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How to choose a tent for camping and backpacking [Guest Post]

How to choose a tent for camping and backpacking

By Robert Marvin

Camping is one of the best ideas to make your vacations exciting and relaxing. There you can spend quality time with your family, friends, and lovers. If you are new to camping and worried about choosing the perfect tent, don’t worry because we are here to assist you.

There is an extended list of camping tents available for various weather conditions, which can be confusing and hard to choose from. If you are planning to go camping for the first time but do not have any idea about the type of tent to choose, read on for some handy tips!

How to choose a camping tent while traveling

How much space do you need?

First, decide on how many people will stay in a tent. Where will you keep the gear, inside or outside the tent? Are you taking along your pet dog?

Space can be estimated by the peak height of the frame and floor area. Many manufacturers estimate the floor capacity of a tent by the number of sleeping bags that would fit inside, with just a few centimeters of space between them.

Peak Height is the distance from the floor to the highest point of the tent. Make sure that the peak height is enough for you to sit up, stand or crouch.

How to choose a tent for camping and backpacking

Weight of camping tents

Camping can be divided into two types, automotive camping, and backpacking.

Automotive Camping:

In this type, you usually put your camping gear in your car. Since it takes place on established campgrounds with toilets and potable water facilities, the tent size isn’t a problem. You may even consider bringing your bikes along if there are bike trails in the area.

Since you are carrying your gear by car, you should look out for a tent that comes with features such as inner pockets and compartments, allowing you to store your belongings inside the tent. It is also a good idea to get a tent with a sturdy frame so that it can withstand sudden changes in weather.


In backpacking, hiking several miles with your gear strapped to your back is a given. Hence choosing a lightweight tent is ideal. We recommend buying a tent just slightly larger than what you need. For instance, if you have a party of three, try to get a tent that fits up to four. In this way, you could enjoy some extra space.

Setup before you buy

Always set up the tent before purchasing, or look for an already set up camping tent on display. In this way, you could get a feel of its dimensions and the simplicity of setup.

What type of weather you’ll be camping in?

If you’re camping in spring, summer, or fall, choose a three-season camping tent. It is light in weight and can be quite cooling in hot weather. Four-season camping tents are best for winter and mountaineering. Because they come with thicker insulation, they tend to be heavier.

Tent Features

Look for tent features that are useful for your stay.


Extra doors mean extra weight, but they can be useful to avoid stepping over your fellow campers when heading out.


Vestibules are like a little front porch to keep your gear or your shoes. A small vestibule can come in handy to protect your gear from rain. You can also look for other accessories like gear lofts, which are small fabric shelves to hold your lightweight gear.

Tent space

One of the key features of a tent is its space. Be sure of the number of people you will invite on your camping trip.

While there isn’t any industry standard to describe tent dimensions according to each person, you could always go one size larger if most people in your group are larger-built than average.

Tents for every season

It may be a good idea to buy both three-season and four-season tents if you enjoy camping all year round.

While four-season tents are generally more expensive and heavier because they need to withstand fierce wintery winds and snowfall, they are essential if you live in a place with harsher winters.

Tent Weight

Look for a tent that is lightweight and spacious for your party size. Generally, a tent for two people would weigh less than four pounds.

How to choose a tent for camping and backpacking

Final Comments

Camping can be a charming way to experience nature once in a while, away from the city. If you’re doing automotive camping, you may consider bringing more luxuries such as a camping refrigerator and food that can be cooked at the campsite.

However, backpacking requires lightweight tents instead, and you would usually only bring along bare necessities such as dry food, water, and a first aid kit.

A camping tent is your home away from home. Depending on your style of camping, it could be luxurious or minimalist. Regardless, a tent should feel cozy and help you enjoy the experience.

At the end of the day, camping tents come in various sizes and offer varying features. The type of tent you get would depend heavily on the type of camping you are doing, the size of your party, and the amount of gear you plan to bring along.

Make sure to check some of the best picks for camping tents recommended by Trekking Ground!

Images: Unsplash/ Vlad Shalaginov and Caleb Fisher

Author Bio

Robert is the founder & Editor-in-chief of Trekking Ground. He grew up playing in the forest and hiking in the mountains. Together with loved ones, he spends most of his free time running, hiking, and exploring. His idea of a perfect day starts and ends wearing a headlamp and includes a rocky approach and endless high-fives with a partner.