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Tent Style Guide For Any Outdoor Adventure

by Justin on April 23, 2012

If you are planning an outdoor adventure whether it is for backpacking, hiking, hunting or camping you will want to make sure you have the proper tent for your outing. The tent you use can make your experience much more enjoyable. There are many factors you should consider when you determine the purpose and the people that will be coming with you.

Family camping tents are commonly designed as either dome tents, which look much like an upside down bowl, or cabin tents, which have more interior space and more vertical side walls. Dome tents have the advantage of being quick and easy to set up, making even the novice camper feel like a pro. Being “freestanding” in design, it is usually a matter of sliding the poles into place, and staking the tent to the ground, taking mere minutes to complete. This design is also typically very “weather-proof”, standing up well to rain and high winds. Cabin tents are typically larger tents, providing more living space and elbow room. For longer outings, this can be a “home away from home”, with enough space for furniture like cots, a table and chairs inside of the tent. Imagine sitting in your tent eating dinner even as a storm rages outside!

Backpacking tents are designed to be carried into the wilderness, and provide enough space for 1-3 people, and not much more! Believe it or not, that is a huge advantage, as this allows the weight on these tents to be incredibly light. Vestibules may be built into the rainfly to give the user storage space for boots and gear. These tents are often broken into categories based on “seasons”, with 3 season tents having more ventilation and lighter weight construction, and 4 season tents being capable of standing up to 60 mile per hour winds and heavy snow loads.

Outfitter tents or wall tents, are built for long term use season after season. They are typically built out of heavy duty cotton canvas, these tents feature plenty of space for sleeping, eating, and even cooking in them. They often are designed to be used with a stove or heater, keeping them warm in sub-freezing temperatures. A collapsible frame is sturdy enough to hold up to high winds and snow, while still providing enormous amounts of inside space.

Bivy sacks (or bivouac sacks) are built for one person use, primarily in emergency situations. They pack down small and are lightweight enough to be carried along even on trips where you don’t plan on spending the night out. Make no mistake about it, calling these sacks is correct, as they provide just enough space for a person and their sleeping bag. As an emergency shelter, however, they can be lifesaving.

Other shelters include screen houses, canopies and tarps. Screen houses can truly save an outing when the bugs are out, giving you a place to escape to while still allowing you to enjoy the views. They are often large enough to fit over a picnic table. Canopies come in a wide variety of styles. Some are designed to be quick and easy to set up, providing great sun protection for tailgating and picnicking. Those same shelters, however, are usually not great for use in wind and rain. For more “extreme” conditions, a canopy or tarp that is anchored to the ground using stakes and guy lines is much more appropriate.

Marmot Limestone 6 person tent

Marmot 6 person tent

This article is a guest post by Jeremy Mutrux. Jerry is a Camping Buyer at Sportsman’s Warehouse. He is an avid camper, hiker, and fisherman.

2 comments… read them below or add one

Zach January 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm

I use an Eureka! Apex 3 man tent. I love it. I have used if since 2012. It is small, but has a wonderful feature of extra space under the rain flaps. I have reviewed it on my site if you would like to see it you can go here.


Tom Lewis May 22, 2016 at 5:42 am

Nice article on tent style. But we have read about tent types that there are 4 types tent available in the world as below:
— Dome Tent
— Cabin Tent
— Teepee Tent
— Tunnel Tent

So now, my question is, what is the difference between tent style & tent type? Will you please write down one more article where you can disclose the issue clearly?



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