Camping Tents Perfect for Your Family

Camping Tents Perfect for Your Family

Every seasoned camping or hiking guide has a client with a cheap dome tent horror story. After our weary guide has led a group of tenderfoots up a mountain, or staked out a gravel beach on the ocean, one person in his group proudly unpacks a $49.95 discount tent that will leak in the lightest drizzle, collapse in the slightest breeze, tear at the merest abrasion, and comes apart at the seams without any help from the elements.

Camping tents selection that are just right for you and your family can be a mind-boggling, overwhelming task if you are unfamiliar with them. If you do not know what you are looking at, the sticker shocking price tag on that amazing family tent in your favorite camping gear shop can cause your heart to palpitate.

Also picture a perfect spring day near the ocean. Sailboards and sea kayaks line the white sand beach, it is 74 degrees, and the sun sits glowing in a cloudless sky. Just breathtakingly beautiful, right? Yep … except when a 40-mile-an-hour wind suddenly bursts on the beach, and the discount department store camping tents collapse like so much seaweed, while the proud owners vainly try to re-erect them in the blinding sand.

But take heed, avid campers and backpackers, there is a very logical way to wade through the huge selection and pick out the perfect camping tents for your needs. So how bombproof should you go? That depends on the weather you expect to encounter.

camping tents tips

Camping Tent Size

The first, easiest way to narrow down your selection is to determine the size of tent you will need. Camping tents are designed to accommodate a certain number of people. So, a backpacker, whether one or more, needs camping tents for backpacking and a family camper will be looking for camping tents for a family, two very different tents indeed.

Most tents come labeled with their capacity in the description. Other tents have a number next to the name, indicating the number of people the tent is designed to hold, but, remember, the capacity does not include storage room for camping gear or camping equipment. If you are not interested in having more than one camping tent in your outdoor gear collection, it is best to determine the maximum number of people you think will ever sleep in your tent at one time.

Camping Tent’s Location and the Season

The next step is determining when and where you will be using your tent. Are you spending a couple weeks on a mountain in Canada, a month on the Pacific Coast, or an evening in the Rocky Mountains? Camping tents fit into different “season” categories, which are usually labeled “Three Season,” “Four Season,” “Convertible,” and “Lightweight.” For the most part, these are terms that may change from each manufacturer of camping gear. The terms, however, usually encompass similar features, regardless of who manufacturers the camping supplies.

A Three Season tent is designed to function during every season but winter. Not to say that you could not use this tent during the winter, but for all intents and purposes, the tent would not be ideal during a winter storm. A three season tent will keep you comfortable during warmer weather that is above freezing. If you want more room, have a family, or want your tent to be a portable home while on a road trip, then camping tents for a family or car camping tents are for you.

luxury family tent

A Four Season tent, on the other hand is designed to function during the harshest winter conditions. If you end up stuck on a high peak, during a three-day blizzard, for example, this tent will keep you dry, warm and comfortable. The downside to this tent, however, becomes apparent in the summer months, when you are carrying a heavy tent, lacking the ventilation of a Three Season tent. Winter camping on the snow, staying overnight cross-country, or a snowmobiling trip, then camping tents for the winter might be your choice.

 family camping tents
Convertible tents are designed to bridge the gap, and this type of camping gear includes the weather blocking features of a Four Season tent, but comes equipped with removable ventilation panels for the warmer months.

The Lightweight tent category features tents that often have the most technical fabrics and newest designs which allow the tent to be functional and roomy, but most importantly, lightweight. This is primarily used for backpacking. If you anticipate backpacking into the mountains, you will need camping tents for backpacking designed to be carried. These are lightweight, they are not bulky, and they are designed for the backpacker.

Finally, whenever you plan on spending a longer period in one place, and the purpose of the tent is to function as your base camp, whether by a lake or a camping site next to the road, an outfitter tent or cabin tent is probably right for you. These tents, provide maximum comfort, and most of them are fine for winter camping. Wall tents might even interest you, and some of these are really huge. More discussion on wall tents.

Camping Tent’s Weight

After you have decided when and where you will use your tent, you can further narrow your selection by considering weight. This important weight aspect for shoppers of camping gear is listed in the primary description of the camping tents. Weight is oftentimes, (but not always), closely related to size. Generally, the larger the tent, the heavier the overall weight. An important detail to note, while looking at tent weight, is the three weights that most manufacturers of camping and hiking gear list in the tent description. This detail is most important for individuals who plan to carry their tent.

“Maximum weight” indicates the weight of the tent when you take it right off the shelf. This includes the weight of the tent, fly, poles, bag that it comes in, instruction manual, stakes, and anything else that comes with the tent. “Packed weight” indicates the weight of the tent when it is packed for a trip. This may vary from one manufacturer to the next, but usually includes the tent, poles, fly, bag and stakes. The “minimum weight” again varies from one manufacturer of camping equipment to the next, but usually includes only the tent, poles and fly. For backpackers concerned with weight, the minimum weight of a tent is an important comparison factor while shopping.

Camping Tent Materials

Tent materials are another important consideration while shopping for camping gear. You can easily become bogged down by the technical details, but there are some basic components that will indicate the inherent value of the tent you are considering. Unique, technical, and innovative fabrics and materials are found in the poles, fly, floor, tent body, windows and zippers. Different manufacturers pride themselves on the materials they choose for each aspect of the tent. Some materials are better than others, but for the most part these technical aspects will be more or less necessary depending on your intended use and specific environment.

Looking for camping tents that are easy to set up and take down? Interested in a tent with multiple entrances? How about an extra large entrance or vestibule? These are all important considerations when you are narrowing down your selection of camping tents. Design features furnish a tent with its individual flare. While many add on accessories are available, the unique, built in features make a tent more or less perfect for an individual with specific needs. Some features to keep in mind while shopping are the number of poles, number of doors, size and shape of vestibule, size and shape of tent floor, and staking options, to name a few.

cabin camping tent

Inflatable Camping Tents

The space age has also caught-up with camping tents. Pop-up inflatable tents have been in development for 70 years, but finally someone has got it right. These inflatable camping tents come in five styles, ranging from a two person model to a big top that sleeps seven. You can use several ways to inflate your tent … a CO2 cartridge takes eight seconds, an air tank 20 seconds, a bicycle pump 45 seconds, a spare tire 15 seconds, and an electric battery compressor 120 seconds. The whole process is quick and easy with no confusing instructions.

The best part of all may be when you are finished camping. You simply release the valve, sit back and watch the tent deflate in seconds. It is easily stored in its own carry bag and ready for the next camping experience. The pneumatic support system replaces rigid poles with tough, durable air poles that withstand the harshest weather conditions. The poles are built on technology similar to that of an automobile or bicycle tire. These camping tents will completely self-erect and deflate themselves in complete darkness, rain and wind, keeping your family safe and dry. Take a look at inflatable camping tents.

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