Tent Buying Guide

Camping is fun for the whole family, but selecting the right tent is key to ensuring a good time is had by all. This tent buying guide outlines the various types and features available.

Tent Buying 101: How to Choose a Tent

You don’t have to be a camping guru to purchase a tent, but you should know a few things about the types of tents available and the different tent features and options. The first step in choosing a tent is to review your needs. The key factors you should consider include the number of people the tent must accommodate, the camping conditions you expect to encounter, the length of time you'll be camping and your mode of transportation. Shopping for tents can be a lot of fun. With a bit of effort, you'll soon have all the information you need to choose the best tent for your next camping trip.

Types of Tents


Family Tents

If your family is large then you’ll need a family tent. Large and spacious, these tents are designed to comfortably accommodate four or more people. They're also bulky and heavy, so vehicle transportation is generally a must, and two people are needed for assembly. Some of the features of family tents include lots of headroom, windows and storage compartments. This makes them ideal for extended adventures requiring lots clothing and gear.

Dome Tents

Dome tents are stable, easy-to setup and come in a wide variety of sizes. They are convenient for individuals and families alike. Modified dome tents retain the easy set-up but come with extra space and headroom. These tents are characterized by flexible poles that bend and intersect at the peak, forming a dome-shape structure. Some dome tents are designed to link to other tents to create larger indoor spaces.

Tunnel Tents

Tunnel tents have a rounded structure similar to dome tents, but they're elongated and tend to provide more interior space, which is ideal for large families. Tunnel tents range in size, with the biggest sleeping up to 10 people. Often, the interior of a tunnel tent is subdivided into a sleeping area at one end and a vestibule at the other. Tunnels tents are easy to pitch and perform well in high winds due to the curved shape. The one drawback is that they often need lots of pegs and ropes to stay upright.

Cabin Tents

Cabin tents provide family campers with a true home-away-from-home experience. Sturdy cabin structures offer plenty of headroom and space for your family and your gear. As with dome tents, they come in a wide variety of sizes, but offer more shapes and options. For example, the interiors of some cabin tents can be subdivided into multiple rooms. Other popular cabin tent features include screened porches and dining areas and large windows.



Campsite Selection Tips:

• Choose a campsite that's level and shaded with morning sun
• Clear the tent area, removing anything that could tear the floor or cause you discomfort while you sleep
• Ensure your tent is a safe distance from the fire pit
• Beware of pitching your tent directly under a tall tree that could attract lightening in a storm
• If your site is sloped, position the tent so your head will be higher than your feet
• Avoid camping in low-lying areas where water could pool easily

Tent Features

Flexible Tent Pole Materials +

The tent poles used in dome- and tunnel-style tents must be lightweight and flexible with strength to match the tent size. These poles are generally made from fibreglass or aluminum, each of which has pros and cons. Fiberglass poles are more economical, but wear out faster and become stiff and may shatter in cold weather. The flexibility of aluminum poles is unaffected by cold weather, but the aluminum corrodes unless the surface is protected.

Tent Materials +

Most tents are made of polyester or nylon. Polyester offers better resistance to moisture and sun exposure, but it's a bit heavier than nylon. Nylon is strong and durable and can be easily waterproofed.

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Tent Care Tips:

• Practice pitching your tent until you're confident you can set it up correctly without damaging the materials or hurting yourself
• Seal the tent seams for added water resistance
• Dry and vent your tent before packing it up (if you need to get on the road right away, air it out as soon as you get to your next destination)
• Pack a tent repair kit in case you need to patch holes, lose pegs, etc.
• Guard against damage to zippers by keeping them free of loose strings, dirt, etc. Be careful when unzipping and zipping your tent as damaged zippers are difficult to repair
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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