Tents for Outdoor Photographers

Backpacking tents for outdoor photographers

For outdoor photographers who sleep out on the hill, there is a huge choice of shelter options.  The main contenders are backpacking tents, tarps, ultralight tents, tarp tents and bivi bags.  I have used most types of shelter over the years and each has advantages and disadvantages.   It important to make the right choice of shelter, you want your nights out on the hill to be enjoyable and rewarding and you will be in right place for sunset and sunrise. The wrong choice can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, depending on the season, weather and location. In winter, you will be spending many hours inside the tent and you need a reasonable degree of comfort.  I prefer a larger tent with enough room inside to spread out and move around during those long winter nights.  It can get a little tedious in a very confined bivibag when you’re hunkered down from 4pm until 7am and the weather is too cold or wet to be exposed to the elements.

The penalty for the increased interior space and comfort is the additional weight of a two-skin, two berth backpacking tent.  My Terra Nova Solar 2 is a very heavy tent for one person at over 2.2kg, but it does offer considerably more room inside than a one person tent. I use the Terra Nova for winter camping because it is very roomy as a solo tent and I can move around and read comfortably during those long nights.  In the image below, it is pitched on Fur Tor on Dartmoor in January.  The weather conditions appear deceptively benign, but it was too cold to sit around outside when I took the photograph.  I recorded a windchill of  -8deg at the time and the ground was frozen solid. The inner plus fly 2-skin design of the Solar 2 adds a little insulation and is less drafty that my single skin MLD Trailstar tarptent or my MSR Microzoid with it’s mesh inner, which are better suited to warmer conditions.  It’s not a bad choice for winter camping when carrying  a heavy load over the not too demanding terrain of Dartmoor, but I would definitely choose something lighter for steeper, higher hills of the Lake District, Wales and Scotland etc.  It’s been a reliable tent and I would recommend it for two people  if the single doorway isn’t a problem. 

Steve Walton UK Landscape Photographer

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