* Fabric: Lightweight tent floors and flies are made from, in increasing order of performance: coated polyester, coated nylon, and cuben fiber. Cuben fiber is too expensive and we will rather leave that out. Nylon is generally stronger and more abrasion resistant than polyester. Both materials require a coating to become waterproof. A fabric’s denier (D) is a rough indicator of its weight per square area. The lightest tent fabrics are 10D, most tent floors are made of 40-70D, and expedition duffel bags are made of 650D.
Ripstop nylon: Woven with a doubled thread at regular intervals, it prevents rips from spreading and is often used in tent canopies. It is a touch lighter than taffeta nylon (a common, high-durability floor material) and gets used for floors in low-weight tents. The weight reduction of such lightweight fabrics is fantastic, but using such feathery fabrics requires users to take extra precautions to minimize abrasive surfaces.
Polyurethane (PU) coated fabrics: PU is the coating of choice for all budget tents because it is the cheapest way to achieve a waterproof fabric with reasonable durability in cold and wet conditions. Unfortunately, the PU coatings found on less expensive tents are susceptible to chemical breakup, which eventually leaves the tent non-waterproof. The best mountaineering tents and some tarp inserts have PU formulations with polyester, which makes them highly resistant to hydrolysis.
Silicone elastomer coated nylons: are used on all high-quality backpacking and mountaineering tents. SilNylon is highly water repellant, elastic, and UV and temperature stable. SilNylon is considerably stronger, lighter, and more durable than PU coated fabrics. It’s also much more slippery than PU. Silicone is widely regarded as the best coating for nylon fabrics used for pack tents. Unfortunately, for the budget conscious consumer, silicone is more expensive than PU.
* Pegs and Guylines: A guypoint is a reinforced, patch-like area on the tent to which a guyline can be permanently attached. The guyline is then pulled taut and tied or looped to a stake. During rain, this keeps a wet rainfly from sagging onto the canopy. In wind, it can reduce a fly’s proclivity to flap. Keeping a rainfly taut and separate from a canopy aids ventilation and reduces condensation buildup. Try and use the best quality stakes possible, the low grades one will bend even in soft soil.
* Pole Sleeves or Pole Clips Poles?: These connect to canopies via clips, sleeves or a combination of the two. Pole sleeves help distribute fabric tension over a larger area and thus create less overall stress. Sleeves offer a stronger pitch, but, particularly during rain threading poles through them can be a pain in the arse. Pole clips are easy to attach and usually allow a larger gap between the rainfly and tent body. This improves ventilation and minimizes condensation. Clips also weigh less.
* Seams and Seam Sealer: Nearly all top-brand backpacking tents today come with factory-taped seams and require no sealing of their tiny sewing holes. As a tent ages, seam tape may become frayed. If so, apply seam sealer to plug any tiny fissures that appear along seams.
* Color: Why a really pimp daddy colour? One usually only need a bright colour for emergency and have to spend extended time inside your tent while rescuers are searching for you. Rainflys and canopies that use lighter, brighter colors tend to keep tent interiors brighter and cooler, something that can lift moods during extended tent stays. Traditionally, rainflys have featured earthy colors in order to remain unobtrusive and reduce visual impact on the surrounding scenery. The lighter colors aslo keep the tent cooler inside.
* Livability: How much comfort we need and want varies highly based on our experience camping, how much time we plan to spend in our shelter and what we believe to be an acceptable level of protection from the elements. Double-wall tents are more comfortable than shelters. For motorcycle use it is always a good idea to have packing space inside the tent in addition to the people inside.
* Quality Tents vs. Discount Tents:
Why buy a brand-name tent when bargain tents are available at chain stores?
- Durability: Tents designed by quality-conscious brands use better materials aluminium instead of fibreglass poles, for instance, and are built to withstand demanding use. But you need to consider the cost.
- Design: Bargain tents sometimes use coated fabric not just on the floor but high up the walls, drastically reducing breathability.
- Interior space: Efforts to boost wall verticality are rarely seen in bargain tents.
- This is where you need to consider the cost.
Examples of tents most suited for motorcycle travel, longterm or short overland adventure expeditions: