Free-standing versus Pitched - a tent thats described as freestanding will stand up by itself, without any pegs - though you usually need to peg it out to make it taught and stop it blowing away!
Freestanding tents are useful if you will be camping in rocky areas where it could be difficult to get pegs to stay in the ground.
Tents that need to be pitched using tent pegs before they can be used would be difficult to pitch in these conditions - and if it gets windy inadequately secured pegs just pull out.
Flysheet versus Inner pitch first - The 'traditional' way to pitch a double skin tent is to erect the inner tent using the poleset and throwing the flysheet over it - then pegging it out.
This means that if its raining heavily you may get the inner tent wet by the time you get the flysheet in place.
We don't think this is a significant concern because often you end up pitching your tent during a break in the weather, or if this is not possible - you can usually pitch a tent in a few minutes and the time that the inner tent is exposed to the rain is minimal.
Some people disagree with this and insist on a tent that you can pitch flysheet first.
Fabric 'Denier' - Denier is a measurement that is used to identify the fiber thickness of individual threads or filaments used in the creation of fabric.
It is also closely related to the weight of the fabric as a thicker fibre will result in a thicker fabric that therefore weighs more per square metre.
Recently some tent manufacturers that are making the lightest tents have been using 10Denier (10D) fabrics. These are very thin and hence very light, and with modern filaments they can be as strong as higher Denier fabrics.
All fabric degrades over time because of Ultra Violet light when they are exposed to sunlight. Lower Denier fabrics will degrade faster than higher Denier versions, so the life of a superlight tent will be less than an equivalent using higher Denier fabric - even if, when new, it is just as strong.
Hydrostatic Head - Hydrostatic head is a measure of the waterproofness of a fabric - so its an important figure for tent flysheets and groundsheets.
Traditionally Hydrostatic Head figures of 4 and 5000mm were quoted for tents (and 4 season tents still use fabrics with these properties), but lighter fabrics have lower hydrostatic head figures and this worries some people.
We have good feedback from our customers and first hand experience on this aspect and it seems that lower hydrostatic head fabrics are up to the job and will keep you dry. This is what one customer said of the Fly Creek UL2 which has a flysheet HH of 1200mm:
"It was superb. I walked throughout April, officially the wettest on record, I got the tent up quickly, it was spacious and took all my gear, so I was never wet. This tent made my life a lot easier."