Are Expensive Tents Worth It?

Unsure how much to spend on a tent? Should you opt for a large investment or stick to a tighter budget? Find out whether or not expensive tents are worth it here!

Most of the time, there’s no need to buy an expensive tent. As long as you choose something with a decent level of quality, something in the middle price range is sufficient for the vast majority of campers. The only exception to this might include tents for those who camp very heavily or are frequent backpackers.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a tent. Often, the cost of a tent is made up of qualities like the durability, size, and overall ability to last through every camping trip. Continue on, and you’ll learn more about what kind of tent you need and how much it’s likely to cost.

Are Expensive Tents Worth It?

Like with many things, the amount you spend on a tent should really be based on your exact needs. How often are you going to use the tent? Do you plan on using drive-up campsites or will you be carrying your supplies? Are you a fair-weather camper or someone who likes camping in all seasons?

There are many things to consider when buying a tent, and they can all play a role in how much you end up spending.

For most casual campers, there isn’t much of a need to buy an extremely expensive tent. Something relatively inexpensive can work just fine. Coleman is one of the popular brands with fair pricing, and those who use Coleman tents can often attest that they’ll last years before needing to be replaced.

On the other hand, those who like to camp frequently or in more extreme climates may want to get tents that are more durable or specialized. In many cases, these tents tend to be more expensive. However, these choices also often tend to provide more durability.

A common concern for campers involves the rain. No matter when you choose to camp, it’s worthwhile to find a tent with at least some rain protection. You can learn more about which tents are waterproof and which are not in our article here.

Consider What You Need In A Tent

When you’re looking for a tent, there are a few factors you’ll really want to consider. These aspects can play a big part in your overall camping experience.

Think about these features when you’re deciding which tent to buy:

  • Size. It’s really worthwhile to have enough space. Unless you are looking for the smallest option for backpacking, you’ll want something that can easily fit your camp bed setup and gear. That said, keep in mind that larger tents come at a higher price.
  • Durability. Think about how often you go camping and how long you want your tent to last. Within reason, a higher price can result in higher quality and a longer-lasting tent–For example, a better-built tent will have more thorough rainproofing, and will have more expensive hardware (like zippers) and materials.
  • Weather reliability. What climates do you plan to use your tent in? Is it prepared for rain, hail, or even snow? Make sure the tent you buy can handle the weather you want to camp in.
  • Ease of setup. Many of the popular tents on the market attempt to make setup and take-down relatively easy and quick. However, you may want to pay extra attention to what this process is like if you want something for backpacking or opt for a canvas tent. Some backpacking tents, for example, require you to use a stick or your hiking pole as part of the setup process.
  • Weight. This is another feature that is most important to backpackers. Many common tent options are quite lightweight, but still won’t be suitable if you need to hike with your tent. The lighter the materials, the more expensive, which seems a little bit counter-intuitive, I know.

Deciding what kind of tent you need can involve considering more factors than the ones listed here. To get a better idea of how much you should spend on a tent, take a look at our article on the subject here.

When An Expensive Tent Might Be Worth It

Most of the time, it’s wise to seek out a tent that provides a balance of quality and cost. Not everyone wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a tent, especially if they’re only planning on using it for a handful of camping trips in the warmer months.

That said, more intense campers may want something they can easily backpack with. Tents that are designed for backpacking need to be both durable and incredibly lightweight. Examples like the Kelty Late Start (Kelty’s website) and Lynx 1 (Alps website) can give you an idea as to the designs and prices of backpacking tents.

If you’re an all-year camper, then you might want something much more durable than the standard tent. Rain, hail, snow, and intense sunlight can be harder on tents. Not to mention you’re going to want something that can keep you comfortable no matter what the outside weather is like. Black Diamond tents like the Eldorado (Black Diamond’s website) are made to provide the perfect all-weather camping experience, but at a higher cost than usual.

Where To Buy Quality Tents

If you decide that you want something of higher quality than the standard Coleman, you may find yourself wondering just where to find the right kind of tent.

You can browse through all the well-known brand websites, or you can find a place where several of the reliable tent brands can be found in one place. If you’d rather have all your options on a single site, then REI is a great place to get started.

From the single-person Passage 1 all the way to the massive Kingdom 8, REI has a huge variety of tents to choose from. Many of these tents provide an acceptable balance between the price you pay and the quality you receive. They may not be the least expensive tents out there, but they have a lot to offer for the added cost.

Where To Buy Inexpensive Tents

The options are even more abundant if you’re just looking for something simple and inexpensive. Places like Amazon or your local sporting goods store are sure to have plenty of budget-friendly tents that are sure to suit your needs.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is one option that many people may already be familiar with. On their site, you can find reliable Coleman tents, as well as Eureka, Stansport, and even Kelty tents to choose from. Each of which comes at a price that is sure to suit more casual campers.

Sites like these are great places to find tents if you only go on a handful of camping trips a year, or possibly just want something for your backyard. Sometimes, you just may not be able to get out into the wilderness. During those times, a backyard tent is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. To learn more about the best backyard camping tents, check out our article here!

Tips To Consider While Tent Shopping

There are a few extra tips worth keeping in mind when you’re looking for a tent. Making use of these tips can help you to get more out of your tent and ultimately spend less on your camping gear.

Use these tips to get the most from your tent:

  • Get a comfortable size. Unless you absolutely need a tiny tent for backpacking, get something with enough space. A 4-person tent typically only means that there’s barely enough space for 4 people to sleep like sardines packed together. It doesn’t account for the amount of space you may need for gear or changing clothes, or breathing room. So if you want to fit 4 people, make sure and get a 6-person tent.
  • Take care of your tent. Your tent will last longer if you spend the extra time keeping it clean and using things like tarps, footprints, and rain flies. The more careful you are with your tent, the longer it will last.
  • Try to get something designed for multi-season use. Even if you’re only a summertime camper, you never know when it might rain. The better your tent can hold up in different weather patterns, the longer it will last.
  • Don’t opt for the least expensive option. While a cheap tent can be tempting, it may also mean it’s not built as well. If your tent breaks after one or two camping trips, the price of buying a new one could cause you to end up spending more than you might have if you had started out with a quality tent. At the very least, look for tents with reliable brands.

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