(Back)Packing essentials

4 Tent selection tips for newbie backpackers

If you’ve recently discovered a hobby in backpacking, you might want to further your knowledge of finding the best gear and accessories that’ll support your journey. One crucial gear that you need to be familiar with is the tent. Since backpacking is a combination of hiking and camping, aside from your hiking outfit and equipment, you’ll need to select the most suitable tent for you.

Let your immersive outdoor experience become maximized by choosing a tent that is waterproof and durable. After all, it’s going to be your temporary living space and it’ll protect you from external conditions like weather, insects, and unpredictable circumstances. 

Since it’s tough to find the most reliable backcountry shelter out there in the market today, here are some helpful tent selection tips:

1. Understand what kind of a backpacker you are 

The first step you need to do is to get to know your backpacking preference and style. Are you the kind of backpacker who’s an early riser? Do you like exploring the outdoors and hike longer hours? Or do you want to hike short distances and find a beautiful campsite to spend more time and relax with the view instead? If you’re the latter one, you need to choose a tent that comes with a more expansive living space. You’ll be spending more time inside the tent than exploring nature, so choose a tent that’s comfortable, weatherproof, and lightweight. 

For people who love hiking more, you’ll want to prioritize the lightweight feature more than anything else. You need to pack light, and since you’re going to take long walks for hours continuously, you’ll need your backpack to be as light as possible. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to compromise the safety and durability features of your tent too.

2. Ensure that the tent can endure all seasons 

After understanding your backpacking style preference, you need to decide the place and time for backpacking. When do you prefer to start your journey and in what seasons? While some backpackers love exploring nature in the summer months, you can go during spring or autumn. In fact, these seasons promise beautiful sceneries and a fantastic time with nature. However, check the venue of your campsite ahead as some seasons are packed with campers. 

By knowing your desired venue and season to go backpacking, you’ll want to buy a tent that can withstand such factors. When you consider the venue or destination, you can better decide on what type of fabric and materials of the tent you’ll opt for. In parallel, you also want a tent that can withstand all these three seasons. A three-season tent should be your best bet as they’re windproof and weatherproof. It should also keep you safe and dry.

3. Choose tent capacity 

The next consideration you need to make is the capacity of the tent. Are you a solo backpacker, or are you going with some people? It could be common for backpackers to go from one to four members. When you go tent-shopping, you’ll find that the most common tent capacity is the two-person tent. It can fit two but can be used even if you’re a solo backpacker. This can be a smart choice to invest in if you’re planning to go with a friend or go solo most of the time.

However, if you want to save weight and you’re pretty much decided to go backpacking alone or join others with their own tents, going for a one-person capacity tent is the best option for you. They’re easy to carry in your backpack.

Furthermore, if you have a family with kids or want to travel with a dog, there are three-person or four-person tents that promise other great features similar to one and two-person tents. These higher-capacity ones will weigh heavier than the other two, but they’re suitable for families during camping and hiking.

Also, note that the capacity of tents will distinguish their width and height sizes. Larger capacity ones usually provide more space so you can fit in larger sleeping bags and have enough room to move inside.

Photo by Patrick Hendry

4. Read reviews 

While you keep researching hiking tips for beginners, don’t forget to read reviews for tents online. Do your research by checking out forums, joining communities and groups on social media, and read personal blogs from fellow backpackers. You can depend on someone who may have experienced sleeping in various sizes and kinds of tents. They’ll know how to compare each one and be able to give you sound advice. Try to read reviews from third-party sites and not the ones coming from a specific tent brand, so you can have unbiased and truthful reviews.


Backpacking is an exciting hobby and experiential journey. If you’re on your way to buying a reliable tent for your next backpacking escapade, let the tips above help you with your purchasing decision. Consider your backpacking preference and style. Choose a tent that can withstand seasons and comes with a suitable capacity. Also, don’t overlook the importance of customer reviews, so read a variety of them.

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