What Are The Different Types of Camping Tents?

Learn how to choose the right tent for you.

You’ve decided to try camping–congratulations!  Now you have to purchase the type of equipment that you will need.  The first and most basic item you should consider is a camping tent.  There are many different types of tents out there and it may be confusing to decide which one is right for you.  This article will help you make the right choice.

Over my lifetime, I have camped in several types of tents and each one met my needs at the time.  There are three factors you need to think about which will help you decide what type of tent you need.

1.       Weather – If you are camping in the spring, summer or fall, a three season tent should be adequate for you.  These tents, no matter what design they are,  will meet the needs of the camper on the average camping trip.  If, however, you are planning to camp in cold, winter weather, you should consider a four season tent.

2.       Size – Of course, the size of the tent is determined by how many people will be camping.  In general, subtract one person from the tent manufacturer’s description of the tent capacity.  Also, if you are planning to camp for a week or more, you might consider a larger tent than you would need for a weekend trip.

3.       Weight – If you are car camping, and are driving right up to the campsite, then weight is no consideration.  If, however, you are backpacking, weight is a huge consideration.

There are three main types of tents to consider:  A frame tents, dome tents and cabin tents.

1.       A frame tents – These are also known as pup tents–think Boy Scouts.  These tents are very simple.  They have a piece of material that forms the sides of the tent by draping over a ridge pole or a rope that runs between a pole at each end of the tent.  The sides are

secured by guy ropes and stakes.  They are lightweight because they are small.  They can  usually accommodate one or two people.  When I began camping again with my children, we had three pup tents, two to a tent.  They were very simple to set up and take down.  We had a great time camping with those tents.

2.       Dome tents – Dome tents are,(surprise!), shaped like a dome.  They are held erect by two flexible poles that crisscross  like an “X” at the top.  Sometimes the poles are slipped through a fabric sleeve and sometimes they are attached by clips.  There are guy ropes attached to the sides of the tent that are fastened to stakes which keep the tent sides from sagging inward.  The flexible pole tips are inserted into “O” rings at the four corners of the

tent.  This is handy because if you need to move the tent, you can just pick it up and put it down in a new location.  Dome tents are lightweight and fairly roomy.  There is plenty of space inside and head room in the middle.  They come in all sizes and will sleep from two to ten people.  They are easy to set up and take down.  These are great tents for the recreational camper.  They are usually 3 season tents.

3.       Cabin tents – Cabin tents are great for family camping.  They are usually heavier than dome tents so they are more suitable for car camping, where you drive right up to your campsite.  They have vertical sides, allowing you to stand upright inside the whole tent.  They have a lot of floor space and often have a room divider if you desire privacy in your sleeping area.  The divider can be removed to create one large room.  Sometimes these tents have a screened in area for storing gear and dirty shoes.  These tents are great for families with children and if you are camping for more than a weekend.  They also

A 3 room cabin tent

provide a place to congregate in wet weather.  My favorite cabin tent is the Coleman WeatherMaster Screened 6 Tent.  It has all the features mentioned above.  Check out my Coleman tent review.

There are other specialty tents, such as, backpacking tents or tents designed for high altitude camping.  However, the three types of tents highlighted above will meet the needs of the majority of recreational campers.

Camping is a wonderful activity for friends and family alike.  Make sure you maximize your enjoyment by choosing the tent that’s right for you.

Stephanie Trementozzi
Always Outdoors

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