The best type of tent, I think, for summer camping is a double walled three season tent. These tents usually weigh in at 5 – 10 pounds depending on size. They have double walls which means on a clear night you can remove the rain fly (the second wall) for maximum ventilation. You can also use these tents in the spring and fall.
You number one concern climbing into bed on a summer camping trip is staying as cool as you can. Many double walled three season tents feature a full mesh top. These are the style of tents I love. With the rain-fly removed you’ve got near full visibility and the air just moves right through the tent.
Put this tent on a nice ridge and you’ll feel the full effect of the summer breeze. Or place it in a lower valley and catch the air as it cools at sunset and moves two lower ground. Stagnant air is your enemy while summer camping, while moving air will make your stay far more pleasant..
Having that rain-fly available is important in my neck of the woods, Texas. The weather changes so fast here. You can have 118° F at 2 pm and it will be raining and 60° F by evening. It helps with those early or late summer nights when dew is common by catching the condensation.
Choose a tent that has the polls on the outside. The main tent body hangs from the polls which arc over and are secured to the floor of the tent. The rain-fly should then rest on top of these polls. This gives you several inches of air gap between the mesh wall and the rain-fly allowing air to move freely and moisture is kept at bay.
Size is Important
My rule of thumb for tent shopping is when the manufacture counts one person, you should count half a person. That is, when a tent is rated for 2 persons, I count that as one. Of course I’m 6’ 3” 260 pound man so your mileage may vary.
Just keep in mind, while snuggling with your sweetie on a cold night in the tent may sound glorious, it’s not the same thing in 80°+ weather. You’ll want, nay need, some personal space just to let the air move around you.
My personal tent is the Ascend Hiker 2 from Bass Pro; it’s now sold under the Ascend H2.2 name. It’s a three season tent and I do use it year round (winter in Texas isn’t that rough). As the name suggests it’s sold as a two person tent. I’ve found that I can fit myself and my 4 year old fine on warm evenings with plenty of room between us; when he’s not trying to wrestle.
I really like this tent because it has mesh walls nearly to the floor. The rain fly cover’s the tent fully plus extends outward around the door making a little vestibule area for storing gear. I’ve put this tent up by myself in about 8 minutes. You have to be a little creative seating the polls when you’re by yourself. If you’ve got help 3 – 5 minutes to setup with rain-fly.