Different Types of Tents

tent types

It’s important you know the different types of tents available, conditions to use them, their advantages, and their disadvantages before you start a tent business to avoid making wrong decisions. Continue reading to increase your knowledge of the types of tents and how to choose one.

1. Backpacking Tents

You don’t need to be carrying additional weight in your pack if you are likely to spend long days hiking before you pitch your tent at the end of the day. A compact backpacking tent is suitable for this kind of situations. This type of tent can be pitched easily, and more importantly, are designed with practicality in mind. Backpacking tents are available in different styles, but usually have low ends with the other end having a wider section, rounding up with a small porch area. Their compact and streamlined design makes them suitable for windy weather.

You will not be able to move around this tent or spend more downtime inside because they are low, but their small size and practicality can cover for this. You can move with this tent all through the day and set it up without stress after walking for a long time.


  • Installation is very easy
  • Lightweight tent with little functionality to streamline the weight
  • Compact and streamlined design; highly recommended for hikers.
  • Can survive harsh weather conditions


  • Limited headroom or free space
  • Capacity is limited, not suitable for large groups or families.
  • Not a multipurpose tent, designed mainly for hiking-focused camping.

2. Bell Tents

Bell tents are more of a boutique tent style than other tents mentioned in this post. This tent is probably the least common and practical tent people use for outdoor activities, but it is gradually becoming popular in the United Kingdom.

Generally, bell tents are made of canvas, making it an excellent choice for warmer seasons since the material can regulate temperature effectively. Another feature that makes this tent unique compared to other tents is that it is compatible for use with wood-burning stoves. Some customized or flashy versions are equipped with attractive patterns and accessories. However, the pole running through the center of the tent is the staple element, with the canvas wrapped around it.

Although we don’t recommend bell tents for activity-based camping trips outdoors, this type of tent is very suitable for festivals and camping sites when the climate is pleasant and mild.


  • Installation is straightforward; a single person can install the smaller versions.
  • Campers who are design-conscious will find this stylish, trendy option exciting.
  • The material is an effective temperature regulator.
  • Massive floor space; suitable for accommodating a large group to sleep at night.
  • You can roll the side panels up for optimal ventilation.


  • Bell tents are costly and extremely expensive
  • Poor space-to-weight ratio
  • Not the ideal tent to complement most outdoor activities.

3. Dome Tents

This type of tent is one of the prevent tent types and can be used for a wide range of camping. You can identify dome tents by the structure of their curved pole, featuring either two or three piles that bend over the tent’s top in a semi-circle. This forms a rectangular or square base with a nice headroom; we have the rising sides to thank for that. Typically, dome tents come with a detachable groundsheet.

Installing dome tents is quite easy, setting up requires an interlocking pole system that connects like a simple webbing structure, holding the tent in one piece. Although this type of tents is not suitable for harsh weather conditions, they can still tolerate a fair amount of wind or rain before you experience any issue with them. Most dome tents come with a porch section design – very useful to store gears, allowing you to use the space in the inner tent for sleeping.


  • Installation is easy, likewise transportation; normally, you only need to thread some poles through.
  • Nice headroom because of the shape of the tent.
  • You can join this tent with a bigger living space easily; thus, it’s very suitable for families.
  • This type of tents is reasonably strong if the tent in questions has three or more poles.
  • Very affordable and one of the widest tent styles available
  • Dome tents can be used for different camping trips.


  • Find it difficult to survive strong winds. The more the height of the dome, the more likely it is to catch more wind.
  • The door of done tent usually has a curved zip. So it is easy to break or catch if you are not careful.

4. Family (Vis–à–Vis) Tent

The vis-à-vis tent is another perfect tent for family camping (at least four or more sleep); this tent design features two sections that connects at an internal communal area. Vis-à-vis translates to face-to-face, which refers to the positioning of both sleeping sections.

Vis-à-vis tents are usually designed in dome styles or tunnel styles, but it has additional sections included in the structure. The tents are pretty heavy due to the extra size, and it’s usually not recommended for backpacking. This tent style is ideal for car camping trips with family or friends, and it offers a little privacy in your own space and a covered area where you can associate with others in the evenings.


  • The design imitates a real home, and it offers sufficient comfort and facilities.
  • Large capacity permits large groups of people or big families to cohabit comfortably.
  • Different bedroom with separate entrances is appealing and permits a certain level of privacy.
  • Face-to-face configuration is a nice idea, and it creates a lovely, spacious common area.
  • The sheltered porch is another exciting


  • Setting up is a bit tricky, especially with kids on board.
  • Heavy size makes it difficult to move around.
  • Cost ranges from moderate to expensive.

5. Geodesic and Semi-geodesic tents

This type of tent looks like a dome tent. However, it’s much stronger because it features extra poles crossing each other, creating a more spacious inner space and a robust structure that can survive heavy wind and rain. This tent style is pretty expensive since it’s suitable for any weather, touch expeditions and conditions, like mountaineering.

The semi-geodesic tent is another type of tent with similar design; however, it features lesser poles for a lighter, streamlined design. Although this tent won’t be able to survive the same weather condition, it provides a better shape and compact style that are more appropriate to backpacking. The design of semi-geodesic tents also features an aerodynamic shape that aids wind resistance.

Another good thing about geodesic tents is that they come in different sizes and their robust structures make this dent an excellent tent choice for people in windy environments. The geodesic design gives room for a comfortable internal space with higher ceilings, making it suitable to stay in when waiting for the weather to calm down.


  • Highly recommended for camping in extreme weather and mountaineering; this tent can withstand extreme wind, rain, and
  • Strong structure with perfect stability.
  • Longer lifespan than the average type of tent because of its technical set up.
  • Good interior space and headroom for the shape.


  • More expensive than the average, non-technical tent.
  • Not suitable for large groups, families included, because of the streamlined and compact structure.
  • Heavy to move over long distances.

6. Inflatable (Air) Tent

This tent style is new in the market, but the design is not popular. Inflatable tents have a similar structure with large family tents or tunnel tents, but this type of tent does not have any pole. Hollow panels filled with air are used in place of poles, forming a strong structure.

A pump is required to inflate these tents. Even though they lack poles, they are still heavy; thus, suitable for larger campsites and car camping. In addition, you can save money getting this type of tent since it’s new in the market and innovative in design.

The major benefit of inflatable tents is that after you lay it out and use tent pegs in holding the guy lines, all you need to do afterward is activate the pump to inflate the tent’s frame and set up your tent. The inflatable tent is excellent for glamping and provides a comfortable and spacious option to sleep.


  • Easy installation, all you need is an air pump. Setting up can be carried out by one person.
  • Flexible configuration and less weight and pitching effort since it does not have poles.
  • Offers a lot of headroom, living and storage space.
  • Minimizes accidents from occurring through snapping of metal, they are safer since you can install them without poles.


  • Inflatable tents are pretty expensive since it’s new
  • Very difficult to find extremely large
  • Inflatable tents are still heavy compared to other types of tents.

7. Pop-up Tent

The Pop-up tent has become extremely popular over the last few years. Just as the name sounds, the pop-up tent does not require any construction; it is designed to open up and take shape. All you need to do is tie it down once the tent is up. The pop-up tent is generally designed to accommodate two people; it offers unparalleled ease of set up and usage; thus, this type of tent is very suitable for campers with little or no experience.


  • The pop-up tent is currently the easiest tent to erect. Installation is damn easy; you are done within a few seconds.
  • This tent is lightweight and compact; stow away and transport is very easy.
  • Quite roomy compared to their compactness
  • Pop-up tents can fit almost anywhere since the footprint is always small.


  • Tent breaks easily if fully exposed in extremely high winds. Fixing the tent outdoors is nearly impossible.
  • Pop-up tents are very expensive compared to dome tents, and they are pretty pricey because of in-built convenience.
  • The compact design does not offer much headroom.
  • Not suitable for camping in extremely harsh weather, wilderness camping or backcountry camping.

8. Ridge Tents

This tent is likely the most promptly popular tent style because of its wide use. Over the years, ridge tent design is gradually becoming less popular and is usually seen as a retro choice. The tent is known for its classic shape, featuring two poles any end, creating a triangular-like shape.

The sturdy build and easy set up made this tent popular. The tent varies a lot in size; it has designs to accommodate one or two persons as well as roomy types for a larger group. Most scouts and guides are familiar with this tent; they might have spent a night or so in this type of tent. People still make use of this tent because of its practicality.

The problem with this type of tent is that it lacks headroom in the middle and either side, and it has limited space. So you may find it difficult to move around in this tent if you are there during the day. But if you plan on using it mainly for sleeping, then it’s good enough for a camping trip.


Stronger than other types of tents, mainly with different guy ropes.

Can survive wind and bad weather; it remains stable in these conditions.

Have varieties of sizes, tent size suitable for a single person or group of people.

Pitching is easy; still, the setup can be a lot difficult than other types of tents

Very durable, some designs can survive years or decades.


  • Limited storage space and headroom because of slanted walls.
  • Model choice is limited because it’s less widely available; people feel the design is old-fashioned.
  • Transport might be challenging because it’s heavy.

9. Tunnel Tents

You will be more interested in a tunnel tent if you desire more space for your family or friends when you go camping. Tunnel tents are characterized by a series of curved poles, creating a long structure that looks like a tunnel. Setting up this tent is straightforward, and when you are done with the installation, you will have a lot of space for gear, and they offer better headroom than the dome tent.

Tunnel tents are suitable for campsites because their heavy size makes it difficult to move around. Also, tunnel tents are more suitable when pitched facing into winds because they may risk collapsing if hit by a heavy wind through the side. However, if you intend to go camping in summer with friends or family and you need more space in the tent for your family and gear, then a tunnel tent will be an excellent choice.


  • Spacious and comfortable, it gives you that home feeling even though you are away from home.
  • Sufficient headroom than other camp styles.
  • Suitable for bigger groups, like families/friends, and special camping outings above normal
  • Tapered ends in this tent provide an optimal condition in extremely windy environments.
  • Exceptionally versatile, can survive most environment, mild or harsh.


  • Setting up is time-consuming, and it usually requires more than one person to get the job done.
  • Restricted ventilation in the middle of the tent because of its shape.
  • It has a larger footprint compared to other types of tents; this can be challenging if pitching space is limited.
  • When the tent collapse, reposition is difficult due to weather change.