When considering buying a backpacking tent today it can be overwhelming with all the choices that are available. To complicate matters there are features that may give you a headache trying to figure out which is better. So today my aim is to give you some clarification on features to aid you in your choice. Let's begin by looking at whether you need a three or four season tent.
The three season tent is good for summer, spring, fall, and is the normal choice for these seasons. However, if backpacking year-round and in the snow is your desire then a four season tent will be necessary. Next decide whether you want a freestanding or non-freestanding tent. The difference in these two is that the free-standing tent can stand on its own and does not need to be staked down. The free-standing tent is also easier to set up and move around if necessary. However, if windy conditions exist it is recommended that you stake your tent down so it does not blow away. Another advantage of the freestanding-tent is when it comes time to break down camp. You can point your tent opening toward the ground, shake and all the loose debris will fall right out of your tent.
Next you would determine whether you would like a single or double wall tent. In looking at a double wall tent you will find that it consists of a body and fly to cover it. Advantages of the double wall is they are usually less expensive, better ventilation, and drier in the wet conditions. In comparison the single wall tent does not have the luxury of an inner body. The benefits are easier set up and lighter to carry. However, the down fall to the single wall tent is poor ventilation which can cause a buildup of condensation which can become a problem. Finally, we turn our attention to the design of these walls and floor of the tent.
On the two wall tents a portion of the inner body is made out of mesh. This is the reason that the circulation is so much better. You can find a partial or substantial amount of mesh on your tent body. If you enjoy gazing at the stars then all you have to do is pull back your fly and experience it from the comforts of your tent. If it is rainy then pull the fly back over for full protection from the weather. It is worth mentioning that you can have a no-see-um mesh for your tent. Very small two-winged flies found all over the world are known as biting midges, this includes no-see-um, sand flies, and other tiny bugs. This mesh was made to keep them out and has approximately six hundred holes per inch. Now in regards to the floor of your tent make sure that the seam is factory sealed and waterproofed. In fact you should make sure of this for all the seams of your tent. Another floor to check out is called a bath tub floor. There is no seam on this floor because the floor is one piece, carries up a few inches on the side wall and is attached there. Last important tip, do your homework before shopping. Anything you are not sure of can be found on the internet. I hope this has given you some insight on the selection of a backpacking tent.