10 important considerations when buying a Tent

Recently, if you have read my other logs, I was planning a backpacking trip to Elfin Lake.  I stuff my tent into my backpack and realized how heavy it is.  I have been using the tent for a number of years, mostly for kayak camping, in which case, weight doesn’t matter.  My Tent was bought at Costco for $50 Canadian.  It takes me about an hour to put up the tent and weighs about 5 kg.  It, however, can be stuffed into quite a tiny compression sack, and when it’s up, it’s so warm and roomy, With 2 big six foot three guys, there’s still plenty of room for backpack and other gears.  I can sit up and read without bumping my head. Overall it’s a great tent for Kayak Camping.

For backpacking this tent is really impractical.  After doing a bit of research, it turns out MEC’s Tarn 2 is the most popular tent among backpackers, it’s so light and still costs less than $200.  The next popular one is Hubba (1 person) or Hubba Hubba (2 person).  I am six foot three, about 260 lbs.  When I sleep in Tarn 2, there is no room for a backpack.  This is very impractical because Vancouver does tend to rain a lot, even in the summer.  Hubba is a little roomier but cost about $100 more, weighs a little bit less.  The Hubba Hubba is supposed to be for two people, but when I lie in it, it feels more like 1 1/2 person.  There is no way both me and my friend will fit into that tent.  It is a relatively comfortable tent for one person though.

The Wonderer 2 is the tent I end up getting.  Size wise, it is very similar to my old tent.  It is 1 kg heavier than Tarn 2.  If we split the tents up between 2 people, it’s actually lighter for each person.  It takes only a few minutes to set up because all the poles are connected.  It is really roomy inside.  It definitely have enough room for 2 six foot three guys.  Costs $100 less than Hubba Hubba.  It kept us quite warm in the rain.  overall it is a really good tent for us, except for the weight.

If I was to go hiking by myself, I would probably spend the extra money for a Hubba Hubba because of its weight.

Here are the 10 important considerations when buying a tent:

1. Winter or not? Winter require more waterproof and windproof.  Summer requires more mesh for breathability.

2. How many people in the Tent?

3. How much money are you willing to spend?

4. How light does the tent need to be? i.e. can you carry the tent on your back?

5. What is your activity? backpacking? kayaking? car-camping?

6. Is ease of putting the tent up important? i.e. very important for mountaineering

7. Will the tent be used mainly for sleeping? or for doing everything else ? – such as cooking, reading.

8. How waterproof the tent needs to be? you would probably need something very waterproof for Vancouver autumn, even a winter tent.

9. How much space the tent takes up in your backpack when rolled up?

10. Free Standing or not?


For Winter Camping, I would use the North Face VE-25, which stands up to Snow, Wind, and Rain.

One Response

  1. I went through this exercise this summer. Tarn2 seemed like a good idea but was too small for the weight. Ended up with the Gemini which I love. And I bought the reactor stove too which I’m pretty happy with.

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