Backpacking Tents and Mountain Tents – What’s The Difference?

Backpacking Tents

Camping out in the open is a great feeling, and hiking out to your camping “site” is all part of the wider experience. While venturing out into the woods, a backpacking tent is an absolute necessity as they are specially made to be light weight and portable, since the very last thing you’ll want is a ten or fifteen pound tent weighing down on your back as you’re trying to navigate rough terrain.

For best comfort and portability, a 2-person tent should not weigh more than 6 lbs. What makes a good hiking tent is partly how much it folds down – the smaller the better, thus leaving sufficient space for other personal and camping needs. Aluminum poles instead of fiberglass are best for backpacking tents as they are not only lighter, but also stronger and less prone to bending over time.

If you’ll be camping in warmer seasons or climates, check for the amount of mesh in the tent for providing ventilation. Also, the more mesh a tent has, the lighter it will be in weight, making it even easier to transport. A rain-fly with a vestibule area in front of the tent is another rather useful feature as it will not only keep the elements off the tent, but also give you an area to store gear if it’s muddy or wet, as well as a place to cook if it’s raining.

Mountain Tents

Extreme weather hikers as well as mountaineers and climbers appreciate the versatility of mountain tents and their resistance to extreme weather conditions. Mountain tents are available in either three or four season varieties, meaning they can be used all year round regardless of the temperature or precipitation.

A “bathtub” design suits mountain tents best, and it should also have strong clips, plus pole sleeves which ensures the tent stays attached securely to the frame. Many mountain tents also have large, rounded entryways to make it easer to get in and out of the tent while wearing winter gear.

If you’ll be hiking with your mountain tent or must carry it from place to place, you may want to choose a single-walled model to lighten the load as the double-walled variety is obviously heavier and a bit bulkier. For mountain tents that will be used while camping, opt for a lighter color to increase visibility and choose one with a canopy or rain-fly for adding extra space to the front of the tent either for storing gear or keeping things dry and out of the way.

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