The Real Tent Sleeping Capacity

Tent Sleeping Capacity Formula

Ever purchased a camping tent? Then you would know that the tent capacity is measured through the number of sleeping pads you can put on the tent floor. But if you are an ardent camper then you would also know that there is a lot more than just sleeping pads that you carry on a camping trip..there is a lot more! So is the camping tent sleeping capacity measured in the right way, or is there more to it? Read on to find out.

The Usual Way

Usually, tent sleeping capacity is based on the number of sleeping pads you can put on the tent floor. This principle is known as the backpacking principle and is ideal for people who plan their camping trip with a backpack. Such are the people who go camping with a bare minimum. Most of the time, these backpacking campers only spend the night in their camps and are ready for a hike as soon as the sun rises. So a typical backpacking tent would offer around 15 square feet of area per person. If you compare this size with a standard single bed in your home, this would mean slightly more than half of the usual single bed back home. And since these tents come with rather silly descriptions and pictures of sleeping campers on the floor, you would be surprised to see some of these pictures. Take a look at some pictures below, where the camping tent claims to accommodate a number of people that looks pretty cramped.

The sleeping capacity diagram for the Wenzel Grandview 9 Person Tent. 

You would hate to be in the back of this tent if you needed to get out in the middle of the night.

Wenzel Grandvie 9 Tent

The sleeping capacity diagram for the Ozark Trail 15 Person Tent.

If you thought the above 9 person tent seemed a little uncomfortable then take a look at this 15 person sleeping arrangement.

Ozark Trainl 15 Person Tent Sleeping Capacity

The sleeping capacity diagram of the Core 12 Person Cabin Tent.

For this one you sure would hate to be either of the two people stuck on the far sides.

Core 12 Person Cabin Tent Sleeping Capacity

The sleeping capacity diagram of the Pacific Pass 6 Person Tent.

Even the smaller size tents, like this one that sleeps 6, crams them in pretty tight to increase the listed sleeping capacity.

Pacific Pass 6 Person Tent Sleeping Capacity

Now imagine these people cramped in a tent and guess what, it was raining outside! So what happens to the foul-smelling boots? Obviously, they have to be accommodated somewhere in the middle of two people. Or if it was a hot, humid night and not a lot of air flowing through the tent it would make people smell not that great and make you almost seem like you were sleeping inside a football locker room!

The Right Way

So what is the right way to go about it? Indeed, the usual way is not inaccurate.. it is just not ideal. Or let’s put it the other way, it is far away from reality. A better approach would be to give a little more space to each person because as you go camping with friends or family, you also tend to spend time inside the tent. Also, you need space to store your essentials. So here is a general rule. Whatever capacity is mentioned on those silly tent diagrams, divide it by 2. So each person gets a little more space than a standard single bed at home. This way you can easily accommodate your sleeping bag and have enough space to store your essentials. This would mean that a 10-person tent will be excellent for 5 people, an 8-person tent is great for 4 and so one.

Final Words

You would agree that a standard backpacking principle is not just an illusion. After all the funny depictions you see as you go to buy a camping tent makes sense but only when you carry a sleeping bag and nothing more. And you would also agree that on a camping trip, you need more than just a sleeping pad on the tent floor. So make a smart choice not only based on the illustrations but by using your common sense!

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