19 Camping Tent Styles With Pros and Cons

tent types

What’s interesting about camping is just how long it’s been a part of human life. Archaeological evidence points to tents existing as a means of shelter as early as the iron age. Of course, today we have access to many more types of camping tents. Here are some of our top choices.

Common Tent Types

Common tent types will be the shapes easiest to find and the familiar form we are used to.

#1 Pop-Up Tents

One of the most popular tent styles is the pop-up tent. Compared to other types of tents that require set-up, these simply pop-up, per their name.

This is the perfect tent style when you need a fast build with minimal commitment to a campsite, for instance, if you’re lining up outside for a concert or celebrity signing. Even at things like music festivals or in your backyard, they can be a great choice.

Check out a video of the pop-up tent to see it in action.

Pros:

  • Affordable option
  • Portable due to its lightweight
  • Easy to put up and take down
  • Good ventilation

Cons:

  • Unreliable in some conditions
  • Not suited for extreme outdoor conditions

#2 Ridge Tents

Early morning fog in the tent

The ridge tent is one of those perennial shapes that define what a tent looks like in most people’s minds. While tent designs have rightly changed and shifted over the years, there’s still a lot to love about this classic A-frame design.

The manufacturers based the name on the fact that it uses a ridge, or a single connecting pole, that stretches across the tent’s length to hold up the roof. It’s simple but effective and will hold up to harsh weather conditions.

Pros:

  • Good at dealing with rain – no pooling of liquid
  • Sturdy for all weather
  • Easy to put up

Cons:

  • Lack of space for the head
  • Very heavy
  • Requires skill to put up well

#3 Dome Tent

camp at night
Camp on sandy beach, tent at the night with light inside, moon light, active tourism, hiking and traveling concept

Of all the different kinds of tents, the dome tent is the best one for stargazing. This is because of its upward-facing windows; a result of its design means you can easily look up. It’s one of the best tent shapes for this purpose.

Even beyond that, these types of tents are popular and available in a wide array of colors or size options. Sometimes you can find features like a porch or rainfly that enable better usage of space.

Pitching these tents are pretty easy and straightforward to get you under the night sky in no time.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to put up and take down
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Not stable in extreme weather
  • Less stable as it gets larger
  • Small porch space

#4 Tunnel Tent

If you have a large family, this tent might be the one best suited for you. They have a staggering amount of interior space, with customizable sizes meant for even the biggest family gatherings.

The creators set them up via flexible poles that align from both sides of the tent, creating a tunnel of half circles along the length. Be careful how you arrange them in your space, as exiting is generally limited to one side of the “tunnel.”.

Learn more about choosing the best tunnel tent if this option suits you.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Lots of space
  • Fairly stable

Cons:

  • Heavy load
  • Doesn’t handle liquid well

#5 Pyramid Tent

This is one of the best canvas tents out there. Its design is straightforward and looks mostly like a new-age teepee. It works via a single suspending pole in the center, with canvas draped over the rest and stretched out by anchors and stakes in the ground.

The lines it uses for this function are very durable and rugged, making sense since without them the entire tent would collapse.

Pros:

  • Super easy setup
  • Lightweight design

Cons:

  • Lack of storage and headroom
  • No sheet to cover the ground

#6 Geodesic Tent

Based on the classic architectural structure of the same name, the geodesic tent is similar to the dome shape but built to be stronger and more resistant to extreme elements. It’s essentially a dome tent but with more poles interspersed throughout. These rods intersect throughout the tent, creating greater stability.

They’re well-suited for winter camping and rough wilderness conditions, but expect a higher price tag associated with this fancy model. 

Check out this YouTube video for an example of their structure.

Pros:

  • Extremely stable
  • Durable and well-made

Cons:

  • Expensive price point
  • Complex set up

Tents for Large Groups

The following tents are suitable for larger groups, and they also offer more privacy.

#7 Vis-A-Vis Tent

This fancy-looking tent follows a structure based on individual sectioned compartments and hails from popular usage in France, hence the name, which translates to face to face. This tent faces together two separate rooms with a large central space, perfect for communal gatherings and privacy all mixed into one.

You’ll notice some similarities to the dome and tunnel tents. The Vis-A-Vis builds on those classic shapes but includes extra sections.

Pros:

  • Lots of space
  • Privacy available

Cons:

  • Hefty and difficult to carry around

#8 Cabin Tent

This model is a strong contender for one of the most refined-looking tents – given its cabin shape. Using a system of aluminum poles, it creates a frame that results in an excellent homey structure.

The waterproof material keeps out liquid, and you’ll find a load of livable space inside – even enough to stand comfortably.

Pros:

  • Cheap price
  • Keeps out water well
  • Lots of space to roam around in

Cons

  • Difficult to set up

#9 Pod-Style Tents

These tents are unique in their modularity. They include several independent compartments, or pods, in more common terminology, all attached to a large central living area. They’ve separated these pod parts so that they often have their own doors.

As a result, you can expect a surprising amount of privacy for a tent. Because of their customizable nature, you can finetune this model to have just enough space for your needs, whether you’re a large family or just a young couple.

Pros:

  • Modular design
  • Fits custom-sized groups

Cons:

  • Requires a lot of parts to put together

#10 Multi-Room Tents

Here, we have another privacy-supporting, large-family capable tent. The multi-room tent, per its name, features a surprising amount of rooms, with individual cabins that each member of your party can retire to. 

Expect a capacity well-suited to eight or even ten people. Because of the large size, you’ll have lots of comfortable room to stand up and stretch. Multiple entrances make exiting from any angle extremely easy, and with the storage space and large porch area, you can get pretty close to the comfort of home while camping outdoors.

Pros:

  • Big enough to stand in
  • Multiple entrances

Cons:

  • Expensive and hard to set up

Specialty Tents

These camping tents come in as some of the less traditional and more unique options on our list.

#11 Hammock Tent

A male resting in a green hammock camping in a forest with trees in the background

This tent is a very odd design compared to the others, but it has many gains in convenience and space-saving in exchange.

It works off the classic design of a hammock, tied at both ends to trees and lifted entirely off the ground. It works like any hammock except with an outer covering that protects you from the elements. It’s ideal for situations where the ground is too rocky and uncomfortable to sleep on.

Check out the unique design of this hammock tent here.

Pros:

  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Protects you from the uncomfortable ground

Cons:

  • Minimal space and no real storage capacity

#12 SUV Tent

SUV tents, otherwise known as hatchback tents or truck tents, act how you would assume based on their name. These unique creations mount on the back of your existing SUV, Jeep, minivan, or hatchback.

Of course, you will require a vehicle, but you’re likely taking one to your campsite anyway. They are great for adding space with minimal set-up as the interior part of your car works to double the real estate of your tent. 

Pros:

  • More weatherproofing
  • Durable design
  • Relatively easy setup

Cons:

  • Requires a car

#13 Backpacking Tent

For the more extreme among us, the backpacking tent is a great pick that works for long treks outdoors while also coming in at a reasonable price point

The manufacturer designed them to be carried around and slept in for many days on the road, in off-trail backwoods territory. As a result of this, it has to be both lightweight, strong, fast to set-up, and able to survive the conditions outside for long periods.

Pros:

  • Lightweight design
  • Strong material

Cons:

  • Minimal space inside, really only suited for one.

#14 Bivy Tent

Building on the aesthetic of the last tent featured here, the bivy tent is another one suited for the outdoors and long hiking paths, albeit in an even smaller shape than the already condensed backpacking tent.

It’s intended to weigh as little as possible and hangs incredibly low to the ground, with just enough space for a single person to lie down inside. It’s great for stealth campers but not so great for the more social among us.

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Stealthy profile

Cons:

  • Only enough space for one

#15 Inflatable Tent

This is another innovation but almost in the opposite direction of the last model. It’s a relatively new design that works almost as efficiently as the pop-up tent. You simply need to get an air pump and inflate it like a balloon.

They are sleek and futuristic looking, spacious, and require no poles or arduous steps to take. 

To get a glimpse of one, click here.

Pros:

  • Easy set-up
  • Quick formation and comfort

Cons:

  • Expensive and vulnerable to leaks

#16 Bell Tent

Jumping from wilderness-ready and quick pitching to the category of glamour camping, we have the bell tent.

The bell tent is perfect for the glamping scenario. Featuring a thick canvas attached via a center pole with supporting rods and strong lines, it’s durable and can handle most weather. Best of all, the design looks incredibly sleek, radiating prestige. You can have style and function all in one model.

Pros:

  • Great air circulation
  • Enables wood burning

Cons:

  • High price
  • Hard to set up

#17 Suspended Tent

Somewhat similar to a hammock but much larger and shaped like a classic tent, the suspended tent excels for rough conditions. Specifically, if you find yourself camping on rocky and uneven ground, you’ll appreciate the option to lie down suspended in the air, free from the discomfort of the lower planes.

It’s also an enjoyable model that will engage kids. However, be aware that these tents are surprisingly heavy to bring around and will require firm anchor points in a centralized location, which might be hard to find in some circumstances.

Pros:

  • Large and comfortable
  • Keeps you off the uncomfortable ground

Cons:

  • Requires nearby trees
  • Heavy material
  • Weight limited load

Tents for Specific Occasions

These types of camping tents are suited for niche purposes.

#18 Beach Tent

Not all tents are for wilderness camping. Some, like the beach tent, are meant for specialized usage. In this case, that means a sturdy and comfortable set-up on a sunny beach.

This convenient shelter will protect you from the wind and sand, avoiding grit and uncomfortable friction. It’s also great for protecting you from the harsh sunlight, and with its open design, you can still enjoy the beach environment with comfort.

Pros:

  • Keeps you off the hot sand
  • Protects from wind
  • Lightweight shape

Cons:

  • Only suited for beach scenarios

#19 Canopy Tent

As a contender for the more specialized tent category, the canopy tent is exactly what it seems. It provides a canopy under which you can relax in comfort and style.

They’re typically a metal frame with a tent on top, offering an entirely open design on all other sides. This makes them unsuitable for camping but perfect for events where people need a resting space in between activities. 

Pros:

  • Great for large gatherings
  • Customizable sides

Cons:

  • Not suited for rugged camping 

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