How to Select a Tent: Tent Seasonality

choose a tent

People across the country want to spend more time outdoors. Connecting with nature and getting away from the daily grind can be easily done with a suitable tent and gear. That being said, those new to backpacking and camping may want to learn more about selecting the right tent for the seasons and conditions which may be encountered. What should backpackers and campers know about tent seasonality?

Learn more about picking a tent that will perform well in 3 seasons and more today.

The Most Popular Tents

Many people choosing to backpack or visit a National Park go for a 3-season tent. These tents are generally lightweight and should perform well during spring, summer and fall, as long as conditions stay temperate. A three-season tent will:

  • Shield campers from insects;
  • Offer privacy; and
  • Keep a camper dry during light snow or rain.

Such tents often include mesh panels and may be paired with a taut rainfly to help campers stay dry when caught in a downpour. These type of tents are not meant for conditions such as violent winds, heavy snow or harsh storms.

3+ Season Tents

Campers and backpackers looking for prolonging their usage may opt for extended-season tents. These tents are not suitable for all 4 seasons but do allow a camper to begin to take trips in early spring and continue doing so through late fall. Such tents can handle moderate snowfall. One will find that these extended-tents have fewer mesh panels and have 1 or 2 additional poles than the 3-season option, making them warmer and sturdier. Campers, backpackers and hikers looking to travel to high-elevation destinations may want to find a solid 3+ season tent for their needs.

4-Season Tents

Serious campers and backpackers who may be in conditions which include significant snow loads and fierce winds select a 4-season tent or mountaineering tent, helpful for those who may encounter inhospitable conditions above the treeline or in the winter.

4-season tents will be composed of heavier fabrics and use more poles than 3 and 3+ season tents. Mountaineering tents feature a rounded dome, few mesh panels and an extended rainfly. A 4-season tent is the place to be when having to withstand high winds or heavy snows. Individuals looking to buy a 4-season tent can expect to shell out from $350 to over $1100 for a model, depending on the brand and features desired. It can be useful to compare reviews to find the tent which will be best for the conditions to be encountered and a specific budget.

Be Ready for Unseasonable Weather

Weather conditions can change quickly and those new to using a tent should test out any new tent and gear before heading out to ensure that it is made well and can hold up. Rainflies are useful when caught in a light rain and additional types of gear may be beneficial depending on the type of terrain and conditions to be encountered. There are resources which may be helpful for individuals heading out to new camping and backpacking areas. After purchasing a tent, proper maintenance is required. Check for any tears after purchasing as well as prior to heading out on a trip, and store tents as suggested by the manufacturer to maintain their structural integrity and get optimal usage.