There are lots of tents on the market, which can make choosing your first one a bit intimidating. There’s big ones, little ones, three-season, four-season, ultra-light etc. I made a couple of mistakes when buying my first tent, so I’ve put together these simple tips to help you not make the same mistakes I did and buy the right tent!
Buy a Bigger Tent Than You Think You Need
Buying camping gear the first time isn’t cheap. I camp with a partner so we needed a tent that would fit two people so I made the mistake of trying to save a few bucks and just got a two person tent. Needless to say after the 2nd or 3rd time using it I upgraded to a 3 person tent with some extra space. Now the 2 person one just sits unused in my garage.
Rule of thumb: Always buy a tent that’s one person bigger than you need. You’ll have more room to store gear and be way more comfortable.
Try Before You Buy
Once you’ve narrowed down your options to a tent that will suit your needs. Try it out! It’s one thing to read about dimensions and how many people your tent fits, it’s a whole other thing to actually get inside a tent and feel it for yourself. Tent’s are one thing you shouldn’t buy online. Head to your local outdoor store and get in the tent that you want to buy. If they don’t have your tent displayed on the floor ask a salesperson to set one up for you to try.
Rule of thumb: All tents feel different. Always get in a tent in the showroom before you lay down your cash.
Get A Tent Footprint
Always buy a footprint for your tent. Many tents come with one but if you need to buy one separately, DO IT!. You’ll prevent the wear and tear of your tent against the ground and protect your investment in a new tent.
Rule of thumb: Buy a tent that includes a footprint or get the manufacture’s recommended footprint. You can get away with a tarp, but the manufacturer’s footprints will fit your tent better and pack up lighter than a tarp.
Get a Compression Bag for Your Tent
Tents come in their own bag which work well if you’re car camping but if you are backpacking you’ll want to get a compression bag. You’ll be able to pack up your tent into a smaller package with one and save a bunch of space in your backpack.
Practice Setting Up Your Tent
Most tents these days are pretty intuitive and easy to setup, but some are easier than others in windy conditions or in the dark.
Practice setting up your tent in your backyard before you use it for the first time. You not only want to do this to learn how to set it up but you’ll also ensure all the poles, zippers etc. are there and in working order.
Rule of Thumb: It’s also a good idea to setup your tent if you haven’t used it for a while just to make sure everything is still in good shape.