Types of Tents

In Beginners Guide, Buyers Guide, Tents by J. PenneyLeave a Comment

Tent Types

Trying to figure out what tent is for you? Here is a list of different types of tents, find the right size or shape tent you are looking for. Some tents vary in sizes, some have there own unique shape. Follow the list below:

Dome Tent

The dome tent is the most popular tent. It has a outer body shield shaped as a dome, the shield is held up by two or three long flexible poles. The poles are stretched out in each corner creating a base. Dome tents can have a square or a hexagon base shape, it all depends on how many poles are used. Dome tents are found in sizes small, medium, and large. It is a great choice for tent beginners.

Cabin Tent

Firstly, the name includes “cabin” and that can basically explain itself. This tent has a square or rectangle shape that stands tall and wide. It is put together with more poles, ranging in various sizes. Most cabin tents run tall of at least 9-10 feet, and stretch 10+ feet wide. Cabin tents are great when you have space, like staying in a campground. They have so much room inside it is like staying at your cabin.

The tent above is actually one I use myself and it is perfect for tenting at campgrounds. When looking at our Types of Tents article I know this tent is perfect for beginners and experts. Read my Tenaya Lake Cabin Tent Owners Review and find out why this tent is great!


Tunnel Tent

The tunnel tent is a large tent that is shaped as a big tunnel. The poles in the tunnel tent have a strong bend on the top that create its tunnel shape. The strong bend keeps this style tent strong and firm, which is great against wind and tough weather. The tunnel tent is a rather large tent, it is great for families. They vary in large sizes, length and height. Many contain a sleeping area with a living area as well.

Instant Setup Tents

The newer instant tents are much easier to put together comparing to almost any other styled tent. Within minutes your tent is ready for setup and you are able to pack your things away.  The shape of a instant tent is mostly a square base with a fold in the poles creating the roof. These tents are still known to have strong weather resistance.

Tepee Tent

The tepee style tent goes back centuries, made by American Indians using materials such as animal skins. However, with new technologies tepee tents are stronger than before. Tepee style tents consist of a pole holding it up in the middle, and attached string tied all around keeping it strong. Tepee tents may not have room like newer large tents but they certainly look cool!


 Party Tent (Canopy Tent)

These party tents are not actually used for camping. However, they still are a type of tent so I thought I would include it. Party tents are massive, they are usually used at weddings and other large outdoor events. They are great to setup for sun protection and to hide from the rain. They consist of many more poles (or larger) than a regular camping tent. Setup time will be longer.

Truck Bed Tent

Truck bed tents are a new tent that sits right in the back of your pickup truck. It is a cool tent. They are mostly seen in a dome shape. They consist of 2 long poles overlapping to create its shape. The tent then has straps to hold it still in the back, similar to a ground tent which is pegged in.  Whenever purchasing a truck bed tent always measure your truck and figure out the size tent you need. The great thing about a truck bed tent is that when sleeping you are not getting any cold from the ground. Since you are above ground getting a nice mattress and sleeping pad will ensure comfort and warmth.

Pod Tents (Connected)

Pod tents are a series of tents that connect and create little rooms. Some have just 2 tents, while others can have three, four and even five connections. These tents are very neat, they are great for families that like to have some of their own space. Kids can have their own room and parents as well. People always think that Pod tents are very expensive. However, some tenting companies have created connecting tents that are very affordable. Pod tents are a series of dome tents (usually) that connect through mini tunnels, so the setup will take longer than a regular tent. If you have the time to gear it up there is in no doubt that a Pod tent is right for you.


Bubble Tent

The bubble tent is probably the coolest tent in my opinion. They are more expensive because of their unique qualities. It is a perfect tent to watch the stars in the sky and see the beautiful sunset or sunrise. When actually going camping at a campground this tent may not be your number one choice. This tent is a better choice for private areas, for the reason it is completely clear to see through. Placing the bubble tent in the backyard is perfect for a date night or even a fun family night. Bubble tents can easily be placed on a field, just make sure you have a way to blow it up because it is inflatable.

Inflatable Tent

Inflatable tents are self explanatory. They are tents that are pumped up with an air compressor. They are not that common, it is rare to see one at a campground. The way an inflatable tent works is similar to a regular tent. An inflatable tent is laid out with its base touching the ground. The tent is then stretched out and pegged all around. This keeps the tent in place and strong. To achieve the shape of the tent, turn on its air compressor and watch the tent rise. When leaving the tent to go out for the day you just turn it off and it will sit while you are gone.

Rooftop Tent

The rooftop tent is considered a premium in the tenting world. Rooftop tents can go on many different shaped vehicles. Through reading online reviews, I came to learn that although these tents are meant for vehicle rooftops, a few people have put them on top of trailers for extra space. It may seem like a difficult tent to setup, however after learning how to do so, it becomes quite easy. These tents are usually very expensive over ranging over 2000 dollars, except there are deals below that are great for starting roof tenting if you want to take a look.  If you are wondering how you would even access your tent on the roof, it is actually easy. These tents come with a fully compact-able ladder that connects to the base of the tent. This makes for an easy climb up. Rooftop tents are not supersized, however they have enough space for 2-3 people comfortably. Staying on the roof is a great way to explore and stay safe. When staying in a rooftop tent you are so high above ground that you are safe from animals reach.


Backpacking Tents

Backpacking tents must be lightweight, and have a compact design. When going backpacking you want to have as much room as possible, therefore these tents are usually much smaller. The reason to you bring a tent on a backpack trip is to keep you safe from the weather, also to have a resting spot or a place to overnight camp. These tents will keep you dry during the rainy days. Aluminum is a lighter than steel, backpacking tents should have aluminum poles instead of steel. When choosing a backpacking tent, you are looking for a tent under 6-7 pounds.

Glamping Tents

What is a glamping tent? Glamping is a new evolution of camping, its all about mixing the beautiful wild outdoors with the luxurious/glamorous traveling. If you want to know more about glamping check out our Glamping for Beginners article.

The glamping tent can vary in a few different sizes, however they are know to be extremely large. Some people are familiar with “bell” tents, and that is what a glamping tent is. The shape of the tent is a bell. Basically, the tent is an upgraded version of a tepee tent. What I mean, it is like adding an extra wall under a tepee tent, giving your “bell” tent an enormous increase in volume. It makes you feel as if you are staying in a hotel room, and that is the point of glamping. Place a large pole in the center of your tent to keep it up, and have all sides tied down to keep its bell shape.


There are so many different types of tents. Some fit in better situations then others. Test and try different tents to find out what type you like the most. Thanks for reading our “Types of Tents”. If there are any tent types you would like to share, tell us in the comments section below. If you are a beginner or want to learn some basic packing tips check out our Tent Camping Checklist for Beginners article. It is about simple packing tips on what to bring when tent camping in the campground or tent camping in the wild.

Happy Tenting

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