Which Tent to Choose?
We, like most manufactures and retailers, try to divide our tents into ranges which are suited to the different types of usage. However, while the way we’ve divided the tents may seem natural or commonsense to us it may seem like we’ve arrived from outer space to you! So here’s a brief description to what’s what!
These are tents for the serious backpacker or explorer where weight is an issue as they will be carrying quite a bit of kit and want to lighten their load. They are made from lightweight materials including the fabric and poles which can be either aluminium or carbon fibre.
Mountain Tents: These tents are also made from lighter weight materials but they’re still robust enough to with stand harsh conditions, with such detailing as rip-stop materials, snow skirts (for using snow to help hold the tent in place). They are normally tunnel tents with tension band system or dome tents which are either semi or fully geodesic.
These are smaller, crawl-in tents which are easy to transport and quick to erect. They can be anything from 2-man to 4-man tents and range from 120cm to 160cm in height. Some have a front porch designed to house your bicycle(s).
These tents are as the name suggests suited to weekend breaks for couples or small families. They are quick to erect, big enough for you to be comfortable in, offering a living area as well as bedroom and of a height that you can stand up in.
These tents are designed for family holidays for one week or more and will take, depending on the size, anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour to erect, but offer you home from home accommodation with multiple bedrooms, large living area and built-in or add-on porches in most cases.
These are fun tents which pop-up into shape (so, no assembly) and are designed for short stays with sleeping space only provided. Used mainly for back garden camping, festivals and the beach.
These are normally 2 to 4 man tents which are small and compact, easy to put up and valve for money. Some come in wacky colours and designs or so you can even paint them yourself - all helps them stand out in a crowd!
These are the latest innovation - tents that you inflate with an air pump. No, they are not like a bouncy castle, they look like normal tents, but instead of poles they have air beams which you pump-up to support the tent.
What Type is What?
These tents are shaped like a tunnel with arched poles that follow one after another usually equal distances apart from the front of the tent to the rear. As they are simple in construction they are easy to erect, but can be prone to sideways movement in strong winds. The poles are generally the same length and therefore offer uniform head height throughout the tent. There are usually multiple entrances into these tents whether through the front or sides or both.
Domes will usually have two poles that cross in the central roof space of the tent to give excellent stability but they tend to be harder to erect because they have multiple cross over poles and the pole lengths tend to vary. Domes do lend themselves well to the creation of multiple separate ‘pod’ bedrooms that offer a little more privacy.
Tunnel Dome Tents
These are hybrid tents (some say the best of both worlds) with a dome for the living area and a tunnel off the dome for sleeping – or vice-versa.
Semi-Geodesic Tents: These are essentially dome tents where there are at least 3 points were poles cross over each. This kind of construction offers greater stability than a normal tent. These tents are the choice of backpackers who may encounter variable weather conditions.
Fully-Geodesic Tents: Again are dome tents that have poles that cross each other at 5 points around the tent. This construction makes them extremely ridged and strong enough to withstand gale-force winds and heavy snow falls in mountainous regions.