Choosing the right tent
A tent is one of the most fun pieces of gear to purchase. The are many choices of color, size and use which makes choosing one more difficult than you might think. But remember that a good tent may last you the rest of your life. So keeping this in mind, before choosing a tent think about your use for the tent and consider the following criteria.
Floor Space and Headroom – Every tent is listed by the number of people it claims it can sleep comfortably, but this number usually means the number of people that can be squeezed in. Thus, when comparing two-man tents it is important to compare the square footage inside tent.
Additionally, many tents that may have the same amount of floor space may have differing amounts of headroom. This does not seem important until there is a heavy rain the tent becomes you bedroom, kitchen and recreation room all at the same time. In this situation a little extra headroom can make a world of difference.
3 season vs. 4 season – The difference between these is ventilation. 3 season tents will tend to have more screen areas allowing air to pass through. They are a more suitable choice if you plan to camp at the Grand Canyon during the summer, than 4 season tents designed to keep you warm in the winter. A tent designed for warmth in the winter will keep you warmer than you want in the summer. If 3 season fits your need choose the tent with most screening and keep as much room between it and the fly to promote a comfortable air-flow.
Vestibule – This is the area outside the ten covered by the fly. The best use of this is to store your boots and pack overnight to avoid moisture in case of rain. Some two-man tents have vestibules that are only large enough to hold one pack. So consider if you want you pack covered or don’t mind exposing it to the elements.
Weight – Weight is a key criteria for any piece of equipment you plan to carry on your back all day, and a tent is the heaviest piece of equipment you will generally have. So consider how heavy a tent are you willing to carry in the context of what else you plan to carry with you. If you are planning on short weekend trips where you won’t need as much other gear maybe you can afford the extra weight of a roomier tent. If you will be trekking for month you may want the lightest tent available. The lightest two-man tent is going to weigh around six pounds while the heaviest may be in the eleven pound range. But again, if you are not carrying much a big tent may suit your needs better.
So now that you know what to look for you can take you criteria to the gear store and have fun playing with a large variety of tents until you find just the right one. Just about any brand of tent is acceptable. More expensive tents may be more tear proof or better sealed seams but there is no evidence of it. So choose the tent that fits your needs over the trendy new brand of tent that no one can live without.
We are waiting for you at the Grand Canyon’s camping sites!