What To Look For
Look at a number of different features, including the construction. The best tents are those with strong poles made of PVC or a similar material. The interior core of the tent pole should feel tight when you pull on it, especially if it contains a elastic cords. Then look at the canvas of the tent, paying special attention to the seams around the doors and windows. The best tents are those with strong seams that keep the canvas firmly in place. The tent should also offer some sort of water protection, even if only a rain cover, and come with extra parts in case you lose a piece.
Decide what type of features you need before looking for a good tent. You may need a tent with two to three rooms if traveling with your family, or you may want a light one-person backpacking tent if you hike frequently. A common mistake when buying quality tents is getting the wrong size, which also refers to the weight of the tent. If you buy a heavier tent when shopping for a backpacking tent, it'll weigh you down when you hike. Another mistake is buying a tent that's too difficult to set up or has too many pieces. This becomes a problem when you can't figure out how to assemble the tent or you don't have enough people to properly set it up.
Where To Buy
You'll find limitless choices when shopping for a tent, but when you're looking for a quality tent, shop from specialty sporting goods stores and outdoor stores, such as REI. These stores often sell tents that are stronger and more durable from major manufacturers. The stores also use miniature displays, which show you exactly what the tent looks like assembled and helps you see how difficult the tent is to setup. Some manufacturers also offer tents for sale on their websites.
Just because a tent is durable, it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. Based on 2010 prices, good tents come in a wide range of prices. It's possible to find a quality backpacking tent for less than $100, but if you're looking for a family-size tent, expect to pay $100 to $200. Tents with more features, such as additional rooms, are often cost more. Some of the best tents cost upward of $300.