Tips for choosing a tent

Size

When we specify a tent size as 1-, 2-, 3- person etc, we base this on the number of sleeping places. Three people sharing a 3-person tent have enough space to sleep, but there’s limited room for gear storage and cooking. This works well when you’re camping during summer, as you’re more likely to be outside during the daytime. However, some extra space inside the tent can be useful, particularly if the weather changes. We generally recommend buying a tent size suited to one greater than your party number (a 4-person tent for trips with 3 people, a 3-person tent for trips with 2 people, etc).

A vestibule also affects your choice of tent size. Vestibules can be useful external spaces for storing gear and cooking, thus creating more space inside the tent. The Helsport tent range contains many possibilities, from tents with two entrances and two vestibules, to tents with only one entrance and no vestibule. On winter trips we recommend at tent with at least one vestibule for cooking or gir storage.

Weight and internal volume
A tent with plenty of internal volume is practical and comfortable, but this generous space often means more weight. In addition, there’s more tent surface area exposed to the wind, making it harder to maintain a comfortable inside temperature.

Choice of internal volume is therefore mainly based on your own comfort requirements, and what you are willing to carry. Unless the tent is pitched it can be hard to evaluate the actual internal volume. We recommend you ask in-store staff if they can help you pitch the tent, as this will give you a better impression of just how much space is inside.

In contrast, tent weight is easier to evaluate. We recommend you compare different tent models by carrying them around in-store in a backpack. It becomes a personal choice as to how much you are willing to carry. Our 1-person tent is one of the lightest such tents in the world, weighing a total of only 960gm. If you’re looking for a 4-season or expedition tent, consider your tent weight carefully. The internal volume and comfort gained with those few extra hundred grams might be well worth taking along on your adventure.

Heating

Some people choose to use a stove for heating inside the tent – in which case, you should have an interior tent height of at least 1 meter. Stove use inside a tent requires a lot of experience; our tents come with a warning advising against stove use inside the tent. We recommend using a stove outside whenever possible, however if you choose to use a stove inside the tent, this is done at your own risk. Please exercise extreme caution around any form of flame.

Entrances

Tents with a single entrance are great for one or two people travelling together. On trips with more people, we recommend you choose a tent with two entrances –  this will make for easier access when getting in and out of the tent. Gear can be kept in one vestibule, and you can cook in the other.

Two entrances are also useful for winter trips with strong winds, as you’re more able to ensure one sheltered entrance. Even if extreme winds and temperatures lead to zipper damage on one entrance, you can still use the other one.

Storm flaps

A storm flap is a ground-level fabric flap, approx. 20-25 cm wide. If you’re going on a trip where there may be extreme weather, bad snow conditions or rocky ground, storm flaps will help you secure your tent. Place snow, rocks or other heavy objects on the storm flaps.

All X-TREM tents are equipped with storm flaps. In these tents, our Airflow II®
ventilation system is critical for getting fresh air into the tent, as storm flaps laden with snow or rocks can otherwise significantly reduce tent ventilation.

In our experience, many outdoor enthusiasts find storm flaps useful for tenting in Nordic conditions, and we frequently receive tents for custom-adding of storm flaps. When we add storm flaps to tents that don’t have them originally, we always recommend adding an extra air intake vent.

A question checklist, for choosing the right tent for you:

– All-season use, or only certain seasons?
– Sleeping space for how many?
– Tent weight versus internal volume and comfort?
– Pitching the tent solo? (a tunnel tent = low weight and simple pitching)
– Camping on rocky or hard ground conditions? (a free-standing dome tent = pegs or guy lines not necessary)
– Hiking in the mountains, forest or lowlands? (high mountains require good wind stability)
– Going on winter expeditions, with the potential of strong winds and  blizzards? (choose our X-TREM tents)

– Cooking inside the tent?

Don’t hesitate to contact us, we’ll gladly help you find the tent that best suits your needs. Either go to our Facebook page, call us on 72 87 83 00, or send an email to helsport@helsport.no

Good luck!