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Gear Guide Tent Buying Guide, OutdoorPlaces.Com



OutdoorPlaces.Com Tent Buying Gear Guide


Picking The Right Tent


A Frame TentA Frame:

An 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.

Dome TentDome:

Dome 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 FrameModified A Frame:

A 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.

Pup Tent:

This 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.


A 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!

Tunnel or Hoop TentTunnel or Hoop:

Tunnel 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.