There are plenty of options when it comes to selecting a tent you’ll use when car camping.
The primary goal is to choose a tent that will be reliable and comfortable.
At its core, you want to consider these 9 qualities when shopping for a car camping tent:
1. Number of people using the tent
2. Conditions in which you’ll use the tent
3. Ease of use
Since you’re not constrained by size and weight (other than what you can comfortably set up, take down and store in your vehicle and home), you can focus on selecting a tent that will become a comfortable home away from home. One of the most important factors is ceiling height. It’s nice to have a tent with enough head room to stand in comfort.
You’ll also want room to move around. For example, you might buy a four-man tent for use by two people (or two people and a dog or young child). Several camping groups recommend a tent supply at least 32 square feet (and preferably closer to 50 square feet) of space per person.
Look at the tent’s ventilation options (important during spells of heat and humidity, especially) and ability to withstand harsh weather – think a downpour and high winds.
As holds true in nearly everything related to camping, “ease of setup” is a key factor when purchasing a tent. You don’t want to fumble with the setup every time you go camping. And you don’t want a tent that’s so heavy it requires several people to carry it from your vehicle to the desire site. (Don’t forget to practice setting up your tent at home before you set out.).
Look for quality aluminum poles and sturdy construction – no flimsy zippers and uneven, unreinforced seams. Make sure there’s a rainfly that covers the entire tent and it is waterproof.
Look for a tent with a footprint; it will help prolong the life of your tent by protecting the tent floor.
Consider the merits of a vestibule – an adjacent, covered area that can be used to store shoes and your pack or become the designated sleeping area for your dog or play space for your child.
Dome tents are aerodynamic and stable, and they have great interior space and headroom. Cabin tents are ideal for established campgrounds or base camp. Their large, square designs have high ceilings and vertical walls. They have plenty of space for cots, chairs and coolers.
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