Your friends come back from an outdoor vacation and cannot stop talking about how wonderful it was and how much they enjoyed all the beautiful nature scenes. Before you know it, they are discussing when and where they will do this again. You start wondering if this is something you want to try.
If they had been on a backpacking trip, they will have plenty of advice if you ask them. All their different opinions might be confusing to you, but one of the things that they will agree on is that you need a lightweight backpacking tent if you really want to enjoy hiking. They are right, this is an important part of backpacking.
Backpacking can be a really inexpensive way to enjoy time outdoors, but to get set up at first with all the right equipment can get pricey. So, running to the nearest store that sells camping and hiking equipment may not be the best idea. Start by asking your friends if they have equipment they do not use any more or if they would be prepared to lend you some of their equipment.
Remember also that you can rent a tent if you are a beginner and just want to try backpacking. Look around on the internet to see if you can find a tent rental company in your area or do your research early enough to allow time for shipping if you rent from a company that will have to ship the rental to you. Prices vary, but it seems that you can rent a lightweight backpacking tent for around $32 for three days and around $60 for a week.
Once you decide that you want to enjoy this activity regularly, you will want your own tent. When you shop for backpacking tents, make sure that you do not only take the price into consideration, but also the weight, quality and the ease with which you can pitch your tent. You do not want to struggle with setting up camp when you are tired from a hard day of hiking.
You will also want look at your needs and preferences. Are you going to need a one man tent or are you going to share and will need a 2 person backpacking tent? If you like to feel close to nature, you may prefer a Bivy Tent. If tight spaces make you feel uncomfortable, a one man tent will give you more breathing room. There is also the possibility of using a camping hammock. Many hammocks come with mosquito netting. When you use a hammock you will not have to worry about sleeping on rocky terrain or on a slope. All you need is two trees the correct distance apart.
If you are not ready to carry a backpack over rough terrain or for setting up camp every night, you may enjoy doing day hikes. You will be able to stay in one place and explore carrying only water and snacks for one day. You will also be able to pitch larger tents like a 3 person tent of a four man tent and have some extra space to store supplies.