Choosing an appropriate tent can increase the enjoyment of hiking and backpacking trips and adventures. If you are a beginning hiker, here are tips to help you select a good tent for your personal requirements.
One of the single heaviest items you will be carrying on overnight hiking and backpacking trips is your tent. Generally, tents increase in price in proportion to the decrease in their weight. Buy as lightweight of a tent as you can afford, keeping in mind that you will have to carry it. First time hikers should be able to find tents under seven pounds for a reasonable price. Later you can consider upgrading to a lighter weight, higher priced tent.
Tents with Easy Set-up
For your first hiking and backpacking tent, choose one that is easy to assemble. Both freestanding and staked tents can feature easy set-up. If you are shopping at local outdoors and sporting goods stores, visit those which let you set up tents you are considering. This is the easiest way to test the ease of assembly for yourself. Also check out stores with set-up tents on display, enabling you to enter and see inside.
Tents with Unbendable Stakes
For ease and quality of set-up, it is important to have tent stakes that do not bend. The best stakes have three sides and are made of aluminum. Most tents come with round aluminum stakes that bend easily. If your new tent does, replace the stakes with the stronger variety.
Tents with Good Ventilation
Choose a tent for hiking and backpacking that has good ventilation. Bug screening encourages airflow and allows ventilation. Tents are equipped with screening ranging from small amounts up to half tent coverage. Choose a tent with a fair amount of bug screening for good ventilation.
Tent Rain Fly and Vestibule
It is important when hiking and backpacking to select a tent with a full rain fly, or outer tent, to protect the basic tent from heavy rainfall. The fabric rain fly also forms the vestibule, or storage area outside of the tent. You will want a rain fly that provides a responsible amount of vestibule to keep equipment that you don’t want inside the tent, dry. Also look for a rain fly constructed with a few clear plastic windows for see-through.
Tents with Bathtub Floors and Storage Pockets
When shopping, look for a tent with a seam-sealed bathroom floor. This is flooring that bends at the edge and continues a short distance up the tent sides, preventing outside water from seeping in. Storage pockets constructed in the tent walls are also a good feature for holding essentials.
Tent Storage Sacks
You may want to replace the storage sack accompanying a new tent. Most tents come with a fabric stuff sack that is larger than the tent requires. You can replace it with a smaller sack with compression strips to keep its bulk condensed for easy packing.