Pole tents are the most commonly sold type on the market. Composed of a canvas exterior, ground spikes and poles of various makeup, they often have mesh windows and various other accommodations. Due to the strength of the pole-tent design, large multiple-person tents can be designed using this model, and assembled correctly, they can stand up to most weather. The most important parts of the tent, regardless of extras, are the poles, the spikes and the canvas itself.
The exterior of a pole tent is made of a variety of materials, commonly canvas or a synthetic fabric, such as taffeta, coated in polyurethane. The material should be selected for the environment and weather of the region you plan on camping in. A canvas tent will be much more efficient in windier, colder regions because of its ability to retain heat and keep out wind, snow, rain or the like. In a hotter, more arid environment a synthetic fabric will provide more wind flow and allow cooler temperatures. In either case, however, you should provide overhead cover in case of rain or excessive heat, because safety should always be the priority when camping.
The poles of a pole tent are, understandably, one of the most important pieces of equipment in this setup. Poles are most commonly made up of either fiberglass or aluminum. Aluminum poles tend to be heavier and prone to dents and bends, but these can be repaired easily. Fiberglass poles can be light and flexible, but humidity and moisture can damage them, and they can snap.
Tent spikes are the pieces that hold the tent to the ground. They are extremely important in windy areas or on uneven terrain. Most of the time, tent spikes are made of hard plastic or metal. Metal spikes, while heavy and a bit cumbersome, are highly preferable because of their strength, durability and power. In hard-packed dirt, rocky terrain or clay, metal spikes can punch through where plastic spikes will shatter, blunt or crack. Should wind pick up unexpectedly, good tent spikes can make the difference between a spilled tent and a stable one.