The style of tent you buy should be based mostly on what you will be using it for and your budget. Consider the type of camping you will do most of the time or plan to do and figure out which style works for you.
Types of Tents:
- Car Camping
- Lightweight Hiking and Biking
- Hunting Base Camp
Car camping usually consists of driving to an established camp site and camping for the weekend or longer. Weekend campers should be fine buying a simple dome tent from manufacturers such as Coleman or Ozark Hills. Larger tents are nice when camping with a car or truck nearby, extra room makes for extra comfort in the case of a rainstorm and bigger tents allow you to stand to change. Tent sizes are based on maximum occupancy. If a tent claims to be designed for two people, you can sleep 2 people, however moving around or spending time inside the tent will be cramped. For car camping buy bigger than the recommendation and you will have room for your gear and a little extra. If you will be car camping often look at the higher end tents. Always buy tents that have a fly cover. Fly covers are an additional tarp that is rigged over the actual tent. These covers help shed water and dew without moisture penetrating into the tent.
Hiking and biking tents have some different requirements. When carrying a tent some distance size becomes an issue. In this case buy a tent rated for the exact amount of space that will be needed. Long distance camping requires planning, size and weight are important and so is quality! There’s nothing worse than spending a wet weekend far from anywhere. Frequent hiking campers should also look at purchasing a mountaineering tent. For weekend backpackers small dome and pup style tents are perfect.
Mountaineering tents are way more serious, expensive and tough for prolonged use in rough conditions. These tents are rated as 3 or 4 season tents and designed for extended use in rain, snow and windy conditions. North Face and Mountain Hardware are great tent brands as are a handful of other specialty manufacturers.
Base camps for long term outdoor stays require tough durable tents capable of short term living in harsh conditions. Wall tents made of canvas are the choice of horse packers, hunters and remote work camps. Wall tents often employ a wood stove for comfort and cooking. Wall tents are fairly expensive and require more care after use to remain in excellent condition.
Mountaineering and Base Camp tents are specialty items and you should research them online to find the style and manufacturer that best suits your camps needs.