Camping Tents – Types and Which is Best For You – India

There are many styles of camping tents available across the world. If you’re looking to buy camping tents, then this article is a must read. In this article, we will be covering ones most seen and available for sale in India. Modern camping tents come in all shapes and sizes. Tents are made for different lifestyles, ranging from hardcore outdoor use to more relaxed glamping. After reading this article you will be able to select and buy the best type of tent that suits your travelling needs. 

Before you buy tents, you should consider the shape, the seasons, fabrics used, quality of tent poles and the total weight of the tent.

Camping Tents Based on Shape

Types of tents based on design infographic zen mountain gear shop outdoor gear store india

Ridge Design Camping Tents

When tents started being made, they were all in the famous “tent” shape. They had a vertical pole at each end.  A pole going across used a heavy duty tarp. Guy lines provide extra support. Hence the name, Ridge. These tents are strong and stable, easy to set up and provided good comfort.

The main drawback is the height. Any tent with sloping walls rather than a straight wall tends to offer less space inside.

Although now, taller tents are available in the market.  Mostly used as kitchen tents by trekking companies since they are quite stable. These tents have a modified design with a straight wall and a ridge roof.

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Dome Camping Tent

These are the most popular design and seen all over the world. They are the most preferred choice due to the cost and comfort these tents offer. These tents comprise two flexible poles being formed into a semi-circle shape. One or two poles going across the roof gives it a square dome. This depends on the manufacturer and their design approach.

The ends of the poles are inserted into grommets which are on straps of the main body of the tent. The grommet holds the main body, the tent poles and the rain-fly. This combination is what gives it its shape and comfort. The walls are more vertical giving it space for people to sit comfortably.

Additionally, guy lines can be used to fasten the tent to the ground or to trees to help give it more stability.  

The main drawback of this style of tent is that that stability reduces as the size goes up in heavy winds.

If you are a trekker or backpacker, you should buy this tent.

 

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Geodesic and Semi-Geodesic Camping Tents

These are by far the most technical tents available in the market. A geodesic is a mathematical term were lines intersect to form triangles. This tent uses multiple triangles across its shape, gives it extreme stability in rough weather conditions.

You will need at least two other people to help you set up a geodesic tent. Geodesic tents are the preferred choice for people climbing Everest.

They can be expensive due to its technical nature. These tents are also made with world-class fabrics which add to the comfort as well as cost.

Their tents need to last for an entire trekking season in rough weather. If you are trek organiser and need heavy duty tent, this is the tent you should buy.

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Tunnel Camping Tents

Manufacturers started making tunnel-shaped tents which are aimed at leisure activities. These tents provide more room. Buyers were looking for something that would keep their family comfortable.

These tents use flexible tents poles in a tunnel shape. Additional tent poles go across the body which gives it support. Sections can be added to make more space, giving an extra room for another person to sleep in.

The preferred choice for casual camping and can be very large and heavy.

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Khyam System Camping Tents

It would be good to mention the Khyam system tents even though they are not a unique shape. The Khyam system uses a combination of dome and semi-geodesic shape or either.

The primary advantage of this type of tent is that the poles are already fixed to the main body of the tent. The poles can be folded in half and locked into place when straightened. This makes them easy to set up.

If you are biker and require a tent just to spend a night out on the road then this is the tent you should buy. 

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Car/ Trailer Camping Tents

This is the most expensive type of tent and definitely not the most affordable. These tents come in a soft shell and hard shell style. Buy this tent if you’re looking to travel in comfort.

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Camping Tents Based on Seasons

types of tents based on season infographic

Three-Season Camping Tent

A three-season tent is used by backpackers. These tents are ideal for hot sunny days, can handle a day or two of heavy rain and even some strong winds. They are primarily designed to be lightweight and constructed with open meshy walls to provide maximum air circulation. 

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Four-Season Camping Tent

A four-season Tent is a tent which can handle all the weather conditions of a 3 season tent. Additionally, it can withstand heavy snowfall. You should buy a four season tent if you primarily camp in the Himalayas. They usually do not have mesh walls and are more robust. These type of tents are really suited for warm climates. 

 

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Camping Tents Based on Fabric

Cotton Canvas Camping Tent

Not commonly seen in trekking circles, but used by the army is cotton canvas tents. These are heavy duty tents and offer great comfort. The cotton fabric is breathable and so reduces the chances of condensation.

Why do cotton canvas tents leak? Brand new cotton canvas tents will leak and have to undergo a process called weathering. This process involves setting up the tent in rain and letting the fabric absorb water and then letting the tent dry in the sun. This has to be done a couple of times.

This process of stretching and shrinking makes the tent waterproof.

Poly Cotton Camping Tent

The cotton canvas tent can be heavy and needs many people to help set it up. To overcome this, manufacturers have made a poly cotton tent which is like a lot of clothes that we wear.

Cotton with a mix of polyester, usually a proprietary blend of maybe 70 % cotton and 30% polyester. This makes these tents great for outdoor use but also keeps it lightweight.

Another option is the PVC coated cotton canvas tents.

Polyester Camping Tent

The most commonly used fabric is the Polyester. Manufacturers have developed many proprietary, patented and branded coatings. These offer varying levels of water resistance.

Generally very durable, you can choose any tent made in this fabric. Do check that it is breathable, let’s air in but not moisture.

 

Nylon Camping Tent

Nylon tents are the most lightweight tents.

 They stay dry since these nylon fabrics do not absorb water. This also reduces the chance of mould forming if tent remains wet.

Manufacturers have developed proprietary coatings which they use in their tents. This varies from very basic acrylic to Polyurethane and Silicone coating. Acrylic coatings are cheap while polyurethane and silicone tend to be expensive.

Nylon tents are preferred for their lightweight. But tend to deteriorate over time in harsh sunlight and slacken in very wet weather.

Generally very durable, you can choose any tent made in this fabric. Do check that it is breathable, let’s air in but not moisture.

Camping Tents based on Number of People

Tents usually come in various sizes categorized into the number of people. There is no industry standard on the size allocated per person. Usually, this size depends on the brand.

  • Two-person camping tent
  •  Three-person camping tent
  • Four-person camping tent

Types of Camping Tent Poles

Reinforced Plastic Tent Poles

Most cheap tents use glass reinforced tent pole. These are very basic and cheap and tend to bend or break if not handled appropriately.

Aluminium Tent Poles

Aluminium and aluminium alloy poles are the most recommended poles. Any good manufacturer would use aluminium poles because of its durability.

 

Carbon Fibre Tent Poles

Packed weight refers to the main tent body, the poles, rainfly, stakes, and groundsheet.

Bonus : Difference between trail weight and the packed weight of a camping tent

Trail Weight

Trail weight refers to only the essentials which include the main tent body, the poles and the rainfly.

Packed weight

Packed weight refers to the main tent body, the poles, rainfly, stakes, and groundsheet.

We hope this guide helps you in your decision in buying a tent.

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