Tent footprint vs trail

hi there

i’m doing some research into tents and around tent sizes to help inform what i should get for future missions

something crossed my mind - it was about the foot print size of a tent in relation to finding a suitable piece of ground to pitch the tent while on a trail

what are your guys thoughts on this in regards to trails

is of often quite easy to find a small descent spot to pitch a tent? ie some what level with not much obstructions etc looking for typical trails around the bergs, mpumalanga and freestate etc

would it be better to go for a single 1-2 person tent and have each person carry their own tent vs a larger 3 person tent which could be shared in a group but would it be harder to find a descent large enough sized cleared spot to setup these types bigger types of tents ?

looking to hear your thoughts and guidance from your experiences

thanks in advance

There’s really no correct answer to this.

My wife and I went into the Cederberg just after we got married It was a notoriously hot that March.

We drove up to Algeria in the afternoon camped over night and took a bit long packing up so only started hiking around 10:00.

We stopped at every pool to cool off and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly but by the end of the first magical days hiking hadn’t reached the Cathedral to camp yet, and it was getting dark plus we were hungry…

So placed our 3 man tent on the path… Foot print be damned!

This was a long time ago but serves to answer the question that in a bind anything will do and a cheap tent has more sites than an expensive tent…

Every trail has a different requirement, generally in African Hiking we dont spend much time inside a tent, just sleep in it, and dry the condensation out in the morning. Occasionally we need the vestibule for shelter whilst cooking but if conditions turn bad and youre wet and miserable, a bigger tent afford a more pleasant environment to dry off and warm up in than a 1 man coffin!

Ive found the First Ascent Luna to be a fantastic all around 2 man hiking tent for African conditions, (if a little heavy with a trail weight of 2.6kg,) Its big enough for 2 man camping with ease of changing inside and theres two entrances for each person. Vestibules are large, and if you peg out one side the flysheet you get good rain protection, if you roll up the flysheet door and it rains the rain will fall inside the tent.

If its hot and theres no shade you can open both sides and get a great breeze.

This has to be about the tightest spot we’ve pitched in and my 2.1x 2.1m fly sheet coverage just squeezed in between some rocks, As you can see were pretty much onto of each other, leaving a clear space for the Game trail to go past. (You cant actually see the NH Spire but its in between the rocks and weighing a trail weight of 1.25kgs without the hiking pole is about the lightest I can imagine (Includes 1/2 a tennis ball for pole tip -tent protection Foot print and longer tent pegs

A coll

A collection of “1 man” tents with the triangular NH Spire in the foreground. I particularly like this for its triangular extra space compared to any similar tent hiking pole tent.
The Lighter orange Nemo Hornet is pretty neat, as are the1 man MRS tents, (but Im not a fan of the Y shaped yoke tent pole joint.
I notice that 3f UL Gear who made the Lanshan range so popular have expanded to include other copies of freestanding tents. I do like their quality and the addition of a range of freestanding lightweight tents with roomy space around the heads I think is great.

To answer your question, a tent with space in the headroom is much more comfortable than a tent with pointed Apex peak. My First Ascent Lunar has a flysheet footprint of 210L x 260W and the Nature Hike of 210 x 210 the First Ascent comfortable sleeps two people in 210 x 140 and the Nature Hike Only 1 in 210 x 80

I dont use the old Cadac 3 man tent on “hikes” but do regularly when vehicle camping, or family outings and overnighters where we squeeze two of us and the dog inside. If I were to only have one tent it would be something like the First Ascent Lunar.
More Durable than the SiNylon tents hence more versatile and the FA back up is brilliant especially if you live in the Cape. In the real world this is quite unlike the support you get from international tent manufacturers.

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For me always. You just need to look for one.

This depends on whether you have regular hiking mates, wife, partner etc. If you mostly hike alone or with ‘strangers/new friends’ go for a 1-man or small/light 2-man. You’ll enjoy the privacy and avoid being kept awake by snorers, or keeping others awake if you snore.

Not really, in general. Three small tents will take up more space. Include the space around them in your reckoning. Another factor may be that 3 smalls will probably also need to pitched near-to-far apart depending on terrain. But this can also be an advantage, for privacy etc.
But terrain will largely determine this, eg. Finding a large spot on a fynbos covered ridge can be tricky.

Check inner floor sizes of tents before believing it’s 2 or 3 man. Also, if up on the Berg escarpment it’s advisable to stow gear in your tent overnight. Which affects size considerations. Check vestibule sizes and angle of outer fly, this will give you idea of ‘working space’ like cooking in the rain etc.

I have a Vango Halo 200 (2man), used in forests, mountains, fields and valleys. Never had an issue re: pitching space. Here’s an image of specs:
halo 200

Good point re the 1 man coffin tents 3 takes up more space than a 3 man tent.

The 1man coffin tents do have a place but you need to really consider if they’re better than a bivy-bag - I have an. Old goretex service bivy bag I never handed in and honestly it’s probably more useful
Snd lighter than the 1man tent. Especially for the likes of FRC but I do t use it as much because there’s no tent space - and you need to figure out the face exposed aspect. My mate has the Highlznd 1 man coffin which essentially is a bivy bag that has a mini dome tent over his face.

At school events or public campsites specialist hiking tents are much less useful and truthfully hiking a three man tent isn’t as good as 3 1 man tents…especially if no-one wants to share with you then they’re just heavy

One man coffin Motorbike camping in Springbok - I can fit an old spring steel camping cot inside there and slide sone CTICC underneath it but all my possessions need to be locked away