How to choose a tent
Buying a tent is an investment, with good reason: you want to feel at home in nature.
Generally, a tent is the single most expensive piece of your outdoor kit, which makes complete sense. First and foremost, a tent provides you with shelter and a safe place to rest and recuperate before continuing an adventure. Tents also have a “feel-good factor,” since they allow you to spend more quality time in nature. In a tent, you wake up to five-star views and are the master of your own space.
With your safety, comfort and well-being in nature on the line, you want to choose the right tent for your needs from the get-go. We suggest asking yourself the following questions before you make your final decision.
When will you use it?
Different tents are created for different purposes, so it pays to think about when you will use yours. Some are developed for typical conditions in spring, summer and fall. Others are extra sturdy for tough winter conditions, making them heavier and bulkier.
Fjällräven divvies up its tents into two main categories. Three-season tents are suitable for spring, summer and fall. They use lighter fabrics and have fewer reinforcements. Four-season tents will take you through to winter and are made with thicker fabric. They also have more reinforcements, as well as stronger guy lines and poles.
Within the two tent categories, Fjällräven has three tent ranges, or “families”. The Abisko family comprises lighter-weight tents with streamlined details and mosquito-safe vents. Keb family tents are a little stronger, more water resistant, and come with larger tent pegs. Our most technical tent is the Polar Endurance 3, which is designed for winter camping. It is Fjällräven’s strongest and most durable tent. Though you can use it year-round, it comes with snow skirts and lockable snow vents.
Where will you use it?
Different shapes of tents suit different locations better. Fjällräven makes two tent shapes: dome and tunnel. As you might expect, both have their pros and cons.
Dome tents are sturdy and free-standing, so they do not need guy lines and pegs to stay upright. If it is windy however, you will want to attach the tent to the ground. The dome tent’s shape gives you some freedom regarding where you can camp. On rocky terrain for example. They are also less sensitive to changes in wind direction, which is ideal if you are camping in exposed areas. They also have a little more headroom, which makes them feel more spacious. The vestibule of a dome tent however, is smaller than in other kinds of tents, because dome tents require more poles. Dome tents are generally heavier than other kinds of tents and therefore less appealing for longer treks.
Tunnel tents on the other hand need guy lines and pegs to stay upright and in place. They do offer however, better weight to space ratios, largely because they have fewer Poles. Tunnel tents are ideal if you are trekking as a group. Fewer poles don’t just help make them lighter, but ensures they are easier to assemble. While tunnel tents offer less head room, their vestibules are larger to accommodate more gear. Some Fjällräven tunnel tents come with two vestibules at the back and front. It is important to note that tunnel tents are more susceptible to changes in wind direction, so stormy nights can be “exciting”.
Who is using the tent?
Are you a solo camper, or do you prefer heading outdoors with friends and family? Do you like lots of space, or are you okay with getting cosy with your camping companions? It is for these reasons that Fjällräven offers one-, two-, three-, and four-person tents. Tent sizes are also directly linked to their weight, so you also need to ask yourself whether yours will be carried over long distances. And who will do the carrying.
Based on these personal details, you will need to compromise between weight and size. The bigger the tent, the heavier it will be, so if you can drive and walk a short distance to your campsite, then weight is not much of a problem. If you are trekking longer distances however, you will want to think carefully about how much your tent weighs.
Little extras make all the difference
Like a mesh inner tent when you are hot, rain-free locations. It provides extra protection from insects, and can also be used as a standalone tent when it is very warm. Air flows freely, but insects are unable to get in.
A tarp offers another layer of protection from the elements, like rain. You just tie it to trees above your tent. When used together with a mesh inner tent, you will sleep knowing you will not be hot, wet, or bothered by insects.
Tent footprints are extra tent floors that are reinforced, providing protection in rocky locations. They also extend the lifespan of your tent.
Our readers’ favourites
At 1650g this is a relatively light tent. But the strong ripstop fabric means it’s pretty rugged, making it ideal for solo travellers.
This tent is easy to pitch, is suitable for year-round camping, and also has ample space for two people and their backpacks. You can even cook in the vestibule.
Designed specifically with winter camping in mind, this tent is very strong and made with hardwearing materials. It also comes with thoughtful details like snow skirts and snow vents.
At 4,790 grams, this is not the lightest tent, but it is strong, sturdy and usable in a variety of conditions all year long. It is the shape however, that campers like most because it is spacious, comfortable and when the doors are open it provides a welcoming space to admire the view.
This four-season tent is not too heavy, or too small. It is easy to assemble, stable and reliable. Our readers appreciate its details. Like a clothesline in the vestibule, two entrances, auto-lock zips, mosquito netting, and reflectors.