Camping tent buying guide

We have assembled our range of tents into easy to choose from categories, so that as long as you know what activities you’ll be using the tent for, you’ll be able to select the most suitable tent for you.

We know that camping encompasses a wide range of scenarios, and whether you’re pitched on a rocky outcrop or going to a festival, we will stock a tent that matches your needs perfectly. If you’re in any doubt whatsoever about which tent you need, go to one of our stores or call our Mail Order team on 0845 100 100. One of our trained members of staff will then discuss your requirements with you and help you make a selection.

Tent Features

Click on the numbers in the image below to see what parts of the tent these are.

  1. Siliconised flysheet

    Flysheets are the outer skin of the tent, they provide the protection from the elements and are sometimes refered to as an “outer”. Siliconised Flysheets are found on modern tents where the fabic used has been coated in a layer of silicon. This is an aquaphobic material like that seen in non stick pans and causes water to from little droplets that run off the tent. This process is called beading.

  2. Vestibule

    This is the area of a tent between the “outer” and the “inner”, it’s used to store items that are muddy, wet or want to be kept outside of the sleeping compartment. Also refered to as a porch, a vestibule adds an extra dimension to your tent, providing space for storing kit and doubling up as a sheltered area for cooking and eating during unexpected downpours. There are certain tents in our range that come with the option of an extended vestibule for even more storage and extra living space – especially useful if you are planning a cycling touring holiday as larger vestibules can easily take two bikes.

  3. Guy line attachment point

    Guy lines are coords used to attach the tent to the ground and give it extra support. Large tents or tents to be used under extreme conditions should have a good number of guy lines that are well positioned. It also helps to have highly visible guy lines so they are easy to spot in the dark. Many of the tents we stock use reflective guys for this purpose.

  4. Flysheet tensioning

    In order to maximise weather protection and to prevent damage to the tent from it flapping in the wind the fly sheet should be taught (though not over stretched). The best way to achieve this is to pitch (put up) the tent with all the tensioners loose and then tighten them each in turn until the flysheet sits correctly. Depending on how even the ground is this may mean that some are tighter then others.

  5. Pole & sleeve

    Poles form the structure of the tent and come in two different designs. Geodesic (meaning dome shaped) or tunnel. See frame construction below.

  6. Ventilated nylon inner

    The inner part of the tent, sometimes refered to as the sleeping compartment, should be well ventilated to prevent condensation and keep you from becoming too hot at night.

  7. Bathtub groundsheet

    A bathtub ground sheet has raised sides to prevent mosture getting into the tent from wet grass or splashing rain comming in under the flysheet.

  8. Pole attachment

    There are various type of pole attachments. Some tents rely on holes to put the end of the pole through where as others have little spikes that go into the ends of the poles. A key thing to make sure is that you know how to attach the poles on your tent before you turn up at a camp site in the dark. This can make the experience of putting up your tent much more efficient and pleasurable.

  9. Zipped entrance & mosquito net

    A good size entrance with mosquito net will alow easy access to the tent and prevent condensation forming inside the tent. The mosquito net should be fine enough to prevent even small midges from entering the tent for your comfort. All our tents feature this quality of mosquito net.

  10. Peg point

    All tents will have a number of peg points, you should make sure that all are firmly secured when pitching the tent.

  11. Pole & Clip

    Some of our tents feature clips to attach the poles to the tent. These offer lighter weight at the expense of being less durable then pole sleeves though are still very durable.

Frame Construction

The two construction styles for tents are Geodesic and Tunnel, with each having its own strengths and weaknesses. A geodesic tent will tend to be stronger in high winds and snowy environments due to its overlapping pole design. They are also freestanding, making them easier to shift when looking for the perfect site and they tend to offer larger internal space. Tunnel tents, by contrast, are often lighter due to using fewer poles, offer extra head height and can feature large vestibules for added storage and living space, making them a great choice for lowland trekking, touring and family camping trips.

Independently Pitched Inner

Being able to pitch the inner tent on its own can be extremely useful in hot and dry climates, where your biggest concerns are flying bugs and insects rather than wind and rain. The inners of many geodesics tents can be self-supporting for convenient pitching, while the inners of tunnel tents will require the use of guy lines. Many models have been designed so that the inner and outer tent can be pitched as one, making it much easier when trying to set up in a hurry.

Maintenance

Look after your tent and it will look after you! if it’s dirty then give it a good clean with lukewarm water (not soap!) to protect the fabric and it is always sensible to check each pole and peg after every trip. Always ensure that the tent is dry before packing it away and repairs any tears with seam sealant. You can use Grangers Fabsil to increase the water resistance and UV protection of your tent.

Accessories

We offer a broad range of accessories for our tents, all of which are designed to improve performance, weather resistance and longevity. Tent footprints, for example, are designed to protect the base of your tent from rugged terrain and excess moisture, while a well-placed gear loft in the inside of a tent can add valuable storage space. Titanium pegs are an excellent was to save even more weight without affecting the overall strength of the tent.

Click here to see our range of Tent Accessories

Weight

If you’re driving to and from your chosen campsite, then you don’t need to worry about finding the lightest tent available. A lighter tent will generally have less room, particularly in terms of vestibules, so don’t buy the lightest tent if you don’t really need it, as having more space for gear and kit is such a help, especially if you’re planning long stays in your tent. However, for fast and light trips, which involve a lot of carrying, a lightweight tent is essential. Single skin tents offer a saving in weight but supply less breathability. They function best in cold/dry environments and are best suited to trips where weight saving is the highest priority. For the more adventurous, take a bivi, tarp or hammock when you haven’t got the pack size of available weight to carry a tent.

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