Tents – Which one to Buy

Tree tents

If you have never camped or at least not as an adult the cheapest way to get started is to buy a tent, unless you would consider sleeping under the stars or rain.

That’s the way I started. As a young fellow just married I talked my new wife into letting me buy a pup tent, I’m not sure if you can buy them anymore. I think we used it once if my memory serves. It was probably waking to snow covered ground that did it. Now its a comfortable RV or stay home.

Bear in camp

Recently my fishing buddy said we should consider sleeping under the stars and fish for a couple of day at a remote lake in our area. I thought this was a great idea until he mentioned the bears and the cats! In the end I decided we were taking the camper, Why risk losing your groceries or worse and sleep on the ground. As it was we woke to frost, it was nice turning on the furnace. So much for roughing it.

When I was considering this article I was sure it would be brief, after all, how many different kinds of tents could there be? Well as I started my research did I get an eye opener as you will see. There’s the traditional tents that sit on the ground, but there are also tents that sit in the back of and on top of, pickups, cars, trailers and even tents that hang in trees. Tarzan would be tickled.

There are many styles of tents and the main considerations when choosing one should be –

  1. What is going to be your activity? Is it going to be hiking & backpacking? Will you be camping with your mate or family or do you need a tent large enough for a larger group.
  2. What kind of weather will you need to consider? Will you be camping just in good summer weather or are you going to climb the Himalayas and need a 4 season tent?
  3. How long are you usually going to be tenting? Just overnight or a week or more. In other words do you want an instant tent or does it matter?
  4. Or do you just need a shelter from the sun or weather for a day at the beach or park.

Types of Tents

The larger the tent of course the longer and more involved it is to set up. Some of the styles of tents are dome tent, hoop tent, tunnel tent, cabin tent, gazebo tent, canopy tent, shelter tent, and many others. I’m not sure why there is so many different names when many look similar.

Popup or instant tents

popup tents

These modern tents are becoming very popular, they are pretty much assembled and just unfolded for set up in seconds, although they are usually limited to 4 people. Click here to check out popup tents.

Cabin Tents or Family Tents

Family tent

Larger capacity tent available in different sizes, and pitched by hand, each part of the tent is separate. Parts could be different sizes of poles, tent fabric, stakes, guy ropes, sheets,etc. Obviously a more lengthy process to set up. Sounds like an argument to me! Click here to check them out

Wall Tent  or Army Tent

Wall tents

Large capacity tents for several people. Popular for hunting and long term shelters. A lengthy process to build. This could become all out war trying to figure this puppy out! Click here to check them out.

Solar Tents

Solar tent

A recent innovation in tenting. Flexible solar panels are incorporated into the design or photo voltaic  threads are sown into the fabric to collect the suns rays and converts to 12 volt power. An included power band with some. I don’t think these are available to the public yet.

4 Season Tent

North face tent

If you are into cold weather camping, such as hunting or climbing the Himalayas this may be the tent for you. These tents are expensive about $5k but will protect you from the harshest of weather conditions. Click here to check it out


Tailgate tent

A handy innovation for the back of your car or truck. These tents are manufactured vehicle specific for the most part. Click here to check them out on Amazon.

Privacy Shelter
Privacy shelter
Hubba, Hubba

The Cabana shelter provides privacy when changing outdoors, showering, or for using the toilet. Click here to check them out.

 Shelter Tents

shelter tents

For the backyard, the beach or camping these tents are easy to set up and inexpensive. Provided shade or a rain cover. Sides can be added to increase privacy or wind protection. Click here to check them out. 

 Shade Shelter

Beach Shade shelters

The sun seems to becoming hotter every year and with no shade on the beach. A sun shade is a must especially for the very young or the old folks. Dome shade shelters one side open, square shelters with one, two or three sides, or screen rooms with sides. Click here to check them out.

  Three-Person Tree Tent

Tree tent

This unique tree tent will have you sleeping comfortably off the ground away from rocks and roots, crawling insects and other critters. Click here to check out tree tents.

Tent with attached Screened Room

tent with screen room

A nice addition to any tent is a screen room so you can enjoy the great outdoors without the great outdoor pests. click here to check them out.

Mosquito Net Shelter


Mosquto tent
Many sizer available large enough for a picnic table

A bug proof shelter is a must on some camping trips, some come with bug repellent treated mesh. Click here to check them out.

Inflatable Tents
Inflatable tent
There are several different designs

This type of tent may be the future of tenting quick set up in 2 minutes, some include an integrated pump, no poles, just ground stakes, quick tear down just release the air.  Check out inflatable tents on e-bay.

Multi-room Tent

Multi room tent

There is larger tents for the whole family with separate rooms for privacy although I don’t think it will dampen the sound much if someone snores loudly.

Some families prefer to use 2 or more tents, the kids in one and the parents in another.

I have mention some of the more popular choices available but there are probably others. As you can see there are many styles, models and sizes of tents to choose from.

I have created a comprehensive list of equipment and items you may need for your RV/camping travels, click here to check out my list.


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Thanks for visiting.

Gord B.

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