I’ve slept in a lot of tents, from the good old days camping as a girl scout, right up to enjoying a one-day hike turned campout and the occasional weekend glamping in spaces with a king size bed. With it came some hard lessons and experience in terms of knowing what kind of tent is worth investing in.
There are so many great options to choose from to ensure that you are cozy when catching some Zs outing the wild.
To give you the best advice on this front, we’re combining expertise a from backpack traveler, cyclist and photographer who knows a whole lot about outdoor adventures and what makes an ideal camping tent with our own personal camping experience. We checked in with Malicky Boaz who spends more time than most in a tent often backpacking on solo trips or cycling cross-country. Instagram: @thatkaguruguy
So whether you’re heading into the wilderness over the weekend or planning to camp in your backyard with the whole family discover some of the best tents equipped with varying levels of quality and reliability to suit your needs.
This is the most popular type of tents among campers, easily identified by it’s semi-circle structure. Dome tents are designed to have 2 or 3 flexible poles crossing each other at the top to create a wider floor area. Some models have features such as lights, porch area and premium storage although these amenities come with a weight penalty.
The 3poled dome tents are much stronger and can be used for a wide range of camping trips. “One can easily set it up and they have spacious headroom. The only disadvantage is that they are not ideal for extreme weather conditions such as high winds or heavy rainfalls.” says Malicky.
“At the end of along hike, the last thing you need to is pitch a tent. Built with hikers and lazy people in mind, backpacking tents are compact and lightweight. They are easy to carry so in bags or bikes over long distances without spending too much calories.” says Malicky.
They are easy to set up and contrary to the dome tents, they can withstand harsh weather conditions. The only downside is that they have less headroom making it difficult to move around inside or accommodate more than one person.
“I think backpacking tents are ideal for hiking campers only” he adds.
Cabin tents are a perfect choice for family camping and adds some luxury to the outdoors. They are essentially more stable than most tents because the poles are made up of aluminum and the walls made of waterproof canvas or polyester to create huge space that is square in shape. Some designs have dividers which can create separate rooms if needed.
Malicky says that cabin tents are spacious enough for one to stand while inside or fit in a kingsize bed. Interestingly, they tend to be fairly cheap because they are cheaply made. Unfortunately, most designs are too heavy and quite complicated when pitching.
Rooftop camping can most certainly be an exciting experience if you’re more of a road-tripping kind of camper. “Stepping away from the traditional tents where you sleep on the ground at muddy, rocky or less-than-ideal campsites, rooftop tents offer you the experience of sleeping while elevated off the ground.” says Malicky
They can be set up anywhere your car can go, only that you have to ensure that your car has roof bars for attaching the tent and is strong enough to handle a tent packed with many campers. Other desirable features are that it easily opens up and folds backdown and it comes with a ladder to help you access the car roof.
“The biggest impediments of this tent is that its associated with a higher price tag and heavy bulk. Additionally, the tent can consume a lot of space limiting campers from carrying bikes or a roof box.” he adds.
Pop Up Tents
Pop-up tents, as the name suggests, are designed to pop up when opened without much intervention. You then fix it to the ground for stability. Its design is well known among campers for its simplicity, flexibility and ability to accommodate up to two people.
This category is ideal for minimalists or camping in situations where sleeping on the ground is not an option due to wet or rocky uneven surfaces. Hammock tents, as the name suggests, are suspended off the ground with two straps tied to two trees opposite each other. This feature offers better protection from animals and more comfort when sleeping out in the rough wild.
Most come with built-in bug nets and a roof to protect you from bugs and the rain. It is very easy to set it up and becomes very small when packed down.