20 types of tents you can use for camping and hiking

By Sigita B •  Updated: 07/14/22 •  11 min read

What type of tent is the right one for your style of camping? In this article, we will discuss 20 different types of tents, their features, and their benefits.

Which type of tent is right for you?

Read on a find out.

A-Frame Tent (Ridge Tents)

Camping setting in the mountains

The A-frame tent features a triangular structure and looks like the letter “A”. It’s easy to set up and offers excellent water and wind resistance if pitched properly.

An A-frame tent has a horizontal pole in its center, which works as the roof. It is supported by two vertical poles located at both ends. Modern A-frame tents are usually spacious and can easily accommodate two people.

If you’re a trekker and need to carry your tent, you can ditch the built-in heavy poles. That’s because you can use your trekking poles as vertical supports. It’ll allow you to reduce the overall weight of your ridge tent and carry it easily.

Dome Tents

Tent in front of lake

Dome tents are one of the most commonly used tent types. They have a dome shape and come in a variety of sizes. Typically, a dome tent has two long and flexible poles. They intersect at the top by stretching crossways over the tent.

Dome tents are easy to pitch, lightweight, and offer more space than most tent types. Some models have a rainfly and a porch section that can be used as storage space.

You can also buy a double-wall dome tent if you want more privacy. It offers a breathable inner tent which is usually made of mesh fabric.

Tunnel Tents

Campsite with the tunnel tent

Tunnel tents feature a series of flexible poles installed parallel to one another. These poles look like arches and make a tunnel shape. A tunnel tent must have at least two arches and feature up to five poles.

The higher the number of poles, the longer and more spacious the tunnel tent will be. They’re extremely easy to set up and offer a large vestibule area and plenty of headroom.

Tunnel tents offer decent wind resistance, but they’re not the best option for rainy weather. That’s because water can pool on the tent’s top between arches.

Geodesic Tents

A tent on the beach

The structure of geodesic tents looks somewhat similar to a dome tent. However, they have many crisscrossing poles instead of two. These poles make multiple hexagons or triangles on the tent’s top.

A geodesic tent offers excellent stability against extreme weather conditions and high winds. They’re not easy to carry because of multiple poles, making them heavier than most tent types.

But there are models available that come with fewer poles. They’re called semi-geodesic tents and will suit you better if you need a lightweight geodesic tent.

Backpacking Tents

Backpacking tent in the mountains

Backpacking tents are specially designed to be extremely lightweight. They are small and usually feature a one- or two-person design. 

The tent body can be easily packed inside a backpack. But you need to carry the poles in your hands or attach them to your backpack with Velcro straps.

Most backpacking tents also come with a vestibule to store your belongings. These tents are sturdy and offer great weather resistance despite their lightweight design. A backpacking tent will suit you best if you’re involved in hiking-focused camping.

Ultralight Tents

Lightweight tent in the camping area

Ultralight tents come in different designs and shapes, such as hammocks, pyramid tents, and tarp shelters. The main feature of these tents is their weight which is often around one to two pounds.

Most ultralight tents feature just two poles making it extremely easy to pitch them. They mostly come in a one-person design and allow enough space for sleeping.

It’s possible to sit in an ultralight tent, but they don’t have enough headroom for standing. If you’re a hiker or trekker and need a tent to spend the night, you should opt for an ultralight tent.

Bivy Tents (Bivy Sack)

Bivy tent

Bivy is yet another lightweight type of tent, and it’s very popular among backpackers. They’re designed only for one person to sleep comfortably, and they have a very low profile. It allows bivy sacks to offer exceptional weather protection as the winds fly right over them.

A bivy tent has a wedge-like shape, and it’s easy to pitch. You can use it during rainy and cold weather to stay dry and warm.

Some modern bivy tents feature a ridge tent-like design. They provide you with more space where you can sit comfortably.

Hammock Tents

Hammock tent between the trees

A hammock tent is specially designed to improve your sleeping experience while camping. Unlike traditional tents, a hammock tent allows you to sleep on a suspended platform. It has a weather-resistant fabric on top and a comfortable hammock on the bottom.

You can hang this type of tent between two trees using ropes. Most hammock tents have a single-person design and are lightweight and easy to carry.

However, you can also opt for a two-person variant. It has two hammocks, and you need to install them in a stacked form, one on top of the other. A hammock tent will suit you best if you need to camp in rocky places.

Suspended Tents (Tree Tents)

Tree tent

The suspended tents usually have a structure similar to A-frame or dome tents. You need to tie them to trees using ropes to suspend them in the air like hammock tents. But they need at least three trees instead of two.

A suspended tent is fully covered from all sides with a high roof. These tents mostly come in a one- or two-person design, and they’re a bit hard to set up.

You can use them in areas where the ground isn’t safe or flat for a camping tent. They’re also very lightweight and offer enhanced ventilation than other tent styles.

Vis-À-Vis Tents

Vis a vis tent in the wood

The literal word meaning of vis-à-vis is “face-to-face”. This type of tent has two inner bedroom sections that face each other. There’s also a large open area with spacious headroom in the middle of both bedrooms.

The central area of a vis-a-vis tent can work as a lounge with attached bedrooms. Thus, they are the most popular option for groups or multiple couples.

The addition of private bedrooms makes vis-a-vis tents heavy. Therefore, it’s not easy to carry them around.

Pod-Style Tents

Pod-style tents come with multiple compartments called pods. They’re connected through small universal tunnels with parallel arch-like poles. Each pod also has an exit door as well for added privacy.

The best feature of pod-style tents is that they come with a modular design. It means you can carry and pitch a single pod whenever needed.

The single pod will look similar to a dome tent but with three or more poles. It offers a large interior space and can also withstand harsh weather conditions.

Cabin Tents

Cabin tent on a nice scenery

Cabin tents are spacious and large and feature a straight-wall structure. It means that their headroom remains consistent from one wall to the other. You don’t need to crawl or crouch while walking around inside a cabin tent.

It’s one of the largest types of tents available in the market. The large tent size and privacy features make it a perfect tent type for family camping.

Remember that cabin tents tend to catch winds easily because of their vertical walls and tall structure. They’re also heavy, and it’s not easy to carry them while backpacking. But they’ll suit you best if you need a tent for your car camping trip.

Pyramid Tents

Pyramid type tent in the camping place

Pyramid tents often come with a single central pole, and they’re extremely easy to set up. Tent pegs and guylines play a critical role in making these tents stable. However, the bigger the tent, the less stable it will be.

Traditionally, these tents feature thick canvas and a heavy-duty pole. But you can also buy small and lightweight models for backpacking purposes. They can withstand bad weather but don’t offer a built-in groundsheet and storage space.

Teepee Tents

teepee tent

A teepee tent has a tall central point and a cone shape and looks pretty similar to pyramid tents. But it comes with roof vents for better air circulation.

The Native American tribes used to make this type of tent with animal skins. Nowadays, these camping tents are made of thick canvas or lightweight synthetic fiber.

They’re easy to install, and they offer decent wind resistance. However, their tall structure makes them vulnerable to extremely high winds.

Most teepee tents also feature a stove jack. It allows you to use a wood-burning stove inside your tent to stay warm in a cold place.

Pop-up Tents

pop-up tent

Pop-up tents are the best options for people who need to change their camping spot frequently. You can set this type of tent within seconds, faster than any other type of tent. They’re also extremely lightweight and feature a small pack size.

While some models use tent pegs, most single-person pop-up tents are freestanding. You only need to unfold them and place them on the ground before going inside.

Bear in mind that these tents are not designed to withstand high winds and harsh weather conditions. So, it’s best to use it on camping trips to areas with pleasant weather.

Roof-Top Tents (Car-Top Tents)

Roof-top tent by the lake

Roof-top tents are specially designed for car camping trips. You can easily attach them to your vehicle’s roof to create an elevated sleeping area. These tents usually have a ladder that you need to attach to the tent door for easy access.

You can use rooftop tents to sleep safely and comfortably. They’ll keep you at a safe distance from dangerous insects and reptiles crawling on the ground.

The ease of installation depends on the size of your roof-top tent, and they can be lightweight or extremely heavy.

Inflatable Tents

There is no better option than an inflatable tent for the quick and hassle-free setting up process. Instead of metal or fiberglass poles, these tents feature inflatable air beams. They work like tent poles to erect and keep the tent standing.

Inflatable tents are available in different sizes and styles, including dome, tunnel, geodesic, and even cabin. They are comfortable, and they offer great performance against strong winds.

While they’re inflatable, they’re not lightweight. They’re heavier than most tent types. So, if you’re a backpacker, this option won’t suit you best.

Bell Tents

Bell type tent in the camping place

Bell tents have a triangular structure and roof vents like teepee tents. However, they have short vertical walls that start from the ground and go to a certain point. Then the walls reach the top of the central pole.

Some bell tents also come with two poles to offer a large inner space. They’re usually made of canvas and offer great insulation, weather protection, durability, and breathability.

If you’re looking for a perfect glamping tent that is easy to install, you should go with a bell tent. You can also buy a lightweight and compact version of this tent type if you’re a backpacker.

Multi-Room Tents

Multi-room tent

Multi-room tents come in various styles, and they can accommodate up to 12 people. Tunnel and cabin are the most common styles of multi-room tents. They’re the best option for large groups or families with kids.

They have tent fabric dividers that can be used to make multiple rooms. Each compartment will also have its exit door to provide campers with more privacy.

A traditional eight-person multi-room tent can fit three queen air mattresses or eight sleeping bags. If you use the divider, it’ll offer two compartments. But then it won’t be able to accommodate eight people.

Beach Tents

Tent on the beach

Beach tents are designed for people interested in beach camping. They come with a groundsheet that keeps the sand from entering the tent.

These tents also feature a UV-resistant top and offer excellent ventilation. They protect your skin from harsh sun rays and keep you cool.

Most beach tents have built-in sandbags that you need to fill with sand. They keep the tent in its place by preventing it from flying away during high winds.

If your beach tent doesn’t offer these sandbags, we recommend using extra-long tent pegs. They’ll allow you to secure your tent in sand properly so that it can resist high winds.

Sigita B