Picking The Right Tent Style – Being Uncomfortable Is No Longer An Option For Camping Enthusiasts!
When one thinks of tent camping the thought comes to mind of roughing it out in the wilderness, sleeping on the floor, and needing lots of bug spray. To some degree this may be true but not necessary. As tent camping’s popularity increased over the years, the manufactures improved on the quality of tents. Camping is not like other vacations, pack your clothes, get in the car, drive to the airport, and away you go. Camping takes much more planning, which is half the fun of taking a vacation. Not to mention it’s much cheaper than other vacations can be.
The most important part of your camping gear is the tent, unfortunately there are an amazing variety of tents out there today in different styles and materials all made for different needs and environments. The tent style you need will depend on how and where you plan on using it. What environment will it be used in; hot or cold, or rainy or dry? How many will be sleeping with you? Will you be carrying the tent to the campsite from a car or backpacking? Below is a quick look at the different styles and uses of tents in hopes to give even the newbie an upper hand when trying to choose that perfect home away from home.
Traditional A-frame Or Ridge Tent Style
A-frame or ridge tent style form in the shape of an A when erected and have been used for years. They are generally light by themselves but need an added tarp for weather protection which makes them heavy to carry around. Head room is very limited because of the steep sloping sides and they are not very sturdy in strong winds. Typically they consist of two poles at each end with a single one running down the center and the tent fabric hung over the ridge. Keeping this general design in mind can work rather well in the event you become stranded or lost in the backcountry and have a poncho or other covering in which you can make a quick emergency shelter.
The modified A-frame tent style version utilizes curved poles instead of straight poles allowing more stability in winds and improved head and interior space. They also have a rain fly that allows you to leave the tarp at home making them lighter.
Dome Tent Style
Dome tent style seem by far to be the most popular today. Look around any primitive campsite and you’ll see plenty of dome style tents. Construction is rather simply accomplished with a number of flexible poles passing each other across the center of the roof with their ends traveling down to the base or floor of the tent. This construction provides the tent with strong rigidity making it easy to move after set up if needed, stable in strong winds and can handle a good amount of snow fall.
This specific tent style also provides great head room, spacious living areas and can accommodate separate rooms or porches to store gear and equipment. They can fit one person to a large family and are easy to pitch and easy to backpack with. The shape makes it more heat efficient and the rain-fly does a good job keeping the inside dry. The strength and rigidity of the design does tend to decrease as the tent gets larger.
Geodesic Tent Style
Geodesic tent style gets its name and shape from crisscrossing poles across the surface of the fabric intersecting to form triangles. The tent design mimics the same geodesic design used in large dome buildings today. Using minimum material the design provides for a large rigid space distributing the stress across the structure. The central pole gives it additional strength in high wind conditions and is very easy for one person to set up. They are very heat efficient and spacious but their main advantage is the high strength and stability they provide. These tents are great in extreme environments and are easily carried by backpackers and mountain climbers.
Instant Or Quick Pitch Tent Style
Instant or quick pitch tent style really does erect itself. Tents of this style are constructed with a long coiled sprung frame permanently attached into the tent fabric. You twist the frame into a circular package to store the tent and simply unleash the coil to set up. They come complete with inner tents and can sleep a small family of four or five but they really are only suitable for good weather conditions.
Inflatable Tent Style
Inflatable tent’s are relatively new on the market and they are exactly as described. They have an air pump used to inflate the tent to its shape. When storing the tent you open the air valves and start rolling the tent up from the side opposite the door opening pushing the air out through the door opening. The advantage of this kind of tent style is one person can set the tent up and you don’t have to deal with tent poles. Although self inflating sleeping pads can be carried into the backcountry, reliability of the air pump for these tent’s would limit backcountry use as well as its weight.
Tunnel Tent Style
Tunnel tent style make use flexible poles like dome tents creating even more useable space for large families. Flexible poles are bound into semi-circles and stood up in a line to create a tunnel. Some tunnel tents do use rigid poles to form their structure. They are capable of shedding heavy snow and are waterproof. Main use is for large families, kids play area, or even as tents for pets. They provide excellent stability if pitched end-on to oncoming winds but are very less stable if winds change direction.
Pyramid, Cone, Or Teepee Tent Style
These types of tents have a very basic design. There is a single pole at the center and the sides are posted securely. Because it has no floor, a teepee is usually set up for storage of gears, equipment, and additional things. Other campers use it as a shower or potty tent. A teepee is not designed to withstand bad weather conditions.
Canopy Tent Style
Canopy tent style is affordable, easy to set up structures that have a wide variety of uses. Whether you want one for personal or commercial use, there’s a style and size for every purpose. When you’re shopping online, you should always take some important things into consideration before deciding which one to buy. First and foremost is the workmanship of the tent that you buy. You want something that’s not only attractive, but is constructed so that it will be durable enough to stand up to changing climates and weather conditions. Of course, cost is always a consideration, so you want to buy something that’s affordable.
When you’re browsing site to find high quality canopy tents, there are some things to keep in mind. You should find a supplier that has a good reputation and knows the business. Many of the online manufacturers purchase their products in large quantities, so the savings can be passed on to the consumer. The supplier should have a variety of shipping options available, and should have a customer service contact number to address any possible issues either before or after the sale. Make sure that the tent you buy has a limited warranty in the event of any problems. Before making any final decisions, always read the product descriptions and specifications carefully when comparison shopping.
Canopy tent style has a wide variety of uses and can be set up easily almost anywhere. They can be used in the backyard or by the pool to keep you and your guests cool and protected from the sun. They can also be put up easily over the patio or deck to provide extra shade. Vendors use them when they attend outdoor shows or festivals, and are especially convenient if there’s a change in the weather. If you have a nursery business and don’t want to put up a greenhouse or additional greenhouse, a canopy is the perfect solution. They’re so convenient and versatile that they can be used in campgrounds to provide a comfortable sitting area. They can also be used over a dog kennel to provide shade for your pets.
Canopy tents are constructed from pre-fabricated materials. They’re waterproof, constructed for durability in the outdoors, and are UV resistant to protect you and your guests from harsh sunlight. You can choose a traditional style, or a style that simply features a valance for protection. They come in a wide range of styles and sizes for virtually any use.
Expedition Tent Style
Also known as touring tents, these tents generally combine a ridge and dome tent into one. They are ideal ‘settling in’ tents, and often include a large ‘porch’ area for shade and shelter. They will often have windows as well. Expedition tents are roomy and comfortable, and designed to allow easy standing inside.
Beach Family Tent Style
Beach family tent style is made of durable materials that provide strong support. These also easily accommodate 3 – 4 people.
Beach tents have come a long way since their original design and are now available in a variety of styles. Where some are designed as cabanas, others are styled as birds’ wings. Some even represent beach huts that are designed as a mix of a cabana and a beach umbrella. Some of the most common features of these are:
- They are mostly made of polyester. Some of them feature fiberglass waterproof floors, mesh windows and also Velcro-fastened flaps.
- Some of them have small pockets where you can store knick knacks that you need on your trip.
- They provide strong UV protection. Sun guards range between SPF-35 and SPF-50, and you must be careful to choose the maximum possible sun guard that suits your budget. The price changes with the quality of sun protection provided.
A Few More Tent Styles
Most of the remaining styles of tents available today are variations of the styles above. It seems manufactures and consumers have this fascination with bigger.
Vis-à-vis tents: Developed in France and based on a dome construction style with rooms added on. The large central room provides standing headroom with an annex room off each side offering smaller sleeping compartments.
Pod-style: Some of the largest tents available today are pod style tents. They are constructed with a large sleeping area with several sleeping areas (pods) surrounding and leading off like spokes on a wheel. These are designed and shown in a family setting where children can have their own space separate from mom and dad with a common meeting area for the whole family. These tents can take up an enormous camping area and are very difficult to set up.
A few other considerations
- Size: Just remember bigger is not always better in tents. As size increases rigidity and heat efficiency will fall along with ease of setup and weight increase. Get a tent suitable in size as to what you need. It needs to be big enough to sleep comfortably and big enough to store packs and gear. Head room, eating space and living space are optional depending on your needs.
- Material: Consider the fabric or material used in the tent. While cotton and canvas are durable they are also heavy. Nylon is light but can tear and rip in windy conditions unless protected. Polyester is good for long periods of time in sunny conditions without fading and keeps its shape. Look for a breathable coating that lets air in but not moisture.
- Weather conditions: Make sure the tent you choose is suitable to the weather you will be against. Tents will have labels on them describing them as 1 season, 3 season or 4 season tents. Ensure that the tent is 100% waterproof with a rain fly that offers total coverage. And consider an area inside with you or on the porch to store gear out of the weather.
- Strength: Choose a tent with double sewn seams for added durability. Strong tent poles, design, high quality pegs, guy lines and secure fastenings are important considerations.
- Pitching: Is the tent easy or hard to set up? Can it be done alone or do you need two or more people for setup?
- Weight: Will you be camping from the car or carrying the tent in a backpack across mountains.
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