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