Is my tent good enough?

The first section of this page has tents that are totally inappropriate for any of our camping trips, winter or summer, established campground or somewhere we go with a wilderness permit.

If you do not know why each is an unacceptable overnight accommodation, please let us educate you at the pre-trip meeting.


not a good winter tent:

tent with plastic sheet: cabin tent with green tarp:

tent with plastic sheeting:

big green box-shaped tent:

tent with tarp set up overhead:

good tent no rainfly:

cabin tent and raft:

tent with tarp under:

moving rainbow line:

This next section has good tents, but mistakes using or pitching them:

Pitch your tent by yourself when you arrive after dark and in the morning you might discover you put the rain fly and poles on upside down:

Jonathan with rain fly on upside down: guy stnading next to two tents of the same model, one with the rain fly on upside down

OOOOPs, he discovered that he had not dried out his tent completely the last time he used it, so it had mold. He and friend slept comfortably in the Chevy Suburban instead:

orange tent with snowman and Chevy Suburban

On the 2017 winter trip these people pitched their tent incorrectly.

(Many tents have instructions printed on the bag, did they read them? If they borrowed it from someone did they ask for instruction on how to pitch it? Did they try pitching it before the trip?) When they were having difficulty with it they did not ask other more experienced campers they were traveling with for help.

In the dark, from a distance, it looked to the other campers as if they were okay.

They were found trying to sleep in their car in the morning and complained that their tent was “unstable,” as if to say it was a fault of the construction/design of the tent, rather than their failure to properly put the ends of the rain fly tent poles into the ring pins at the base of the tent. As far as the rest of the group could tell, they had just stuck the ends of the rain fly tent poles in the snow.

tent with end of poles sticking into snow instead of set in tent

No good tent should have the ends of the rain fly poles in the ground or in the snow. All good tents will have pockets or ring pins for the ends of poles to go in to, as in the example below from this page: How to pitch the Cabella eight person tent.

Cabela corner:

For info on the logistics of where to pitch your tent and staying warm and comfy overnight camping in a tent in the snow, go to: First-timer’s instructions