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Why Are Tents So Expensive? (Is it the Brand or the Material?)

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Tents are available in different shapes, sizes, quality, and prices.

Why are tents so expensive?

The brand plays a minor role in a tent’s price; a tent is expensive when it is of high quality. High-quality means that the tents are durable, weatherproof, spacious, and made of fine materials. So long as they are properly maintained, high-quality tents can be used for a long time. If you found a cheap tent, it is probably because it is made of low- or poorer-quality materials.

Read on to know more about the factors that affect a tent’s cost.

Why Are Tents So Expensive?

As previously mentioned, several factors make a tent expensive. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

big gray tent with glampingi at camping area near a stream in forest -


Better breathability means more comfort.

In relation to design, expensive tents are cleverly designed to have proper ventilation, thus improving their breathability. They also have large mesh areas to allow the tent to release humid air.

Usually, tents that are cotton, polycotton, or have a polyurethane (PU) coating are the best options when it comes to breathability.

Material Used

Camping tent with desk and chairs in pine forest

The material used in making a tent plays a huge role in the outcome of its cost.

Usually, a tent is expensive if it is made of polycotton. This is because these tents are light yet sturdy, which are ideal features of a long-lasting tent.

On the other hand, tents made from cotton or canvas are a good choice, too.

Tents made from cotton are durable and provide insulation that regulates the temperature inside the tent. The drawback of this is that they are bulkier and heavier.

There are also nylon and polyester tents. In fact, these two are the most common tent fabrics that you may see in a store.

While nylon and polyester are cheaper and lighter than the fabrics mentioned above, tents made from these materials are not excellent insulators. This means they cannot regulate temperature well—if it’s too hot outside, it will get hot inside the tent and vice versa.

Pole Materials

Man Tied the tent rope with on tent pole

Aside from the fabric itself, the pole material of a tent also plays a massive role in determining its overall price on the market.

Again, let’s begin with the most expensive one—carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber is lighter than the two pole materials we will mention later on, making it an excellent choice for backpackers. However, due to its high price, not everyone has a tent with this type of pole material.

On the other hand, tents that use aluminum poles are the most common in the market.

Because it is sturdy yet lighter than fiberglass—another pole material—many campers prefer aluminum poles. Aluminum can also withstand extreme weather conditions.

Meanwhile, fiberglass is this list’s most affordable type of pole material.

Fiberglass poles are usually heavier than other pole materials yet frail, which makes them a poor choice for backpacking. They can be a decent option for car camping, though.


From the factors mentioned above, you may now know that the heavier the tent is, the greater the tendency for it to cost less.

This is because heavy tents are not ideal for backpacking; they are best suited when used at retreats, at work, or at home.

Meanwhile, lighter tents cost more because they have to be easy to carry, which makes them an excellent choice for backpacking.


Sunset time, Woman and her pet dog sit at beach next to tent

The tent’s design is not only for aesthetic purposes. Instead, expensive tents are smartly designed to improve ergonomics, thus boosting the user’s comfort.

For example, there are fancy dome-shaped tents that are specially made to withstand windy locations. Some tents have more than one door, multiple storage pockets, and hooks where you can easily hang lanterns.

Others also come in unusual shapes that serve a specific purpose, such as holding out against extreme weather conditions.

Some tents are specifically designed for stargazing, enhancing the user’s camping experience.

Ability to Withstand Extreme Weather Conditions

Man setting up tent while raining

While inexpensive tents can also keep you dry from gentle rain, you do not know how long they can hold out. If the seam sealing isn’t done well, rainwater will tend to leak inside your tent.

There are also various coatings that make a tent waterproof.

High-tier tents use a coating made of silicone polymer that is applied all over the tent, while cheap ones use acrylic coating only.


Seasons are also highly considered in the price of a tent.

Three-season and four-season tents are the most expensive ones, but they can cost even more if light yet durable materials are used.

Although four-season tents are designed to withstand spring, summer, fall, and winter, this type of tent is usually evaluated when used in winter.

Meanwhile, three-season tents are designed for all seasons except winter. They are hardy tents that can provide outstanding ventilation at the same time.

Meanwhile, cheap tents are usually those that can withstand summer but not the other seasons. Cheap tents can be used outdoors when the weather is not too extreme.

Are Expensive Tents Worth It?

Large spacious tent setup with chairs, table and camping fridge at the campsite

Now, you may be asking this: While expensive tents are much better than cheap ones, are they really necessary? Are they worth my money?

An expensive tent is worth it, depending on your camping desires.

Let’s say that you only hold camping trips a few times a year during warm months; then it might not be wise to spend a great deal of money on a tent.

On the other hand, if you are an extreme and all-year camper, then investing in an expensive tent that is durable, lightweight, and portable is definitely a good idea.

When you are this type of camper, you want something that you can easily carry in your backpack but can also withstand heavy rains, snow, and extreme heat at the same time.

Tips When Tent Shopping

Don’t just buy the most expensive or the cheapest tent that you find on the market.

Following these tips will help you save a few bucks without sacrificing the quality of the tent that you’re going to purchase.

Follow these tips to maximize your budget for your tent:

Don’t Settle for a Small Size

Couple of vacation goers campers sit in front of big glamping tent with their dog

A six-person tent doesn’t necessarily mean that six people can fit comfortably inside the tent.

Just consider the clothes, gear, and other items that you will need to bring inside the tent. Therefore, if you have six people that are going on a camping trip, it is best to buy an eight-person tent.

Invest in a Tent That Can Withstand Different Seasons

Even if you say that you’re only going to camp during summer, you never know when it will rain.

Moreover, not all cheap tents can withstand the humidity and weather. As mentioned before, tents made from nylon and polyester do not have great insulation.

Therefore, if you’re going to buy a tent anyway, we recommend you buy those that can adequately hold out rain and humidity.

How To Maintain Your Tent

Lastly, like all other items, taking proper care of your tent will definitely lengthen its life. Use your tent with care and clean it after use.

Let’s talk about how to properly maintain your tent.

Clean the Tent With Care

man washing out his tent

To be on the safe side, only use mild soap and lukewarm water when cleaning your tent.

As much as possible, never use washing machines and strong detergent as they may ruin your tent’s coating, fabric, and seams.

Avoid Putting Food Inside the Tent

When you place food inside the tent, you may also be attracting critters and insects around your area. They may chew on your tent to create a hole that will enable them to have a share of your food.

Place a Mat at the Entrance of the Tent

tent, bag, shoes, and mat, camping materials

Even if you have a durable tent, it is best to keep your tent floor clean to avoid possible damage caused by the debris.

You can bring a mat to put by the door of the tent, or you can also constantly sweep the dirt off the floor.

Allow the Tent to Completely Dry Before Storing

A damp tent is a perfect place for mold and bacteria to grow, thus influencing your tent’s appearance and quality.

Therefore, after cleaning your tent, make sure to dry it thoroughly before storing it.

close-up of the hand of a man who packing up a tent


Overall, tents are worth every penny, depending on your camping goals. In general, it is still best to invest in an expensive tent to ensure it serves its purpose—you don’t need the most expensive one, though.

Proper maintenance also plays a massive role in ensuring that your tent lasts for a long time.


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