A good camping tent is one that works for you. It sounds too simple, but often keeping it simple is the best way.
First you need to decide how many people are going to sleep in your camping tent. It might only need room for one person, or it might have to provide shelter for a family or a group of people. So first think of small 1-man tents or 2-man tents.
And even if you plan on camping by yourself, consider a two-person tent because it will give you a little bit more room and thus more comfort. The extra room allows you to store your camping gear inside out of the rain and out of sight of would-be thieves.
And if poor weather keeps you inside, under canvas, during the day you’ll be less inclined to become “stir-crazy” inside your tent.
If you’ll be camping for a couple, I really recommend that you buy a 3-man camping tent or even a 4-man tent.
The extra space always comes in handy, and you will be glad of it in all but the coldest weather. (When camping out in cold weather you will want to have a small, very strong tent, which traps you inside where the air around you can warm up a little. See four-season tents.)
For a group of people or a family camping outdoors, I suggest selecting a good camping tent with plenty of room… perhaps rated for one or two persons more than your actual number. So for a group of 4 people, you would go for a 6-person tent and so on. Remember that tents with heaps of people in them have little or no privacy. A group of six or eight Boy Scouts will be fine camping in a “patrol” tent designed for that number. They won’t really need much privacy. But for adults or couples, it is likely to be different.
It might be better all round in that case if you choose to make use of a number of smaller tents and divide up the people in your group into twos, threes or fours.
If you are just experimenting with camping for the first time, you might be better off borrowing a good tent from someone you know who is an experienced camper… but look after it well and return it undamaged, or you may lose a good friend. Alternatively, you should be able to make to with a cheap quality tent; but only if the weather is mild and dry, and if the camp will just be for one or two nights.
You will be much more comfortable in the long run with a good quality camping tent. A decent tent may cost you a few hundred dollars, even a small one. But it will last you for a long time. A good camping tent will repay you many, many times over with some great times sleeping out-of-doors.
Next, we’ll take a look at tent camping.