Backpacking Tents – Guide for Beginners

Backpacking tents, as the name implies, are designed for backpacking camping trips. A backpacking tent is lightweight, reliable and compact. This type of tent will fit either inside or on the outside of a backpack when backpacking instead of car camping.
backpacking tentsA backpacker simply does not want to carry heavy, bulky camping gear, including backpacking tents, for long periods of time on his back; horse camping trips are another story. Speaking of the weight you have to carry, here are a couple of ultralight backpacking packages to look over.

Selecting quality backpacking tents allow for very quick and easy setup. One person should be able to set-up a tent for backpacking in 8 to 10 minutes. The majority of these tents today are designed to be freestanding, but a few still require stakes that will cause some difficulty in sand or rocks.

Backpacking tents are the right ones when camping deep in the woods or in the Rocky Mountains. Because a backpacking tent is made to be carried on your back (ouch!), they are lightweight and compact camping equipment. These camping tents are small, and they lack the standing height, length, and width of the larger family tents or car camping tents. You might start feeling claustrophobic after spending a lengthy period of time in a backpacking tent during an all day rain storm.

Some backpacking tents are specifically designed as lightweight family style tents. Even though they are smaller than the typical family tents, they are a more comfy piece of camping gear. Backpacking tents are used for camping in remote and isolated areas. Yep … your only choice is to put on those hiking boots or skis, loosen up those legs, and hike or ski to get there.

Because you are the one (congratulations dad!) carrying a backpacking tent, possibly for quite a distance, quality backpacking tents were designed to be lightweight, not very bulky, and durable, but do not think for a second they are as comfortable as family tents.

As a general rule, backpacking tents should compress into a very small stuff sack, be light, and fit the number in your group, unless mom is packing also, or your son is ready for the experience. A quality backpacking tent will also have a vestibule.

Vestibules for backpacking tents are an enclosed overhang of the tent, generally speaking, where camping gear can be stored outside of your tent, but underneath the cover while keeping it dry. The vestibule cover is great for preparing your camping food during foul weather. Otherwise, you will be dining on energy bars and survival food. Might just want to include some in your camping supplies.

Vestibules for Backpacking Tents

Whether or not a backpacking tent vestibule is important, depends on where you and your family are planning to be backpacking. If you are planning to be backpacking in a wet climate (around the Seattle area or Northwest), a large vestibule would be a necessity because for all intents and purposes the vestibule expands the amount of tent space you have for protecting camping supplies. On the other hand, camping in a dry climate does not require a vestibule. The size of the vestibule is simple, the larger the better … more room for storing and cooking camping food.

Poles for Backpacking Tents

When looking for backpacking tents right for you, it is highly suggested that you buy a tent with aluminum poles instead of fiberglass. Aluminum poles do not bend, they are lighter and stronger than fiberglass, and a great camping equipment accessory.

On the other hand, fiberglass poles are heavier than aluminum, and they will gradually bend over time. When the poles bend, it is quite evident when the tent is pitched. Although it might not seem that a bend is a big deal, wait until you attempt to put the fiberglass poles back into the stuff sack when leaving your campgrounds. Good luck!

Of course, each pole adds to the weight of the backpacking tent, and fewer poles generally equate to less weight. Quality tents contain fewer poles, and smaller tents usually will have fewer poles. The number of poles, as well as the layout of the poles, determines whether or not the backpacking tent is free-standing.

As previously mentioned, a freestanding tent does not need stakes out to remain in its correct and upright position. A freestanding tent is absolutely essential when you are setting up camp on the sand or on a rocky surface. Freestanding tents provide you with the choice of where to set-up camp, and they are easier (less time-consuming) to erect. While it never hurts to stake the tent out, it is not necessary with a freestanding tent, which translates to more fun time, more choices, and just less hassle.

Another factor to look at when selecting a backpacking camping tent is the amount of mesh in the tent wall. The more mesh in the tent wall, the more ventilation the tent will have. Mesh tents (tents with lots of mesh on all of its walls) are much cooler than tents that only have mesh at the entrance. If you will be camping primarily in warmer climates, tents with lots of mesh are the way to go. If you will generally be camping at high altitudes and in cold conditions, tents that have solid walls will be your best bet since these tents will stay much warmer.

Quality of Backpacking Tents

Finally, quality, quality, quality camping gear. When deep in the woods, climbing a mountain, or camping in any remote area, camping tents are vital pieces of camping equipment. Should your backpacking tent fail, your backpacking trip is likely to end at Motel 6 when the rain starts. Nothing like trying to enjoy a camping trip when it rains and your tent fails. Try starting and keeping that camping stove going in the open sky when it rains. Those delicious camping recipes are now only a dream.

It is guaranteed that your better half will never camp or backpack again in the mountains, by a lake or stream, without a functional tent, because all of you will have a miserable time. A quality backpacking tent will have an excellent warranty, keep you and your family, dry, comfortable, and safe when you need it the most. A quality backpacking tent will not leak when it rains, will not break or collapse around you, and it will even withstand light snowfalls. Middle price range Eureka tents are really good backpacking tents, and they are in the “just right” price range. Obtaining a quality camping tent with the first or renewed purchase is cheaper in the long run because you will never have to replace this camping equipment with another tent if you take care of it. You will not have to worry about your spouse, children, or friends camping again when you have a top quality and absolutely vital piece of camping gear.