If you are a new camper preparing for your first camping trip, either by yourself or with friends or family, it’s important to know what types of tents are on the market so you can choose the right one to suit your needs and environment.
There are some important factors to think about when choosing a tent, and this article aims to help you identify the various styles so you can make the best choice. Before going through the different styles, here are a few things you need to bear in mind.
Probably the most important factor to think about is the size of the tent. It needs to be big enough for sleeping comfortably and big enough to store camping gear and accessories. Head room, eating space and living space is optional, depending on what you require.
It’s worth thinking about the material of the tent. While canvas is durable, it’s also very heavy. Nylon is much lighter, but it is designed for calm conditions. Polyester is good for long periods of time in sunny conditions, as the material withstands exposure to sunlight.
Whatever tent you end up buying, make sure it’s suited to the weather you might be up against. That means ensuring it’s 100% waterproof with a rain fly that offers total coverage. Consider a tent porch for storing wet items that you don’t want inside the tent.
A strong tent will be invaluable against strong winds and other conditions. Strong tent poles, high quality pegs and secured fastenings will help. Choose a tent with double sewn seams for overall durability.
Is the tent easy to pitch? Can you do it alone, or do you need help from your camping associates?
Now that you have something to think about, let’s move on to the various styles of tents available on the market.
Traditional A-Frame Tents
A-frame tents are your typical ‘A’ shaped tents when erected. They are lightweight by themselves but have an added tarp for extra weather protection. However, they can be a little heavier to carry around. Inside they aren’t very spacious due to the steep sloping sides. They are a simple shelter but are not very sturdy in strong winds. Typically, these tents consist of two poles at each end to form an apex with a single ridgepole running down the center.
Modified A-Frame Tents
The difference between a modified A-Frame tent and a traditional A-frame tent is that the modified version utilises curved poles instead of straight poles. This provides more stability and improved head and interior space. The other benefit of a modified A-frame tent is the full coverage rain fly that allows you can leave the tarp at home!
Tunnel tents provide excellent stability if pitched end-on to oncoming winds. However, when they are pitched the other way, they are much less stable. Typically made up of two or more poles running the width of the structure, this shape makes for much better interior space and head room. Overall strength and durability varies from tent to tent, based on quality of materials, sizes and tent poles.
Hoop tents have curved poles at either end to help retain shape and stability. Guy ropes need to be tied with pegs, staked carefully for optimum pitching. Typically, they are made up of three arched frames for spacious interior areas and head room. The benefit of this shape is that snow and water can simply slide off. Make sure to support any fabrics because if they are not staked down properly, they will rattle and flap in the wind. This type of tent is the lightest and most compact packing tent on the market.
Single hoop tents are made up of a single curved pole and are usually only designed to sleep one or two people maximum. These tents don’t do very well in strong side winds but are quite sturdy if the wind runs against the spine of the tent. These tents are ideal for cycling or backpacking due to their space and weight factors.
Dome tents are most popular among family and group campers. Typically made up of two or three poles passing each other across the center of the roof, these tents provide spacious living areas, great head room and sometimes the ability to have separate rooms and porches to store gear and equipment.
They are easy to pitch, stable and can handle conditions such as snow much better than other styles. Dome tents are usually free standing, so you can move them around while erected, which can come in handy in time of events like weather or wind direction changes.
There are other types of tents available, such as yurts and safari tents, but I won’t go into those here because they are usually more permanent for different purposes. I hope you found this guide useful and remember to bear these points in mind when you purchase your tent.
This guide was kindly written by the folks at World of Camping, Europe’s number one choice for camping equipment and accessories online.