What do you think the Pro's and Con's of a small tent are for camping?

Yes, First camp for this year. Finally warm enough.

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Spud188 years ago
The basic pros and cons of small and big tents: Small Tents: Pros: Easier and quicker to set up Retain heat better Easier to heat up Can go in smaller areas Compact and light Cons: Less usable space Difficult to fit multiple people Large Tents: Pros: More usable space Easier to fit multiple people Cons: Harder to retain heat Takes longer to heat up Harder and longer to set up Needs more space to set up Heavier and less compact Where I live, if it is an outing with a few buddies we usually have 1 or 2 small tents because they're cheaper and easier to set up. And trf is right about the 1up rule. Try to have a tent that is 1 or 2 sizes bigger than what is planned, either for extra room for a bigger person, incase someone decides to come on short notice, or for room for extra gear. For example, if we are having 2 or 3 people in one tent, I would pick a 4 man tent because the extra room is handy. Also make sure the one you purchase has a tarpoulin or some type of weather/UV cover, and you should also purchase an extra tarp or two and some rope. You can set one tarp up for on the ground so you make way less mess inside the tent and with a second one you can make a slant roof which will help keep your tent dry and also helps protect your tent from UV, which breaks down the tent. Hope this helps.
maemole5 years ago
If it's a small tent, it would be easier for you to carry it wherever you want to go. It's not that bulky. The downside is, fewer people can use the tent. It would be very uncomfortable sleeping on a tent where there's not enough room for everybody.
afridave6 years ago
we have kids so we take a large tent which has two rooms and a space in between,wife and i sleep in one room and the rest of this tent becomes a storage and living space in the rain.we also take a smaller dome tent for the two kids (then we can have privacy too) and the small tent also serves as a hiking tent as we hike and camp at the same time (base camp)
Zimminger7 years ago
It depends on many things and you have good advice here.  Several miles out for a couple of nights?  You can carry heavier.  A week or two?  You want lighter.  I go with one buddy and take a 3-man tent.  Count on needing the extra room.  The fiberglass shock-corded pole tent is roomier and way faster to set up than the old aluminum tube pole and string tent I once had and has way more zippers and screens (good in the heat) but is, I swear, twice as heavy and it's mostly because of those poles.  I'm thinking of designing a pole and string tent since I still have the ropes, poles, etc.  BTW, I once forgot the poles for the old tent.  That's how light they are.  We cut dead wood for poles and it worked fine.

Rain fly: we're in the woods so a sturdy enough piece of plastic can protect the entire tent and an area around it if it's tied up high enough and slanted.  Think large awning.  Painters' drop cloths are really light, but I recommend heavier if you do this.  It makes it much easier to tear down and pack out because the tent doesn't get wet at all.  It was pouring down rain, I packed up dry and then cut the strings, gathered the plastic and draped it over the top of my pack sort of like a rolled blanket.  Much lighter than a wet tent.

A taller tent (my idea for redesigning the pole and string tent) is REALLY handy if it rains.  If you can't sit up comfortably while it's pouring outside, you'll be miserable.  That said, I don't count the ounces but never go out without string and plastic. 
glorybe7 years ago
          Climate dictates several things. In Florida camping in the summer involve two great enemies. Heat and endless mosquito bites are the norm. We also have issues with snakes, wild pigs and some nasty cactus.
          Therefore one can purchase a tent with good mosquito protection to avoid fighting bugs all night or waking up with a rattlesnake on top of you.
          To keep cool you can build a platform in a tree as high as you feel safe and pitch your tent on the platform. This requires some skill and experience. But in addition to staying cool you will also not be attacked by wild pigs or get the dickens bitten out of you by a wild burro as I did.
          My favorite was a jungle hammock which was mosquito proof and had a rain protecting roof as well as sides that could be let down in blowing rain. This again requires some skills as pitching a jungle hammock 20 ft. in the air and getting in and out of it is not for everyone.  
Kiteman8 years ago
Small = easier and quicker to put up & pack up, easier to carry (or less space in your car). Easier to find a space to put up.

Also = less space to move around, less space to store stuff, harder to get dressed etc. Little space to cook in bad weather.

Whatever tent you get, make sure it can be pitched "fly first", just in case the weather is poor, and that it has some kind of sheltered porch to leave muddy boots and bagged rubbish.
loy266 Kiteman7 years ago
kiteman,you should never cook in a tent because they burn easly, burning to death is not fun
Kiteman loy2667 years ago
Depends on the size of the tent, and the size and design of the cooker. The tent I "inherited" from my parents took two people to erect, and had rooms, including a kitchen with a large stand-alone gas cooker.
Yerboogieman (author)  Kiteman8 years ago
Well i have multiple tents and i recently found a conveniently dry smaller tent.
l8nite7 years ago
Personally I like my 27' motorhome but thats not really camping is it.... My brother is the exact opposite, he carries a 10x10" tarp, half lays on the ground and the other half is the "shelter", a blanket and he's all set
seandogue8 years ago
I use a "small" tent (4 person ~ 6'x9'), when I'm with one other person and want to get things setup quickly. Nice for spur of the moment weekend trips. For summer camping at a fixed site for prolonged camping? I use my behemoth 12x12. Plenty of room for an air bed, gear, and even for a table and chairs for when it rains and we're stuck inside. It's just more comfortable. Oh, and head room is sweet...I can stand up in the 12x12. At 6'1", I like not having to stoop all the time. Since I am exclusively a car-camper, portability isn't much of an issue, and since winter camping is something I permanently nixed after a couple of lousy "adventures" when I was in my late teens, air flow is something I want more of, rather than heat retention.
qtm8 years ago
Unless you're winter camping, retaining heat and heating up are *not* a pro., When it's 90 degrees and 95% humidity, when you and your tentmates have been out for two weeks without a shower... you really want a tent that breathes. Small or large, you want a tent that ventilates well, and has a fly that can be cinched down if needed.

Some people mention weight, but it's not that simple. Of course, a small tent weighs less than a big tent. But a single 4-man tent weighs less than two 2-man tents. (Only problem here is that you might not be able to divide the weight between everyone, but if you're sharing the load of everything else, then it's not a huge issue. )

Small tents weight less than similarly constructed large tents. But there are many different kinds of tents. A four season 2-man tent is built of much stronger materials to withstand harsh winter weather, so it's going to weigh a lot more than a summer only 4-man tent. A free-standing 2-man tent can weigh more than a non-freestanding 4-man tent that doesn't even come with poles (you need to use your trekking poles). So design plays a huge role in the weight of a tent, a small tent is not necessarily lighter than a large one.

A 2-man tent is going to be much more flexible as far as logistics go. It may be heavier to carry two 2-man tents, but if you only have two people, you don't want to have to lug a 4-man tent with you all the time.

The footprint (size of the floor) is important depending on where you are camping. If you're in Joshua Tree NP, it's not too hard to find a 15'x15' to pitch your six man tent. If you're 15000' up the side of a mountain, you're not going to be so lucky. Dense forest can be difficult too, so having several small tents might be easier to pitch depending on where you go.

If there's going to be a lot of rain, I like a bigger tent. That keeps things from touching the sides of the tent and keeping them from getting wet. A bigger fly to store more gear out of the rain. Loft space to hang wet socks. A bigger tent allows you to sit up, even sit on a pack so you're not always sitting on the floor... this is important when it rains, hunched over in a tiny tent for a few days waiting out a storm really sucks, you want to be able to sit up and stretch out.

Next, consider your tentmates. Are they sound sleepers or do they toss and turn all night? If the latter, you might want a larger tent. If they snore, you might want your own tent to set up 200' away. And while you may want to snuggle up with your SO, they might not be so keen after a few days in the backcountry.

Finally, ask yourself if you really need a "small" tent. A small tent is a compromise, maybe one you don't need to make if you sacrifice on other things like free-standing, weather, bug protection, and even weight. If you just need to be protected from light rain but no bugs then you can get away with a groundsheet and a rain fly and leave the tent part at home. If there's no rain but bugs, then just get the tent and leave the fly and groundsheet at home. If there's no rain and no bugs, then opensky it. Check out http://www.golite.com/Product/ProductByCategory.aspx?mc=6&s=1 to see examples of different configurations. I'm not endorsing their products, but you can see that you don't always need the full kit and caboodle.

Really, there's no reason to be in a "small" tent unless you just really want to be.

kikiclint8 years ago
My favorite tent for going hiking with my wife is a little bicycle tent I found years ago. It is a very small dome section above the entrance and then it extends out to where your feet go. Very light.
trf8 years ago
Coming from some1 with decent experience.... Small Tent Pros: Easy setup Small Light Less inclinded to be effected by weather Cons: Less space Closer quarters to others If anything... Buy a small tent that is 1 more person size then u plan on having. Do not buy a 1 man tent. Always have an extra person size for gear
kikiclint trf8 years ago
Close quarters are good for snuggling. Maybe a pro- depending on who is going to be in the tent with you.
soylents8 years ago
small is easier to travel with small is easier to move while it is still set up small means you get a good night of sleep because there is no room for your snoring friends kids should have their own tent as should friends and family do not store food inside your tent no matter what size tent you have
meltdown1a8 years ago
- Tarp if you need ultra lite and its warm, there are no bugs and your with your buddies. - Very Small (lite weight) tent if you need ultra lite and its warm and your with your G/F and your back country for extended time (week or more) bring extra lite poly and a tarp for rain. - Med size tent for a couple days car camping. - Large tent for the family or longer stays. - Tarps can give you needed shade and keeps the rain off. If you only have a small tent, leave things in the car and bring lots of tarps. Most of all Have fun but leave no trace when you leave. Pack it in Pack it out. - Make the best of what you have and have fun
Yerboogieman (author) 8 years ago
How is Pie related to this with all the things on the related bar?
you should enter that in the questions section
mac1008 years ago
I cant really think of any cons unless you dont like the people youre staying with... But pros are closer to nature, easier to pack, and much more homely and cozy
Other things to consider are how the internal space is divided. If you don't want to be sleeping with ALL your stuff (muddy boots, cooking stuff etc) you will need to look for a slightly large tent with a seperate porch area, ideally one that can be hoisted up to on there own poles with guy lines to provide a cover for cooking or sitting under. You will also have to think about bad weather, as mentioned above, so that the tent goes up easily with the fly sheet first, and innards clipping in. Dome tents generally handle windy conditions well, as the stresses are well spread. They are also usually have more usable space than a comparible A frame tent of a similar size. From experience of using fibreglass poles, it is useful to have a spare section, which can be cut to size with a good pen knife, or small saw, as a single damaged, or weakened poles will ruin an otherwise great camping trip. These can be bought for just a few £'s, and are easily packed into even the most over filled rucksack. I'm not sure if this answers your question, but I hope I've been useful... :-)
orksecurity8 years ago
Pro: Light weight, packs small; if you're backpacking in, those are major advantages. In winter, may retain heat better than a larger tent. Easier to keep stuff from pressing against the walls, and therefore may be a bit drier in heavy rain. Cons: Small. Less room to move about (eg when changing clothes), less room to bring gear in out of the rain, less room to share with a friend. Recommendation: Look at several, pick the trade-off that suits your needs. Since I do more car-camping than pack-camping but do want _some_ flexibility, I went with a moderately lightweight 2-man tent even though I'm usually using it by myself. It's good for the primary task, adequate for the secondary.