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Knowing how large of a tent you'll need for your camping trip is important. (Adobe stock image)

How to Pick Out a Tent

By Nushin Huq

Between 2 Pines Magazine

Tents come in different shapes, sizes, and price points. Picking out a tent can be an overwhelming task for a first time buyer, but at Between 2 Pines, we hope we can help with that process. Here are five things to consider when picking out a tent.


  1. How large of a tent should I get?
    How many people will be using the tent? When companies label the number of people a tent holds, it usually means that many adults sleeping right next to each, with not much wiggle room. If a family of four with small children buys a four person tent, it will probably be enough room, but if the group is all adults, you might want to estimate and get a tent that holds two more. For example, a six-person tent for a group of four. 

  2. Do you need a tent with more than one "room"?
    A basic tent, when set up, will give you one big room. Some larger tents are designed to have separate rooms, add on garages, etc. If you've never been camping before and are not sure how often you'll go, stick with a basic tent. They are faster to put up (though with enough practice, most tents are), and take down.

  3. What type of camping trip is this?
    Will this be a car camping trip (where you park your car at your campsite so you don't have to worry about carrying gear long distance)? If you are backpacking, you'll need to consider weight.

  4. Do I need anything else?
    You'll need a ground cover to put under your tent. You can use a tarp, or shower curtain (make sure once tent is up, you fold the tarp under to ensure it is same size as tent. An alternate is buying a footprint for the tent. Buying a footprint means the ground cover will fit the tent exactly and you don't have to worry about folding it exactly, which may or may not be worth the additional cost since they are usually sold separately.

  5. What else can you tell me?
    Practice setting up and taking down your tent in at home before setting out on your first trip. A mallet helps with stakes and a small brush can help keep leaves out. Never store food in your tent. Before storing your tent, hang everything to dry, to prevent mold growth.

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