Types of Tents for Camping

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Types of Tents

Types of Tents

Like toothpaste, there are dozens upon dozens of tents to choose from these days! Before you set out to enjoy the great outdoors, choosing the ideal tent for your trip will add to the enjoyment and long term use of your new purchase. Here is a quick breakdown of the modern world of tents…

Summer Tents
Also known as 2-season tents, summer tents are intended for warmer weather use. They are fairly basic typically using only two poles, extremely breathable and weigh in around 4-8 pounds. Summer tents are the best choice for keeping you cool and comfortable at night. There’s nothing worse than waking up in a sunbaked, steamy tent! The downside to a summer tent is that they cannot be used for inclement weather since they are so lightweight. Summer tents are not recommended for damp or cold climates mountainous climates.

Three Season Tents
For weather conditions that simulate a typical spring, summer and fall, a three season tent will exceed your needs. Since they are fairly lightweight, 5-10 pounds, they can easily be carried on a backpack for overnight trips in the mountains. Three season tents can withstand mild weather conditions such as rain and light snow. A detachable rain fly will allow the rain to drain away from the tent or will add extra warmth. Large mesh windows allow for nice cross flow ventilation of fresh, backcountry air.

Four Season Tents
If you’re planning to winter camp or to sleep outdoors regardless of any wether conditions, a four season tent, also known as a mountaineering tent, will keep you protected. They have more durable poles than a three season tent and are constructed with thicker and stronger materials. Four season tents can withstand heavy rain and snow in addition to remaining stable in higher wind environments. While a four season tent is heavier than a three season tent, it is still possible to pack it in your backpack. On the flip side, they do not offer as much ventilation as a three season tent, so you might want to think twice about brining it to a music festival in July!

Family Tents
If you are camping with five or more people, a family tent or five person tent is usually the best choice. These tents are large enough to hold multiple people and a fair amount of supplies. Family tents are much taller than other types of tents as well, which allows more room for movement inside. An average sized person can actually stand up comfortably in some of the larger models! They are also rather heavy and are not recommended to be carried on a backpack.

Tent Materials
Once you have chosen the type of tent that is best for you, the next step is deciding what material is best for your adventures. Some tents are a blend of fabrics with nylon walls and polyester floors and rain fly.

  • Nylon – For tents intended to be carried in a backpack, nylon is the material of choice. It’s lightweight, durable and naturally sheds water. It’s also very breathable making for comfortable slumbers.
  • Polyester – Choose a polyester tent fabric if you’re setting up in a campground where you’re planning to stay for days or weeks. While polyester is not as strong as nylon, it is more resistant to degradation from ultraviolet light.

Tent Styles
The final choice you will need to make is the style of tent. If you know where you plan to use your tent most frequently, choosing a style is the easy part!

  • Dome – A dome tent is useful if you expect to encounter high winds or precipitation, as its shape will allow it to hold up better in these conditions.
  • Cabin – A cabin tent is best if you normally camp in established campgrounds with some protection from the elements. These offer more vertical space than other designs, allowing them to hold more items and be more comfortable to move around in.
  • Hoop – Lastly, a hoop or tunnel tent are the best choice for hikers or anyone else that needs a very small, lightweight tent with room for only one person.

Since most people shop by tent size, The House has broken tents down into capacity – 1 person, 2 person, 3 person, 4 person and 5 person. Now that you’re armed with the knowledge you need to choose the right tent, get out there and start looking! Finding the perfect tent for you and your family will make your camping trips more comfortable and enjoyable.




  1. […] Tents are typically categorized by how many people it sleeps. Family tents sleep four or more campers. If you’re a heavy packer, plan on storing a lot of extra gear in your tent or will have a dog or two in your tent, you’ll want to consider opting for a larger tent. Don’t worry about the weight of the tent either.  Family camping tents are typically carried only from the car to the site, which is often no more than 50 feet! Read our article on types of tents here. […]

  2. oliver abell March 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    awesome tent but isn’t waterproof

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