The complete guide to camping tents: types, characteristics, pros and cons
There are so many different types of tents and sometimes it's difficult to choose the best one. In this article we’ll try to narrow down your search familiarizing you with each type of tent: its characteristics, advantages and drawbacks, so that you can make the right decision.
There are a large number of tents on the market with different purposes: hiking in the mountains or staying for holidays on the river shore, winter or summer option, traveling alone or camping with a large family.
Let’s take a look at different types of tents and their main characteristics and you can choose which one is going to work for you.
It’s the most popular type of tents nowadays, that usually has 2 poles that intersect in the middle in a way that creates a dome-like shape. It’s designed for a wide range of applications, from weekend trips to weekend trips to permanent travel.
- its aerodynamic shape makes it able to withstand the windy weather;
- streamlined top allows water to fall down the sides of the construction without collecting on the tent;
- simplicity of setting up on the ground even by one person;
- light weight.
Dome construction is a universal type which can be used for a wide range of camping trips and weather conditions.
- little space inside;
the highest point is only in the center of the tent, on the sides the height decreases.
There are many more advantages so think about this option. It’s very comfortable even for beginners.
It’s a classical option for those who like going camping for several days. A triangle construction with a pole at both ends which form A-shape, is made of two-layer synthetic material. You can add solid flooring, either wood or plastic panels to make it even more comfortable and stable on the ground.
- has a high ceiling;
- is super simple to set up;
- is light for backpackers.
- isn’t so sturdy against strong winds;
- is perfect for one person, but two can feel uncomfortable and tight.
Choosing an A-frame tent is a tradeoff between headroom and wind protection.
Cabin camping tents
- large in size and spacious;
- designed for big groups and families;
- has almost straight walls and it means that the peak height doesn’t drop as you move away from the center. So you can walk around inside freely.
- isn’t resistant to windy weather;
- is heavy due to its size so it’s made for car camping trips, not hiking with a backpack.
So, if a high ceiling and large space are on the top of your list of priorities, a cabin style construction will be the best choice.
They have the same structure as dome tents, but with much more poles. These poles cross over at different points, creating supreme stability and weather resistance. This is the main advantage of such type of tents, which are light in weight and are the best choice for solo or backpacking trips.The only disadvantage you can face with such type of construction, is a multitude of poles that can be quite tricky to set up. So before going for a trip, study the manual well.
Are usually made of canvas that has a lot of advantages:
- weather protection.
Bell constructions are made for those who prefer glamping.
- high cost;
The form of bell tents is somewhat similar to teepee, but has much more benefits than the latter.
Originally traditional Indians dwellings, the teepee-like type of tents has its own benefits:
- are made of modern materials: canvas or synthetics;
- have a cone shape with a tall center point that makes a lot of space inside;
- the roof vents allow hot air to rise and escape throughout the top of the teepee.
But they have some drawbacks as well:
- teepees made of canvas are quite expensive;
- are heavy-weight;
- rain can come through the hole on the top.
If you want to feel like a native American living in harmony with nature, teepee is a top option.
- are the еthe most easy to install;
- the poles are already attached to the construction, so it’s simple to set it up;
- are designed in different shapes: dome, cabin, teepee, A-frame;
- are a fantastic decision for those who are not professional travelers and don’t love fumbling around with poles and loops.
- are quite heavy and bulky;
- are not convenient for hiking;
- are only an option if you’re staying at a campsite or close to your car.
All you need to do to set the ten, is to unpack it, extend the poles and click them into ground.
The poles on tunnel tents are arches, which stand parallel to one another, forming a shape of a tunnel.
- are super spacious and have a great amount of headroom;
- are simple to set up on the ground;
- are wind resistant.
- are water pooling on top of the construction between the poles which can cause leakage;
- they can collapse under the great amount of water during a heavy rain.
So it’s preferable not to use this type for camping in a rainy season.
This type is perfect for campers who like to change the camping location frequently because it allows you to set up and take down the entire campsite far quicker than any other tent.
- a quick and easy set up – it will take you just a few seconds;
- it can fit in a backpack.
There are no disadvantages. It’s just a lightweight cozy tent for 1 or 2 people.
This brand is new on the market, but already has its fans for the benefits of tents:
- instead of heavy poles made of aluminum or steel, they have inflatable air beams that keep the structure standing;
- can be of different shapes, including cabin, geodesic and tunnel.
Their disadvantages are:
- they are quite pricey;
- they are also heavy despite being inflatable.
This type tends to be even heavier than other kinds of tents and is not convenient for backpackers.
If you are a solo camper who enjoys hiking and needs a light tent, the bivy type can be your top choice.
- they are made for 1 person and are very light;
- are resistant to bad weather conditions, because they are low and the wind just flies over them;
- you can carry them around on your back easily.
- there is no space inside to do anything. That is, the space of the tent is limited.
- bivy sacks are water resistant, not water proof.
Before buying, we recommend you to read reviews about this type of travel sacks and think it over.
Hammock camping is last been extremely popular in recent years and it’s no wonder. Sleeping in a hammock is one of the most comfortable ways there is to get a good night’s rest.
- you can hang hammock just about everywhere regardless of what ground is like underneath;
- hammock is made of fabric on the top as well as on the bottom and is like a cocoon;
- it has a mesh top for breathability and insect protection, it often comes with a rain fly that can protect you from rain.
- this is the most extreme camping so not many people are ready to sleep in the hammock under the night sky;
- hammock can’t protect you from low temperatures;
- it’s not a good option for the rest with kids.
If you go hammock camping make sure you adhere to Leave No Trace principles and avoid harming the trees and surroundings.
They are light enough to carry around on your back, besides they are designed in two versions: for a solo trip, and for a team.
If you are teaming with someone, one of you can carry poles, while the other carries the tent.
- the backpack sack is very light and quick to set and take down;
- you can move it easily from one place to another without any hassles;
- it provides more space than bivy tents;
- it protects from wind and rain.
- it requires a comfortable and plane ground surface;
- it can’t protect from wind-blown snow, sand or dust.
Some backpack tents require the purchase of footprint to set up the rainfly.
This type is for real extreme people! You have to tie it to the trees, similarly to how you would tie a hammock, except you need 3 or more trees instead of 2. It has no poles, only a piece of material and ropes that are pulled above the ground. You have to tie it very tight so that it could bear the weight of you and your gear.
You can set up a camping site in places where the ground surface isn’t convenient for a tent. Just imagine all the awesome places where you could sleep in one of these tents. The most extreme people will go nuts for this type!
Truck bed type
This type is seriously cool!
- you don’t need to sleep on the ground;
- you don’t have to carry it around on your back;
- it is mounted on top of your truck bed, transforming it into a sleeping area;
- it protects perfectly from extreme weather;
It has almost no disadvantages, besides the fact that you need to have a car!
There are two types you can choose from:
- rooftop tent;
- hatchback type.
Rooftop tents are set on the top of your SUV and they have a ladder that goes from the ground to the construction so you can get up and down.
- you get to sleep high up off the ground, so you’re at a safe distance from snakes, bugs and other creatures;
- you don’t have to worry about rising water level if it is raining heavily;
- it’s well equipped and may be the most comfortable option for the trip with your family.
Cons: its weight is very large and it can be difficult to install the tent on the top of your car.
Hatchback type is set on the ground and attached to your SUV’s open trunk. You get a large, comfortable area with enough space for several people.
It’s a special type of sack that is the most convenient for sandy terrain. Settled up with sand bags along the bottom edges, it is very resistant to wind. It also provides great ventilation and keeps your skin safe from sun rays.
It’s worth noting that certain types of tent poles – namely the extra-long ones- hold better in sand than others. If your beach tent doesn’t come with extra poles, it’s definitely worth investing in a set to make your tent the most secure one in the beach camp.
Although it isn’t meant for sleeping, we can’t deny that canopy is a type of tent. It consists of four legs and a canopy top. As a rule, it doesn’t have walls. Canopy is mostly used for summer festivals, sporting events or wedding parties as a source of shade on sunny weather.
Whichever tent you decided to purchase, you have to study well all the advantages and drawbacks of every type so that your camping trip wouldn’t be ruined. We recommend you to read the set-up manual thoroughly and try to pitch it and take it down a couple of times in your backyard.
🏕 What is the best tent for camping?
Everything depends on the purposes you want it to use for. If you’re travelling with your family, the tunnel
tent will be comfortable for several people with their gear. It’s high and spacious enough, providing a decent
amount of headroom. Also it’s very simple to set up.
And if you like a solo trip, then the best choice would be a backpack type tent. It’s very lightweight and compact. And you won’t need anyone to help you with setting it up.
📦 Is a suspended tent a good choice?
A suspended tent is for the lovers of extreme camping! You must tie him to the trees and hang your equipment
Few people want to sleep outdoors. Just imagine all the awesome places where you could sleep in a suspended tent!
But before taking it with you on a trip, make a try a few times to figure out how to set this type of tent properly. It will take several attempts to determine the correct angle and how tight the straps should be.
💡 What is an inflatable tent?
It’s a new type of tents that doesn’t need poles to be installed. The quick and easy setup is the selling point that makes it quite expensive. Instead of poles made from aluminum or fiberglass, this type has inflatable air beams that keep the structure standing. It’s a good choice for those who are looking for weather resistant, lightweight type of tent which is easy to install.