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Your Position: Home - Sports & Entertainment - What Different Types of Tent Are There? 16 Types Explained

What Different Types of Tent Are There? 16 Types Explained

Tents come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Each offers something a little bit (or a lot!) different and has pros and cons that make it less or more suitable for varying kinds of camping and the needs of individual campers.

Not sure what type of tent will be best for your future escapades? Worry not! Below, we offer a short guide to the different types of tent out there along with a quick summary of each type’s advantages and disadvantages.

From traditional tents to the perfect glamping tent, from an ultralight tent for backpacking to a beach tent for sunny days out, our guide has got you covered!

The Sixteen Most Common Types of Camping Tent

1. Dome Tent

Dome tents are probably the most popular style of tent owing to the ease with which they can be set up, their light weight, and the increased living space their curved, dome-shaped design offers, particularly with regards to headroom.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to pitch
  • More livable and spacious than other tent designs
  • Some models are freestanding


  • Lose stability in large sizes
  • Don’t perform as well as geodesic models in high winds

2. A-Frame Tent/Ridge Tent

These tents rely on a duo of poles at either end and tension from tie-out points in the tent body and fly to create a surprisingly stable, A-shaped shelter.


  • Easy to pitch
  • Lightweight (if you can substitute trekking poles for those supplied)
  • Reasonably stable in moderate to strong winds


  • Poles can interfere with sleeping space
  • Lack of headroom – walls decline sharply from a high center point or ridge
  • Tend to tip, buckle, or even collapse in high winds if not pitched perfectly

3. Geodesic and Semi-Geodesic Tent

A geodesic tent is essentially a dome tent with more poles. These poles criss-cross at a center point at the top of the tent, thereby forming a lattice shell of triangles that strengthen the overall structure providing excellent stability in harsh conditions.

Semi-geodesic tents are, in essence, scaled-down versions of geodesic tents that use fewer poles. As a result, they are often lighter but offer less stability in high winds.


  • The most stable type of backcountry shelter available
  • Perform well in extreme conditions
  • Freestanding


  • Many models are too heavy for backpacking
  • Large pack size
  • Occasionally tricky to pitch
  • Can be pricey

4. Cabin Tents

Cabin tents are designed to be like standard wood cabins but made with fabric and poles. The result? A roomy structure with steep walls that create more headroom from end to end and wall to wall. With larger models, this means even tall campers can walk around inside without having to hunch.

This design makes a cabin tent more like a home-away-from-home andideal for family camping.


  • Spacious
  • Great headroom
  • Ideal for family camping


  • Often heavy
  • Often tricky to pitch
  • Not as stable in high winds

5. Tunnel Tent

Tunnel tents use a succession of poles arced over the sleeping area to provide a – you guessed it! – a tunnel shape living space inside the body of the tent. These tents are rarely freestanding and rely on careful pitching (with numerous guy lines and pegs) for stability.


  • Lightweight
  • Spacious, for the most part
  • Large vestibule area
  • Usually, offer plenty of headroom


  • Prone to sagging (and collecting water) in the middle
  • Not the most stable in high winds
  • Difficult to pitch without a second pair of hands
  • Not freestanding

6. Backpacking Tent

Backpacking tents are made for carrying long distances on extended camping trips, usually deep in the backcountry or on thru-hikes. Generally speaking, they offer solid across-the-board performance and are very lightweight, but usually, skimp on a few bells and whistles to cut down on weight.


  • Lightweight
  • Small pack size
  • Typically hard-wearing, rugged, and offer solid weather-resistance


  • Usually less spacious than other varieties of tent
  • Low peak height
  • Often expensive

7. Teepee Tent

Teepee tents debuted as novelty items in the tenting world but have since evolved into more practical affairs that use a single central pole and numerous guy lines and stakes to create a cone-shaped structure often capable of accommodating a large number of sleepers.


  • Spacious
  • Excellent peak height
  • Easy to pitch


  • Heavy
  • Flooring not always included
  • Taller models lack stability

8. Pop-Up Tent or Instant Tent

As with all things instant (coffee and grub, for example), these tents are great time-savers but often (not always) entail a compromise in quality. 

As the name suggests, they pitch in next to no time courtesy of telescoping or folding poles that connect to a central pole hub. Once you’ve laid the tent out, all you have to do is pull a release cord or lever and the structure assembles almost entirely by itself.

Many beach tents are also pop-up tents. These, for the most part, are incredibly quick to pitch but offer little to no water resistance.


  • Set up in next to no time
  • Freestanding
  • Lightweight
  • Tiny pack size


  • Often offer limited weather resistance
  • Limited capacity

9. Multi-Room Tent

As the name suggests, multi-room tents boast partitions that allow larger groups or families to enjoy more privacy and let you keep your gear separate from your sleeping space.


  • Spacious
  • Allow for privacy


  • Weight – impractical for camping far from your vehicle
  • Tricky to set up
  • Less stable than smaller tents

10. Inflatable Tent

This relative newcomer to the world of camping is a bit of a game-changer, using inflatable columns or tubes instead of standard aluminum tent poles to simplify setup and provide the tent’s structure.

While it’s hard to imagine inflatable tents will ever be more popular than regular tents, there’s no denying they have their advantages. To pitch, simply unfold the tent and pump it full of air with a foot pump. To pack it away, all you need to do is open a valve to deflate it, then roll it away. 


  • Easier to pitch
  • Robust
  • Surprising good performance in strong winds
  • Ideal for car camping
  • Pole-free!


  • Heavy
  • Pricey
  • Bulky
  • Unless you have the lung power of a whale, you’ll have to carry a foot pump to inflate the ‘poles’

11. Suspended Tents/Hammock Tent

In short, hammock tents are hybrid models that combine the features of both a hammock and a tent. In most cases, they consist of a hammock with a custom-made ridgeline fly or tarp that provides protection from the rain and a built-in bug net.

A hammock tent can be lashed to 2-4 trees with suspension straps to provide an elevated living space.


  • Place sleepers above wet, uneven, rocky terrain
  • Usually very lightweight
  • Ventilate better than most ground tents


  • ‘Pitching’ requires trees
  • Tricky to set up

12. Rooftop Tents & Car-Top Tents

These typically robust, commodious tents can be attached to the roof of your vehicle and provide an elevated sleeping space accessed by a ladder attached to the tent door or vestibule.


  • Your vehicle carries them for you!
  • Usually very robust and weather-resistant
  • Easy to set up
  • Usually sold with an inbuilt mattress


  • Expensive
  • Only suitable for roadside camping
  • Aerodynamic drag and added weight can add to fuel costs

13. Bathroom Tents

These pod-style, upright vestibules are common features at popular basecamps (Everest, Annapurna, Denali, Kilimanjaro) and are becoming ever more popular with large groups of campers looking to keep things civilized when it comes to toilet time and clothing changes.


  • Handy provider of privacy when camping in large groups
  • Useful on expeditions where concealed, open-air toilet locations are hard to find or prohibited


  • For many a year, trees and bushes have served the same purpose perfectly adequately
  • Additional pack weight

14. Canvas Tents

Canvas camping tents are, for the most part, luxury tents that use burly canvas and cotton canvas instead of standard nylon or polyester.

A canvas tent can come in many styles, but most commonly take the form of bell tents, pyramid tents, and occasionally ridge tents.


  • Robust
  • Durable
  • Waterproof


  • Heavy
  • Pricey

15. Bivy Tent

Bivy tents are small, lightweight, one-person affairs that are ideal for ounce-counters, solo adventurers, and those who like to travel fast and light. 

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Early “bivy bags” were essentially large sleeping bag covers that would keep you and your bag dry in inclement weather. These days, many mimic the structure of small A-frame tents or use looped poles at the top and bottom to provide the sleeper with a little more room.


  • credibly lightweight
  • Compact
  • (Mostly) highly weather-resistant


  • Minimal interior space
  • No storage space

16. Canopy Tent

Canopy tents are simple, four-pole structures that are mostly used for outdoor events like weddings, barbecues, and farmer’s markets. Unlike all the other tents on our list, this style of tent consists of a pole structure and roof only, with no walls.


  • Ideal for events
  • Provide shade and protection from light rain


  •  No walls

Tent Types Galore!

Who knew there were so many varieties of tent?! We hope the above guide has helped you decide which type of shelter will be best for your future escapades.

If you have any questions or comments about any of the different tent styles, drop us a line in the comment box below!

Gone are the days when pitching a tent meant placing a centre pole, spreading a breathable fabric over it, and staking all the corners of that fabric into the ground to give it a stable structure.

Now, many tents come in different shapes and sizes with features designed for specific purposes.

In this article, we discuss the different types of tents to choose from based on your camping needs.


1) A-frame/ Ridge tent

This tent, when pitched, looks like the letter A and is popular due to its simple design. Earlier it was made of canvas and would come with wooden or metal poles, but the modern options in the Ridge tent are lighter. Though it's easy to set up compared to other types, this tent lacks space and becomes heavy when packed. They are ideal for fixed camping.



2) Dome tent

The dome tent is the most common type of tent. It is easily distinguishable by its design. It comes with two poles, crisscrossed at a point forming two semi-circles running across the tent body. This is what gives the tent its dome shape.

Dome tents come in a range of different sizes that can accommodate two to eight people. Lighter than the other options, dome tents have a decent amount of space, is more breathable, and easy to pitch.



3) Pop-up tent

Yes, you guessed it right! These tents can be set up instantly. They are super easy and quick to put up and takedown. They are spring-loaded and pop into shape as soon as they get released from their bag. Pop-up tents are simple tents that are inexpensive and lightweight making them ideal for summer camping. These, however, are not suitable for extreme temperatures and geographies. Pop-up tents can accommodate anywhere between 1-6 people and are ideal for large groups.



4) Tunnel tent

Tunnel tents are similar to dome tent. They are longer and cylindrical in shape. But unlike dome tents, the poles on a tunnel tent run on the exterior of the tent body. Ropes that run from attachment points outside of the tent body are staked into the ground to provide the tent with more stability.

Tunnel tents provide lots of headroom and livable space for larger groups and families, and when pitched smartly, they can withstand bad weather. However, they are quite heavy and bulky when packed making them unsuitable for carrying on foot. They would be more suited for car camping.



5) Geodesic tent

An improved version of the dome tent, geodesic tents are more robust and capable of standing up to different elements of weather and geography. They come with more poles that cross each other which increases the stability of the tent.

Since, geodesic tents focus more on stability and strength, they are excellent for camping in the wilderness and extreme weather conditions. On the size front, they can accommodate four people at most. Being of higher quality, they are also priced higher.



6) Cabin tent

Cabin tents are a perfect choice when looking for a reasonably cheap tent for family camping.

They are composed of aluminium poles that form a frame that looks like a cabin when fit together and walled with waterproof polyester, nylon or canvas. Cabin tents can give liveable space and headroom but aren’t good quality and cannot withstand bad weather.



7) Car-top/ Roof-top tent

They are cabin shaped tents that can be popped up and folded down with speed and ease. Designed for people who are road tripping on their cars, car-top tents are the most exciting way to camp. They come with a ladder to access the tent. Most cars have roof bars that can handle the tent full of campers on top of them.



8) Bivvy tent/Bivouac tent

Bivvy tents were originally designed as emergency shelters. They are minimalistic in nature and provide an additional layer of protection at most from the external environment. They are small when packed and come in a tunnel or ridge shape. These tents are ideal for wild campers and hikers who do not want to carry much weight and are willing to risk some weather and geographical challenges.



9) Backpacking Tent

Backpacking tents are smaller than all the other options and lighter in weight. They come with fewer poles and have a limited capacity to accommodate one or two people. They usually come in geodesic or tunnel shape. Easy to pitch and take down, this comes in handy when travelling for multiple days.



That brings us to the end of this article. The tents we have mentioned above broadly outline the different types of tents available for camping. There are a few more types of tents that we have not included in the article like shower tents, dining tents and toilet tents which differ from each other in the activity for which they are used.

Now that we have familiarized ourselves with the different types of tents, take a look at the Parts of a backpacking tent and the purposes they serve.


What Different Types of Tent Are There? 16 Types Explained

Different types of Tent





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