Camping tents come in a bewildering variety, and making a quick choice before an impromptu outdoor adventure holiday is tricky. Some tips on which tent is right for what

Camping out under the stars is an unforgettable experience and one that should not be marred by the wrong choice of the tent if the weather suddenly turns cold or windy. Tents, like other temporary and permanent shelters, are made for specific weather conditions, capacities, and usage. When selecting a tent for a camping holiday, take into consideration the number of people in the group, the weather likely to be encountered, and the kind of terrain in which the tents will need to be pitched. Also, decide if the camping vacation will be a backpacking holiday, where the tent or tents will need to be carried on the back, or a holiday park camping vacation, where all gear can be transported by vehicle.

Choosing Camping Tents for a Backpacking Adventure

Backpacking tents are made of lightweight nylon and are compact and easy to carry. There are three types of backpacking tents: the A-Frame tent, the Dome tent, and the Bivy, a modification of the original military bivouac. A bivy is an extremely compact one-man or two-man sleeper, with some models having just enough room in front to keep luggage and shoes.

Dome tents are roomier and come in two-man, three-man, or four-man capacities. Dome tents provide room for some luggage and also come with a higher roof for easier maneuvering. Dome tents are ideal for hard rocky terrain or ice since they can be laid out without needing to be picketed. The flip side: dome tents are very light and cannot withstand high winds.

A-Frame tents are, as the name suggests, have a triangular opening and are supported by rigid poles: two standing poles and a ridge pole. A-Frame tents are easier to pitch and take up less space, so they are ideal for locations where open spaces are not easy to find. A-Frame tents make efficient bad-weather tents since they are better able to withstand rain and wind than dome tents. They are ideal for jungles and soft terrain.

Choosing Heavier Tents for a Vehicle-based Camping Holiday

For camping at a fixed location where gear can be transported by vehicle, a good choice would be A-Frame camping tents made of canvas, which can be left standing for the duration of the camp, for several days together. This is not advisable with nylon tents since the water-proof lining is susceptible to damage in direct sunlight, and they need to be brought down during the day.

Tent choices for fixed campsites with vehicle access would also include shelters for living, kitchen, and bathing. These are larger, have a rigid framework, and are more convenient for longer periods. Other options would include toilet tents, as well as large family tents complete with rooms, verandah, and even a porch!


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