There are a lot of decisions that you need to make when you are picking up a new tent. The first one you will make, and arguably the most important, is to pitch 3 season vs 4 season tent.
On this page, we are going to look at some of the considerations that will impact which option is right for you.
Where and when are you planning on camping?
Your main consideration will be where and when you are planning to camp.
For the majority of the year, and for the majority of locations, a 3 season tent is going to be perfect. If you live somewhere that has fairly mild winters, then a 3 season tent is going to be great too. It is really the best ‘all-round’ tent type.
4 season tents may say that they are suitable for the entire year, but barely anybody with a 4 season tent will use them every single camping expedition. They will likely have a backup 3 season. When you buy a 4 season tent, it has been specifically designed to deal with intense weather.
We are talking snowstorms and intense winds. They are not for your typical camping trip. They are for the more adventurous among us. Honestly, since the situations where you will need a 4 season tent are so dire, you will probably have a bit of experience camping before you head out into them. Therefore, you will already have an idea whether this type of tent is right for you or not.
Are you going to be carrying your tent for long periods of time?
4 season tents are heavier than 3 season tents. There is a reason people do not take 4 season tents on longer hikes unless they absolutely need to do so. So, if you are not planning on camping anywhere where you will need a 4 season tent, there is no sense in lugging one along with you. It is just going to be a hindrance.
How much money do you have to spend on the tent?
4 season tents are more expensive than 3 season tents. This is because not only is the latter a lot more popular, but 4 season tents need to be designed in a slightly different way. In the grand scheme of things, they are a specialist piece of kit.
So, if you do not need a tent that will help keep you warm in the snowiest of situations, or in the midst of a huge storm, then 3 season is always going to be the best option in terms of price.
As you can see; in most cases, a 3 season tent is going to be the way to go. Sure, a 4 season tent is probably going to perform fantastically in colder weather, but the temperature needs to be freezing to see those benefits.
4 season tents really are just for those who are heading out (deliberately) into snowy climates, or where the wind is going to be incredibly heavy. These are probably the only people that can justify the increased cost.