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Sizing Guide for Tents


By Steve Kopitz


When purchasing a new tent for camping there are some key elements that go into selecting the proper size. Choosing the proper size in a tent can greatly impact the amount of fun and comfort you have while camping. As there are several different types of actual camping one can do there are also several different methods of measure that can go into sizing a tent. Here we will go over sizing a new tent based on what you will be using it for, amount of people using the tent and overall length and width.


Types of Tents


There are many different styles of tents available and here we will talk briefly about the most popular models; backpacking, cabin and dome style tents.


Backpacking Tents: Backpacking tents are going to be the smallest overall as these tents are meant to be minimal to pack down to a small and lightweight package when not in use. These tents are designed to be very lightweight and in this design they offer a small more cozy sleeping area.


Cabin Tents: Cabin style tents are some of the easiest to get in and out of. Cabin tents offer a more vertical design with nearly vertical walls giving them a great amount of headroom. These are great for use as family tents and in some larger models will even offer room dividers to give some privacy within the tent. Cabin tents are great for those who have trouble getting into and out of dome or backpacking tents.


Dome Tents: Dome style tents are a fine mixture of both a backpacking style and a cabin style tent. With slightly less room than a cabin style tent but more than a backpacking tent these tents offer a bit more sloped design. The sloped design takes away slightly from headroom and space but offers a bit lighter weight and smaller design easier for storage and set up.


Sizing Tents


The two main ways to size a tent is either by the amount of people sleeping in the tent or by the tents overall size in length and width. Here we will cover these tent sizing methods and when each method is best used.


Sizing a Tent by Persons: Tents will typically be labeled with the coinciding number telling how many people a tent will sleep. For instance, the Kelty Trail Ridge 2 references the number “2” meaning it will sleep 2 people comfortably. This is an easy way to size tents when you know the amount of people that will be using the tent and the amount of gear you will typically need to stow. This is a popular way to size backpacking tents as you want the smallest tent possible and can easily get a 1 or 2 person tent based on this sizing. If you wish to get additional room you can size a tent larger so if you only need to sleep 2 people but would like extra storage area, going up to a 3 person tent is a viable option.


Sizing a Tent by Length and Width: It’s quite easy to get the square footage of a tent. If a tent is 5 feet by 6 feet you simply multiply the numbers which gives you the square footage which is 30 square feet in this case. If you are sleeping 2 but you also have more gear to store in the tent or a dog to make room for this method of tent measurement may be a good way to go. When buying a tent online it’s always a good idea to look into the measurements to get a full idea of how much headroom and overall area your tent will offer.


Packed Size: This is important in backpacking tents. You will want to know the exact size of the tent when packed down to its smallest. On top of knowing the exact packed size you will want to take note of the weight so if you are backpacking or travelling with the tent you know what you will be carrying.


Now that you know a bit more about sizing of a tent for camping you can make a more educated decision based on your needs. If you found that you have additional sizing questions that have been left unanswered please comment below or contact our customer service and we will be glade to offer additional assistance.

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