What To Know Before Buying A Tent? (12 Things)

Deciding to buy a tent is exciting but it can also be overwhelming. There are so many different types of tents, materials and brands to choose from. 

If you’re buying your first tent or looking to upgrade, there are some things you should know before buying one:

Buying a tent? Things to know before you buy. – YouTube
Consider important factors before buying a tent.
Research different tent types and their suitability.
Determine the right tent size for your needs.
Look for key features such as waterproofing and ventilation.
Choose a tent that is easy to set up.

How often will you use it?

The more you use a tent, the more maintenance it will need. For example, if you camp once per month on average and your camping trip lasts for 3 days and 2 nights, then your tent will require more cleaning than if you camped for 1 day or even every other weekend. 

In addition to that, as any camper knows, tents need constant inspection to ensure they’re in good shape. 

If a part of the tent is damaged (like a pole), then it should be replaced immediately so that the problem doesn’t become worse or cause an injury while using your tent.

When it comes to backpacking, every ounce matters. Check out our guide on how much a one-person backpacking tent should weigh to ensure you choose a lightweight option that won’t weigh you down on your adventures.

Weather Conditions

The first and most important step in choosing your tent is to identify the type of weather you will be camping in. This means knowing what kind of temperatures, rain, wind speed and other conditions you’re going to face. 

The best way to do this is by researching the region you’ll be visiting or using a site like Weather Underground that allows users to find their exact location and report back on their experience.

Knowing how much precipitation a given area experiences can help determine if you need additional rain protection for your tent (more on that below). 

A general rule of thumb is that three inches per hour over five days makes water levels rise significantly enough to cause flooding concerns particularly if there’s no natural drainage around where tents are set up. 

If there isn’t any drainage available at all, it’s probably better not set up camp near rivers or lakes at all during periods when heavy rains are expected!

Size Of The Tent

The first thing to consider when buying a tent is how many people you need to fit in the tent. If you are alone, then your needs are simple and the size of your tent can be small. However, if you like to camp with friends or family members then the amount of space needed will increase significantly.

The second thing to consider is how much space do you need for your tent? This depends on what activities you plan on doing while camping and where they will take place. 

For example, if you plan on sitting inside your tent throughout most of your time at camp then having less space might work better as it means less walking around and opening up doors whenever someone wants to come inside or leave outside! 

On the other hand if there are children involved who want somewhere safe where they can play games together within view (but not too close) then having more room might be beneficial so there’s plenty of room between beds/chairs etcetera without disturbing each other too much!

Simplifying your camping setup can make your outdoor experience more enjoyable. Discover practical tips on how to simplify a camping tent to streamline your camping routine and spend more time relaxing in nature.

Tent Weight

When it comes to tent weights, the general rule is that light is better. Lighter tents are easier to carry and set up, and they’re usually less expensive than heavier options. 

However, if you’re planning to backpack with your tent, be aware that a lightweight model may not be as durable in high winds or rainstorms as a more substantial model.

Shape Of The Tent

You’ll need to decide on the shape of your tent before you buy. There are a few different options, so here’s what each one is best for:

Rectangular Tents are great for space, but they aren’t very aerodynamic. If you plan to be traveling long distances with your tent then this might not be the right choice for you

A-Frame Tents are great if you want something that is easy to set up and take down quickly. They will also fit in the back of a car without taking up too much space. An A-frame tent is also good if there is only one person using it since it doesn’t require any extra poles or stakes when pitching

Dome Tents offer more headroom than other shapes because they have curved walls instead of corners (especially at the top). This makes them more comfortable than other types of tents

Dome TentsDome-shaped tents offer a good balance of interior space and wind resistance.
Cabin TentsCabin-style tents feature vertical walls and a spacious interior, ideal for family camping trips.
Tunnel TentsTunnel tents provide ample headroom and are designed for ease of setup and durability.
Geodesic TentsGeodesic tents have multiple intersecting poles, offering superior stability in harsh conditions.
Pyramid TentsPyramid-shaped tents provide a lightweight and compact design with a single central pole.

Choose The Right Color

When choosing a tent, you should consider the color of it. If you are camping somewhere with a lot of trees, then green would be better because it will blend in with nature. 

However, if it’s not a foresty area and has lots of mountains and snow on the ground then red would be better because it can be seen from afar by people looking for help. 

If you’re going to use your tent for other purposes like sports tournaments or parties then blue or purple would work great because those are both very popular colors for athletic teams’ uniforms and party decorations.

Choosing the right tent size is crucial for a comfortable camping trip. Our guide on how big a tent should be provides valuable insights to help you determine the appropriate size for your camping needs and ensure a cozy outdoor retreat.

Ventilation – Windows & Mesh Screens

Ventilation is important in any tent and there are a few ways to get it. Tent windows allow air to pass through the material while keeping bugs out. Windows can be zipped open or closed depending on how much ventilation you want, or if you need to keep them secured during rain storms. 

Mesh screens are another way of providing ventilation without having to open the actual window of your tent. Mesh screens can be rolled up and down according to weather conditions, so even if it rains outside, you’ll still be able to catch some fresh air inside your sleeping quarters with this feature!


A rainfly is a waterproof cover for the tent that keeps you dry in bad weather.

It can be made from mesh, polyester or PVC and it is usually removable and packs into a compact bag. It helps to keep the tent dry in bad weather but if it rains hard enough, water will always find its way inside your tent through the seams and zippers of any tent.

The rainfly also provides protection from insects like mosquitoes or flies which can get in through small holes in your tent or flap vents at its base.

Purpose of RainflyRainfly provides additional protection against rain and moisture, keeping the tent interior dry.
Material OptionsRainflies are typically made of durable materials like polyester or nylon for water resistance.
Attachment MethodsRainflies are attached to the tent using methods like buckles, hooks, or loops for secure installation.
Coverage and DesignRainflies come in different sizes and designs to provide varying levels of coverage for the tent structure.
Ventilation FeaturesSome rainflies include vents or mesh panels to promote airflow and reduce condensation inside the tent.

Ease Of Setup

Are you the type of person who likes to set up a tent in the backyard during the afternoon and then come back out later that evening to enjoy the fruits of your labor? Are you more of a “set it up and leave it” kind of person? 

Do you hate putting together anything with so many pieces and parts that it feels like Christmas morning every time? Whatever your preference, ease of set-up can make or break your camping experience.

The good news is: most tents are fairly easy to assemble. The bad news is: not all tents are created equal when it comes to ease-of-setup. 

Some are made specifically for one-person assembly while others require two people (or three if they’re big enough). 

Some have instructions that resemble an ancient hieroglyphic text written by aliens; others have instructions so simple even my dog could follow them (and she probably wouldn’t be able to tell me which end was up). And yet again still others don’t come with any instructions at all!

Investing in a high-quality canopy tent is important, but it’s equally essential to know its lifespan. Explore our article on how long a canopy tent lasts to understand the factors that influence durability and make an informed purchase decision.

Durability & Maintenance Of Your Tent

Durability & Maintenance

The tent poles should be strong and flexible. They should be able to withstand heavy winds and snow without bending, breaking or snapping. The pegs should be strong and durable, as they will hold your tent down in windy conditions. 

Having a sturdy set of stakes is important because you don’t want your tent flying away in the middle of the night! A waterproof rainfly is also essential for keeping out moisture from rain or snowfall, which can create condensation inside your tent (even if it’s well-sealed).

Tents that are easy to clean and maintain are ideal for new campers who are still learning how to take care of their gear. 

Avoid tents with complicated designs that make cleaning difficult or impossible – this will only increase wear on your gear over time as well as make things more difficult when it comes time for storage at home too! 

When storing your own camping equipment after use keep them clean by wiping down any dirt off surfaces before putting them back into storage bags – this will help avoid rusting over time too!

Tent Poles & Pegs

When it comes to your tent poles and pegs, you want to make sure they are sturdy, durable and long enough to hold down your tent in windy conditions.

You also want to make sure that the tent pegs are strong enough for the weight of your shelter. If you’re going camping alone or with just one other person, then a small tent will be fine for holding down the sides of your shelter but if there are more of you then a larger capacity may be necessary.

Types of Tent PolesDifferent types of tent poles, such as fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon fiber, provide varying benefits.
Pole ConstructionTent poles are typically constructed with durability and flexibility in mind to withstand outdoor conditions.
Tent Peg MaterialsTent pegs are made from various materials, including aluminum, steel, or plastic, each with its advantages.
Peg Design and UsageDifferent peg designs, like V-shaped or Y-shaped, offer specific benefits for stability and ease of use.
Importance of StakesProperly securing tent stakes is crucial for stability and preventing the tent from shifting in strong winds.

Know The Basics Before Getting A Tent

Before you buy a tent, it’s important to know the basics. There are several factors that affect what kind of tent is best for you and your camping needs. 

Consider how often you will be using it, the type of weather conditions you’re likely to encounter in your area, whether or not you are going solo or bringing friends or family along with you. Then think about the size and shape of your tent—plus what color and ventilation options would work best for when setting up camp in different environments.


Tents come with windows on both sides (these are called double-wall) or just one side (single-wall). Single wall tents tend to have mesh screens instead of solid fabric. If this is an important factor for choosing a new model then check out these reviews before making a purchase decision!


A rainfly attaches directly over top of an open-air shelter providing additional protection from precipitation such as hail storms during summer months which can happen frequently throughout North America where I currently live here in Canada 😀

Setting up a rainfly on your tent can provide crucial protection from the elements. Learn about the various methods in our comprehensive guide on 12 ways to set up a rainfly tent, ensuring you stay dry and comfortable during rainy camping trips.


I hope these tips helped you figure out what kind of tent is right for you. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect! Just make sure it has enough room for all your friends, and that it fits into your budget. 

New tents can be expensive but secondhand ones are a great way to save money while still getting something good quality. Happy adventuring!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful when it comes to buying a tent:

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Tent – OARS: Explore this informative article that covers important factors and considerations to keep in mind before purchasing a tent, helping you make an informed decision.

Buying a Tent: 10 Handy Tips to Help You Make the Best Choice – BIG4: Check out this useful resource that provides ten practical tips for buying a tent, offering valuable insights and advice to ensure you select the right tent for your camping needs.

Tent Buying Guide – GO Outdoors: Delve into this comprehensive tent buying guide that covers a wide range of topics, including tent types, sizes, features, and more. It offers expert advice and tips to assist you in making an informed tent purchase.


What are the important factors to consider before buying a tent?

Before buying a tent, it’s crucial to consider factors such as tent size, weight, durability, weather resistance, ease of setup, and price.

What types of tents are available in the market?

There are various types of tents available, including dome tents, tunnel tents, cabin tents, backpacking tents, and more. Each type has its own advantages and suitability for different camping scenarios.

How do I determine the right tent size for my needs?

To determine the right tent size, consider the number of people who will be using the tent, the amount of gear you need to store, and whether you prefer more spacious accommodations or a snugger fit.

What features should I look for in a tent?

Key features to consider include a waterproof rainfly, sturdy tent poles, quality zippers, good ventilation, a durable floor, and additional features like gear storage pockets or a vestibule.

How can I ensure a tent is easy to set up?

Look for tents with straightforward setup processes, color-coded poles, and clear instructions. Freestanding tents that don’t require stakes for setup are generally easier to pitch. Practice setting up your tent before your camping trip to familiarize yourself with the process.