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Finding a tent that fits is frustrating.

If you don’t have any trouble fitting into most tents, move along, move along.

But I can’t fit into many shelters, and other People of Unusual Size (POUS) have the same problem. It is very hard to guesstimate critical measurements based on height, sleeping pad thickness, rarely seen sleeping bag or quilt loft, etc. Then there are aggressively optimistic published tent dimensions, but I won’t go there (grits teeth).

For many years, I searched for formulas that said “if you are height X, your minimum tent interior height should be Y,” and so on. Except that no one is exactly average in all proportions, and some of us don’t like tent fabric dripping with condensation in our faces, even if the equation says we fit.

Then while on a walk, one of those “D’oh!” moments occurred. Just measure myself, in my sleeping bag, on top of my sleeping pad, inflated to the usual firmness. In retrospect, this process doesn’t seem like rocket science, but I haven’t seen it described elsewhere. Probably for good reasons.

Read on to discover how you, too, can make a fool of yourself by measuring useless dimensions, then searching in vain for shelters that fit. With a surprise ending – don’t peek!

Pseudo-requirements for tent fitting

For best results, we need four dimensions:

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