Tent Buying Guide
Geodesic tents feature more than two tent poles which cross over each other multiple times for extra stability. These are perfect for backpacking because they’re able to stand up to stronger winds. It’s worth noting that how ‘geodesic’ a tent is depends on how many nodes it has (points at which tent poles cross). Fully-geodesic tents have five or more nodes giving them a very strong structure capable of withstanding very high winds. Tents with fewer than five nodes are classified as semi-geodesic and, whilst still very stable, compromise on strength for the payoff of being slightly lighter overall. Both geodesic and semi-geodesic tents can be pitched on rocky terrain as you don’t need guylines to keep them up.
Dome tents are spacious and quick and easy to pitch. Their stable, lightweight construction of two main poles which cross once at the highest point of the tent, makes them a good choice for those wanting a bit more space to sit up in. Although they’re not as technical or strong as geodesic or semi-geodesic designs, they are a good all-rounder, great for general camping use, short backpacking trips or campsite visits in non-extreme conditions.
One to two-person tunnel tents are ideal backpacking or trekking options for trips where you have to carry and pitch your tent every night. They are quick and easy to pitch, have storage space separate from the main sleeping compartment giving you a great weight-to-space ratio. With the inner tent and the flysheet joined, these tents offer a simultaneous pitch option which is great for speed and protecting the inner tent in bad weather. However, they are more vulnerable to very strong winds and need to be pitched on soft ground using guylines. Larger tunnel tents are a great campsite tents, making then a good choice for families. They often feature separate compartments for privacy – great for kids wanting their own space - and great standing room in the ‘living’ area.
A bell tent is a multi-purpose shelter with a single central pole and canvas exterior. From a distance they look a bit like a yurt, and their open, roomy interior means they are a great choice for groups or families. They have one large area which you can customise to the needs of your group, offering the most home-like camping experience. If you’re planning on driving to a campsite for an extended family stay you can’t get much cosier than a bell tent.
A sleeping mat is an essential part of your camping set-up, offering you comfort and warmth for a good night’s sleep. We’ve put together this guide to the different types of sleeping mat which are available, to help you choose the perfect one for your next camping trip.