Choosing The Right Tent

Tents come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles, each with their own design features and uses. This short guide will help you make sense of the terminology and narrow your search for the best tent for your specific purposes. 

With so many tents to choose from it can be difficult to know where to begin. You can start narrowing your choice by considering the following.

Size of tent

  • How many people will be sleeping in it?
  • How much porch space you may require?
  • How much headroom you would like?


Weight and pack size

  • Will you be carrying it far?
  • Does it need to fit into your rucksack?
  • How spacious is the boot of your car?

Where you want to use the tent

  • Mountainous areas?
  • Lowland areas?
  • Camp sites?


The conditions your tent is likely to face

  • The weather (which country?)
  • The time of year (Summer holidays, Winter challenge?)
  • The ground conditions ( Snow, Sand, loose or hard surface?)


All of our Terra Nova and Wild Country brand tents can be used with confidence in a wide range of conditions, though each has been designed to perform best in specific situations. To help you select your tent, we tend to use categories such as the ones below, to give users an idea of its suitability for different conditions.


3 SEASON Family / Group use – Strong, stable designs with space for 2 to 6 people in most weathers with a sheltered site advisable in poor conditions. A large porch area and easy pitching typify these tents.

3 SEASON BACKPACKING – Lightweight and super lightweight designs with a small packed size. Suitable for upland use, but may require a sheltered site in moderately strong winds.

4 SEASON BACKPACKING – Strong, lightweight designs, with some snow shedding ability. Suitable for year-round use in most conditions, but may requiring a sheltered site in high winds.

4 SEASON MOUNTAIN – Strong, stable designs suitable for extended use in severe weather conditions, will withstand heavy snow-loading and strong winds.

HIGH ALTITUDE – Lightweight, stable, single skin designs suitable for high mountain use and polar expeditions.


Note that these categories are for guidance only.  If you’re at all unsure, we always recommend seeking advice from a specialist retailer or simply contact us directly.

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If you’re looking for further advice, you may find out guide to buying a Family Tent useful. Alternatively, please contact us for more information.