Whether you are planning a backpacking adventure or camping with the family in a campground, you will need some type of tent to sleep in. A tent is one of the main items to your camping gear, and you'll want to make sure you have one that fits your needs. Three basic tent designs are commonly used for camping: dome tents, cabin tents and backpacking or hiking tents. Which one you choose will depend on what you require out of your tent.
Dome tents have come a long way since they were first developed. Their poles are now lighter and made with a bungee cord system that allows them to bend easily. The ease of putting up a dome tent makes them a great choice for the novice camper. Most dome tents work on a three-pole system with two poles holding up the tent itself and one pole holding up the rainfly.
Dome tents are just what their name says they are; they look like a dome when set up. They come in a vast array of sizes, from a two-person tent to one that will hold a family of four. Be sure to look at the largest dimensions of the dome tent. The biggest measurement is the height of the center of the tent, so make sure to get one that is tall enough for your tallest person to comfortably stand. Also, when choosing a tent, remember to subtract two people from what it says the maximum capacity is. Otherwise, you'll feel like your sleeping in a sardine can.
Dome tents come in basic styles, from just the tent to tents that have extra rooms and screened areas attached to the front.
Cabin tents are the biggest size of tent that is available. If you're looking for lots of room, a cabin tent would be the way to go. They are more complex to put up as they have more poles than a dome tent, and they are heavier.
Cabin tents look just like a big cabin when erected. The height inside is the same in all areas of the tent. These tents usually do not come with a rainfly for extra protection from rainy weather like the dome tents do. If you have a bunch of gear to pack inside the tent and have more than four people that will be sleeping inside of the tent, a cabin tent is probably for you. Styles of cabin tents vary from the basic tent itself to ones that have screened porches and extra rooms attached.
If you plan on carrying your gear on your back, a backpacking tent is the best choice. They come in a multitude of styles, weights and sizes. Which one you choose will depend on how much you want to carry and what suits your needs best. Most backpacking tents are similar in style to the dome tents and are quite easy to set up. There are one-person backpacking tents to tents that will hold several people. Most backpacking tents will have the extra rainfly included to protect you from the weather.