Choosing a tent for wild camping

What do you need to think about when buying a tent for wild camping? There is such a wide choice available but it’s really important to take your time and get the most suitable tent for you.

Your choice will depend usually on these factors:

  1. Number of people i.e. space
  2. Weight
  3. Budget
  4. Conditions in which it will be used

Ideally it will be lightweight, robust, durable and affordable. But this perfect combinations doesn’t exist so there will always be a compromise.

Usually you will choose a one-man tent for one person and two-man for two people etc. There are often exceptions to this however based on personal preference. It is quite common for solo campers to carry a 2 man tent which is a little heavier but provides increased comfort and living space.

Weight, together with robustness is critical. For wild camping aim for a weight no more than  2kg. If you are sharing the load with a fellow wild camper the weight can be split. In general, the more you pay, the lighter and better designed the tent will be. This is because lightweight fabrics that are also strong will tend to be pricier.

For year round use a 4 season ‘geodesic dome’ tent may be better than a 3 season ‘summer” tent as this will stand up better to bad weather especially wind. 4 season tents have flexible poles that cross each other, to provide excellent stability but also add weight & cost.

The best tent for you will depend on all the above but there are these additional considerations which may help in narrowing down your choice:

  • Couples might want to consider a tent to sleep three, for extra living space.
  • A model with two doors can be more practical as each person has their own door and storage space.
  • Consider the size of the porch in relation to the amount of gear you will be carrying. More space makes staying organised easier but usually at the expense of weight.
  • Some tents pitch inner first, some outer. Inner pitch first are thought to be structurally stronger and in some climates or conditions the outer is not required. The disadvantage is that in the rain the inner can get wet before the outer ‘flysheet’ goes on which is quite common in UK conditions and is a significant drawback. Some outer first tents allow you to leave the inner attached to the flysheet. This means that you can pitch the whole thing as one unit. There is no one best solution.
  • A bathtub type base incorporating high sides in important in wetter environments.
  • Ventilation flaps are particularly helpful in hot weather and in UK conditions can help with airflow and prevention of condensation.
  • Headroom – can you sit up inside.

I have used a lot of tents over the years and own 4 which all come out at different times during the year. My personal favourite however is my TerraNova Voyager. A fantastic bit of kit and brilliant all-rounder.