How to Purchase the Right Tent

Purchase a tent that fits and make it last forever with these key tips.

Buying Get the space you need.

>> Floor area Check dimensions, not just square footage, and get in. Tall guys need a longer layout; stout hikers need more elbow room. Shopping alone for a two-person? Ask a sales clerk to get in with you.

>> Peak height Headroom depends on the wall slope (hubbed or short “eyebrow” poles often make steeper sidewalls). Tents with consistent headroom from end to end are great for foul-weather card games. Ultralight designs–often with low-ceilings or sloped at the foot–are better for sleeping than sitting.

>> Vestibules Consider shape: High-roofed, rectangular designs offer more dry storage and a safe place to cook in wind and rain.

Storing Moisture is the enemy.

>> Dry it After each trip, set your tent up in the yard on a sunny day to let every drop of water evaporate.

>> Roll or stuff? Experts agree that the key is to vary the method to avoid creating permanent wrinkles or fold lines, which can lead to cracks in the coatings.

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.

Trending on Backpacker