Before choosing a tent, look at these nine points to learn more about tents in general. A good outdoor store will assist you with any other questions to make a final choice.
- The outer tent
The outer tent (or flysheet) must be waterproof, highly tear-resistant, UV-resistant and weatherproof. Additional coatings make outside walls and floors absolutely watertight. Be careful with PVC and acrylic coatings – they are reasonably priced, but they also break easily when temperatures get cold. Polyurethane (PU), on the other hand, remains elastic even below freezing point. In case of PU-coated tent fabrics, make sure that the seams are additionally tape-sealed.
- The inner tent
The inner tent should be made of air-permeable nylon that dries quickly. If the material is water-repellent, it keeps away the condensation that forms easily in the space between the inner and the outer tent.
- The frame
The frame needs to be stable and elastic at the same time. In strong gusts of wind, it must give, but not break. High-quality aluminium frames or hollow section fibreglass are best.
- The tent floor
A strong, PU-coated nylon floor is ideal. The seams should be completely and neatly bonded.
- The guylines
A guyline is a tensioned line or rope designed to add stability to the tent. Secure fixings for the guylines are made from strong material and sit directly on the frame (sleeve). The lowest guyline should be located approximately 40 centimetres above the ground.
- The inner tent entrances
D-shaped entrances are very convenient: they can be opened to the side, so they do not lie on the ground, where they would be a nuisance and get dirty. Wide entrances ease access. Look for anti-mosquito curtains that can be fastened from inside.
- The vestibules
The vestibules can be used as anteroom, storage or even kitchen. Make sure there is enough room for everything that you want to keep handy, the stove and your shoes. Vestibules should also protect from rain when the outer tent is open. This improves ventilation.
- The outer tent entrances
A high, wide entrance makes it easier to enter and exit the tent. The zip must have a waterproof cover but should slide easily. It must be possible to secure the door properly when it is open.
- The water repellency
The floor material should have a water column of at least 6,000 millimetres, but 10,000mm and more is recommended. As for the outer tent material, however, the water column plays a secondary role, provided it repels the rain properly and the water rolls off the flysheet. Make sure that the flysheet is taut and do not touch it when wet as this may affect the water repellency.