The Best Portable Tents for 2020

“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” ― George Carlin.  Comedian

north face mountain 25
north face mountain 25

What’s new in the temporary shelter arena? The answers may surprise you! Keep in mind that the term “Best” is entirely subjective. The term is merely an effective way that I can break up the categories, from minimal to most elaborate, based on user ratings, ease of use, durability, reputation, and functionality.

Your tent is your home away from home, and at times, may need to serve as your actual home. It is one of the basic necessities of health and safety-shelter. It protects you from the elements, keeps your food and gear dry and offers you comfort on a cold, dark night. Before you purchase a tent, you might give some consideration to how you are most likely going to use it, how often, and what kind of extremes it may need to accommodate. You might also think about how much it weighs, and how easy it is to set up. No one wants to go for a romantic mountain hike, or lead a band of ten year old boy scouts, lugging a 40 pound duffel bag and a set a directions that not even the brightest can easily decipher. Worst case reality check-you may be on the move for a while.

The Basics

If you are a novice, try to suppress the urge to buy the most elaborate set up until you go camping a few times. Only by finding out what you lack, will you know what upgrades you are going to require. Everyone has unique needs and preferences. The most basic tent I have run across, (and quite honestly the first one I ever purchased) is an Ozark Trail one man backpack style tent. It costs about 26.00 dollars, and provides basic shelter. It’s lightweight, easy to set up, inexpensive, and provides the minimum amount of climate control and safety. It is constructed of lightweight canvas, and makes a great accessory to any adventure where you might need a temporary shelter. It will not keep out weather extremes, bears, or bugs.

Step It Up

So, you’ve been out several times, tried a few suggestions from your buddies, and have decided to

2 meter dome North Face Arctic

step up your game with something insulated, tougher, roomier, and more reliable.. like this Elkton Outdoor ice fishing style. This sets up like a square igloo, and provides excellent protection from wind and precipitation. It runs around 350.00, but it’s money well spent.

Serious Shelter

north face mountain 25
north face mountain 25

Moving onward and upward. For mountain climbers, extreme adventures, preparedness junkies, extreme weather, or if you just decided to quit your day job and take a really long walk. Any one of these might be suitable.

The new innovations

I referred to in the beginning of this blog are taking technology a few steps beyond breathable canvas, multi weaves and gor-tex. The most exciting is an innovation by North Face, called FutureLight. (link below) Futurelight is a three-layer fabric comprised of a waterproof-breathable membrane sandwiched between a tough external fabric and a soft liner (the typical construction in high-end shells). The membrane is a web of polyester fibers, extruded from 220,000 tiny nozzles and laid in a sheet.Jun 10, 2019

This lightweight, durable, all weather technology allows for some great designs that can easily be set up and taken down in the harshest of conditions. I have read accounts of explorers and photographers who lived in these tents for months at a time, and found them to be superior to any previous temporary structure. If you want to get Really Serious, the North Face 2 meter dome, Summit Series Arctic Portable Home model is the way to go. Retailing at around 5,500.00, this slick igloo can accommodate all of your equipment, and adapts to a fitted heater. The whole thing, once assembled, then gets a snug over-shell that locks it up like a condom. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is getting in or out without permission.

Styles for 2020

The newest styles are sleek, aerodynamic, incredibly light, and sexy. The heavy green army tent of yesteryear will still work, of course, but isn’t it great to have choices? If you travel alone, (or are on the run), a combination of a Eno sleeping bag and a quick one man future light might be just the ticket. So many options.

No matter what you choose, or what you can afford, my advice is make close friends with your gear. Know how it works, how to assemble it quickly, in low or no light, how to clean it repair it, and pack it up. Check your tent gear frequently to insure that all of the required components are there and in good working order. The most expensive items are not always “the best”, but the items I talked about here are well rated and respected. As always, do your own research, and feel free to share your own hacks and experiences. Take care, a flashlight, and a snack.

north face 2 meter arctic dome
gold and black dome tent

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