Manufacturers classify the different types of tent according to the number of people they can comfortably accommodate, and sometimes according to the structure type and its shape. These structures can be either fixed or freestanding. Fixed tents require the support of guy lines that stretch the tent fabric and stake them to the ground.
Freestanding tents do not need the guy lines, though in inclement weather and gusty winds, guy lines and stakes can be used to reinforce it and anchor it safely. Without the guy lines, the freestanding tent has the advantage of being easy to move to another location without the need to take it down.
However, there are certain basic defining features that are employed in describing the tent. One is tent capacity, which means the number of persons that can comfortably sleep in the tent.
Thus, some summer homes are categorized as 2-person, 6-person, 10-person, etc., which is really an estimate made by the tent manufacturer, based on the tent size or floor area. You should not rely on this when picking up a tent!
It is good practice for larger individuals to inspect the tent before buying it, since the manufacturer’s estimate can be based on smaller persons packed together.
Another common way to categorize camping tents is by their seasonal support, meaning the degree of weatherproofing or waterproofing. Weather is always unpredictable, so these types of accomodations always require some degree of waterproofing and the right choice of materials, appropriate design, and reinforcement of seams and zippers.
This feature indicates whether it is sufficiently sturdy and weatherproof to withstand storms without the occupants getting drenched inside the tent, which means it is rated as an all-season tent capable of providing shelter in snowstorms, or a three-season tent that can survive severe rainstorms.
Some tents are good for fair weather only, while most can easily withstand moderate rain and wind gusts.
One tent type that is becoming more popular is the inflatable tent which, as the term implies, requires pumping up and pegging down. Instead of fiberglass or metal poles, the tent utilizes inflatable beams that conveniently folds for easy storage or transport. These tents are also called inflatable beam tents or air tents, though manufacturers have coined their own unique brand names.
These tents are higher-priced than standard tents because the materials used are much stronger to ensure reliability and durability.
Whether the tent is inflatable, fixed, or freestanding, one of its most important classifications is its design or structure type. There are basic tent structures and spinoffs or modifications of these designs, which is immediately apparent when looking through brochures and catalogs to select your tent.
Each structure features advantages as well as disadvantages over others, and customers should be aware of the various pros and cons before deciding on the tent structure to purchase.
Before you run out and buy tents and supplies, you need to put together a checklist!
Especially if you will be purchasing a tent for your expedition, how many people will be in your group?
When purchasing tents, they pretty much tell it like it is. If you buy a tent to hold two persons, that is exactly how many people that particular tent is built for. Even then, a tent for two is going to be a pretty tight fit, and you might want to get a size larger if there will be only two of you. The larger the tent, the more space and the better the comfort.
The ridge or A-frame tent is the basic tent-shaped structure constructed with a pole at each end, with a cross pole or ridge to hold up the roof. Sometimes, guy lines are employed to hold the shape of the tent and provide added support. This structure is remarkably stable, provides excellent shelter, and is easy to pitch. The major disadvantage of the ridge or A-frame design is the headroom.
Due to the sloping sides, the tent is not very spacious, and standing erect while walking around is not possible. The tent is simple and sturdy, and good for sleeping in, but is not ideal for holiday camping when rain is likely. Basic ridge tents are one-person or two-person tents because of the limited headroom space, though the sleeping arrangement has an efficient rectangular footprint.
Instead of utilizing straight poles, the modified ridge tent employs curved poles at each end. The curved design adds stability and provides more headroom, making the shelter more spacious and more comfortable for moving around. Most modified ridge tents available now have a rainfly that provides additional protection when it rains.
With the improved headroom and more spacious tent interior, modified ridge tents are available in larger models, including family tents that can accommodate as many as six to ten campers.
Dome tents provide higher headroom space, spacious living areas and are the most popular tent structures for group campers and families. The tent is typically constructed with two or three poles that cross each other at the center of the roof. The dome shape is achieved by bending the flexible poles into a semi-circle, with the ends connected to a sturdy strap or webbing that runs across the base of the tent.
Many dome tents feature porches or vestibules for storing camping gear and supplies, and can be pitched as single-room or two-room structures with a removable zipped curtain at the middle that provides privacy when sleeping. With the sides of the tent being almost vertical, there is more headroom across the whole width of the tent. Small domes are very stable but scaling up the size of the tent compromises its stability. Dome tents are extremely easy to set up because of their flexible tent poles.
The hoop tent utilizes curved poles at both ends and along the middle to give it shape and provide stable support. The curved poles create spacious tent interiors and good headroom. Because of the curved shape of the tunnel tent, water or snow can simply slide off along its sides and will not create sags.
Hoop tents pack into a compact size and are lightweight for portability, but are not very stable, particularly when the structure is not properly staked down. For optimum pitching, the hoop tent requires the use of guy ropes and pegs.
The pod tent is designed to have a central living area with several pods or sleeping areas leading off the central room, much like the spokes of a wheel. The structure is good for families since it provides children with their own spaces, while the center room can be a common area where the family can congregate.
The pod-style tent has various disadvantages, which include a large footprint, a larger volume of fabric that makes the tent heavier. Pod tents are also challenging to set up.
There are 3 types of recreational camping that are commonly practiced:
If this is your plan, you want to take the weight and size of the tent into consideration. You should purchase a small, light-weight tent.
If there are two of you, consider buying two tents, one each.
In this case, you will be pitching and striking your accomodation very frequently. Consider tents that erect easily and can be packed up rather quickly.
Tents that take some time to pitch and strike are going to wear you down pretty quickly.
Static camping refers to camping on one particular site for a good period of time.
You should pick up a tent that offer the best comfort because you will be living in it for some time.
Obviously, the time of year you plan to go camping in will reflect certain weather elements.
Even if it’s the dead of summer, you might want to check with your weather bureau ahead of time. If you are planning a trip during the winter months, consider where you will be setting up camp and get some sound advice from experienced campers if you are a novice. You do not want to bring along a tent designed for the summer months!
There have been many survival stories when awful winter weather kicks in. Even if all stays calm, you are going to want as much comfort as you can possibly attain.
There are different types of tents to fit the season you are planning on camping in:
Seasonal Summer Tents
These tents are made of mesh and light-weight materials. The fly of the tent is a good distance from the ground. As it is summertime, you want good ventilation, tents in the dead of summer can become quite hot and stuffy. These tents are popular in the North of Australia during the dry winter months.
Seasonal Tents Range From Summer, Fall (Autumn), Spring & Winter
By rule of thumb, the colder the weather, the thicker the tent material should be. That in turn, heavier tents work best in colder weather. Other factors that must be considered are the distance of the fly from the ground, the number of poles and pole material will increase stability, tightness from water and offer added strength. The colder and harsher the weather, the higher rankings these factors should be brought into play.
Cutting corners on a backpacking tent that is inferior will not protect you from the elements and can be quite dangerous. Steer clear of big budget cuts on tents, your safety and well-being should come first.
Every one of the tents on my list is an excellent storm protector that will keep you safe, warm and dry!
In many cases, interior space balances between comfort and weight. These tents have been chosen to give you the best interior space while staying relatively light in weight. Look at tents that are designed with vertical walls, they tend to offer more space.
Take this into consideration: if you are hiking for a good amount of time, you don’t want to be always falling all over each other with no room to breathe.
The best tents are designed with a great deal of simplicity, offering many doors and adequate interior space. You will also have good headroom, less humidity/moisture and air vents. A minor design flaw can ruin your backpacking experience.
The standard two-person tent is the most popular tent for backpackers for a good reason. These shelters are relatively light-weight and are great for solo hiking or with someone else. People often tend to compare two-person tents vs. group tents. Group tents are spacious and can accommodate a larger number of people can but are not practical when on the move. If you are interested in either a single/two person tent or a group tent (3 and more), the manufacturers I have listed on my website tend to provide these tents in various sizes.
Some tents are referred to as three-season tents and are the most popular for backpackers. They are built and designed for spring, summer and fall seasons. They are flexible and suitable for bad weather experiences, helping you staying protected from bad weather while providing excellent air ventilation and circulation.
The difference between a single-wall tent and a double-wall tent is pretty straightforward. A single-wall tent combines two layers that aid in airflow to keep condensation low. Double-wall tents have two separate walls, the tent body, and the rain-fly. The upside to this design is the mesh inner tent offers a barrier against any moisture or condensation that could form on the rain-fly. Both these designs are excellent.
Footprints are ground cloths placed under the tent to protect the tent from wear and tear from the ground. Most tents do not come with footprints and are considered unnecessary for lightweight backpackers. Footprints give added strength to the floor of your tent, and if this matters to you, you can purchase them separately.
When looking at a tent door, take into consideration how someone will be getting in and out of the shelter. Some tents come with larger openings that are fine if the weather is great. But if it’s freezing, windy or raining they are not such a great idea. If it’s raining, water can easily drip inside the tent the minute you open the entrance. At some point in time, manufacturers stopped making these wider entrances but today, more of them are starting to design them again.
If you like the comfort offered by a larger access, check to be sure your tent has gullies and shelters to direct the rain away from the door.
Whatever style or types of accommodation you consider for a camping trip, you should carefully take into account the following points:
A Few Other Points To Take Into Consideration: