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New Zealand Adventure Riding Tents

Having the right tent for New Zealand conditions will make your riding and camping trips enjoyable. Having the wrong tent can make your riding and camping trips unpleasant. This article runs through some of the key points for choosing the right tent for adventure riding to make your riding and camping trips as enjoyable as possible.

Adventure Riding Tent Floor Size

For the compact tents that are most suitable for adventure riding, manufacturers normally build these tents as small as possible to keep the weight down. When you look at the actual floor size of a two-person tent for example, the floor size is suited to fit two bodies sleeping side by side. That's pretty much it! Most compact tents assume you will be storing your gear in the vestibule area of your tent; i.e. the space between the tent fly and the outer wall of tent.

One of the key deciders for floor size is if you want to store your riding gear inside your tent, or in the vestibule area of your tent. Personally I like to keep my riding gear inside the tent. If that is your preference also then you'll need to look at a tent with an extra person of floor space. So, if the tent is just for you and you want to store your riding gear inside your tent, you’ll want to be looking at a two-person tent. If the tent is for you and a partner, then you'll want to be looking at a three-person tent.

If you decide to store your riding gear in the vestibule area, be sure to carefully check the vestibule size. Often times the vestibule area will only cater for a hiker that typically has minimal gear. An adventure rider’s full kit however can take up quite a bit of space.

Adventure Riding Tent Head Room

If camping comfort is important to you then you will want a tent with a reasonable amount of head room. This makes it so much easier to move around inside the tent, pack/unpack your gear, get dressed/undressed and sit in the front of the tent by the opening to cook food on a rainy day.

Most compact two person tents that are suitable to adventure riders won't have enormous amounts of headroom and you certainly won't be able to stand-up. However, commonly the head room of a compact one-person or two-person tent will be around 90 cm to 110 cm.

Adventure Riding Tent Weight

There are a number of tents on the market that are spacious and have ample head room. However many of these will be recreation camping tents that are not specifically designed to be lightweight. Some of these two man tents can be 5 kg or more in weight which is exceptionally heavy when compared to a compact tent.

The term “compact tent” is used loosely as tent manufacturers will use other terms such as lightweight tents, ultralight weight tents, backpacking tents, tramping tents, expedition tents and so on.

Manufacturers of compact tents aim to keep weight as low as possible and do a pretty remarkable job. The typical weight of a medium priced, one-person, compact tent normally ranges from 1.4 kg to 2.2 kg. The typical weight of a medium priced, two-person, compact tent normally ranges from 1.8 kg to 2.5 kg.

If you are prepared to pay for a top end tent then the weight figures above can be reduced. As an example Terra Nova’s Voyager Ultra 2 two-person tent weighs only 1.05 kg. This tent will however set you back over $3,000 New Zealand. Price is a big factor when it comes to weight due to the high quality lightweight materials being so expensive.

Make sure you are comparing apples with apples when comparing tent weights. A 4 season tent is built tough to withstand weather abuse all year round so they are typically heavier than a 3 season tent. More on this below.

Adventure Riding Tent Packed Size

The packed size of a tent can be important especially if you have a particular place you need to pack the tent on your bike. The main variable that affects packed size is the pole length. Some tents have less pole sections meaning the overall packed length of one tent can be longer than another. Normally most tents will have a similar cubic size, it will just be the width and length that varies.

The goal is to find a tent with a packed size that best suits the packing a location on your bike.

Adventure Riding Tent Season Rating

There are really only two important season ratings to consider when buying a tent for New Zealand conditions; 3 season or 4 season.

A 4 season tent is designed to be bullet-proof all year round. They are designed to handle prolonged rain and strong winds. 4 season tents are generally slightly heavier than a 3 season tent as they designed to handle more serious abuse from mother nature.

A 3 season tent will be lighter than a 4 season tent and often have better ventilation due to it most commonly being used in the warmer months. Commonly the outer fly will not come all the way down to the ground like you see on most 4 season tents. A quality built 3 season tent can take punishment and can be a good option for adventure riding in New Zealand however, if you are going to be pushing the limits with where you plan to camp then a 4 season will likely be a better option for you.

Adventure Tent Quality

I have experienced a number of storms when our riding and camping. On one particular riding trip up in the South Island High Country the wind screamed down the valley with vicious force for over 10 hours through the night. I could have sworn I was about to be picked up and blown up to the North Island! While I didn't get much sleep that night, the quality tent I was in held up and all was well.

New Zealand’s weather can be changeable and volatile. Storms can come through in any season, in any location, and will make short work of tearing apart a cheap low-quality tent. Taking a cheap $120 tent from The Warehouse up into the High Country can be a recipe for disaster.

Recommended Tents

There are a huge number of tents on the market that make great adventure riding tents. Here are a few options that are worth a look.

Hilleberg Atko 

Hilleberg tents are considered by many as the market leader and are favoured by hikers that travel to some of the harshest places around the globe. These tents can stand up to some serious punishment. The 4 season Atko is an excellent option if you want ultimate quality. This is a one person tent but there are other two person tents in their range. 

Photo 1 of New Zealand Adventure Riding Tents
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MSR Hubba Hubba

This 3 season tent has popularity around the globe for adventure riders with many favourable reviews. 

Photo 2 of New Zealand Adventure Riding Tents
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OZtrail Vertex

OZtrail produce respectable quality gear at a lower price range. This 4 season tent is a good example of reasonable quality and at a reasonable price. 

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