Help needed in choosing a hiking / backpacking tent

What backpacking tent to choice is proving confusing

I don’t really know very much about tents – I have owned three over the years, but they were all pretty much impulse buys.

I know even less about backpacking / hiking / expedition tents – I am assuming that being light and compact is important, but beyond that I haven’t got a clue!

Hopefully that is where you come in! This is an open invitation for suggestions and recommendations on what hiking tent I should get for Offa’s Dyke.

If case you are interested, my previous tents were:

My pop-up tent in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco

  • an ok 3-man tent that came in one of those “starter” camping kits from Blacks. The sleeping bags and inflatable bed were quickly discarded, but the tent lasted a couple of years (my ex-wife has it now).
  • one of those pop-up tents – perfect for a 20-day driving holiday to and around Morocco I went on a few years ago. I still occasionally use it for short trips, but it isn’t ultimately very waterproof!
  • my new Outwell Arizona L tent I bought in the Summer. I really like this tent and it is perfect for camping holidays around the UK (the extra height is brilliant as I am quite tall and suffer from back problems – so being able to stand up straight is great!)

However none of these tents are particularly practical for a 12-day backpacking trip Well I say that, but Karen & Popa will be using the Arizona, but they have the benefit of using the support vehicle to carry their camping equipment – Alex and I will be carrying ours!

A few weeks ago I very nearly bought a Coleman Avior X2 – it was (surprisingly enough) an impulse buy after visiting a local store and seeing it was half price as part of a winter clearance. Unfortunately the only one left in the country (in Scotland) was already reserved and was sold before they had time to ship it down to Northampton.

My requirements

My requirements for the tent are:

My first tent in the Snow on Cannock Chase

  • suitable for all UK weather – I am unlikely to take it anywhere particularly extreme
  • light – I have to carry it
  • suitable size – it needs to fit me (6’3), my dog (German Shepherd) and a rucksack
  • waterproof / wind proof – obviously!
  • not too expensive – I obviously want to get a tent fit for purpose, but at the same time it won’t get a huge amount of use after Offa’s Dyke, so I don’t want to spend too much
  • easy to put up – the quicker it is to put up the better

It’s all so confusing!

Doing some research on the internet brought up a whole host of queries:Please help!

  • do I need a 4-season tent, or will 3-season be fine?
  • what is the best balance between size and weight, for a few extra lbs of weight should I go slightly bigger, or will my knees tell me on day 4 that I should have gone for the lightest option?
  • what is a realistic budget?
  • what type of tent do I need? there seems to be so many types!

So please, any advice or suggestions to put me out of my misery will be very much appreciated!

4 Replies to “Help needed in choosing a hiking / backpacking tent”

  1. So within about 15 minutes of posting this on Twitter, it seems my problems have been solved. @Nick_Allen (on Twitter) has kindly offered to give me his 2-man North Face tadpole tent free of charge, as he is moving abroad!

    Looking at the reviews on the web, it looks pretty ideal for my needs. Fairly cosy, but then it is just me and the dog, and the lightness will be great for my legs!

    @documentally and @fergycool (again both on Twitter) both seem to think that this is a good tent to have!

    Just wish all the equipment is going to be this easy!

  2. Hi There!
    I spotted your tweet asking for advice on choosing a tent and I see you’ve already had a donation. I would like to recommend to you my website which has lots of advice on choosing all sorts of camping gear from tents, sleeping bags, rucksacks, stoves and all sorts of useful stuff.
    The site is predominantly aimed at Lightweight Camping and Ultralight Backpacking which gives loads of top tips on how to lighten your load and save your back and your knees!
    Check it out, all the info’s free.
    Oh, and if you’ve got any questions feel free to get in touch. Always willing to help.
    Best of luck

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