Credit: Photo Monkey
Style: Sport-specific or general use? Four-season or summer only? Keep in mind that cramming into a backpacking tent at a drive-in campground gets old just as quickly as that 12-pound monster will on a five-day hike.
Size: Manufacturers seem to size tents using skinny people who like to spoon. We go with a tent rated one size bigger (e.g., a three-person tent for a party of two). Each person should have at least 15 square feet of floor area and five square feet of vestibule space. Note that vertical walls, big vestibules and having two doors all make tents feel roomier.
Essentials: Fully seam-taped floors and flies. Doors that stow away off the ground. Lots of guyline lash points. At least one interior pocket.
Priorities If you’re hauling the tent under your own steam, put weight near the top of your list. For car camping, why not go for standing room? Mesh walls rule in the summer.
Other factors: Multiple vents are good. Bathtub-style floors and door sills equal a drier, cleaner tent. Colour-coded poles and snaps help during set-up. Reflective hits make it easier to manoeuvre around your tent in the dark.