Tent Buying Guide
Whether you're pitched up at your favourite family campsite, roughing it in a remote spot in the backcountry, or bracing against a blizzard at base camp, you must be able to rely on your tent.
Selecting the best tent for your chosen activity deserves careful consideration, especially when venturing off the beaten track where any failings can have serious consequences. To help you with this selection process we have organised our tent range into categories based on intended use. These categories each include a range of tents offering different design options so that you can tailor the tent to your specific needs.
Designed to cope with the harshest conditions imaginable, these tents will let you sit out the fiercest of storms. Constructed from incredibly strong but lightweight materials, their designs will shrug off snow and strong winds that would destroy lesser tents. Ideal for mountaineering trips, enduring expedition life or travelling in harsh winter conditions; tents in this category will provide you with the reliability you need.
Tents in this category have been designed to provide you with reliable, comfortable shelters when venturing off the beaten track. Utilising lightweight fabrics an innovative design features, these tents combine attractive pack weights with useable space. A range of designs allows you to tailor the tent to your specific needs: from roomy designs with good internal space, dual entrances and generous vestibules; to lighter designs that cut back on features to keep weight to an absolute minimum.
Our range of Campsite tents offer group and family-orientated models with the focus very much on providing comfort for practical outdoor living. With much more generous living space than other models in our tent range, these tents aren't designed to be carried far and so are perfect for classic car-camping trips. Made using quality materials and featuring simple, easy to pitch designs, these tents will allow you to get the most out of the great outdoors; and if bad weather does halt play, you can rest assured that they will keep you dry and comfortable.
Geodesic designs feature more than 2 poles which cross multiple times. This creates a very strong free-standing design which is ideal for demanding use. Tents may feature either a 'semi' or 'fully' geodesic design depending on intended use. Fully-geodesic designs feature 5 or more pole crossing points which give an immensely strong structure capable of dealing with high winds and snow loads. A tent with fewer than 5 pole crossing points has a semi-geodesic design; this design compromises slightly on strength for a reduction in overall weight.
Tunnel tents are quick and easy to pitch and offer superb space-to-weight ratios. With the inner tent and the flysheet joined, these tents offer a simultaneous pitch option which is great for speed and protecting the inner tent in bad weather. For users looking to carry and pitch their tent every night, a tunnel tent is a great option.
Dome tents feature two main poles which cross once, usually at the highest point of the tent. This creates a simple, quick to pitch design which is both stable and lightweight. Dome tents also offer great 'liveable' space. This style of tent is ideally suited to general camping duties from backpacking trips to car camping.
The flysheet is the barrier between you and the elements. A tent's flysheet needs to be lightweight, yet durable and waterproof to keep the weather out so that you remain dry and comfortable.
Vestibules (or porches) are the areas protected by the flysheets, but outside the inner tent. These areas provide storage for your kit as well as extended living space for sitting out bad weather.
Guy line attachment points
Guy line attachment points are areas which allow you to attach guy lines to your tent. Guy lines are used to add additional contact points between your tent and the ground to provide support and security. Large tents or tents design for use in bad weather conditions should have a good number of guy points.
While the tents flysheet keeps the elements out, the inner tent is designed to keep the occupants as comfortable as possible. Fabrics need to be lightweight and highly breathable and inner tents will feature a combination of solid fabric and mesh for ventilation. Models intended for year round use will allow you to cover any mesh panels for comfort during colder nights.
Poles form the structure of a tent. For demanding, regular tents use aluminium poles which offer a high strength to weight ratio and excellent durability. Poles are made up of a number of sections linked together by elasticated cord so that they can fold down to a small size to make them easy to pack.
Designs featuring a single door keep the weight to a minimum, while dual door models offer greater practicality for more than one occupant. Tent doors feature a very fine mesh covering that provides good ventilation while keeping unwelcome insects out.
The groundsheet of the inner tent needs to be fully waterproof to prevent water seeping through from the ground. Seams will be sealed and the tents often feature designs which keep the major perimeter seams off the floor for increased protection.
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