by Diane Spicer
Backpacking tent reviews: easy to find.
Not always easy to swallow.
If the person writing the information is being paid by the company making the gear to write it, how objective can s/he really be?
Personally, I avoid commercial backpacking tent reviews for this reason. Who wants to waste time reading words that might be just about moving product out the door?
[OK, call me a sceptic. Guilty as charged.]
Let's go over a few "best backpacking tent" features for you to consider as you peruse all of those glossy potential info-mercials which are available:
That way, you'll swallow the facts, not the hook.
The basic question to consider when reading a backpacking tent review revolves around the choice of tent design:
Which footprint will give you maximum room for minimal weight?
Expect the word "seasons" in relation to a backpacking tent.
Here are your choices:
*Summer or hot climate, sometimes called "two season".
*Three season: pay attention to the temperature ratings and the features which are claimed to make this tent fit for colder weather.
*Year round/all season/four season (convertible) - be careful about taking this tent into really rugged conditions. You might need an expedition grade tent if you'll be bombarded by snow and wind.
*Winter camping: carefully read actual eyewitness accounts of how a person can survive extreme cold and snow conditions in this tent. Your safety margins get really thin in cold weather.
Believe it or not, there are more buzz words, revolving around the intended use rather than the season:
*Mountaineering: designed for hard core hikers in rugged terrain! These will be expensive, and may specify summer -vs- winter conditions.
*Ultralight (lite): for minimalists who can't be bothered with lugging around luxuries like a tent floor.
Now that you're up to speed on tent jargon, you can use these buzz words correctly to hone in on the info which pertains to the type of backpacking you are planning.
Of course, it's fun to read ALL of the reviews, if you have that kind of time on your hands!
Tip: Read the specificiations carefully, even before you consider the price point.
Here are other ways to spot quality backpacking tent reviews:
If a person shows a long standing commitment to getting the right gear into your hands, you can trust them much more than a revolving list of contributing writers who dabble in writing about backpacking gear.
And time permitting, I will review backpacking tents which I happen to spend time in.
Each summer I find myself in at least one "new" tent - new to me, that is.
So I've developed a mental list of "go to" companies which I trust with my hard earned money.
Be sure to check back once in a while to see which tents I feature.
It also gives me a GREAT excuse to hit the nearest gear store, in search of the hottest backpacking tents.
If you have suggestions or good resources on backpacking tent reviews, please send them along.
I'll share them in my free monthly newsletter, Happy Trails, for all of us to benefit and learn from.
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Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer.
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