Tent Color - Dark vs Light

What Color is Your Tent?

In all the time I’ve spent shopping for tents, I’ve never really given much thought to tent color.

What Color is Your Tent?

I’ve certainly questioned why a given tent was designed with a given color, but for me, it’s always come down to features (especially weight) over aesthetics.

But at Backountry.com, Joshua Barnes delves deeper into Why Your Tent Color Matters.

Light vs. Dark

Barnes lists many advantages to having a light-colored tent, such a lighter interior and being easier to find when returning to camp after a long day of wilderness adventure. The one downside brighter tents seem to have: potential to attract curious bears.

And while dark-colored tents tend to be darker on the interior (as one would expect), they have the advantage of blending in to the environment, taking the principles of Leave No Trace to a visual level.

The Color of My Tents

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1

Tent Color: Light (Orange & White)

I carried this with me on my thru-hike of the John Muir Trail, and it served me very well. It definitely falls into the “light tent” camp, and that helped to wake me up with the sun every morning.

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1 tent in Long Meadow.

I briefly considered the Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL1 (they don’t make it anymore, but it was a nice, deep green color). However, it weighed 3 lbs, 4 oz, while the Fly Creek only weighs 2 lbs, 1 oz. Tent color is much less important to me than tent weight, especially if I’m carrying that tent for 13 days.

MSR Hubba Hubba

Tent Color: Light (Red & Orange)

I’ve had this two-person tent since 2007. It’s pretty much retired these days, but it’s gotten me through nights camping with my daughters in the backyard to a few summits of Mt. Whitney and everything in between.

MSR Hubba Hubba

Recently, the whole Hubba line has been redesigned by MSR, and this new version has been awarded with Outside magazine’s prestigious¬† Gear of the Year 2014. If you’re in the market for a good tent, it’s worth checking out.

Big Agnes Big House 4

Tent Color: Light (Orange & Orange)

I bought this tent in 2010 for our family’s first camping trip with my daughter’s class. We’ve used it a few times every season for the past four years, and it’s never let us down.

Big Agnes Big House 4

It even kept us completely dry during one legendary trip where it rained pretty much non-stop all weekend.

Choosing Tent Color

I seem, by default, to choose light tents. But I think manufacturers make more light tents than dark tents. There’s no scientific rationale behind this opinion, though. Perhaps more research is needed.

Do you have a preference when it comes to choosing a tent color?


Tent icon from James Viola’s Wilderness Survival Vector Pack.


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