Matt Johnson

4 Types Of Camping Tents: Which One Suits You Best?

Author: Matt JohnsonPhotos/Graphics: Mike HawthornePublished: Nov 7, 2023Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Camping is an exciting and fun-filled activity that allows you to explore the great outdoors. It is also an excellent way to disconnect from your daily life and connect with nature. However, camping requires appropriate gear and equipment to make the experience comfortable, safe, and enjoyable. One of the most critical pieces of equipment to have while camping is a tent. With the different types of tents available, selecting the right one can be challenging.

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive list of the different types of tents to help you determine which is best for you.

Type of TentSizeWeightSetupBest Use
Dome TentsModerate to large size, can usually accommodate 2-8 peopleModerate weight, heavier than backpacking tents but lighter than cabin tentsRelatively easy to set up, usually freestanding with flexible polesVersatile, good for casual camping and some backpacking trips
Cabin TentsLarge size, can accommodate larger groups (6+ people)Heavier due to size and strong materialsCan be more complex to set up, often requires multiple peopleIdeal for family camping trips, long stays, or when lots of interior space is needed
Backpacking TentsSmall to moderate size, typically designed for 1-2 peopleLightweight for portabilityVaries, but typically designed to be as simple as possible for on-the-go setupDesigned for backpacking, hiking, or other activities where weight and pack size are critical
Popup TentsTypically smaller size, designed for 2-4 peopleVarying weights, but generally lightweight for convenienceExtremely easy to set up, often just requires unfolding and securingPerfect for festivals, quick overnight trips, or for children’s backyard camping
This chart compares the 4 different types of camping tents.

Dome tents.

Good wind resistance due to rounded shapeLimited headroom, especially towards the edges
Generally lightweight and portableNot ideal for large groups due to size limitations
Easy to set up with fewer polesSome models may lack robustness and durability
Versatile and suitable for a variety of camping situations
Pros and cons of dome tents.

Dome tents are the most common type of camping tents. They are lightweight, easy to set up, and provide ample space.

They feature a rounded, dome-like shape that makes them excellent at withstanding strong winds and rain.

Most dome tents are freestanding, meaning they can stand on their own without needing stakes and guy wires to hold them down. Although, you may find some that have guy lines just for added support but most of the time they’re not needed.

Dome tents come in different sizes, making them a suitable choice for families, couples, or solo campers.

Dome Camping Tent in the Woods

Cabin tents.

Spacious with high ceilings, good for standing and moving aroundTypically heavier and not as portable
Often includes room dividers for privacyMore complex setup, may require multiple people
Ideal for large groups or familiesLess wind-resistant due to vertical walls
Often includes additional features like porch areas or multiple doorsMay not be as durable in extreme weather conditions
Pros and cons of cabin tents.

Cabin tents are spacious and ideal for family or group camping. These are some of the more common tents on the market that you can typically find at Walmart or any other sporting good store.

They feature straight walls, making them roomier than dome tents. They usually have several rooms, which makes them perfect for providing privacy and dividing living and sleeping spaces.

Cabin tents are not as wind-resistant as dome tents and are not ideal for camping in harsh weather conditions. If you’re camping in an area with calm weather, cabin tents are a great option.

Fully Setup Cabin Tent

Backpacking tents.

Lightweight and compact, ideal for long hikesOften smaller in size, not ideal for more than 1-2 persons
Typically designed to withstand various weather conditionsCan be more expensive due to specialized materials
Quick and easy to set upLess comfortable due to limited space
Often includes a vestibule for gear storage
Pros and cons of backpacking tents.

Backpacking tents are designed for campers who are on the move and need a lightweight and portable tent. These aren’t your typical tents you can find at stores like Walmart. Backpacking tents are specially designed to be compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry on long hikes.

They are compact, lightweight, and easy to carry during long hikes or backpacking trips.

Most of these tents weigh around 1-2lbs. These, of course, are ultralight weight and designed for the serious hiker/camper. But with that, they’re not the most formidable in harsh weather conditions.

Backpacking tents usually come in one or two-person sizes, making them ideal for solo or duo camping.

They are not as roomy as cabin or dome tents, but their lightweight nature makes them a perfect choice for hikers who need to keep their packs light.

Two Backpacking Tents on a Mountainside

Pop-up tents.

Extremely quick and easy to set upNot as durable or robust as traditional tents
Portable and lightweightCan be difficult to fold back into compact size
Ideal for casual camping or festivalsLimited in size, not ideal for groups of more than 4
Often cheaper than traditional tentsMay not withstand harsh weather conditions well
Pros and cons of pop-up tents.

Pop-up tents are the easiest to set up as they require only seconds to assemble.

They feature a pre-assembled, wire-framed structure that pops into shape once it is released from its bag.

Pop-up tents come in different shapes and sizes, making them a good option for solo and group camping.

While they are easy to set up, they are not as sturdy as cabin or dome tents and are not ideal for harsh weather conditions. On top of that they’re usually not as light as backpacking tents.

However, pop-up tents are perfect for campers who value convenience and want to spend more time enjoying the outdoors than setting up a tent. If you’ve ever set up a cabin tent you know that can take up a lot of time and energy. On the other hand, setting up a pop-up tent is quick and hassle-free.

Popup Tent Near Lake Tahoe

Which tent is best for you?

Choosing the right camping tent can make or break your camping experience. Each of the various types of camping tents has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to consider your individual needs before making a purchase.

If you are camping with family or a group, you should consider a cabin tent, while a backpacking tent would be ideal for solo or duo camping.

For easy set-up and convenience, a pop-up tent is the way to go.

Remember, whatever tent you choose, making sure that you invest in a quality product will ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience.


Matt Johnson

Senior Content Writer

Matt is an experienced camper and glamping enthusiast with a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Authoring posts for GlamperGear, he shares his wealth of knowledge on picturesque campsites, luxurious accommodations, and the best gear for outdoor adventures. His passion for nature and knack for comfort in the wilderness make him an expert guide for your next camping endeavor.

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