Tents: a home away from home whilst trekking and camping
Every outdoor enthusiast is bound to buy a tent at one point in their life. If you’re planning on going trekking in Scandinavia, cycling across Africa, conquering K2 or if you simply want to spend your holidays outdoors, you’re guaranteed to find a tent that suits your needs. Such a variety of uses has given rise to a huge selection of completely different types of tents with different features. The main difference between tents is their structure: from tunnel tents, dome tents and igloo tents to ridge tents and geodesic tents. Another important factor to consider is the use. When looking for a tent, you should take a look at great tent manufacturers, such as Hilleberg, Exped or Helsport.
- Expedition tents are the most functional and durable
- Hiking tents are lightweight and easy to set up
- Group tents offer plenty of space for people and equipment
- Tepee tents allow you to use an oven inside
- Family tents offer sleeping space for the whole family
- Motorhoome awnings can be used to expand camper vans and motor homes
- Trekking tents are great companions for long adventures through the wilderness
- Ultra-light tents are great for people who value speed, a light weight and flexibility
- Bivouac tents offer a secure shelter on tough terrain
- Camping tents are for more demanding outdoor enthusiasts
Not every tent can be used for every purpose, and the most expensive one is not necessarily the best one. So, it’s important to maintain a good overview of what tents are available and to find the one that's right for you. The most important criterion when selecting a tent is probably the number of persons it can hold. If you want to go camping with your family, you certainly won’t need a 1-man bivouac tent. And, if you're planning a solo tour to the mountains, then you won't need an 8-man base camp tent. Even taking a 3-man tent on a 2-person trip will waste valuable space in your backpack and ultimately weigh you down.
The most common tent structures: dome tents, geodesic tents and tunnel tents
In addition to the number of persons that can fit in the tent, looking at the construction of the tent construction is just as important. Tents are split into groups, namely tunnel tents, dome tents and geodesic tents. The most common tent structure is the dome tent, also known as an igloo tent. It has a rectangular footprint and two arched tent poles that cross over at the centre of the roof. This shape allows the tent to stand up on its own, and it doesn't need to be pegged down even in adverse weather conditions. Another plus: you can move the tent around after it has been pitched. The shape offers a relatively good ratio of footprint versus usable area, however the maximum height is only reached in the very centre.
A dome tent with multiple crossing poles is called a geodesic tent. The additional crossed poles distribute the pressure of the wind and snow more evenly across the multiple poles. Geodesic tents are therefore significantly more durable than regular dome tents. These tents are mainly used for expeditions that require maximized weather protection in extreme conditions. Depending on the amount of baggage you’re carrying, the tent should have a large vestibule because the tent itself won’t offer much space for large backpacks.
As for tunnel tents, they also come in a rectangular shape, but their poles don’t cross over and rather run in parallel arches from one side of the tent to the other. This tent looks like a halved cylinder. However, unlike dome tent, tunnel tents won’t stand on their own, so you’ll have to set it up correctly using guy lines and pegs. The advantage of this tent is that it has a significantly better ratio of footprint versus usable floor space. The walls are very steep in a tunnel tent, and the maximum inner height is achieved along its entire length. Plus, they usually have spacious vestibules that offer plenty of space for your backpacks and equipment.
The purpose of an inner tent
Most tents have a flysheet and an inner tent, but there are also a few single-wall tents on the market that are particularly lightweight and compact. An inner tent allows moisture caused by breathing and sweating to escape to the outside. It then condenses on the inner surface of the flysheet and runs off into the ground. Good ventilation in the tent is critical to keep condensation to a minimum.
However, not all inner tents are the same. A tent that’s been designed for use in summer will have an inner tent made of a thin mesh fabric. Its main purpose will be keeping mosquitoes at bay, and it will offer very little or no weather protection. Winterproof Alpine tents, on the other hand, will have a dense nylon inner tent that offers great heat retention and wind protection.
The most common tent materials
In addition to the main fabric of the tent and its base, the coating is another key factor that determines the quality of a tent. The material of the tent poles can also influence the price, weight and stability of the tent. In addition, the hydrostatic head is another key characteristic that you can look at when choosing a tent. This defines the amount of water pressure a fabric can withstand before water will penetrate. A fabric is considered waterproof as of a hydrostatic head of 1500 mm. Only looking at these technical values won’t tell you very much. You also need to consider the finish of the seams, if it has a premium quality DWR treatment and a cover on the zips.
Most tents are made of two materials: polyamide and polyester. Polyamide’s greatest advantage is that it’s very tear-resistant and abrasion-resistance. Some of its disadvantages include their sensitivity to UV rays and the fact that it’ll stretch when wet, so you may need to peg the tent again. In order to balance out the negative points, top quality tents will have a ripstop finish. The very strong additional seams increase the fabric's tear-resistance and prevent stretching. And, the UV resistance can be significantly increased by a silicone coating. As for polyester, it’s a lot more lightweight and UV-stable. It doesn't stretch when it gets wet and it doesn't need to be retensioned. One drawback of polyester is that it can be noisy, so when the polyester flaps in the wind, it can get annoying. Another great material is cotton, which is particularly great for tepees or group tents. Its increased weight means it’s more durable, so it’s going to stay upright and you won’t need to constantly build it up and take it down.
We recommend using a footprint to protect the tent floor against damage caused by sharp rocks or roots. These are special tent bases that are usually perfectly fitted to the size of your tent and which greatly improve the durability of your tent. As for the frame, it’s either made of glass fibre or aluminium. Aluminium tent poles are usually of higher quality and more durable. Of course, there will be differences in quality of the alloy. The rule of thumb here is: the thicker the poles, the more rigid the tent and the heaver it will be to carry.
Our customer service team will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding the selection of your perfect tent.