This will be your home from home and is one of the most important things to get right. Not only will a good tent be water and wind resistant, but it will be sturdy, durable, with adequate storage capabilities and light weight.

One of the most important tips whilst shopping for a tent is to see it in the flesh. Visit our find a shop page to locate your local specialist camping shop.

Size and space

TentYou're going to want to see the size of your new tent, both packed and unpacked. If you are making your way to the campsite under your own steam then the weight of the tent will also be a big factor in your decision.

Many first time campers choose larger tents than necessary for comfort and practicality, but it is important to note that lugging a six man tent halfway across the country just for yourself is neither comfortable nor practical. If you are driving to the campsite, this will be less of a concern and there's no reason not to buy a tent that you can't stand up in.

Be wary of the manufacturer's suggested number of berths. They base this on narrow hiking mats, meaning that if you choose to travel with air beds or larger mats you may fit fewer people in your tent than expected. Make these calculations beforehand to gauge how much space you will need for the bedroom(s) of your tent.

Storage space is particularly important in wet conditions and a good sized porch area can be the difference between an enjoyable trip and a soggy, miserable one. If anyone in your party has an issue with claustrophobia, a canopy that can be left open, even during a shower can be indispensable.

Consider a day-tent or gazebo for cooking, eating, and socializing in. For group camping trips with young families especially, these can provide enough cover from the elements to allow children to draw and play board games even when the skies open up.

Ventilation and water resistance

It sounds obvious, but choose a tent that is designed for the conditions that you are camping in. In hot conditions, traditional cotton and canvas tents hold a big advantage in terms of ventilation and breathability. Typical UK conditions dictate that water resistance is of paramount importance, which is why synthetic material tents featuring flysheets with HH (hydrostatic head) ratings of 1500+ tend to be most widely used in the UK.

How much should I spend?

Like most things, you can spend what you like on a tent and you do tend to get what you pay for. A good tip is to read reviews, speak to specialists, experienced friends and buy products from reliable manufacturers with a good reputation to uphold.