How to Choose a Tent for Hiking

by | Feb 21, 2022 | Camping, Live Work Play Travel | 0 comments

Hiking is one of the most popular free-time activities all over the world. After all, what’s better than taking some time from the routine and enjoying the hidden wonders of our beautiful earth? To fully enjoy and experience the benefits of hiking, you need to bring along some essentials. And if it’s a longer hiking trip that includes sleeping outdoors overnight or a few nights, a tent becomes an essential item to carry. 

Without a proper tent, you cannot settle down for the night to continue your trip the next day. And if you don’t bring along the RIGHT tent, you can face other problems like weather conditions that can ruin your wonderful adventure. If you are asking yourself ‘what sort of tent should I buy? Well lucky for you, guest author Syed Asad is here to provide useful tips about different tent types to help you choose the right tent to buy for hiking. 


3 Most Common Hiking Tent Types


Tents can be classified into 3 categories: backpacking tents, camping tents, and mountaineering tents. Backpacking tents are the best option if you are hiking mainly because they are light so you can carry them while hiking. Let’s break it down even further to help you choose the right tent.


1. FreeStanding Hiking Tents


As you can tell by that name – freestanding – these tents can stand independently. There’s absolutely no need to stake them up. These tents can hold their shape on their own. Freestanding tents have a distinctive framework, which you can move around without collapsing. These tents can be set up very easily and within minutes. What’s more, most of these tents have a dual wall and include a separate rainfly for weather protection. 

However, taking them down can be a bit problematic because of their springy frame, which makes things harder. Despite that, freestanding hiking tents are the most popular tent type for beginners. They are easy to set up, easy to use, provide excellent weather protection and overall features. Start with a freestanding camping tent if you are just starting to explore camping and don’t know much about suitable tent types. 


2. Pole Camping Tents


Pole tents are the opposite of freestanding tents. These tents require a pole for support and proper setup. You have to stake them out with the help of a trekking pole to hold their shape properly. Without a pole, they cannot hold their shape. Therefore, these tents are very much like traditional tents. Generally speaking, these tents have a single wall. That’s why they are super lightweight. 

But the problem with pole tents is that they are not as comfortable as freestanding. These tents are also less spacey in comparison with freestanding tents. Besides, setting them up can also be a problem because you cannot use them on all surfaces. You have to set them up on a flat surface. If you are traveling to a sandy or mountainous region, setting a pole tent in gravel, mud or sand is difficult, if not impossible. 


3. Hybrid Camping Tents


Hybrid camping tents are semi-freestanding. That means a hybrid tent is the combination of the two types of camping tents described above. These tents come in two parts. The first part features a pole structure to hold them upright, while the other you can stake out making the frame. Hence, hybrid camping tents balance the weather protection and comforts of freestanding tents with pole tents’ lightweight and easy-to-carry aspects. 

But, hybrid tents are more expensive. If you are a first-timer, spending extra cash on a tent may not be possible. Not to mention, hybrid tents are designed specifically for ultralight backpacking. This makes them slightly less durable than other tent types. Finally, if you are traveling into the jungle, setting them up can also be a bit problematic. Not great for beginners – but you won’t be a beginner forever! 


How to Choose an Ideal Hiking Tent


When shopping for a hiking tent, you should keep a few things in mind.


Consider Space and Capacity of your Hiking Tent


Hiking tents come in all sizes. You can go for a one-person tent if hiking on your own. Or to a tent that can accommodate up to 5 or more people simultaneously. These tents are ideal for larger families and groups. Two-person tents are most common, though, as they can accommodate two sleeping pads, sufficient for couples. Remember, the bigger a tent gets the heavier its size. Therefore, carrying them can become a problem. So choose the hiking tent that will accommodation the number of people hiking.  


What Fabric is Best for your Hiking Tent


Hiking tents are mostly made of nylon or polyester material. While polyester is more economical, nylon is much sturdier and stronger. It is also waterproof. But the problem with nylon is that it can sag and expand if you expose it to a lot of water. Therefore, if you are hiking in a humid region, a polyester-made tent will be more suitable for your excursion. On the other hand, if you are not expecting much rain, consider going with a Nylon tent instead. 

Many manufacturers add a layer of silicone or polyurethane over their tents. Polyurethane is a heavier material that makes the tent slightly heavier. It can also weaken the fabric resulting in easy tears. Not to forget, polyurethane hydrolyzes over time. This means if you expose a polyurethane-layered tent to rain a lot, it will start spreading an unpleasant odour after some time. In contrast, silicone doesn’t tear or hydrolyze easily. 


Does your Hiking Tent offer Seasonality


Currently, the market offers 3 or 4 season tents. The three-season tents are ideal for occasional hikers who prefer hiking during mild weather conditions. These tents feature dual-walled construction, mesh panels for ventilation, and a separate rainfly to keep the users dry during the rainy days. On the other hand, four-season tents are ideal for professional hikers. These tents can withstand the harshest weather conditions anywhere in the world. Made of sturdy poles and heavier fabrics, these tents can keep you warm and fuzzy during freezing cold nights.


Other Features of Hiking Tents to Consider


Other features worth considering when purchasing a tent for hiking are: 

  • Doors (One or Two). Tents will have either one or two doors. If it has one it will be oriented at the front or side of the tent. If it has two doors they will be oriented on the sides. 
  • Proper Ventilation System.
  • Footprint. These are usually sold separately and is a piece of waterproof fabric that is cut out to the same dimensions of the tent’s floor. They help to increase the lifespan of your tent by protecting it from sharp objects on the ground. Some people use groundsheets instead. These also help to avoid water seeping from the ground into the bottom of the tent.
  • Bathtub floor. If the material of the tent floor extends up the wall, it’s got a bathtub floor. These help to protect you from rain and wind getting into your tent during storms.
  • Vestibules. A tent’s vestibule is the area just outside a tent’s door that is covered. Vestibules are great for keeping muddy shoes dry and for cooking in bad weather.



Best Tents for Hiking


So from everything you have read, now is the time to choose your tent for your next hiking or camping adventure. Here are some of the best your can purchase from Amazon.


1 Person Backpacking Freestanding Tent

This ultralight tent is great for backpacking and hiking.


1 Person Trekking Pole Tent 

This lightweight tent suits the solo traveller who doesn’t mind a tent with poles.


1 Person 4 Season Freestanding Tent

Great tent for the hiker who loves to camp during winter.


2 Person Waterproof Backpacking / Hiking Tent

If there is 2 of you hiking, then this 2 person waterproof backpacking / hiking tent is ultralight and easy to set up.


2 Person Backpacking Tent with Poles

This Trekking pole tent is ultralight and waterproof and great for camping when hiking.


4 Person Pop Up Tent

This 4 person pop up tent is waterproof, lightweight and has an automatic setup. Great for 4 friends or a family.


4 Person Pole Tent for Hiking / Camping

This great tent is easy to set up, portable, has a rainfly and ventilation top. 


Final Thoughts on Purchasing the Right Tent for Hiking


So, there you have it – everything about hiking tent types to help you purchase the right one. Once you have the right tent, you can start your hiking adventure without worrying about a good night’s sleep in the wild. However, don’t forget your survival supplies. We hope the information provided in this article was useful for you. We’d love to hear your thoughts on hiking tents, or if you have any questions about a tent for hiking in the comments following.  


Syed Asad. Man With Dark Hair And A Beard Smiling.

Guest Author: Syed Asad is a passionate traveler, avid reader, and occasional writer. He loves to explore the world and share his experiences with others to help them make informed decisions about their outdoor adventures.


Female Sitting Inside A Small Green Tent Looking Out Of The Doorway Over a River PIN.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!


Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from Eurail and Interrail Passes. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. World Nomads is great for general travel insurance while SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers.

Need something else? Check out my Resources page.


Sharyn McCullum In A Black T-shirt With Her Live Work Play Travel Logo In The Shape Of A World.

Hi. Sharyn here, the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline. My aim with this blog is to help you work abroad or work online and travel the world.   Read more.


Do You Need Accommodation Tonight?

Join Me and Subscribe

Travel Like a Pro with a copy of Ready, Set, Go – Travel

Three Suitcases Standing On Top Of The World For The New Cover For Ready, Set,Go - Travel Your Pre-planning Guide For Your Overseas Adventure.

Is London Calling You for a Working Holiday?

Big Ben At Parliament House On The River Thames in London At Sunset Is The Image On The Front Cover Of Live Work And Play In London And The UK.

Teach English Abroad or Online

Teaching English Abroad Or Online Is A Great Way To Earn Money To Fund Your Travels Just Like The Female Writing On A White Board Teaching.

Sharyn McCullum In A Black T-shirt With Her Live Work Play Travel Logo In The Shape Of A World.


Hi, Sharyn here. I’m the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve travelled all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline – thanks dad! I’ve been a travel writer/blogger and living a location independent lifestyle since 1993. My aim with Live Work Play Travel is to provide you with the info to start living, working and travelling around the world like I do. I currently live in Melbourne with my partner and 2 kids. 


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Live Work Play Travel Words On A Beautiful Pink and Blue Sunset.

Get Ready to Travel and Work Abroad


with my free International Travel Checklist and make travelling and working abroad a breeze.

You have Successfully Subscribed.