Understanding Tent Size Ratings

Understanding Tent Size Ratings

January 10, 2018487Views1Comment

Tents are typically rated by the number of people they can sleep. But is that the only factor your should consider when deciding what size tent to get? Let’s take a look at the key elements of making a tent purchase.

Number of People

via flickr/saiberiac

As is indicated by the “sleeps X people” rating, most people are deciding which tent to purchase simply based on how many people will typically sleep in it. While this is an important metric, it may not be the only one.

When tents indicate how many people it can sleep, that is typically with all campers snugly sleeping together. Naturally, if you typically will have three people in a tent, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to get a two person tent, but going one size up offers some advantages as well as disadvantages.


The more people a tent can sleep, the larger it is, and therefore the more it weighs. If you are typically car camping, this won’t be much of a factor. But if most of your camping destinations are at the end of double (or triple) digit mile hikes, weight is incredibly important.


Some tents now come with vestibules which allow you to store your gear just outside your tent while you are inside. In most cases, these vestibules are extensions of the rain fly, so there isn’t always a floor. If you tend to camp in incredibly wet climates, this will either mean you need to bring an extra tarp, or outdoor storage may be completely impractical. Having extra storage space inside your tent comes in very handy in this case.

Sleeping Styles

Sleeping bags are usually restrictive, but some people still manage to roll all over a tent. If you know you need an extra little space to stretch out, it might be a good idea to go with a slightly larger tent.

Room to Grow

via flickr/twbuckner

If you ever decide to add an extra person to your camping expedition, having too small a tent can be incredibly uncomfortable and adding another tent for one person could be expensive. By going one size larger, you could choose to keep your gear outside should another person decide to join you.

As you can see, there are several factors to contemplate when choosing the size of your tent, so be sure you make your choice based on the factors that matter most to you!

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