Best Tents for First-Time Campers

So you’ve decided that you’re going on an outdoor adventure. Fantastic! You won’t regret it. We know there’s a lot to consider when you’re planning your first camping experience, and a good place to start is deciding what tent is best for you.

The choice nowadays can be overwhelming. Winfields Outdoors is here to help windle it down to the tent that is perfect for your very own outdoor adventure. Read on to find out what to consider and our advice on the best tents for first-time campers…

What type of camping adventure are you embarking on?

Once you determine what kind of camping trip you’re going on, it’ll make it much easier to decide what tent you need. The most common types of camping trips include: 

  • Hiking Expeditions & Backpacking: If you’re going on a hiking expedition (wild camping) of any kind solo, you’ll need to pack light so that you can endure the trek. 
  • Festivals: Festival tents tend to be smaller than average because many have rules on how big your tent can be. These types are often cheaper and smaller. They can also be referred to as weekend tents, designed for short trips. 

Family or group camping: Family camping tents tend to be much bigger to accommodate a larger party, with most fitting up to 10 people. These tents can also include living and leisure space and come as inflatable as well as the traditional style of tent.

What size tent will I need?

This entirely depends on the type of camping trip you’ve chosen, along with how many are going with you. 

Tent berths are measured by how many people the tent can fit side by side, which is why you should always go for a little bigger than you think you need.  It’s easy to be caught out by this, as berths and sizes don’t take into account any personal items such as rucksacks, footwear, or luggage.

So with this in mind, when you’re in the process of choosing a tent – consider these factors:

  • How many people are going?
  • How much equipment will I need?
  • How much sleeping space will be required?  

If you’ve opted for a campsite stay, it’s worth finding out whether there are size restrictions in place. Some campsites will charge the price of two pitching areas if you have a very large tent. 

What’s your mode of transportation?

This can often be overlooked, but how you plan on arriving at your camping destination will be an influencing factor. 

Do you plan on driving or are you being dropped off via car? If this is the case, you can most likely afford to take a larger tent. If you’re traveling via public transportation, something smaller may be more suitable such as a weekend tent due to the limitation of shared space. If you’re already close to your camping destination and you’re starting on foot,  the most important factor to consider is portability. Making sure your tent is lightweight will be beneficial.

Types of tents to consider

Here at Winfields Outdoors, we offer an extensive selection of tents, suitable for rookie campers as well as seasoned campers. In fact, upon first glance – we wouldn’t blame you for finding this overwhelming. That’s why we’ve decided to break down the different kinds of tents you’ll find.

Tunnel tents

Tunnel tents are great for first-time campers as they are easy to pitch and can withstand tough weather conditions, making them highly reliable. The tunnel design usually offers sleeping areas towards the rear of the tent, with living space at the front. 

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Dome tents

Dome tents tend to be smaller than your average tent, although you can find dome tents that accommodate up to 12 people. Dome tents offer great durability and sturdiness,  as their design consists of poles that cross over in the middle of the tent. 

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Polycotton tents

Polycotton tents are great if you’re planning an outdoor adventure in the rain. This is because the material is made up of polyester and cotton, which works by absorbing water to block it from entering the inside of the tent. Once dry, the material then opens up – making the tent highly breathable. This material also acts as a protective layer against harmful UV lighting, making it perfect for shelters. 

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Blackout tents

If you’re determined to get a good night’s sleep on your camping trip, then a blackout tent could be the perfect type of tent for you. Blackout tents are sometimes referred to as ‘lights out tents’, or ‘sleep tite’ tents. 

Blackout tents are normally designed with light-resistant fabric fully sewn into the sleeping areas. At Winfields Outdoors we stock a wide range of blackout tents including Coleman blackout tents which block out 99% of daylight. 

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Pop up tents

Pop-up tents are a great option for first-time campers because pitching requires minimal effort. All you have to do is lay them out and peg them to the ground. Pop-up tents save a lot of time due to their simplicity, and have multi-use as some prefer to use these tents as a shaded sitting area! 

Pop tents come in all shapes and sizes, so there will be one to suit any outdoor adventure. 

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Festival tents or weekend tents

Festival or weekend tents are great for a hassle-free camping trip. Ideal for a short-term camping voyage due to being lightweight, compact, and reliable. These kinds of tents also tend to be much more affordable than other options out there.

Great for solo camping or couple camping as they will be on the smaller side. Very easy to assemble and require little time to do so. 

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Backpacking & Lightweight Tents

Tents that are designed for backpacking will be lightweight, compact, wind-resistant, durable, and easy to assemble. Most will come in a tunnel or geodesic design. Great for not only hiking trips but also for when you’re planning on visiting many new places due to their lightweight features. 

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Family Tents

If you’re swaying towards a  family tent then chances are you want a large space that will accommodate multiple people. 

Most family tents feature a living and leisure area, which is great for when you’re bringing the kids along. There will be plenty of room for storage and sleeping arrangements, with most hosting a variety of extras to add a touch of comfort to your outdoor holiday. 

Family tents are reliable and will provide you with protection from the elements. This is a great option if you want optimum comfort, with space and protection. 

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Inflatable Tents

Inflatable tents are a step up from your traditional tent with poles. Some people will prefer the original-style tents, but there’s no denying that with the introduction of inflatable variations – setting up a home outdoors has never been easier. 

Inflatable tents, also known as ‘air tents’, require you to attach a pump and that’s all. Your tent will fill with air and take its final form within minutes, leaving you with more time to enjoy the scenery whilst it puts itself up! 

The air-filled beams form a strong but lightweight structure that acts like a normal tent without posing any danger, unlike a snapping tent pole. 

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Tips for beginner buyers

  • If you prefer to maintain your personal space, always opt for the next size up. For example, if you’re on a two-person camping trip – go for a four-person tent. This way you’ll have space to maneuver, and a place for your belongings.
  • Determine a rough idea of where you’re going first, as this will influence the type of tent you will need.
  • If you’re going to a campsite, become familiar with the rules and regulations before arrival.
  • Check your tent! Even brand new equipment can have factory errors. The last thing you want is to find out you have damaged equipment or missing parts upon arrival. 

Tents to consider

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of tents that are available, we thought it may be helpful to show you a few options that we believe are suitable for first-time campers.

These tents will cover any wants and/or needs you may have and we’ve included a variety of options.

Best First-Time Family Tents

Vango Keswick II 600 Family Tent

The Keswick II 600 is exclusive to Winfields Outdoors. The tent sleeps up to 6 people, offering storage space and an attached porch area that can also be opened up to make a sitting area. Pitch time – 20 to 30 minutes.

Find out more about the Vango Keswick II 600 Family Tent

Vango Keswick II 600DLX Air Tent

The Keswick II 600 DLX Air is a great value-for-money tent, sleeping up to 6 people. Containing patented TBS II stability system, darker lighted bedroom areas, pod extension, and living room storage pockets. This tent also has high and low ventilation to reduce a build-up of condensation, and inner doors that can be zipped up for privacy. Pitch time –  10 to 20 minutes.

Find out more about the Vango Keswick II 600DLX Air Tent

Best First-Time Weekend Tents

Vango Lomond II 500 Family Tent

Exclusive to Winfields, The Lomond II 500. Sleeping up to 5 people, the tunnel tent offers a pre-attached front extension, mesh windows to prevent insects from entering, along a covered side entrance. Suitable for wet weather, with also high and low ventilation points throughout and nightfall fabric in sleeping areas. Pitch time – 10 to 20 minutes.

Find out more about the Vango Lomond II 500 Family Tent

Coleman Darwin 3 Plus 3 Man Tent

The Coleman Darwin 3 Plus 3 Man tent. Great for festival or weekend camping, suitable for any weather conditions. Sleeping up to 3 people,  the tent has a detachable riser groundsheet for the porch area, which can be used to store muddy equipment or as a sitting area. The tent is highly durable and reliable, and also has PVC windows. Pitch time –  10 to 20 minutes.

Find out more about the Coleman Darwin 3 Plus 3 Man Tent

Best First-Time Inflatable Tents

Kampa Kielder 5 Air Tent

This tent offers a functional tunnel design, with an array of handy features. Sleeping up to 5 people, the tent has a spacious living space, bug-free ventilation, window covers, and weather-protected ventilation at the front and rear. This air tent also has daylight ceiling panels and closable windows throughout to allow as much natural light in as you want.  Pitch time – 10 to 20 minutes.

Find out more about the Kampa Kielder 5 Air Tent

Vango Lomond 450 Air Tent

The Vango Lamond is a great option if you want a balance between indoor and outdoor tent space. Sleeping up to 5 people, this air tent offers a variety of features such as a pre-attached front extension, a covered side entrance, additional allocated storage space, PVC windows, toggled privacy curtains, and more. Suitable for any weather conditions. Pitch time – 10 to 20 minutes.

Find out more about the Vango Lomond 450 Air Tent

Kampa Kielder 4 Air Tent

The Kampa Dometic Kielder 4 Air tent. Great for couples or small families, this tunnel tent will sleep up to 4 people comfortably. The tent has many great features, such as a spacious living space, daylight ceiling panels, weather-protected ventilation, a shaded outdoor area, bug-free ventilation, inner tent organiser pockets, and more. Pitch time – 10 to 20 minutes.

Find out more about the Kampa Kielder 4 Air Tent

Don’t forget to check out our full range of camping accessories now

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