pjclinch wrote:it'll typically be the case that there will be a huge range of models that will actually fit a given job quite acceptably.
That's true (especially when you look back at what we did camp in!). But to narrow it down you will probably want the best one that fits. I'm not sure how people make decisions when they don't have much in the way of criteria but I suspect it's a quicker process! Whether they are then happy with result, I 'm not so sure. I like to think that those people who manage to survive and carry on camping are the ones who gave it some thought in the first place.
So if you want to start off deciding what basic configuration you want then that's fine, but you could equally have started with what colour you want
I think that's a good point. My original criterium was a cotton inner. I would also have gone for a different colour. Both were trumped by type as a beige cotton bell tent might have suited me but wasn't available in the right size. So I have always said "two person" or whatever as that dictates weight, everything else being equal. I reckon that we choose type (including size) and then aim for say the best colour, weight or whatever within that. But it's still a moot point, I agree. Interestingly, I still have the choice of camping with a Vango Force Ten Mk 2 (right colour and material) and my Robens Voyager EX (right type). I used both last year on different short trips. Given that both are suitable for cycle camping, I noticed that the Robens will be my tent of choice this year. Hmmm.
In terms of will you get something that will do the job acceptably well, the choice is indeed straightforward as you only need to do enough to make sure you don't buy a duffer. Getting the absolute bestest thing for you and your job and being sure of that is practically impossible, because there's no way to really evaluate all the possible options properly.
I totally agree. The internet is a huge help with reviews and comparisons (even Ebay where at least you get some real photos). Buying more than one tent is less of a luxury these days as they are cheap, or get a couple second-hand. Another way is to look out for open-air tent displays. But overall I would say to everyone: buy a tent, try it out and then move on from there.