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How to Choose a Tent for the Lone Camper

So you want to take a backpacking trip out in the wild with only Mother Nature as company, but where are you going to sleep?

You don’t need a giant tricked out tent when it comes to just one person, but there are some things to when trying to choose a tent for the solo camper.


For just one person, you do not need that much space, especially when you will be using your tent to sleep and rest. Consider the length and width of the tent. One person only needs a tent about 2 ½ feet wide.

The length of the tent depends on your height. If a six-foot person wants a solo tent, experts recommend at least a seven-foot long tent to be able stretch out comfortably and not hit the ends of the tent.

Also take into consideration the peak hike when you choose a tent. Decide if you want to be able to stand or sit up straight up in your tent, and if so, choose one that is tall enough to allow you to do so.


If you are backpacking, the weight of your tent becomes very important. You want to keep your tent weight low under three pounds.

Luckily for the solo camper, a single-person tent usually weighs less than three pounds. Try to choose a tent as light as possible without sacrificing the size and space you want.

Solo Tent
Solo Tent

Weather Conditions

The tent you choose also depends on the weather conditions you will be camping in. Most campers can get away with a 3-season tent, which is suitable for moderate spring to fall weather.

If you expect to camp in warm, humid weather, make sure the tent you choose has ample ventilation and mesh panels. If you expect to camp in cooler, windier weather, you may want to opt for an extended-season tent.

If you are planning on camping in the winter months or expect high winds, a 4-season tent would be the best. 4-season tents are also known as expedition/mountaineering tents.

No matter what conditions you expect, plan for the worst conditions you may encounter.


When you choose a tent, pay attention to the small things that matter. Vestibules are important when you have limited space inside your tent. These are the extendable sections of a tent’s rainfly that create a shelter zone outside of your tent where you can stash your boots and other gear. Most tents come with one or two, but they vary in size, so you can decide if you want a big or small space outside your tent for any gear that you don’t want inside.


Only you know what you are willing to shell out for the right tent. More expensive tents will get you extra enhancements, better fabric, stronger poles, and less weight. More expensive tents also tend to last longer. An expensive tent may be more beneficial than a cheaper one that may not last as long.

What kind of tent you need depends on the type of camping you plan on doing. Borrowing a tent from a friend is a great way to test out a tent you think you want to buy. Asking experts is also a great way to help you choose a tent. You can read up on Expert Advice from REI here.

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How to Choose a Tent for the Lone Camper