If you’re planning on going camping in Africa, you’re going to need a good camping tent unless you want to be bitten by mosquitoes, rained on, or left feeling miserable during the night.
But before you go out and buy one, there are a few things to look for when picking one out.
The first thing to look for is the size of the tent based on the size of the group that’s going with you (don’t forget your pets).
Unfortunately, there aren’t standard sizes in the tent industry, but most will tell you how many they are supposed to sleep.
Consider picking a larger one if you have a large build, toss and turn, or sleep better with a bit more elbow room — the extra size won’t be that different once folded up anyway.
For instance, you may want to consider a four person tent even if only two people are going.
The next thing to consider is what time of year you are going to use it.
For most of sub-Saharan Africa, a three-season tent designed for spring, summer and fall should suffice.
The only reason you would want a 4-season or expedition-style tent in Africa is if you’re planning on going up into the mountains in wintery or extreme conditions.
Some other key features in tents you should look out for are height, style, number of doors, tent poles, ventilation and a rainfly.
You can choose the height, style and number of doors based on your needs, having a little more height or an extra door isn’t going to make a huge difference.
But when camping in Africa, you definitely want to make sure you have a full-coverage rainfly to protect you from the elements, along with a larger mesh panel for ventilation, as many parts of Africa are obviously hot and humid.
The tent should also be seam-taped with a waterproof top, along with a waterproof floor that reaches up at least four to five inches off the ground — as heavy downpours can and do happen in Africa.
Aluminum tent poles are sturdier than the fiberglass, but will also cost you about double — something to consider if you’re on a budget.
Besides the tent itself, you should probably pick up a good groundcloth that will protect your tent from getting ripped at the bottom by rocks or twigs.
Good luck, and happy camping.