|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
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Three-season hikers who stick to forest campsites should consider a two-person tent with two or three poles, plentiful mesh, and a vestibule that shelters the main entrance. Factory seam taping, a bathtub floor, and a full-coverage rainfly are desirable features, as is a trail weight of 4 to 6 pounds.
Are you or your hiking partner very tall? You might prefer a three-person tent. Do you often hike in nasty weather? Look for a big vestibule (or two) for storage and cooking.
|Hot||Plentiful mesh, a rainfly with vents or a venting system, light colors to reflect solar heat|
|Wet||Mesh walls, a large vestibule, a light-colored rainfly to brighten the interior, ample ceiling height for all-day card games, simple setup|
|Cold||No mesh (unless windows zip closed), dark floor for sunny-day drying, mitten-friendly setup|
|High-mountain or winter||Dome or hoop design, three or more poles for stability, numerous or winter guypoints and ski-ready stake loops, large vestibule, dark floor|
|Windy||Dome or hoop, three or more poles, numerous guypoints, an adjustable rainfly (cinch tight to reduce flapping)|
|All conditions||Sealable mesh windows, pole and/or rainfly options for three-season or winter use|
|For This Terrain||Look For
|Sand||Freestanding dome or A-frame to handle poor staking conditions, ultrafine mesh to keep out blowing sand|
|Snow||Freestanding design preferable, floor should be seamless or factory taped|
|For This Comfort||Look For
|Less pack weight||Hoop design or tarp, lots of mesh, minimal vestibule and pole structure, tapered floor plan|
|Fast pitch||One-way pole sleeves, quick-clip buckles at corners of rainfly, freestanding design (requires fewer stakes), no separate setup for vestibule|
|Quick escapes||Double doors, hip-high vestibule or entryway, easy-to-reach zipper pulls|
|Easy living||Steep side walls, high ceiling, double doors and vestibules, clear plastic windows in rainfly, sealable windows|
Tarp Or Tent?
Tarps and teepees can withstand almost any weather when tautly pitched, providing ample shelter and space for little weight. But you'll need to practice pitching and find sites with secure staking or guying options. For buggy trips, look for mesh sidewalls or a clip-in mesh canopy.
Bivy sacks generally weigh only about 2 pounds, but offer limited space and ventilation. Single-person tents provide more camp comfort at around twice the weight.
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