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