Tent Guide
How to Select a Backpacking Tent

How to Select a Backpacking Tent

A lightweight backpacking tent, seen here is the Tadpole from The North Face

If you plan on hiking in the backcountry, you will want to do yourself a favor and leave your typical "car camping" tent at home. OK. You can use your typical Wal-Mart tent on the trail. However, these tents are large, bulky, and heavy. And trust me, they are absolutely no fun whatsoever to carry on a long backpacking trips.

Instead, do yourself a favor and get a backpacking tent if you plan on doing overnight hikes in the backcountry. As the name implies, backpacking tents are used for camping in remote areas that only can be reached by hiking. Since you will be the one carrying a backpacking tent - usually for many miles over many days - a good backpacking tent is designed to be light, not too bulky, durable and not necessarily comfortable.

As a general rule, a backpacking tent should compact into a very small stuff sack and be light - not exceeding six pounds, and preferably less, for a 2-person tent. A good backpacking tent will also have a vestibule. A vestibule is an " enclosed overhang" of the tent, so to speak, that allows you to store stuff outside of your tent while still keeping it dry. A vestibule is also used for cooking in wet weather.

See Suggested Backpacking Tents


Vestibules for Backpacking Tents

How important is a vestibule? It depends on where you will be backpacking. If you will be backpacking in wet climates, a large vestibule is very important since it expands the amount of tent space you have. However, if you are camping in a dry climate, a vestibule does little but keep the dew off your things in the mornings. Generally, at least in my own opinion, the bigger vestibule you have - the better.


Backpacking Tent Poles

Backpacking Tents
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