How to pick your perfect tent

There’s a total abundance of choice when it comes to tents. While that is amazing if you are an experienced camper so you can shop for very specific things, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming when you are starting out. It’s a big investment, and you want to know you are spending your money on the “right” thing!

The biggest factor on choosing a tent is deciding how you’re going to use it.

Car camping

If you are “car camping,” meaning that you basically are setting up your tent within a stone’s throw of your vehicle, then you can give yourself a little more space. It is really nice to be able to move around your tent without stepping on another person or to have the space to stow some of your gear.

Larger tents are great for family camping with Cub Scouts, too.

Backcountry camping

Designed to be a lot lighter, backpacking tents are small enough to pack away without taking up an overabundance of room or weighing a lot. Every ounce counts when you are backpacking, and the last thing you want is to carry a heavy tent.

To pick the perfect backpacking tent, you need to get really specific on the weight and dimensions. These tents are designed to fit only one or two people.

Check out the latest Boys’ Life tent buying guide here to see some top picks for both car camping and backcountry camping. To see tents the Scout Shop offers, click here. This month, you can save up to 20% on camping gear through the Scout Shop’s Family Camping 101 promotion, which includes giveaways and live videos on social media.  Click here for a family camping gear checklist.


The next thing to think about is your climate. If you will mainly be camping in hot weather, look at tents’ air flow and ventilation. In temperate weather, a typical 3-season tent will work. If you are going to camp in the snow, then a 4-season tent might be the way to go. These tents are stronger and warmer, but usually are more expensive.

Tent care

To help make your investment last, it is really important to take care of your tent properly. After camping, make sure to air your tent out so it’s fully dry before storing it. After each season, you should clean your tent thoroughly as well. You can use a simple mixture of a half-cup of liquid dish detergent with 1 gallon of lukewarm water.

About Kate Matthews 18 Articles
Kate Matthews is the main word wizard behind Scout Shop's "Living the Scout Life" blog. She loves the planet, discovering new places and sharing how we can all be Living the Scout Life.