Camping is an escape for many; from pretty much everything apart from the stars in the night sky. Yet, understanding how to camp as well as the ins and outs about the core features are simply in unknown territories.
Especially in the realms of choosing the right types of tent for the job. Heading over to your closest outdoors-y store in the hopes of walking out with a tent that day is highly unlikely. In fact, as it will be your house and home for a night or two, it’s important you buy spot-on so you’re pitching a tent that’s going to keep you safe and cosy no matter where you are or who you’re with.
So, think of it more like a device, car, house or pet purchase; you need to be able to understand what it is you are (and aren’t) looking for as well as taking the time to find the right tent material for camping in your ideal destination.
Luckily for you, The Hobby Kraze is here. We have team members who adore being in the under-the-stars sanctuary and have some tips and tricks up their sleeves for getting you pitched up in one of the 17 different types of tent you could come across in your camping adventures.
Have a look at what we’ll be covering:
- Pitching a Tent for the First Time in History
- Everything you Need to Pack for a Tent Camping Adventure
- What is Tent Material for Camping?
- Are Tent Rentals a Thing for all the Types of Tent?
- The 17 Unique Types of Tent You Could Be Pitching Up
Did you know that camping can relive stress, reduce anxiety and decrease levels of depression?
Naturally, when partaking in camping, there is a level of fresh air and physical exercise involved, both of which working together to create healthy circulation and bettered mental health.
Not only this but escaping to the wilderness for a night under the stars takes you away from noise, light and air pollution that can all drain your mental wellbeing. Yet, taking the time to breathe away from constant contact, away from social media and away from the stresses of life bring a new lease of energy back to your mind and body.
Knowing this, it’s even more important to be able to identify the right types of tent material for camping within the UK and beyond to suit your journey. Whether you’re looking to buy or looking at tent rentals, we can help make sure you’re escape in comfort.
Pitching a Tent for the First Time in History
Tents have been around longer than the stable homes we know today; they served as the ideal shelter for the nomadic lifestyle our ancestors lived at the time of the hunter-gatherer era.
Nobody is entirely certain of the true origin of the first types of tent or tent camping, however there are a couple of references that give us an idea.
The first thing we can look at is the Bible. There are references such as Genesis 4:20 and Isaiah 54:2. In both instances, the tent is referred to as a home for the farmer whose duty is to open the tent doors to nature, passengers and anything else that could use farmer nurture.
Secondly, and on a more recent note, carbon dating from Russian excavations have unearthed the archaeological marvel of tents being used all the way back to 40,000 B.C..
Historically, these types of tent closely resembled the Rigid – or A-Frame – Tent and were made using natural materials locally gathered including tusks, animal bones and skins from mammoths or other large mammals.
Luckily for our animal friends, we’ve come a long way since then. Plus, it means we’re dealing with re-usable tent material for camping without burning our pockets each time.
Everything you Need to Pack for a Tent Camping Adventure
Of course, there is more than one type of camping, some of which can involve a camper and literally packing the kitchen sink.
However, when it comes to the types of tent camping, there is a list of tools, equipment and food you simply can’t live without all while needing to make sure you’re able to carry them. It’s well and good taking 20 cans of beans and a few loaves of bread to cover the natural call for beans on toast in the wild, but can you carry them?
That’s why our team of travel experts here at The Hobby Kraze have gathered together the concise things you should be taking with you when pitching a tent in the wilderness here in the UK.
- Weatherproof Jacket
- Lots of Water
- Sun Cream
- GPS Device
- First-Aid Kit
- Gas Cannister
- Sleeping Bag
- Emergency Number List
- Bivvy Bag or Tent
- Toiletries (and Loo Roll!)
- Waste-Free Snacks
- Bug Spray
- Tent Repair Kit
- Power Bank
If you want to know more about all the tools and know-how for camping on a hiking adventure, for heading across the globe on a backpacking escape or for leaving your mark by Geocaching, take a look at these ultimate guides lovingly written by The Hobby Kraze team:
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Geocaching
- The Ultimate Guide to Hiking for Beginners
- Everything You Need to Know About How to Make a Shelter in the Wilderness
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking
What is Tent Material for Camping?
Tent material for camping can vary. However, it needs to be consistent with weatherproofing, warmth and protection from the natural elements (and pests). Based on these qualities, most manufacturers turn to the cheapest materials that are threaded using plastic fibres such as polyester and nylon.
And, while these can often by the optimum tent material for camping, there are also other natural fibres such as cotton that are still in the mix today. This is a list of the most common treads used as a tent material for camping:
- PVC-Coated Fabric
Canvas is the most popular choice for campers and manufacturers. This is because It is highly weather resistant, can regulate internal temperature, has high-level water-resistant properties and is a light material to carry around unlike other tent materials for camping such as cotton.
This is because treads and fibres like cotton, while able to keep the temperature and make use of natural materials, soak-up water. Meaning you’re in for a heavy carry the day after camping under the rainy clouds.
Other popular choices include PVC for the water-repellent properties and Nylon for the cheap approach to tent materials for camping and lightweight carry options.
Despite the wide range of choice, they are all used throughout modern tents as they have their own advantages to the adventure. So, make sure you’re familiar with each of the tent materials for camping to help make the best buying decisions.
Aside from the material of the tent fabric, there are other aspects of your tent you should become aware of while pitching and packing down:
The Guy Lines
Guy lines are structural ropes leading from the height of the tent and into the ground, pushed through using pegs. These are very important as they can secure the position of the tent while enlarging the inside space by stretching out the shape.
The Tent Poles
Made with either aluminium, steel, carbon fibre, gas or glass-reinforced plastic, these are the make-up of the skeleton of the tent. These rods help to keep your tent up in the night, create a structure and ensure your tent is spacious enough to feel comfortable in.
Tent pegs are small and angular metal rods made with various alloys such as steel, aluminium, plastic and titanium. They are used when pitching a tent to ensure the guy lines are secured into the ground and aren’t going to be causing mayhem at any time through the night or end-up rolling down the field.
Rather than the carbon footprint of the tent, the footprint is a plastic sheet of water-resistant tarp added between the base of your tent (i.e., the groundsheet) and the ground. It prevents water coming in, can help to even the playing field, helps to keep bugs away and allows for an extra layer of protection for the tent in case you’ve pitched up on any sharp materials.
Are Tent Rentals a Thing for all the Types of Tent?
Yes, of course! While some types of tent camping are more popular in the renting world than others, most of the 17 types of tent can be rented from any outdoor companies out there.
For example, many Canopy Tents, Pop-Up Tents, Bell Tents and Hammock Tents that might only be needed the once can easily be rented for the day or the weekend. Here are some companies offering tent rentals helping you in pitching a tent right here in the UK:
- Tent 2 Hire
- Pop Top UK
- Event in a Tent
- Rent a Tent
The best part about tent rentals is that most of these companies also offer delivery, a pick-up system, pitching a tent assistance and guides about tent camping in the specific tent you’re renting.
The 17 Unique Types of Tent You Could Be Pitching Up
Take a look at the 17 different tents you could be climbing into at night while out with the wild things and the whistling winds. Actually, there’s really only 15 things you could be climbing into and you’ll see why as you read on.
Tent camping often brings up images in your mind of the iconic tent with the A-frame and entrance at either side.
It also goes by the name of the Ridge Tent and this is that iconic and memorable tent. The reasoning behind the name is simply due to the shape of the tent bones and the fact that the top pole is called the ridge.
They can range in size from one person sleepers all the way to giant marquees and circus tents. As well as this – at one point – it was the only type of shelter available when pitching a tent. So, opting for the A-Frame Tent could be a step back in history to feel closer to the nomadic lifestyle of our ancestors.
More of a ‘half’ tent or Windbreaker Tent, the Beach Tent is a small and lightweight cover that pitches like a tent but is only half a shell. The purpose is to protect you from harsh winds, flying sand, pesky seagulls or potential sunburns on the little ones.
A good positive is that being under the shade means you’ve got another couple of seconds under your belt before your ice cream melts through the cone and onto the sandy beach.
For more information about the different types of beach this world has to offer and where you could be pitching up your Beach Tent, read this: “Earth’s Great Beaches: The Types, the Locations and the Care”.
Most often associated with the glamping side of things, these types of tent are still native to many migratory cultures and lifestyles such as Mongolian farmers.
Aesthetically speaking, the Bell Tent looks as though someone took a Tipi Tent and hiked it onto a plinth. With this, the Bell Tent has a circular wall surrounding the tent that provides extra height and space inside to stand.
These tents are also known around the world as a Yurt Tent and often provide the cosy and intimate camping escape with those closest to you. Plus, it is generally lightweight and easy to manoeuvre when pitching a tent.
We mentioned there were only 15 possible types of tent for you to be climbing into and here is the first of the two types of tent material for camping that you won’t be getting into, but you can certainly see the use of!
A Bike Tent shares the qualities of a Tunnel Tent but at a much thinner level. The Bike Tent has the role of protecting your bike and providing storage overnight while out on your camping trip.
Of course, we’ve touched on camping being a part of a hiking adventure, but there are many campers out there venturing into the forests with their bikes. And, when you’re camping overnight (especially in the UK with wet and windy weather) there is a need to shelter the bike.
The Bivy Tent (A.K.A Bivy Bag) is for happy lonesome campers who don’t like to share their personal space or like to hike out into the wide stretch of beautiful English landscape alone and without too much weight.
The Bivy Tent is a tent resembling a sleeping bag, yet bigger and with a ‘roof’. It also has one section (in the design of the Tunnel Tent) raised higher than the rest to allow your upper body extra wiggle room while you get comfortable and kip.
If you keep your eye out, you can head out tent camping with a Bivy Tent that mainly covered in a mesh material to keep out bugs and insects but let you see the stars as you fall asleep and let the natural sunlight wake you in the morning.
If the Rigid Tent has an A-frame, the Cabin Tent has an n-frame meaning there is plenty of space to stand up in. They’re also generally pretty big, enough to hold one or two families getting together for a tent camping holiday in the Lakes or Peaks.
With this, they tend to sprout in many tent rentals as they’re only needed on certain occasions. Despite this, they have aluminium poles making them very heavy (but very durable); so, make sure whoever you’re camping with can help in taking the weight of the tent.
These types of tent aren’t useful for any camping, more-so for events in a garden requiring shielding from the sun, rain or snow.
Yet, the make-up of the tent rentals (because they’re typically rented), contain the same classification, material and pole structure that would allow it to be classed as a tent.
Despite the usual Canopy Tent that can be purchased for event privacy, there are types of Canopy Tent made to cover another of the types of tent from above. Often, these have extra elasticity in the fabric so they can cover most types and sizes when pitching a tent. Doing this provides extra insulation and protection from the elements.
In the opposite reality to the A-Frame Tent, the Dome Tent can be identified due to the dome-like structure created by the flexible poles. They overlap with a cross-section at the top of the dome to create a square base.
These new flexible poles make the tent far more resistant to all-weather conditions, hence their design use throughout much tent material for camping.
One of the biggest benefits to these types of tent over the A-Frame is the extra headroom, while you may not have been able to walk around before, you certainly can now. The Dome Tent, given the design, also often comes in sizes big enough to allow storage space around the camping bag.
Keeping in time with the looks and trends of the modern 20s, the Geo-Design Tent is geodesic in that it features angles within the dome design to reinforce the structural integrity while providing even more headspace to move about.
Unlike the other domed tents, the Geo-Design Tent features a round base to sleep on, capitalising on available storage.
The structure of this tent features many flexible poles crossing over one-another in the same way the old playground jungle gym used to. With this, it makes them one of the most stable and weather-resistant types of tent out there on the market.
So, if you’re looking to begin pitching a tent anywhere in the UK through the windy season of Spring, make sure you’ve got your eye on a Geo-Design Tent.
The Hammock Tent (A.K.A. the Suspended Tent) is perfect for uneven grounds and woodland areas. This is because they are secured to surrounding trees rather than into the ground. Being between the trees, you’re less likely to be blown away by open winds, so ground stability isn’t a necessity.
As well as this, the Hammock Tent is the perfect tent camping solution to get off the ground and away from animals, running water, insects and anything else the ground might harbour.
Given there are no poles for the skeleton of the hammock, they are typically very lightweight and easy to set up. Yet, they’ll really only hold one camper with the exception of another person or pet along for the ride.
For the majority of tents out there (including tent rentals) you’ll come across skeletons and bodies made out of flexible aluminium or polyethylene poles strong enough to keep the structure.
However, inflatable tents can either be entirely inflated from the inside or have inflated structural beams holding up the rest of the tent material for camping.
These kinds of tent can be a fantastic themed tent for all those space-lovers out there.
As one of the newest types of tent, they can be a little pricey and, due to the make-up of the tent material, they can also be hefty to lug around the campsite. But, despite all this, they are alongside the Pop-Up Tent in terms of ease when pitching a tent because you simply open and set the pump going while to take a sip of warm brew.
Again, you’ve probably guessed the premise of this particular tent type in that it provides multiple ‘pods’ to the tent allowing for specific rooms to be pitched as well as extra sleeping areas to divide the campmates.
These are best for those heading out to venture the great British countryside with large groups of people for a prolonged period of time (you don’t really wat to be pitching a tent this big only to pack down and re-pitch every day).
The most common shape for the multi tent is to begin with the Tunnel Tent type before adding on extra modules of either the Tunnel Tent or the Cabin Tent. In these scenarios you can be dedicating a storage room, a kitchen and a few bedrooms so there’s no squabbling during the night.
The Pet Tent is yet another one of those ‘good luck but you won’t fit in it’ kinds of tent, just like the Bike Tent.
Rather than being used for having your furry friends stay close by on a hiking trip, they’re more of an indoor pet bed for them to enjoy as part of the décor. In fact, some of the most popular types of tent for pets is the cream Tipi Tent for cats and small pups.
This is the most popular choice for either the trip out to the festival as it makes for an easy pitching ride and a – somewhat – easy pack down, as long as you get the fold right.
The premise of these types of tent is that the tent is pre-pitched. There is no need to place Pole A with Pole B, thread through the loop and connect to Pole C. There’s only the slightly scary task of opening the bag and hoping you won’t get a free nose-job on the side.
The Pop-Up Tent makes for extremely quick tent camping set-up due to the flexible and spring-loaded coil of the frame that releases into its ideal position upon release.
With this, they’re generally very cheap, small, made for one person and lightweight for the ad-hoc trip into the mountains.
Rooftop Tents are an up-and-coming choice for nomads looking to travel the entire country.
If you have a car with roof bars, it can carry a rooftop tent which is reinforced with steel guy lines for heightened structure and durability.
There are two types of Rooftop Tent: the first is the hard-shell tent material for camping which doesn’t need folding-out or making-up as they simply pop up when the cover is released. The second is the soft-shell Rooftop Tent which can fold out to build a tent much like the Cabin Tent.
In terms of accessibility, both the Rooftop Tents types come with their own retractable ladder, so you don’t have to think about fumbling onto the roof at the dead of night.
Tipi Tent, Teepee Tent or Tepee Tent, whichever takes your fancy; we don’t judge here at The Hobby Kraze.
These types of tent take us all the way back to the origins alongside the A-Frame Tent.
Structurally, the Tipi Tent has a single shaft, stick, pole or rod in the centre of a draping fabric. The ends of which are then secured into the ground. With this, they don’t tend to be very secure or weatherproof. Instead, they are the perfect tent rentals for fair-weather camping adventures in the Summertime.
If you’re often left wondering about the difference between a Tipi Tent, a bell tent and a Wigwam, there is one thing you could look-out for. A Tipi Tent has a ventilation cap at the top of the tent to allow for good airflow. As for the other two, the Bell Tent has a base to raise the height of the tent and a Wigwam is a permanent wooden structure sharing the shape of the Tipi Tent.
Much like what it says on the tin (oh we do love simple names like that), the Tunnel Tent is a tunnel.
They are typically long domes that almost look like the Colin the Caterpillar cake we all had when growing up except it’s made of tent rather than cake.
These flexible poles are arranged in a parallel fashion rather than the Dome Tent’s perpendicular fashion and make for a fantastic party hut as they are just so big.
The Tunnel Tent often sleeps whole families in each of the compartments with extension sets available, too.
And there you have the 17 different types of tent you could be pitching up in the British countryside for a wild camping adventure.
Note that wild camping throughout the UK is largely illegal, but some places such as Scotland, Dartmoor and large-scale National trust locations are much more relaxed as long as you are kind to the environment.
If you’re still not sure about which of the different types of tents could suit you, your adventures and your wandering partner(s), then don’t forget our team has done all the hard work for you. From reviews of tents to reviews of the hot mess you could be making, take a look at the best camping gear for 2021:
- Ultimate Review of the Best Pop-Up Tents in 2021
- Ultimate Review of the Best Camping Mess Kit in 2021
- Ultimate Review of The Best Camping Lantern in 2021
- Ultimate Review of The Best 4-Person Tents in 2021
- Ultimate Review of The Best Bivy Sack Camping Blankets in 2021