Before you grab the first tent you see, keep these things in mind

A tent is your portable palace, so be sure to take your time and pick one that you'll actually look forward to staying in at the end of the day.

1. Make a list of needs: Use (car-camping or multi-day backpacking), size (a few extra inches can make a big difference), vestibule space (this is your garage and storage room, don't skimp), weight (every pound matters on the trail), durability (be realistic-are you actually going  winter camping?) and price range.

2. Now get shopping. Our advice: freestanding pole set-ups are best, and colour-coded poles make for easier set-up; aim for 10 sq. ft. of vestibule space per person as a minimum; a bathtub-style floor with a heavy-duty fabric is the only way to go; lots of mesh is good for hot summer nights; vents are especially important on single-wall and four-season tents; wall angles and floor layout are more important than overall floor space.

3. Now, try out a couple. Set them up and climb inside.

4. Consider the details. One door or two? Will you have to climb over people to get out? How much headroom is there? Are there storage pockets? How hard is it to pitch and take down? How much does it weigh? Are there windows?