Every year, millions of people go out from home for nature dating with camping gear including the must-have tents. To fulfill campers’ demand, different types of tents have evolved over time. Besides camping, tents are also used in parties, backyard fun, indoor entertainment, and many other purposes.
So, what are the types of tents? Several common tents are dome, cabin, tunnel, geodesic, bivy, pop-up, multi room, hammock, canopy, and you name it. Tents can be classified according to their shapes, sizes, use, and many more. As a camper, you should know their names with their uses.
In this article, I’ll cover the topic in detail so you can choose the perfect tent for right situation.
Different Types of Tents with Their Pros & Cons
Do you know how many types of tents are there? Most likely, you may hear some of the common tent names only. There are many styles of tents around the world. Each of the tents is made for some specific camping purposes. And as a camping enthusiast, you should have enough knowledge of the most common tent types. So, we come to help you out.
Tents can be classified from different perspectives such as capacity, structure, development time, comfortability, uses, material, and many more. To avoid complexity and readers’ easy understanding, we categorize tents in a simplified way. Let’s know the best type of tent!
6 Types of Tents Based on Shape
1. A-Frame Tent
A-Frame tent is one of the best traditional tent types. It is a triangular tent and looks like capital A with a rectangular floor. This is also known as ridge tent, pup tent, etc. Most of the A-frame camping tents have five poles, two in front and back and one across the top that create A-shape.
Each end has a pole and a ridge or cross pole holds the tent-shaped roof that makes the tent stable. It’s a double skin tent. The outer skin goes over the frame and the inner skin has a window.
This basic tent is made from lightweight aluminum poles whereas the top and sidewalls use rainproof nylon or polyester. Most of the A-frame tents for camping will allow living one to four people. The roof height is a major problem with this tent. If you use this tent only for sleeping it’s quite good, but you can’t walk around inside in the rain.
- Stable tent
- Easy to set up
- Withstand harsh weather
- Minimal height
- Usually bulky
Best for: Short trips and single to two users
2. Dome Tent
The Dome tent is a popular tent type for campers. It is a widely held tent shape. This is also referred to as the Igloo tent. Usually, a basic dome tent consists of two flexible poles with a rectangular floor. Each pole crosses one another at peaks and runs from one corner to the opposite corner diagonally.
The dome tent is widely recognized for its curved shape poles. The rounded edges ensure no rain sagging. A simple dome camping tent allows one to two campers. Larger tents with multiple rooms are also available. Most of the dome tents have an extra porch or vestibule to keep things organized.
Different types of dome tents come with varieties of rooms, vestibules, and irregularly shaped floors. Hoop tent and patrol tent are two popular scout tents that are actually the improved version of dome tents. Hexagonal and octagonal dome tents are great for family camping.
- Lighter design
- Ideal for most occasions
- Can’t withstand harsh weather
- Larger ones are unstable
Best for: Space and comfort
3. Cabin Tent
Are you looking for a spacious tent? No worries, the cabin tent comes with the desired feature. It has near-vertical walls that maximize the headspace and inside space. So it is sometimes called a straight or verticle wall tent. It allows numerous campers to live at a time. This type of tent is widely held for various camping situations.
A cabin tent is a single-skin tent and made of polyester, nylon, or canvas materials. This is a budget choice option for the campers. The cabin tent is ideal for casual camping or hanging out.
The door is extremely tall, which makes it easy to enter and exit. It is usually bigger and heavier than a dome or tunnel tent. There are varieties of sizes of a tent that allow picking the right one according to your need. Some of the cabin tents include lights for more fun.
- Spacious tent
- Low-priced option
- Ideal for large group
- Difficult to pitch
Best for: People who need maximum headspace
Also Read: Is it possible to camp without a tent?
4. Tunnel Tent
The tunnel tent for camping is one of the most common tent types. It is frequently seen in the army training ground or scouting. A tunnel tent is a tunnel-shaped tent that offers plenty of livable space. This will be ideal for larger groups. It is strong enough and provides ample headroom than a dome tent. This tent can withstand harsh weather and several of them have multiple room facilities.
A tunnel tent has a series of flexible poles that fed on one side to the other and creates a tunnel or arch shape. The tunnel design helps to attach rainfly. But several of them use sturdy poles that form a rigid structure.
When pitching, make sure you place the tent in a way so that wind can’t hit along the tent length.
- Lots of living space
- Simple erection
- Heavy winds may topple over the tent
Best for: Army and large groups
5. Pyramid Tent
A pyramid tent is another favorite tent shape out of the different tent types. It looks like a modern teepee. It consists of a single central pole that’s why pyramid tents are sometimes called monopole shelters.
Usually, a canvas rainfly is draped over the pole, stretched out and grounded by guylines and stakes. To make the tent stable, you should use strong guy-lines.
Pyramid tents have limited headspace in sidewalls. Most of them are made from canvas, but the lightweight models are popping up nowadays that have tarp-like walls.
- Easy setup
- Lightweight model
- Endure harsh weather
- Limited headspace in sidewalls
Best for: Difficult weather
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6. Geodesic & Semi-Geodesic Tent
The geodesic tent is an improved version of the dome tent. This tent has multiple crisscrossing poles but the dome tent comprises a few poles. The crisscross tent forms triangles or hexagons. So, it is a complex geometric tent.
The geodesic camping tent is one of the most stable tents that can withstand harsh weather. That’s why mountaineers, and winter campers use this tent widely. The semi-geodesic tent consists of several crisscross poles that are between the geodesic and dome tent.
Both geodesic and semi-geodesic tents provide good headroom. Usually, this tent allows 3 to 4 campers to live in. Because of the great stability, these tents are pricier than usual tents.
- Ensure maximum stability
- Great headroom
- Tricky to put up
Best for: Winter camping and difficult environments
4 Different Types of Tents for Camping & Hiking
7. Backpacking Tent
Backpacking tents are ultralight and ideal for backpacking and hiking. They are one of the greatest technical tents. Most of them come with tunnel or geodesic shapes that have a maximum capacity of three people. You will find two entrances that ease entry and exit. A small porch or vestibule increases the inner space.
Typically, a backpacking tent is designed for hikers, backpackers, and foot travelers who need the lightest equipment. It helps backpackers to quickly pitch and take comfortable sleep. Sundome backpacking tent is a great option to choose for backpackers.
- Ultralight tent
- Withstand harsh weather
- Easy to pitch
- Limited headroom
Best for: Hikers and backpackers
8. Suspended Tents
If you are an out of the boxer and don’t love ground tenting, the suspender tents might be a perfect match for you. This is a sky tent idea. The suspension straps are firmly tied with trees that secure the tent above the ground. This tent is sometimes called a tree tent.
Generally, suspended tents are geodesic shape tents and allow a maximum of 1 to 2 campers. There are mesh doors and a rainfly. Most suspended tents can carry loads up to 400 pounds.
This style of tent is appropriate for hikers and climbers. Sometimes it may come with a bug net.
- Off ground tent facility
- Easy to carry
- Trees are necessary to suspend
Best for: Wet and uneven ground
9. Bivy Tent
Not all the campers, hikers, or backpackers like sharing their tents. That’s why bivy tents come to resolve the problem. Luckily, modern bivouac shelters provide one or two-man sleeping opportunities that will be great for couples.
Bivy tent is ultralight that is perfect for solo camper, backpacker, scouter, and mountain climber. Bivy is also spelled as bivvy, bivvi, or bivi.
Most of them are wedge-shaped and a true variation of tunnel or ridge tent. They might be small but ensure safety and keep you dry overnight.
- Comes with a bug net
- Ultralight helps easy carrying
- Zero time erect and take-down
- Not as sturdy as other tents
Best for: Solo camper or hiker
10. Hammock Tent
The hammock tent seems like a bivy tent that ties to the trees and suspends off the ground. It is an amazing type of camping tent nowadays. The size and load-carrying capacity made this tent ideal to live with one camper once. It also gives a little more comfortable sleeping than usual tents.
Most of the hammock tents come with a ridge or tunnel shape. If the ground is wet, rocky, or uneven, this will be the ideal one. The tent manufacturers provide suspension straps, bug nets, and other essentials with this tent. If there is no tree, how do you suspend the hammock? Don’t worry, some hammocks come with frames or steel stands to do the job done. You can use them even indoors.
- Lightweight tent
- Easy to handle
- Comfy sleep
- Not allow multiple people
Best for: Places where you can’t set up tents on the ground
5 Luxurious Tent Types
11. Pop Up Tent
Out of the different kinds of tents, pop-up tents became very popular for backpacking festivals, and kids’ play tents. They come with spring-loaded tent poles that allow you to set up the tent instantly. This is why they are also known as the instant tent or quick pitch tent.
Usually, pop-up tents might be either dome, cabin, or tunnel shape that has a maximum capacity of 6 campers. Most of them are lightweight and cheaply made that can’t withstand severe weather conditions. However, they provide a good ventilation facility. This tent is ideal for those who love infrequent summer camping.
- Fast tent pitching
- Lightweight and cheap
- Nice ventilation
- Not ideal for harsh weather
Best for: Summer camping, backpacking, and festival
12. Inflatable Tent
The inflatable tent is a new tent design having great features. This modern tent type replaces the old-style steel or fiberglass poles with the air-filled beam. That’s the reason many people named this special tent to air tent or blow up tent also.
Due to quick and easy pitching, it becomes incredibly popular within a short time. It is spacious and there are no fixed poles. Most of the inflatable tents come with a pump to inflate the beams.
Air tents are made from quality materials that increase their price and weight. Their shape might be a tunnel, cabin, or geodesic and allow a maximum of 10 campers. They are ideal for festivals and family camping.
- Easy and quick to pitch
- Air-frame tent
- Introduces inflatable tubes
- Includes pump and repair kit
- Can’t separate the air tubes
- Costly than traditional tent types
Best for: Quick pitching and space
13. Bell Tent
Bell tent is a perfect glamping tent for luxurious campers. This is a single-space tent like a teepee. Sibley tent is an extended version of the bell tent. This modern tent has wood strove flue pipe that’s great for cold weather.
The canvas cover works as a temperature regulator and insulator that makes this tent usable in the summer too. Most of them come in a pyramid shape. Bell tents support up to 10 campers to live in. The double bell wedge tent is a very popular bell tent.
In the bottom of the tent, there are blends of canvas and mesh material that allow inside ventilation. Besides, it can be rolled up which maximizes airflow. This tent will be excellent for a large group.
- Perfect for glamping
- Wood burning facility
- Good ventilation
- Not ideal for backpacking
- Usually heavy
Best for: Luxury and space
14. Tepee Tent
A tepee tent is a conical or pyramid shape tent that is often called a lodge. The tepee is also known as tipi or teepee. It can be easily distinguished from other tents by its top smoke flaps. This is another good option for glampers.
Tipi tent is made from animal skin and wooden poles, but nowadays canvas covering is also available. Tepees are available in small and large ones with several types. Small teepees are widely held as kids’ play tents.
The big types allow 10 or more persons. Usually, the larger tipis are heavy and not easily portable. They are commonly used in scout campgrounds. You can pitch a tepee without a pole, so you can call it a no pole tent.
- Durable construction
- Port for wood strove flue pipe
- Limited sidewall headspace
Best for: Durability and winter camping
15. Trailer Tents
The trailer tent is a luxurious and modern classic style of tent that consists of a trailer with a quickly unfoldable tent. You can easily unfold and peg the tent to the ground when necessary.
This tent is cheaper than the motorhomes and caravans. Moreover, trailer tents last for longer and the lifespan is between 20 to 30 years. Trailer weights usually vary from 150 to 500 kg that most cars can pull easily.
The beds are off-ground that provides more comfort and warmth than usual tents. You can also install AC or heater to add more comfort to the camp-let. Most of them have 1 to 10 person’s capacity, and even more.
- Convenient and comfortable
- Minimal servicing needed
- Can’t handle harsh weather
Best for: Comfort and zero-hassle
4 Kinds of Tents for special Purposes
16. Canopy Tent
A canopy is a special lightweight tent for a smaller event. Usually, this is an open layout tent with a metal frame and tent top. It is small and easy to use and transport. You will find different types of canopies such as shade canopies, garden canopies, event canopies, carport canopies, and so on. Some of these tents have no walls.
If you set up numerous pop-up canopy tents together, it will be great for a carnival theme. However, canopy tents aren’t built for large gatherings, corporate events, weddings, and harsh weather.
Most of the canopy tents come in a cabin or dome shape. After spending a few hours of swimming, fishing, sunbathing or hiking you need extra comfort. A canopy tent will provide good shade from hot weather.
- Easy to carry
- One person set up
- Provide extra shade
- Can’t withstand harsh weather
Best for: Small events, beaches, and parks where you need shade
17. Beach Tent
Camping on the beach is impossible without proper shelter where you come back to. Most of the beach tents are dome shape. However, geodesic or frame shape beach tents are also seen. The tent is usually made from durable thick fabric. Their capacity range from 1 to 6 persons.
Beach tents protect you from the UV rays of the sun in the daytime. Besides built-in extended floor shields heat from burning sands. The windows and doors feature mesh fabric that ensures wonderful sleeping there.
- Withstand windy and sandy environs
- UV protection
- Increasing tent thickness, it becomes heavier
Best for: Sandy and windy conditions and works as UV protection
18. Car Top Tents
If you love vehicle camping or traveling for a long period, car top tents will be handy. Installing this rooftop tent you can easily make a comfortable shelter in the campsite or anywhere you want. This special tent actually blends a tent and an RV.
The car top tent is an off-ground tenting that keeps you away from bugs, dirt, and many other hassles. A solid roof rack is necessary to mount this tent. You also need a ladder to access the shelter.
- Off-ground tent
- Comes with an access ladder
- Needs more than one person when installing
Best for: Long-period vehicle camping
19. Changing Tent
Changing tent is a portable multipurpose tent. It can be used as a camping toilet, shower tent, changing room, rain shelter, etc. When you’re camping outdoors, it provides privacy and helps to stay fresh and clean.
This is very much useful on the beach, outdoor camping, and during photo shooting sessions. Most of them are found in pyramid shapes. There is enough headspace and allows one person at a time.
These tents are lightweight and come with a carrying bag. The large zipper door ensures privacy as well as easy entry and exit.
- Fast and easy to pitch
- Lightweight and stable
- Foldable tent
- Need to be tricky while folding it up
Best for: Outdoor privacy
3 Different Tent Styles for Families and Large Groups
20. Vis-Ã-Vis Tent
When tunnel and dome tents were evolving, tent designers developed these tents with more rooms. This was the first square tent. Usually, vis-à-vis tents are bigger in size with extra rooms that make them ideal for families or groups of people.
The trend of vis-à-vis was started in French. Each of them had a large central part having standard height with annex rooms on each side as sleeping compartments. These compartments are faced in opposite directions.
- Spacious living
- Ensure privacy
- Higher pitch time
Best for: Small families and groups
21. Pod Tent
Pod tents are one of the largest tents that have pod-style living spaces. Several pods (sleeping areas) surround the central living pod. The separate spaces make them ideal for large families and groups of friends. Besides, everyone can congregate in the central room during the daytime.
Some pod tents allow you to pitch several pods while leaving the other pods at home. Pod tents have lots of advantages but have some drawbacks also, like extended pitch time, large footprint hence extra campsite charges.
Connecting several dome tents or cabin tents you can easily make a pod tent. There are different sizes of pod tents available, out there 3 pod tents and 4 pod tents are commonly used.
- Multiple rooms provide separate spaces
- Allow installing several pods according to your need
- Heavier than others
- Extra charge for larger size
Best for: Large families and groups
22. Multi-Room Tent
A multi-room tent is one of the biggest tent types for camping and is almost similar to the pod or vis-à-vis tents that feature several rooms. Scaling up different types of camping tents, this giant tent is built. Most of them are shaped as either domes or tunnels.
This multiple-room tent helps to maintain privacy as each room has good separation from the others and has a dedicated door for each room. According to tent size, this tent can accommodate 4 to 10 or even more campers to live at a time.
It is a handy choice for family camping or large group outdoor trip. This is particularly useful when you are camping outdoors for extended days.
- Room dividers ensure privacy
- Perfect for numerous people
- Prices go higher with size
Best for: Numerous campers in flat spaces
4 Types of Tents Based On Material
23. Canvas Tent
Usually, the canvas is a woven material that is made from cotton. Canvas tent is a traditional and one of the most popular camping tents, used for decades. This provides proper ventilation and temperature regulation.
Canvas or cotton tent is ideal in those situations where vapor condensation is a major concerning issue. It keeps the tent cool in summer and remains warm inside the tent during colder weather. Several of them have a wood-burning stove flue, as well.
This tent is perfect for extended camping trips. You can use this tent for camping, hunting, glamping, festivals, and many other purposes.
- Good insulation
- Durable and breathable
- Good for extended days camping
- Heavy and Pricy than other material
- Needs more maintenance
Best for: Breathability and durability
24. Nylon & Polyester Tent
Most of the tents that we use frequently are made of fabrics, either nylon or polyester. Nylon is lightweight that perfectly suits for backpacking. Polyester tents are ideal for family trips. These tents are cheap, ultralight, less maintenance needed, and dry out soon.
Nylon and polyester are not as naturally breathable as a canvas. Thus, they may deteriorate through exposure to the sun’s rays.
- Cheap and lightweight
- Need less maintenance
- Dry out quickly
- Deteriorate soon
- Condensation may build up inside
Best for: Waterproof and affordable
25. Poly-Cotton Tent
Poly-cotton tents combine the best features between polyester and cotton materials. It actually uses cotton fabric with polyester weaving. This tent is durable than cotton and polyester. The weight of the poly-cotton tent is between cotton and polyester.
The polyester weaving over cotton makes the tents more resistant to mildew than the 100% cotton tents. Besides, polyester reduces the chance of big rips. If there is any chemical coating, it will be better water repellent.
- Durable than other materials
- Mildew resistant than cotton
- Better UV and heat resistance than polyester
- Higher initial cost
- Maintenance is similar to cotton
Best for: Sturdiness and UV resistant
26. PE & PVC Tent
Polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are two other tent materials. PE tents are affordable, waterproof which is ideal for tent floors and tarps. But they are non-breathable and noisy.
Heavy-duty PVC tents are commonly used in canvas tents in conjunction. They are great for tent roof covers, tent floors, and tarps.
- Strong and durable
Best for: Tent covers and tarps that are actually cheap
4 Other Kinds of tents
27. Single Or Double Layer Tent
The single skin tents have only a single waterproof fabric layer with a roof and walls. Single skin with flysheet tents have an additional rain fly that overlaps the tent roof and other parts are as usual to single skin.
The double-wall or double-wall tents combine waterproof outer skin (tent) and inner skin. You will find this in different types of camping tents. Usually, the outer tent spreads the ground all around. The outer tent gives some thermal insulation. There are one or more inner tents that are comparatively smaller than the outer tent.
Inner skin might not be waterproof, but allows water vapor to pass. Both the skins are built in a way so that they are pitched at the same time. This tent is also great to protect campers from snakes bite.
28. Tent Depending upon Pole Types
Tent poles are constructed from different materials. So tents can be classified according to pole types.
Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) is the most common and popular tent pole material. This is commonly known as fiberglass. It is inexpensive and easy to bend around the tent curves. GRP is made of glass stands that are held in resin. It is commonly found in small or medium dome and tunnel tents.
Steel poles are good for square or framed tents. Usually, they are painted or coated that prevents them from rusting. You will see steel poles in large tents. But these poles don’t return to the same position after bending.
Aluminum alloy is another material commonly used in pole material for both durability and lightweight features. It can be bent like GRP curves, but expensive. They are commonly used in backpacking tents.
Carbon fiber tent poles are ultralight, and strong that are perfect for curved structures, but their prices go higher due to top performance.
29. Free Standing or Non Free Standing Tent
As a tent camping beginner, you may wonder what is the difference between free-standing vs non free-standing tents. Free-standing tents consist of poles and fabric without any pegging, whereas non-free-standing tents need anchoring in the ground. So you understand, stakes or pegs make the main difference.
Non-free standing tents are lighter than free-standing tents. So, free-standing tents are more durable than the non-free-standing types. For hard surfaces, where staking is difficult, you can use free-standing tents undoubtedly.
Two free-standing tents are frame tents and pole tents. They provide great stability than the non-free-standing tents. Read our article on the difference between frame and pole tent.
30. 1/2/3/4 season Tent
Tent manufacturers mark tents in many levels, such as 4 season tent, 3/4 season tent, 2/3 season tent, 1 season tent, etc. The four-season tents are more suitable for winter but can withstand the most extreme conditions like heavy rain, strong winds, and heavy snow, as well.
The three-season tent is ideal for summer, autumn, and spring. One season tent is made for summer use only.
Tent Camping 101
Tent Camping Checklist
Some important tent camping items are a tent, sleeping bag, pillow, torch, cloth, food, water, first aid, cosmetics, toiletries, kitchen essentials, fun items, and many more.
Uses of Tents
Tents are versatile overhead shelters. They have lots of advantages and are used for recreational camping, soldiers’ shelters, events and festivals, industrial shelters, and so on The main fields of tent use are listed below.
- Traditional (nomadic people like Mongolian, Native American, and many more)
- Recreational (weeding, camping, backpacking, hiking, etc.)
- Play tent for kids fun
- Emergency (humanitarian emergency situations such as war, earthquake, cyclone, etc.)
- Protest movements
Top Tent Brands
Different tent manufacturers produce good tents using a mix of fabrics, coatings, and treatments. Several of the popular tent manufactures are Hilleberg, Kodiak, Coleman, Black Diamond, Marmot, Nemo, Kelto, MSR, Big Agnes, Alps Mountaineering, Vango, Wenzel, Eureka, SpringBar, and many more.
Q: Canvas Vs Nylon Tent, Which One is Better?
Answer: Both of them can withstand strong winds, rain, or storms. However, one wins over another in some aspects. So, what is the difference between nylon and canvas tents?
Canvas tents are better than nylon in terms of heat-retaining either in winter or summer. Besides, canvas tents are more durable than nylon tents that can withstand harsh weather.
Whereas, nylon tents are ultralight than canvas tents. Therefore pithing a nylon tent is comparatively easy. Nylon tents are cheaper than canvas tents. Usually, nylon tents piece vary from $300 to $500 whereas canvas tents are available in a range of $500 to $2000.
Q: What are the traditional tents?
Answer: You may be heard about 2 types of tents that are basically traditional and modern tents. Modern tents are evolved from classical tents. There are different types of traditional tents that are also used in modern days. Some of these old-style tents are bell tents, nomadic tents, yurt, teepee, wigwam, etc.
In the middle ages or before that, there were some ancient tents like a hut, desert tent, Berber tent, etc, made of animal skin and other natural elements.
Q: Do you know the large round tent name?
Answer: The traditional yurt is a large round tent. This round-shaped tent is enclosed with skins or felt and formed a circular shape. It is used as shelter by some nomadic groups in Central Asia.
Q: What are the 4 types of tent camping merit badges?
Answer: Scouts spend at least 20 nights in scouting activities to achieve the camping merit badge. So they need different types of tents BSA (Boy Scouts of America). Several common traditional and modern boy scout tent types are dome tents, pup tents, classic canvas wall tents, canopy tents, tunnel tents, hoop tents, patrol tents, etc.
Q: What is a large tent called when used to encircle the circus?
Answer: This tent is called a marquee tent. Marquees are large tents used in circuses, fairs, large weddings, events, banquets, and corporate events. This tent surrounds the circus and makes a temporary building. So, this is also called the big top or circus arena.
Q: What are the different types of tents for events or parties?
Answer: There are numerous types of party tents. Several top wedding tents are pole tent, frame tent, canopy tent, marquee tent, sailcloth tent, gazebo tent, clear span tent, and so on.
Q: Is Hillary camping tent good?
Answer: Hillary tent is not for everyone. This might be good for the occasional campers at an affordable price.
Q: Why baker tent is used for?
Answer: Like other tents, baker tents have sleeping compartments. However, some additional features make this tent different from others. There is a roomy porch area that has no sewn in its floor allows use as a sitting place or fireplace in the front of the sleeping area. This tent gained popularity for its campfire facility.
By now, you know many cool types of tents. The aforementioned tents are the basic and popular ones. So, get the right one and enjoy the wilderness! And, don’t forget to share your amazing tent camping experience with us!
Joe is the founder and chief editor of PickOutdoorGear. He loves hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities. He will share his knowledge and experience here that he learned and still learning from the wilderness.