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How to Choose a Tent

Last Updated on June 11, 2016 by mountainswithmegan

You need a tent you can take anywhere.
You need a tent you can take anywhere.

So, you’re going to be living in the woods for six months straight. You need a tent. There are plenty of great tents on the market that come in a lots of different styles and prices. How do you choose one?

Things to Consider While Tent Shopping:

  • Are you sure you want a tent, or would you rather have a hammock? 
  • Are you sharing a tent with someone else or do you just need enough space for yourself?
  • A question often asked is, “Should I get a 2-person tent for myself, so I have extra room?” It’s all a matter of personal preference. For me, I started the trail with a 2-person tent and I eventually decided that the extra weight wasn’t worth it. I would rather save a couple of pounds and have less space at night.
  • For the sake of keeping your pack light, try to carry at most three pounds of shelter per person. So if it’s just you, get a tent that is three pounds or less. If there will be two people sleeping in and carrying the tent, get one that is six pounds or less (realistically, most two person tents are around 5 pounds- yay for saving weight!).
  • Consider getting a tent that doesn’t have it’s own poles and is designed to be set up with trekking poles.

Where should you buy a tent?

  • If spending the least amount of money is your thing, then you should check out tents on REI or at a sporting goods store. Please don’t go to Wal-Mart and buy a $40 tent. You will need something more high-quality than that.
  • If going as light as possible is your deal, then check out some independent tent makers like Yama Mountain Gear, Z Packs, Light Heart Gear, and Tarptent. The tents will be more expensive, but way lighter. Plus, it’s always great to support a small company.
  • If you’re good with a sewing machine, and you want a light weight tent but you don’t want to drop a few hundred dollars, you can make your own tent. Find a pattern for a tent and purchase some silnylon for the tarp. You’ll save a ton of money and still have a sweet tent.

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