- FYI, REI is currently on sale.
Choosing the right size camping tent is crucial, selecting a tent that is too small can make your trip miserable, likewise, selecting an unnecessarily big tent would cause you to carry an extra load.
There are several factors you need to take into consideration, I will cover each one to help you to decide the optimum size for you.
What Size Is Optimum for You?
You need to answer three questions to decide the optimum tent size;
- How many people will be sleeping in the tent?
- Do I have enough vestibule area?
- Do you camp in rainy seasons?
How many people will be sleeping in the tent?
This number should be the minimum size, So for instance, if you’re camping with your partner, you should go for an at least 2P tent, this number might increase regarding the other two questions.
Do I have enough vestibule area?
You need enough vestibule area to keep your gear out, so you would have enough space in the tent. Based on my experience I recommend going for a size that offers at least 6 sq ft of vestibule area per person.
For instance: If you’re camping as four, and if the tent you’re thinking of buying is a 4P tent that offers 20 sq ft, that wouldn’t be enough, in that case, go for a size bigger.
For car camping tents vestibule area is generally not a bottleneck, but for backpacking tents, it might be. I’ve created a table below to give you some idea of the floor and vestibule area of backpacking tents.
Approx. Floor Area
Approx. Vestibule Area
21 sq ft
8 sq ft
29 sq ft
15 sq ft
4o sq ft
18 sq ft
Do you camp in rainy seasons?
If you don’t have a really quality tent that has a footprint covering the vestibule area, you most likely to keep your gear inside of the tent in rainy conditions which will be taking a great amount of space, If that is the case, then go for a size bigger (If you’re camping as 2 go for a 3P tent).
If you want to learn more about tents check out my article where I explained what are tents made of.