nets – Not so much a problem for the great British climate, but if you are going abroad or if global warming becomes worse, fairly useful for keeping the Mozzies out. Generally these are included as an extra door into the inner tent to let the air flow but to keep the pesky flies out.
• Storage – Pockets & gear lofts all help to keep your stuff tidy, which when you are in a small tent is a very handy thing.
• Guy Ropes – Ropes that add stability to a tent, helping it keep its shape. Also there to trip unsuspecting drunks on their way back to their tent at festivals :-)
• Bathtub – This relates to groundsheets, and means the groundsheet takes a tub shape. It’s not huge around 10cm high but means you get to survive minor floods.
• Poles – Usually made from interlocking alloy with an internal shockcord to hold them together,
• Single Skinned / Double Skinned – Refers to how many layers a tent has. Generally those crazy Americans only have one. Ok, to be fair they only need one as it’s so dry across there. As a tip though, we would not recommend getting one for good old Blighty unless you are planning on travelling seriously light and can put up with a small amount of dampness……
This is just our guide but we know that with the range of tents we have, buying one can still be a daunting business. If you are still deliberating, E mail us with any questions you might have, we’ll do our darnedest to match you up with the tent that’s right for you, and ensure that you have a good nights sleep wherever you end up.