Picking the right type of tent part 1

by | Apr 22, 2024

The good news is that you’ve made the camping commitment and you’re going to buy a tent. The challenge comes when what promises to be a really exciting shopping expedition can become a bit overwhelming once you realise just how much choice of design and type there is. So, to narrow down what’s available, we’ve compiled a quick tent guide to help you make your decision.

  • The sheer variety of tents available might make a purchase feel overwhelming rather than enjoyable.
  • Our quick tent guide can help you narrow the selection and make a decision.

Although trailer tents are half between camping and caravanning because they are towed behind a car like a caravan, they fold out into a tent-like structure so you can have the best of both worlds. Not as portable as a tent but less restrictive than a caravan, they could be the ideal solution if you want more comfort but enough self-sufficiency to vary the destination.

Increasingly popular over the last few years is the roof-box tent. They’re fixed onto the roof of the vehicle, so you sleep in a tent but you’re off the ground and sleeping comfortably on the built-in mattress. They’re portable and flexible but obviously you need to consider how easy it is for you to use a ladder, get the dog up there, or store your gear, as well as having to pack and unpack it when you change location (although that could be the same whatever you chose). Nevertheless, they’ve been around since 1958 so they’re clearly popular.

Obviously, once you know how many people you need to sleep, plenty of tents can be discounted. If you need to sleep between 4 and 10 people then your best bet is probably a family tent. Not only will you be able to fit everyone in, you be able to camp for a decent length of time as there will separate sleeping and living areas (possibly even a porch area) and it’s likely that the tent will be high enough for people to stand up in.

Couples or small groups aiming for a short break may prefer a weekend tent. They are quicker to pitch and take up far less packing space in the car than a family tent and are easily ferried about. Different configurations mean that you could still have a porch area for wet gear and footwear, but they’re unlikely to reach the full height of an adult.

When it comes to backpacking or trekking adventures for up to 4, a quick-pitch lightweight adventure tent is ideal. Minimising weight and volume is key, so adventure tents tend to be made from very light technical materials so that they can be carried easily.

So, if our quick guide helps you decide on the category of tent you need, all you have to do now is decide which design is most suitable within that category.