A tent is one of the most crucial pieces of camping equipment. When shopping for a tent, there are a variety of factors to consider, including how many people will be sleeping in it, how much portability you need, and what weather conditions you need it to hold up to.
Tents vary a great deal in size and capacity, from 1-2 person tents to multi-room cabin tents for families. The sleeping capacity of a tent is usually determined by how many 72" x 20" x 2" sleeping mats can fit inside without overlapping. However, many people prefer a little bit of extra space for moving around or for gear and will choose a tent rated for more people than will actually be sleeping in it.
Portability is another important consideration. For car camping, a bulkier, heavier tent is fine, but if you'll be hiking or boating to your campsite you'll need a lightweight backpacking tent. The lightest type of shelter, a bivy or bivy sack, is an almost instant tent that accommodates little more than a camper.
Finally, consider the weather conditions you'll be facing. If you'll be camping in the spring, summer or fall in a moderate climate, a three-season tent is appropriate, but for mountaineering or winter weather conditions you'll need a four-season tent.
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