Let me begin by making it clear that I am not going to be describing the types of tents available on the market here, the distinction between the „regular ones”, or the „expedition ones” and digress about their upsides and downsides. Below I present several notes on the two tents that I have used.
Generally speaking – what tent to buy?
I would say – a good tent is one that works, which means one that will successfully protect us from rain (unless someone is going on a trip during winter – but that’s a topic for a separate discussion some other day). Everything else is just more or less important details. I’d like to point out that there’s no such thing as „a universal tent, or a perfect one”. It would be the best to have two or more, depending on the intended purpose. I do understand, however, that the person reading this article wishes to have one tent – so let’s call it the universal one.
What to pay attention to when buying it?
– it should not weight more than three kilograms (as specified by the manufacturer), especially that these parameters tend to „grow” strangely often in practice.
– it would be nice for it to be low when set up – the lower it is, the better it will work in strong winds.
– few „accessories”: small number of pegs, hooks and stringing required to set it up, and it would be perfect if it could be set up („pitched”) without using them. (like, for example, the tent I’m currently using – Marmot Limelight2)
– long, ground-touching flysheet – it often happens that despite the flysheet being highly „waterproof”, rain can still kind of get inside from below – especially when it comes to rainfalls during strong winds.
– good ventilation.
– snow roofs (optional), that work great not only during winter outings, but also during heavy downpours.
– good, masking colors – especially if we’re planning frequent night stops in the wild (which is why reflective elements are not recommended, although on the other hand they are very helpful during mountain treks, again – the problem of a „universal” tent and its purpose)
– very strong and sturdy zippers – it helps when there are loops on them, when setting up and packing up the tent on cold days.
– elevated floor sides – when sleeping in places where strong winds occur combined with heavy rainfalls, as well as when it snows.
– no more than three support poles – the less, the better, simple solutions usually work best in practice.
– waterproof look at best waterproof tent ranking.
After thoroughly defining our expectations, we can start searching through websites, stores, asking friends, overall: the more info we get, the better, although I know people who spend half a year searching and still end up buying something they didn’t look for. It sure won’t hurt to look around a little, but there are limits. The great selection of tents will certainly allow us to choose something for ourselves.