Tent Brands To Avoid

Tent Brands To Avoid

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I went camping for the first time last year and we had an awesome time. I just loved everything about it from unzipping the tent flap in the morning and looking across the morning dew on the grass of the campground to the distant snow-capped mountains. To being sat around the campfire on a warm evening with a chilled beer in my hand and watching the sun set behind those mountains.

Because it was our first time, my buddy lent me his tent. That was really useful as it let me try out camping before I started investing in kit. Otherwise, I think I would’ve ended up buying a whole load of unnecessary stuff that I’d never use.

When I came back, I knew I was hooked on camping, so I decided to start researching what kit to buy. It can be confusing when you start looking at camping gear, so I thought I’d sum up my findings in a series of articles, starting with this one. Today then, I’m going to look at tent brands. Which ones to avoid, and which one I’d recommend you buy. We’ll also have a look at some of the common questions about camping, including what to do if you have a bear outside your tent right now….

Gulp! If you’re ready, then we’ll take a look (at the tents, not the bear).

Brand to choose: Coleman Sundome Tent

This is a fantastic dome tent from Coleman. There are two color options and four roomy sizes: 2, 3, 4, and 6-person.


10mins pitch time

6.38 lbs weight

Easy to assemble

Great choice for summer festivals

Highly recommended

Brands to avoid: CCTRO 2 Person Camping Tent, Techcell 2 Person Tent Camping Instant Tent, Everking 3-4 Person Automatic Pop Up Tent, Wenzel Timber 10 Person Ridge Tent, Stansport Scout 2 person Backpack and Camping Tent

First time camping what to bring

If you’re new to camping, then I’d suggest that you start with a one-night camping trip, somewhere close to home. Ease yourselves in gently – there’s no sense in jumping into the deep end by planning a month under canvas first-time around. Also, be prepared to postpone your trip if the weather looks poor. You want your first experience to be fantastic, not an ordeal.

In terms of gear, I’d suggest the following:

  • Tent – more on this in a moment
  • Sleeping bag – make sure it will keep you warm at the overnight temperatures you’ll be camping in
  • Lighting – this might be as simple as a torch or flashlight with a spare set of batteries
  • Stove – a simple two-ring propane camping stove is perfect and can be picked up cheaply. Make sure you have spare fuel canisters and matches or a lighter. Try it out at home first, so you know how it operates
  • Cooler – for storing food and beverages
  • Pots, plates, bowls, and cutlery – plus washing bowl, washing-up liquid, and dish scrubber
  • Camping chairs – if you have space then these can make a massive difference vs sitting on the chilly ground
  • Warm clothes – bring lots as it is always cooler than you expect and don’t bring your finest threads – think old, comfy, and very cozy
  • Food – then plan what meals you’re going to have and get all the necessary ingredients. If you can, buy long-life products (e.g. tinned baked beans)

How to repair a large tear in a tent

First up, this works best if you can lay your tent on a flat surface. If that’s not an option (for example, if your tent is erected, it’s pouring with rain, and you’ve got all your gear inside) then follow this method as best as you can. Then when you get home you may need to do the repair again.

Anyway, here’s how to do it:

  1. Lay the torn area of the tent on a flat surface with the outside of the fabric facing you
  2. Get one person to hold the torn edges together as closely as possible
    Use a strip of Gorilla Crystal Clear Duct tape to tape down the length of the tear, press it firmly into place
  3. Turn the tent inside out and lay the torn area back on the flat surface facing you
    Apply a second strip of tape along the length of the tear, again pressing it firmly into place
  4. If you can, leave the tent for a few hours before erecting it or packing it away to make sure the tape has fully adhered
  5. Depending on the size of the tear this may or may not be successful. We recently repaired a 12-inch tear next to the pole sleeve on my son’s 2-man tent using this method. So far it has been very watertight. However, if the tear that you have is too large, then it, unfortunately, maybe time to buy a new tent

How to clean a tent that smells

Here’s a useful step-by-step guide I picked up for cleaning your tent:

  1. First up, never ever ever machine wash your tent. This will likely destroy the waterproof fabric coating and any waterproof seam tape
  2. Pitch your tent, nice and firmly, but not too taut, somewhere outside where you’ll be able to leave it to dry afterwards
  3. Hand wash the outer fabrics (don’t clean the inside of the outer tent fly fabric as you will probably damage or completely remove the waterproof coating
  4. For the handwashing use a specialist tent cleaner like this one. Always follow the instructions on the bottle, and test on an inconspicuous area first. You know the drill
  5. Afterwards rinse with clean water until any soapy residue is completely gone
    Allow your tent to air dry completely before packing it away

Bear outside tent what to do…

Check out this handy guide from Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries on what to do if you have a black bear outside your tent. Reading this I was delighted to find out that my firm, monotone voice might come in handy after all!

Tunnel tent vs dome tent

These are two of the most common styles of tent on sale today. They’re great because they both come in a range of different sizes and for different budgets.

Dome tent: this is a very sturdy and easy-to-pitch tent. The two main poles cross over in the middle at the highest point in the tent. Once you’ve got these poles fitted, the tent is fully erected, and you can then move it to where ever is the best spot before finally pegging it into place. Some dome tents also come with a porch, which can be handy for storing muddy or wet gear, instead of having to put it in the tent inner with you and your dry gear.

Tunnel tent: with a tunnel tent, the poles slot in parallel to each other. Because they don’t cross, the tent will be floppy until you’ve got the guy ropes pegged into place. The advantage of these tents is that they usually come with a porch like this one. They can also have two separate bedrooms with a living area in the middle, so they are good for families or groups of friends.

Best tent shape for wind

If you watch any film or TV featuring Everest base camp, or a similar mountain base camp, you will see that all the tents will tend to be a dome style construction. Because you have the poles crossed over in the middle of the tent, these tend to be a very sturdy construction. Even if you’re not considering climbing Everest for the time being, if you plan to camp in windy conditions, then it may be worth buying a dome tent instead of any other style.

Tent brands to avoid

In my research, I found a number of tent brands with poor reviews:

CCTRO 2 Person Camping Tent: the CCTRO looks the part, is at a good price point, and promises much in its product description. Unfortunately, the reviews tell a different story. Comments mention many leaking problems, poor quality seam stitching, and zippers that break. Read more+

Techcell 2 Person Tent Camping Instant Tent: the best part about this tent seems to be how easy it is to erect. As some reviewers have noted it almost pops up completely by itself. Sadly, a number of reviews talk about how difficult it is to then pack up in the bag once you’re done with it. Add in other comments about leaks that quickly developed and poles that split easily, and this looks like a tent brand to steer clear of. Read more+

Everking 3-4 Person Automatic Pop Up Tent: like the Techcell above, the Everking is another tent that automatically erects. This is great and a feature that you’ll appreciate after a hard day’s hiking. Unfortunately, there seem to be a couple of design flaws with the tent. Firstly, although it states it’s for 3-4 people, reviewers have suggested that you’d struggle to get more than two people in at once. That’s not great, but the worst part seems to be the window which seems to have a mesh panel (for ventilation) which is covered with a rainproof window. This window is just velcroed down at the bottom edge, so in breezy conditions, this will flap open letting in chilly wind or rain. Not a nice surprise to wake up to. Read more+

Wenzel Timber 10 Person Ridge Tent: the Wenzel is the largest tent on my list. Like I said earlier, I love a bigger tent because it gives you more space to move around, get dressed, stay warm and dry when it’s cold and wet outside. So, I really wanted to like this tent. Unfortunately, there appear to be a number of quality issues with the seams (see the reviews for more details on this). Also, I find it strange that a 10-man tent only has effectively two rooms. For comparison, the 10-man tent that we have has 4 rooms (2×2-man and 2×3-man), which gives everyone their own space and it a lot more practical. Read more+

Stansport Scout 2 person Backpack and Camping Tent: a completely different style of tent from Stansport. This style of tent is known as a ridge tent and has 2 short vertical poles (1 at each end of the tent). They’re easy to erect and easy to pack away. Unfortunately, this tent appears to have many issues with weak seams, both for the peg loop holes (which rip easily) and the waterproof seams (which leak). Not great. Read more+


I love everything about camping from looking across the morning dew on the grass of the campground to the distant snow-capped mountains. To being sat around the campfire on a warm evening with a chilled beer in my hand and watching the sun set behind those mountains.

It can be confusing when you start looking at camping gear, so I hope this has helped you in deciding what tent is right for your camping adventures. Maybe even answered a few burning questions that you might have had.

This is a fantastic dome tent from Coleman. There are two color options and three sizes: 2-man, 4-man, and 6-man. When you’re buying a tent, I would suggest buying a slightly bigger tent that you need (i.e. if there’s two of you, then go for the 4-man). That way you’ll have plenty of space inside for you and your gear.

The 6-man tent measures 10’x10’ on the base and has a height in the middle of 6’. This is ideal because it allows you to stand up in the tent – something you’ll really appreciate for getting dressed and undressed. It has a sewn-in groundsheet to keep groundwater out and the tent fabric is fully waterproof to keep the rain out. It’s also got plenty of vents to let air circulate, so it won’t get stuffy inside. A great choice if you’re starting out camping.

**Please note that our reviews are based on customer reviews, star ratings, and online complaints. Therefore ThisButNotThat are in no way liable**