Choosing a tent is not a simple grab-and-go business, as choosing the wrong tent can easily ruin your fun camping trip! Here we share some useful tips on how to choose a tent. Be it your first time buying a tent, or you are just simply looking to replace or upgrade your existing tent, we hope this article will give you some sort of insight to make the right decision.
How Many People Are Using The Tent?
When a tent is described to be a 4-person tent, it would be unwise to assume that it is going to fit 4 person perfectly. A 4-person tent might only fit 3 person, or 2 if you want to sleep more comfortably. Such description often means it would be just a nice fit for 4 person, with no extra space to spare. Say, if 4 person is going to use the tent, you might want to go for a tent that says 6-person tent. In this way, the extra space can be used to store things, put in an air bed, or just simply to sleep more comfortably. Also, if the people sleeping in the tent are on the taller side, extra space is needed as well. The conclusion to this is, other than the number of people that are going to be in the tent, take into consideration the extra space that you will need to sleep more comfortably and to store things.
The Conditions Of Your Camp Site
As Malaysia doesn’t have varying weather conditions, most basic summer tents will do just fine. Summer tents are usually made with lightweight material and therefore offer more ventilation. However, if you are camping for a longer period of time, storms and winds might strike unexpectedly. Therefore, if you are not just a picnic-day camper, you might want to be a little more prepared and go a little more advance. In this case, look for a three-season tent which is able to withstand strong winds and rains. During the night, temperature is going to drop as well, three-season tents will be able to provide more warmth than summer tents.
Is The Tent Easy To Use?
Think about how easy will it be to set up the tent, and are you going to have a helping hand when setting it up? When you get to your camp site, you want to have fun as soon as possible, not spending hours trying to put together the tent. So, that luxurious family tent that sleeps 10 person might seem tempting at first, but it won’t be after you realized the hassle you have to go through to assemble it. However, if the advantage of the tent outweighs the hassle to put it up, be sure to do some research on how to assemble the tent before you make the purchase. There are lots of videos readily available on the internet providing step by step guides to assemble different types of tents. Better yet, if possible, try to assemble the tent by yourself at the shop before buying.
Note the materials the tent is made of. Most materials are waterproof, but different materials still have different features. For example, canvas is more durable and will be able to withstand more wear and tear than nylon. However, canvas tents are generally heavier and even more so if they soaked up water. Nylon or polyester on the other hand is more lightweight, but might be more susceptible to deterioration over time. To make sure you get a good quality tent, make sure all the seams are closely sealed so that they are entirely waterproof and go for a rip-stop kind of fabric. Other than fabric, pay attention to the quality of the tent poles and the zippers as well. Good zippers will move smoothly without getting fabric stuck in them and not rusting. Make sure the rainfly covers all the doors and windows of the tent and is waterproof as well.
Weight Of The Tent
Think about how you are going to your camp site. Will it be a long walk or just a few steps out from the car? If you have to carry your tent a considerable distance to your camp site, you might want to stay away from the bigger tents, as bigger tents means greater weight. Even if your camp site is just right out of the car, you will also want to think about whether the tent is going to fit in your car or on your car roof. With all that being said, also think about your ability to carry the tent. If you are Mr. Popeye or you have a lot of help, you can still go for the bigger tents even if you need to carry it for some distance. However, hiking with your tent is a whole different story. If you are looking for tents that is good for hiking, remember to do some research solely on hiking tents.
If ventilation is not on point, you may wake up thinking there is a leak somewhere because everything will be damp. That is because of the condensation going on in the tent throughout the night. Good ventilation also means better airflow so you won’t feel like suffocating in the tent. Make sure that even with the rainfly on, there is still good ventilation in the tent. Ventilation panels should also be properly placed (like on the walls of the tent), to keep condensation at bay. In addition, if more people are going to sleep in the tent, better ventilation is needed. In this case, look for tents with more ventilation windows or larger ventilation windows.
Aside from the key features we went through above, consider some of the following features that might help to enhance your camping trip.
- How many doors the tent has? Two-doors tent is considered ideal but you might need more if you have more people sleeping in the tent to avoid stepping on people when you are hassling through the tent to get out.
- How many windows the tent has? As mentioned above, windows are the key to good ventilation. More windows means better ventilation and airflow in the tent, and better view too!
- Are there any pockets to store things? Built in pockets allow you to store your things and keep your tent organized.
- How big is the awning? Awning is an extension from doors and windows that provide an extra shield from sun, wind and rain. If you camp in harsher climates, a bigger awning will help.
- Can you easily get add-on accessories that is compatible with the tent? You might need to upgrade your tent later on by getting some enhancements such as an extra piece of awning. Can you easily add this to your tent? Be sure to consult the sales person before buying the tent.
A quality tent floor can withstand a good amount of wear and tear. Tent floor with a higher thread counts and is made with durable material such as Polyester PU will be more resilient. Ideally, you can buy a separate piece of cloth known as a footprint that goes underneath your tent. A footprint will protect your tent floor from all the grazing with the ground. If your camp site has uneven ground with sharp rocks, you might want to consider buying a footprint to save your tent floor from being torn. As footprints are specifically sized to the tent floor, check with the sales person whether the tent comes with a footprint before buying.
Price Of Tent
Set a realistic budget for the tent, taking into consideration the quality and the features you need. Buying a quality tent definitely saves you more in the long run. Splurge on the quality of the tent and save on the features you don’t need. For example, if you are just a day-camper, you will not need a full coverage rainfly. Also think about your camp site conditions. While Malaysia doesn’t have four seasons, you can still expect strong winds and heavy rains. Good quality tents will be able to withstand such conditions. Don’t decide and buy a tent hastily, keep your options open by visiting more stores and you might just bump into a tent that offers great quality at fair prices.
After Sales Service
Just like any other thing that is a little bit more technical, it is always best to cover your purchase if anything goes wrong. So, before you make your purchase, be sure to do some research on the manufacturer to see whether they will provide after sales services. Specifically, look for warranties that comes with the tent and what it covers and doesn’t cover. You may also read some reviews of current users of the tent for some unbiased comments. When buying from shops that sell camping gear, be sure that they will comply with the warranty terms the manufacturer offers as well.
There you go! The 10 tips that hopefully give you an idea of what type of tent you should go for. Do take your time to look for more information on the internet and to physically go to the shop to get hands on information. With the right tent, a happy camping trip is not far away!