Tent Buying Gear Guide
The Right Tent
A frame tent is very similar in appearance to a pup tent.
However instead of using two poles and lines to hold up the tent,
an A frame tent uses a center pole with poles going to each corner to
hold the tent up. Like a pup tent they require staking to stay rigid, and have
steep sides offering little headroom.
A frame tents are rectangular and offer an efficient floor space
design. Typically these
tents will accommodate one to three people.
tents are probably the most popular style of tents used today.
The come in a wide variety of styles, shapes and sizes.
The main thing they have in common is they all use a geometrical
design in their poles to hold the tent up.
Poles overlap each other to form an equal or near equal geometric
shape. A tent with three poles would have a floor that hexagonal in
shape; a tent with four poles would have an octagonal shaped floor and
so on. This design creates
a strong and typically freestanding structure.
There are a number of major benefits to a dome tent.
Because they have a large number of corners, they take the wind
much better than a pup tent, A frame or modified A frame tent.
Those same corners, which arenít good for sleeping bodies, are
great for storing gear. They
offer excellent headroom and some models have
poles built in for extremely easy setup.
Dome tents weigh more then most other style of tents, and the
same geometric design that makes it good in the wind, can limit
ventilation. Dome tents can
accommodate from one to six people depending on construction, and even
more in some models.
modified A frame tent is similar to itís A frame cousin.
However it will typically have a center pole similar to a hoop
tent and the pole that is along the ridgeline of the tent tends to be
curved. This style tents
offers a little more room than an A frame, can have rainflies and/or
vestibule and some are freestanding.
Modified A Frame tents are rectangular and offer an efficient floor space
design. Typically these
tents will accommodate from one to three people.
is the classic tent. Pup
tents usually have two poles at the entrance and the back of the tent
and are supported by lines and stakes.
Their steep sides offer little in the form of headroom and most
pup tents will accommodate two people.
Most have a screen and flap, and a mesh window that can be
closed, you will be hard pressed to find one with a rain fly.
Pup tents are rectangular and offer an efficient floor space
design. Pup tents are very
low cost, they can be found in department stores for as little as $30.
However, for more than basic car camping on an occasionally
basis, a pup tent is probably not your best choice.
Typically these tents will accommodate one to three people.
tepee style tent is extremely basic.
Typically with a single pole, a tepee is basically no more than a
rainfly and floor that you stake out supported by the single pole.
Good as a lightweight shelter, very easy to setup but can only be
used in more ideal weather conditions.
With itís high entry way and sloping side, the rectangular
floor offers good headroom at the entrance and good places to store your
gear as the headroom disappears. The main advantage to a tepee
style tent is extremely easy setup and lightweight because they lack a
complex system of poles. Some models have poles that double as
walking staffs for the ultimate in lightweight backpacking!
or hoop tents use a series of hoop shaped poles (two or three) to form a
tunnel around a tent. Very lightweight and easy to setup a hoop tent is an excellent
structure for backpacking as long as the wind isnít blowing hard.
Tunnel tents may require staking.
Some hoop tents can have extra poles and lines to assist in more
harsh conditions. Some
tents can have excellent headroom and have rectangular floor spaces.
Rainflies, vented mesh windows and vestibules are all available
options. Tunnel tents can
be found for one to four people. This is an extremely popular
style of tent for backpackers.