ATV Camping Tents – Choosing a good lightweight camping tent for your ATV camping adventure does not have to be rocket science. For ATV camping you want a lightweight tent that is durable, and offers good protection from wind, rain and possibly snow. It needs to be easy to setup, have good ventilation, have plenty of room for the number of people using it and their gear. It also needs to be affordable.
Tips, Types and Terminology
Condensation can be a problem with some tents. Double-wall tents have a waterproof outer layer called a fly which covers the breathable inner tent material, this combination offers good ventilation and protection against condensation. Single-wall tents typically use vents, mesh and waterproof but breathable materials for ventilation and protection against condensation.
There are several types of tents available. Most tents have a skeletal frame consisting of poles, covered by the tent material. The most common lightweight tent is the hoop tent which uses flexible poles to form hoops to support the tent material. Hoop tents come in three different configurations:
- Tubular – Uses one to three hoops with the tent material to form a tubular sleeping area.
- Rectangular Wedge – Uses two intersecting hoops with the tent material to form a rectangular sleeping area.
- Dome – Uses three – four intersecting hoops with the tent material to form a dome shaped sleeping area.
Other lightweight camping tent types include the traditional A-frame tent and the basic pyramid tent utilizing one pole.
When selecting a good lightweight tent you need to make sure there is enough room for the number of people using it and their gear. Tent manufacturers have a basic capacity rating for their tents (1-person, 2-person, 3-person, etc.) and they can be a little mis-leading. For me, I demand some space for me and my gear especially if I am sharing my tent. Therefore, a capacity rating of 1-person or solo pretty much means one person only, no gear and a capacity rating of 2-person pretty much means one person and some gear or two tiny people. My point is when selecting a tent pick one that has a capacity rating larger than the number of people planned to use it. For example, if you are planning a camping trip for three people get a 4-person tent or larger, then there will be plenty of room for everyone and their gear.
Another rating the tent manufacturers use is the number of seasons the tent will support. The following are typical seasonal ratings used:
- 2-Season – Basically meant for late spring to early fall use. Can tolerate some light rain but no snow.
- 3-Season – Basically meant for spring, summer, and fall. Good protection from rain and some light snow.
- 4-Season – Meant for year round use. Good protection from heavy rain and snow.
Most lightweight tent fabrics are made out of nylon or polyester taffeta and they have a density rating called Denier (US & UK) or Tex (Canada & Europe). Denier (D) measures the density of the fiber in grams per 9000-meter length. Tex (T) measures the density of the fiber in grams per 1000-meter length. For example a 75D polyester taffeta has a weight of 75 grams per 9000 meter of the polyester thread used in the material. Therefore the higher the denier the heavier the fabric. Polyester thread is thicker than nylon of the same denier and produces a stronger fabric with better tear resistance. Polyester also has better resistance to the suns UV rays.
The seams of a lightweight tent should be sealed to keep the tent waterproof. Seams are typically not sealed from the tent manufacturer. Some tents come with seams that are factory taped, which is not the same as sealed. Taped seams have a waterproof material placed between overlapped seams, which are then double stitched. This sewing technique adds to the strength of the seam and helps eliminate any gaps when the tent is stretched. These seams will be more water-resistant than normal seams, but they are not waterproof. The seams should still be sealed to ensure the best waterproof protection. You can seal tent seams very easily with aftermarket tent seam sealer.
The poles for lightweight tents serve to keep the tents shape through wind, rain, and possibly snow. Poles have to be flexible, strong, and durable. Lightweight tent poles are typically made from either fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon fiber. Aluminum-alloy tubing is gaining popularity due to its strength and weight. Most poles come in multiple sections joined together by elastic shock cords. Elastic shock cords are basically made out of the same material as bungee cords. The use of shock cords help keep the pole sections together once the pole sections are joined together. Fiberglass poles are still used by many manufactures due to its flexibility. Carbon fiber poles offer lightweight, strength, and flexibility, but are typically the most expensive poles available.
Invest In A Tent Footprint or Ground Cloth
Whatever lightweight tent you decide on invest the extra money for a tent footprint, ground cloth or tarp. Tent footprints or ground cloths are put down first and the tent is setup on top. Tent footprints or ground cloths help protect your tent floor and also offer an extra layer to help insulate the tent from the cold ground. You can purchase a footprint to match your tent or purchase a tarp or canvas and cut to size to fit your tent, whatever you use make sure it is waterproof.
So now that you have a basic understanding of lightweight tent terminology and the different lightweight tent types available, you can now browse our selection of tents for the one that is right for you.