Ask Gearographer: Tent Size

©istockphoto/Chatchai Somwat

©istockphoto/Chatchai Somwat

Dear Gearographer,

I want to buy a camping tent to sleep my wife and I and our two young kids. I don’t know what size tent I need. They all say “Sleeps 2-4” or “4-6” What size would you recommend for a family of four?

Size does matter in Utah


Dear Size,

Buying a tent is just like renting a ski condo or buying a small bag of chips. Why, you may ask? Well, because their sizing makes absolutely no sense. A ski condo that claims to sleep 8 is probably a one bedroom with a couch. A small bag of chips that lists 2 serving portions is probably about 4 chips and some crumbs. It’s the same with tents. It may say it sleeps 2-4 but if you want to stand up, roll over, or have anywhere to throw your dirty socks, you’re out of luck. I would get two tents: one that sleeps at least 2-4 and that’s just for you and the wife. Get another tent that sleeps 2-4 for the kids and set it up far, far away from yours.

The reason for two tents is: when camping, especially pertaining to camping with your kids, there is always a lot of whining, crying, having to pee in the middle of the night and getting scared at every little sound. I always hate for my kids to see me like that and I’m sure you don’t want yours to think less of you either.


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Michael Ryan

Michael is a full-time musician and freelance writer residing in Morrison, Colorado. He enjoys downhill skiing, traveling and attempting to play golf. He excels in the sport of extreme napping so if you must call, make it after noon.

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