Designers have used modern materials and technology to produce more complex models than those that were possible a few years ago. These basic styles form the basis of modern tent design:
Dome – Simple dome designs have two poles crossing at the top; some have a hooped porch whilst others have a much bigger extended living area with access options. More complex pole systems are known as geodesic, with four or more crossover poles forming many intersections for superb stability, or semi-geodesic combining three poles, balancing stability and space. All dome designs help to maximise usable internal sleeping and storage space.
Hybrids – Larger tents range from designs featuring twin domes facing a shared living space (ideal for families), to domes with versatile porches- this gives them the title of a hybrid design, as they combine features of other styles. Lighter weight tents feature ingenious combinations of poles that defy description. All aim to maximise living space, stability and ease of use.
Tunnel – A tunnel design uses two hooped poles or more running in parallel to maximise internal space. Some can be huge; others are sized generously but still fairly lightweight. Small or large, many tunnel designs offer a large porch area and good living space useful for family camping trips.
Pop-up – Pop-ups were once regarded as play tents but no longer. Larger sizes, better designs and good materials combined with out-of-the-bag pitching are now a popular choice offering a fast effective shelter. The flexible poles offer a similar tent profile to tunnel designs.
Ridge – A classic ridge design with sloping sides and a roofline that runs parallel to the ground (A-framed shape).Ridge style tents offer good stability in bad weather conditions and even heavy snow, but they can be heavy and so not a good choice if you’re backpacking or travelling on foot carrying your tent.
Hoop – These designs use 1 or 2 poles running head to toe and are often very light. Great for lightweight camping, using a design with just one pole will offer the lightest option.
Tarps – These large geometric shapes of light fabric offer flexible shelter awnings using telescopic poles or taking advantage of trees to secure guylines. Lightweight and family campers alike can benefit from the extra protection from rain and sun.