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Tent Buying Guide

Tent Buying Guide

Unsure which size and style of tent is best for your next camping trip? 


Choosing the right tent can be a hard task, even for the most experienced outdoors man or woman. With so many brands, sizes and technologies available on the market these days it’s easy to feel more thatn a little overwhelmed! That is why here at Snowleader we have put together this short guide to hopefully give a bit of an idea as to what will suit you best. Whether you are looking for a serious expedition tent, something for weekend escape or a family holiday. And remember, if you have any more questions don’t hessite in Contact Us.





A 2 man tent is for 2 people, 3 man for 3 people, simple right. But this measurement is only taking into account the number of people who can lie down in the tent at one time, it can also be called the berth of the tent. So there are a couple of extra things to think about when choosing the size of the tent.


What else will you be taking with you - If you are heading off on a big expedition you are likely to have a lot of equipment with you that you will need to store somewhere. If you want to be able to keep your luggage in the tent with you then the extra space might be useful too. So consider this when you are buying a tent.


What might you sue the tent for in the future - Are you only buying the tent for one reason or might you want to use it again in the future. Have a think it it might be worth going for a little extra space so you can use the tent again for your next trip, festival, holiday.


Length of your trip - if you are not planning on packing up your tent and moving on each night, then maybe a little extra space might make your holiday a bit more comfortable. On the other hand, if you are moving a lot with your tent and weight is an issue then maybe giving up the extra space might be worth it.






We touched on this quickly above. But basicly make sure that the size and weight of the packed tent is appropriate for what you intent to use it for.






Now that you have decided on the size of the tent that you need it’s onto which style your activity best.


Tunnel Tents - normally feel like they are a little more spacious as their height remains the same throughout. They are simple to pitch as none of the poles cross ove but this does make them a little less stable. A tunnel tent is a great choice for a family camping trip, campsites and a more relaxed style of camping trip.


Tunnel Tent


Dome Tents - are great all-round tents for any occasion. They are simple to put up, stable in high winds (thanks to their shape) and a great choice for more relaxed camping trips, campsites etc. They do have less headroom compared to tunnel tents, as the the sides drop down. But if you are looking for comfort in all weather and terrain then they are a great choice.


Dome Tent 

Semi-geodesic and geodesic tents - are tents that have a more complex structure and design, with criss-crossing poles that help to improve strength and stability. Making them a great choice no matter the conditions you are likely to expect as they really can hold their own even in strongest storms. They come in a range of sizes, so whether you are looking for something reliable to take on your next expedition or to keep you and the kids dry next summer in Scotland they are a great choice.


Family Tent 





Hopefully the styles outlined above has given you an idea as to which tent is going to work best for you needs and the wind conditions you are likley to expect on your next camping trip. And remeberm when looking for sites to pith your tent, where possible, find somewhere that will provide you with some sort of shelter from the worst of the wind.


For example, If you are likely to be camping areas exposed to the wind, make sure you choose a Dome Tent or a Semi-Geodesic/Geodesic Tent.






Camping in the UK, then you are lying to yourself if rain isn’t at least a thought at the back of your head. The good news is todays flysheets (the outer part of the tent) are incredible good at keeping that liquid sunshine off you now! If you are camping in the UK then a 2000mm hydrostatic head is going to be fine. If you really think you are going to need a bit more protection from the elements (Where are you going?!) then up that to 3000mm and keep dry even in the worst downpours.


Todays groundsheets are normally made from a high strength polyester, making them waterproof. A Sewn-in groundsheet as apposed to a standard or separated groundhsee will also help to keep the water out and any bugs or insects.


If your tent has a vestibule then it is going to be such easier to get ready and keep the inside of your tent dry. It also provides you with a little extra storage room overnight.


If there any sort of gutter or shelter over the main opening of the tent this too is going to help keep the inside of the tent dry.


Some tents will let you put the flysheet up first, meaning you can get the waterproof cover up quickly first and keep the inner tent completely day when you put it up from the inside.



Jargon Buster



Flysheet - are the outer ski of the tent. They provide the protection from the elements. Look after them because if you don’t you will quickly know about it.


Vestibule - the area between the “outer” (flysheet) and the “inner” sleeping area. this space is normally used to store items that you don’t want to take into the sleeping area of the tent, for example wet and muddy boots or other equipment that is not as important, dishes etc. It can also provide a helpful space for cooking during a downpour.


Guy Lines - are cords that are used to attach the tent to the count. They help provide extra support to the tent. If you are looking at a larger tent or one to be used in more extreme conditions make sure there is a good number of well positioned guy lines.


Groundsheet - the waterproof base of a tent. these days they are quite often sewn together with the tents inner. Normally made of a high strength polyester they are strong enough to prevent the rough ground breaking through and also the water out. 


Hydrostatic Head - is the measure of waterproofness that a tent has. A tent must have a Hydristatic head of 1000 to be legal called “waterproof” and most will start at 2000-3000. The higher the number the more waterproof the tent is.