As the title suggests this article is intended for first time campers. If you are a professional camper you can choose to abandon the page or if you want (I would appreciate very much) you can leave a comment with your suggestions to the novices.
Okay, you’ve finally decided to give vent to your desire for freedom and take your first adventure in the outdoors, maybe together with your children or your grandchildren, and of course you are in front of the first important decision that an adventurer must take: what kind of tent should I buy?
The problem is not easy to solve. At the very least requires a bit ‘of reflection unless you want to find yourself in the middle of the rain with a beach tent or spend hundreds of dollars on a tent for extreme excursions when your intention is to set up an overnight camping for your kids in the backyard.
Of course these are exaggerations. But sometimes reality exceeds imagination.
It is for this reason that a beginner camper must ask himself these five questions before buying a tent:
- What type of camping are you going to do?
- What season are you going to camp?
- How many people will be using the tent?
- How much gear are you going to put into the tent?
- Is the tent easy to set up?
What type of camping are you going to do?
Knowing what type of camping you are going to do is essential for choosing the right tent. If you are planning to car camping with all your family the weight of the tent may not be a determining factor. Usually a campsite is not so far from the parking area and you can carry the tent easily.
In this case you can choose a cabin tent which is best suited for established campgrounds and has a large square design with high ceilings and walls. It can be a little more difficult to set up but it gives you more room floor.
If you want more flexibility you can buy a dome tent, which can be moved around after set-up. They don’t usually have canopies and have less head room but are stable and designed to shed wind and all kind of precipitation.
If you are going to hike or climb a mountain then the weight of the tent is major factor.
In this case you need to buy a very light tent. It can be a dome shape tent, or a pop up tent which are smaller and lighter, easy to set up and easy to carry if backpacking. They don’t usually have a lot of space inside and the height is relative. But they can provide protection in almost all weather conditions.
What season are you going to camp?
Another important factor you need to consider when choosing a tent is how many seasons you will use the tent. There are three options:
Summer Tent – This kind of tent is designed to be used only during the good season (Hot and humid weather only). It’s lightweight and easy to set up. Usually have a lot of mesh for ventilation.
Three Seasons Tent – If you are going to camp between May and September you can choose a 3-Season Tent. It is designed to perform well both in wind and rain condition but not with snow. It usually has a rain fly that protects from rain and winds, a skylight window for extra light and a vestibule to store more gear.
Four Season Tent – The Four Season Tent is the strongest of all tents. It is made to withstand the worst weather conditions: heavy snow falls, high winds, cold temperatures, intense UV exposure. This is the tent for mountain expeditions. It’s more expensive than the others but it’s worth every penny when you are on top of a mountain or in the middle of a snow storm.
How many people will be using the tent?
The number of persons who will sleep in the tent is another factor to be considered. If you are going to camp with the family you can choose a cabin tent which is larger and more comfortable. It is heavier than a Dome Tent and needs more time to be set up.
If you are going to camp with your girlfriend or spouse than you can choose a pop up tent for two or three person. It is easy to carry in your backpack and easy to set up.
How much gear are you going to put into the tent?
If you are planning to go car camping with your family or friends probably you will bring with you a lot of gear to rendere il vostro campeggio più comodo. Portable chairs and table, a cooler, a matrass, a camping stove. It is clear that you need a lot of space inside your tent. For this kind of camping you must choose a very roomy tent, like a cabin family tent or a dome tent.
If you are going to hike for a few days probably you will only bring with you the essential stuff. This will reduce the weight and the volume of your backpack. In this case a backpacking tent or a pop up tent is your tent. They are light and easy to set up even difficult situations.
Is the tent easy to set up?
Probably, the biggest problem a beginner camper faces is “how to set up a tent”.
On the market you can find a huge variety of tents each one with different instructions on how to set them up.
Some of them are very easy to set up like the pop up tents and the instant tents. After reading the instructions or viewing a set up video on Youtube you will be able to have them ready in very few minutes.
Others, like some kind of backpacking tents or big family tents, require more time to learn how to install them properly. In some cases you will need someone to help you set them up.
In both cases I can suggest to take a look at the producer website and find the set up video for the kind of tent you intend to buy. If you cannot find it there you can find plenty of videos on Youtube.
My other suggestion is to set up your tent before going to camping, in your backyard or at home. This will save a lot of time and also a lot of hanger when you will be in the campsite and will leave you all the time to enjoy your very first night under the sky.