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Recreational tents come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, weights, colors and prices; and with a variety of intended applications. Choosing an appropriate tent requires several use considerations. Will you be using it in your backyard or the wilderness? Will you carry it on your back or the trunk of your car? How many people does it need to accommodate? What seasons do you expect to use it in? Is this your first tent or an upgrade? Would a screen house or canopy suit your needs?

Family Tent Eureka Copper Canyon 12 2 Room Tent
Backpacking Tent Marmot Thor 3P
Eureka Screen House and Privacy Shelter
Family Tent
Backpacking Tent
Screen House

If you are choosing a shelter for family car camping, you will have to determine how many members to house. Is it possible this number could increase anytime soon? Always try to get a tent somewhat larger than the traditional X-person rating because if everyone is forced to stay inside due to inclement weather, you’ll appreciate the extra room. And if you opt for air mattresses or cots, they will require more room than sleeping bags alone. Don’t forget there will be other gear inside the tent with you too, like clothing duffels, lanterns or toys and more. Cramped like sardines is sure to put a damper on your outing.

Some family-sized tents have multiple rooms with room dividers, offering some privacy. Others are available with built on screen rooms. Or you might want to consider an independent screen house or canopy. These expand your available living space and protect you from sun, rain and in the case of screened areas, nuisance insects.

Backpackers have a lot of options to consider as well. By necessity, these tents should be light, durable and compact. As with all tents, your first decision will be size. Backpacking tents are usually sized to accommodate between one and four people. The shape of your tent is important too. A-frame styles are generally fast and easy to erect but susceptible to high winds and are heavier than dome tents. A dome style design has more head room and is lighter in weight, but can withstand stronger winds. Some dome tent frame configurations can be intimidating to erect however.

Most backpacking tents are considered to be usable in three seasons and employ mesh panels for ventilation. Winter tents require heavier construction and a particularly strong frame system. While this adds weight, it is necessary to withstand potential storms.

Many backpacking tents include a vestibule or are designed to accept an optional one. Vestibules add space to store boots and gear under protection from the elements. Using precautions for flames, fumes and condensation, a small backpacking stove can be used in a vestibule as well.

Most tent frames are constructed from aluminum, fiberglass or sometimes steel for family tents. Aluminum is lighter than steel and more durable than fiberglass. Aluminum is also more costly.

Do not forget to include some important accessories. Rope and extra stakes will come in handy for additional weather precautions. A ground cloth will help protect the tent floor, but don’t let it extend beyond the tent footprint or you’ll risk it collecting rainwater under you.

However you choose to live outdoors, Campmor has the tent, shelter or screen house that fits your style. From backpacking and expedition tents to family and cabin models, screen houses and canopies, we've got it all.

Backpacking Tents
Family Tents
Screen Houses & Gazebos
Specialized Shelters

Tent Accessories
Tent Parts

Slightly Soiled Tents