Different Styles and Types of Camping Tents

The camping industry has introduced many types of tents. Resultant, when a fresher goes to buy a tent for camping, he spontaneously gets confused. Therefore, it becomes important to learn some basics about the tent. You can also read our brief guide on the waterproof rating of camping tents.

In this guide, we have briefly introduced the types of tents available out there based on the tent structure, setup time, number of layers, weather resistance and tent fabric. In order to consume the below guide, we recommend giving a complete reading to the below guide.

Types of Tents based on Structure

Based on the structure, there are mainly five types of tents are available in the market. There are some sub-types that also exist which we have also discussed in this guide. They are:

1. Dome Tents.

2. Cabin Tents.

3. Bell Tents.

4. Teepee Tents.

5. Tunnel Tents.

1. Dome Tents

Dome Tents

The dome tents are the simplest structure tents. There is a wide variety of dome tents are available outside. Mostly, dome tents come with a person’s capacity of up to six persons. They have an umbrella-like structure and most of them are freestanding as well. There are some dome tents with windows and partial fly for eg. Coleman 6P Sundome Tent. On the other side, some dome tents are full fly types like Marmot Limestone 6 Tent.

There is a sub-type that also exists called extended dome style tents with an asymmetric extension. The Coleman Carlsbad 6 Tent and Coleman Evanston 6 Screened Tent is a great example of it that comes with screened room attached to the main dome. The EXIO 8 Person tent has a vestibule supported by an extra pole.

Opposite of the above sub-type another sub-type is also available called dome style tents with symmetric extension. The Coleman Montana 8 Tent is a single room tent with extensions on both of the sides whereas the Coleman Red Canyon 8 Person Tent has 3 rooms with symmetric extensions.

2. Cabin Tents

Cabin tents

Cabin style tents are popular and widely used tents. Most of the cabin tents for camping are freestanding. Cabin tents are popularly known as instantly set up tents. Most of the cabin tents can be set up in around sixty seconds. The reason is the pre-attached frame and telescopic poles. They are like a big box and have tall walls. Cabin tents are perfect for summer camping but not suitable for heavy winds and rainy conditions.

Big cabin tents with high person capacity may take more than two minutes for the setup. Some of the cabin-style tents have rainfly but some of them do not have. It will be better if we say that the rainfly is integrated. Thus, the fabric of the roof is waterproof and a single layer. The Coleman 6 Person Instant Tent is the best example of that.

3. Bell Tents

bell tents

Bell Tents are very similar to traditional tents. In the center, there is a thick pole and the door has an A-shaped pole. The setup of these tents may take some time and they are not freestanding as well. The bell tents are very large and extremely tall and they require to properly stake them. The Dancehall Cotton Bell Tent is the best example of a bell tent that comes with two stove jackets and comes with cotton fabric. Some of the bell tents are also available with canvas fabric.

4. Teepee Tents

Teepee Tents

Teepee tents are very similar designs like bell tents such that they have one pole in the center and a sealed floor. They are popularly known as Tipi tents. The main difference between teepee tents and bell tents is that teepee tents do not have any vertical wall section. The winter teepee 6 tent and Wenzel 11.5 x 10 Foot Shenanigan 5 person teepee camping tent are great examples of this.

5. Tunnel Tents

The tunnel tents are never freestanding tents that come with an elongated structure. These tents are very stable in structure as compared to other tent types. Both the front and rear sides of the tents need to be properly staked. You can say that usually, a tunnel tent is not instantly set up in tents.

The tunnel tents have poles creating arches. The headroom space is constant along the main axis of the tunnel tents. Tunnel tents are also family camping tents and most of them also come with multiple rooms. The Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Tent is a great example of tunnel tents.

In the category of tunnel tents, a sub-type also available where the inflatable air beams are used instead of the classic poles. On the sides of some tunnel tents, there are several guylines to enhance stability. On the other side, the Vango Woburn 500 tunnel tent and Wango Orava 600XL tunnel tent have internal triangular tension bands.

Types of Tents based on Setup Time

Based on the setup time, there are only two types of tents can be separated. They are:

1. Instant Setup Tents.

2. Non-Instant Setup Tents.

1. Instant Setup Tents

instant setup tents

Purchasing an instant set up camping tent becomes very important when you are on a cross-country tour or you are with a group who changes the camping place frequently. You can also check out our list of top 10 best instant set up camping tents.

The frame and tent are pre-attached to each other. You don’t need to stuck in the complex tent setup procedure like traditional camping tents. A camper just needs to unpack the tent then unfold it. Proceeding further, simply raise the tent and within a few seconds, the tent is completely ready. Most of the dome style and cabin style tents are instant set up tents for camping. Check our guide about instant cabin tents is good for camping?

The Core 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent Review and OzTent 30 Second Expedition Tent RV 5 are the great examples of instant set up camping tents.

2. Non-Instant Setup Tents

It is obvious that those who don’t fall under the category of instant set up tents are non-instant set up camping tents. Bell tents and some huge tents with high person capacity may consume much time in setup. Actually, no one likes to stuck in the complex setup of any tent.

Types of Tents Based on Number of Layers

In the market, there are three types of tents are available based on the number of layers tent have. They are:

1. Single Layer Tents.

2. Double Layer Tents.

3. Mixed (Hybrid) Tents.

1. Single Layer Tents

Single Layer Tents

The single-layer tents do not have a fly. The ceiling or top roof of the tent is waterproof. The Coleman 6 Person Instant Tent and Crua Core Dome 6 Tent are great examples are single layer tents. However, there is an exceptional case as well. The JetTent F25DX 10 person tent comes with vents on the ceiling. Therefore, it has a partial fly in order to protect the vents. It is found that poly-cotton and canvas tents are single layer tents.

2. Double Layer Tents

Most of the dome tents are double-layer tents for camping. Double layer type tents have an inner tent and the rainfly. Basically, you can say that the fly is a full coverage type. Some of the cabin-style camping tents to are double layer type tents. The Coleman Octagon 98 tent is a great example of cabin style double layer tent that has a full coverage fly.

3. Mixed (Hybrid) Tents

The Vango Odyssey Air 8 person tunnel style tent is a great example of mixed or hybrid tent such that its sleeping part is a double layer whereas the one part of the tent is a single layer tent. Mostly tents having PVC windows and tunnel type tents are the mixed or hybrid type tents.

Types of Tents Based on Weather Resistance

Tents can be categorized into four different categories based on weather resistance. The four types are:

1. Summer Camping Tents.

2. Three Season Camping Tents.

3. Winter Tents.

4. Four Season Tents.

1. Summer Camping Tents

Summer Camping Tents

There are tons of tents are available outside that are specifically for summer camping purpose. The cabin-style tents have given a great contribution to making your summer camping experience unforgettable. The Core 12 person camping tent is a great example of a summer camping tent that comes with a screen room.

The ventilation is the main concern in summer camping tents. Therefore, the tent must have excellent ventilation options. Therefore, most of the summer camping tents have mesh ceiling, huge windows, and doors, roof and ground vents as well.

2. Three Season Camping Tents

When we discuss the true three-season camping tent then Kelty Trail Ridge 8 tent gives a great competition to other tents. Two main characteristics are very necessary for a three-season tent. The tent must be double layer type having a full-coverage fly.

Cabin style camping tents are not considered in this category but Coleman Octagon 98 tent is among the rare. Mostly tunnel type tents and dome tents have such huge share in three-season camping tents.

3. Winter Tents

Winter Tents

Winter tents are best for winter cold climate. The winter tents protect you from the cold outside and keep the warmth inside of the tent. Mostly they do not have mesh. In some cases, if they have then they are closeable. In order to prevent from winds and snow, poles are sturdy and strong to withstand from pressure.

A good waterproof rating is required but unnecessarily high will be useless. Tents can be stake down on the frozen ground. Therefore, mostly winter tents are freestanding. The Marmot Lair 8 tent is a great example of winter tents.

4. Four Season Tents

Most campers don’t know that four-season camping tents are not winter tents. The main reason is that the winter tents are not suitable for summer camping. Now, let’s discuss the real definition of four-season tents. The four-season tents are insulated tents and they are suitable to use in hot and cold climates.

Basically, they are the best whatever climate is out there. The Crua Loj Thermo insulated waterproof 6 person tent is an unbeatable four-season tent. The fact is that the four-season tents are rare.

Tent types Based on Fabric

Tents can be categorized into two types based on fabric. They are as follows:

1. Man-made Nylon and Polyester Fabric Tents.

2. Cotton and Canvas Fabric Tents.

1. Man-made Nylon and Polyester Fabric Tents

Man-made nylon and polyester are the two most used fabrics in the tents. For backpacking and lightweight tents, nylon fabric is generally used. In most of the family camping tents, the polyester fabric is used. The nylon and polyester fabric made tents are not good insulators. Therefore, if you are planning to camp in cold or too hot weather instead of mild conditions then you must skip the nylon and polyester fabric tents. It has seen that the color of these tent fabric gets deteriorates as the day passes.

The nylon and polyester tent fabric is lighter and less bulky when compared to cotton or canvas fabrics. That’s why you will find nylon and polyester fabric tents more affordable than cotton or canvas tents. They have good resistance to rips and also need less maintenance. Apart from that, they get dry quickly. The Coleman Instant Cabin Tent with Fly comes with 150D polyester fabric.

2. Cotton and Canvas Fabric Tents

Camping tents that are made from cotton or fabric are made from the same material. Canvas is used in the tents traditionally. Mostly cotton made tents are heavy. Thus, campers may find it not easier to transport to the camping place. Making the cotton or canvas tents weathered is an important thing to do before camping. If not done then you will experience leaks through the tent because canvas expands. Therefore, spraying the tent or leaving it out in the rain becomes necessary.

Cotton is a great insulator for a tent. Therefore, it does not get overheated in too warm-hot conditions and will also protect you from the cold conditions. Moreover, there will be no issue with condensation because cotton can absorb water and can also breathe. The OzTent 30 Second Expedition Tent RV 5 comes with cotton-canvas tent fabric.


Tents have diversity too. Every camping tent differs from others based on their special features. The vast variety of tents is categorized on various factors above. Those who have given complete reading knows what we are saying. Stay tuned with us for more help and knowledge camping tent guides. Have Fun!

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