Are you someone who enjoys hiking as a simple pass time, but you want to get a little more serious and go on longer, more adventurous hikes? If so, you’ll probably want to start taking a hiking tent with you on your adventures.
You’ll probably want to choose a lightweight hiking tent because it is light enough to carry with you on those long hikes and easy enough to set up in case you get caught in a rainstorm and don’t want to get wet.
With that said, we’re sure that if you went looking at the vast array of hiking tents or just comparing hammocks vs tents, you might be a little overwhelmed by all the choices available.
Well, that’s where we come in. We are happy to give you a brief rundown of what you might want to look for when you’re trying to choose the best hiking tent for your personal needs.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
The Different Categories of Hiking Tents
First of all, there are many different tents available to choose from. Tents for hiking fall into one of five different categories, as described by BackPacker.com:
- Summer/Screen – These tents are designed to give the user maximize the air circulation and offer protection from bugs during the summer months. Good tents that have strong posts and zippers should be able to handle the gentle summer breeze and the rougher thunderstorms. These tents feature mesh to help allow the air to flow freely.
- Three-Season – These tents are designed to use from Spring to Fall, and they are typically able to handle all sorts of weather except for snow. The walls of these tents feature a good combination of mesh and ventilation to give you a good blend of air circulation and protection from bugs and the elements.
- Convertible – These tents are great for people who go hiking in all types of weather. They feature a hybrid design that uses a pole, vestibule, and rainfly options. These features let you strip it down to the bare bones during summertime, but you can also baton down the hatches, so to speak, for the cooler trips. The walls have mesh windows accompanied by a nylon panel that can be zipped into place to block out the weather really. The only downside is that these hiking tents tend to be heavier.
- Mountaineering/Winter – These tents use sturdy poles to withstand the harshest weather. They tend to have a low dome shape to help shelter you from the wind, as well as a large vestibule so you can keep your gear close and protected.
- Tarps – For the hobbyist hiker, a tarp tent is the perfect lightweight hiking tent to carry if you don’t plan on going anywhere far or you need a quick bit of shelter if you’re caught in the rain. The tarps can be tied to trees, roots, boulders, or poles, but because they do need to be tied, it’s a good idea that you hone your knot tying skills, lest your tent will blow away with a gust of wind.
What Type of Material Makes for the Best Hiking Tent?
Outdoor Gear Lab discusses the several different materials to choose from when choosing a hiking tent that you can choose from:
- Polyurethane Coated Fabrics – This type of material is a great option for people on a budget because it is a cost-effective way to ensure you’re protected from the rain. It also has a reasonable amount of durability to withstand conditions that are wet and cold. You should be aware that over time, tents with this material can experience a chemical breakdown, thus destroying the coating that makes it less weather resistant.
- SilNylon – Hiking tents with this kind of material is perfect for the serious hiker. The material his highly water resistant, elastic, UV and temperature stable. It is lightweight, strong, and much more durable than the polyurethane tents. The downside of tents made of this material is that should you get any tears in the tent, you will have to sew patch the hole or bond them with silicone because adhesive tapes will not stick to the SilNylon.
- Cuben Fiber – This type of material is considered to be the lightest, strongest, and most water resistant material on the market. Hikers who use tents made of this material. Unlike the SilNylon tent, it can be fixed with adhesives, and it won’t absorb water so it won’t weigh the tent down. Perhaps the largest drawback is it is four times as costly as SilNylon, and it is less heat resistant, meaning if you want to cook, you need to do it outside.
How to Choose the Best Hiking Tent For You
Now that you know what types of tents there are and the different materials they are made of, you’ll want to take into consideration what kind of features you need. WikiHow offers a great look of things you’ll want to consider before purchasing your tent. For example, are you hiking alone? If so, you’ll only need a 1-person hiking tent. If you are hiking with a companion, you can find affordable two-person hiking tents that are lightweight, easy to pack and unpack, and offers protection from the elements.
Other features you’ll want to consider include:
- What time of year you prefer to hike so you can choose the right tent for the weather.
- How much weight you are willing to carry in your pack.
- Your budget
Hiking is a fantastic way to get in touch with nature and find some inner peace. When you decide to go hiking, it might be a good idea to bring along a hiking tent just in case it gets dark and you are uncertain of the way back, you love the area you’ve hiked to and want to stay the night, or you get caught in a sudden storm.
We hope that we’ve provided you some insight on what to look for when you are choosing the hiking tent that is right for you and your needs!