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Whether you're setting up at the campground or going climbing in the mountains, there's a tent for a variety of recreational and backpacking activities. Recreational tents and car tents come in lots of sizes and price ranges for the average camper, while four season tents offer the best in materials and durability for mountaineering and backpacking. Read on below for more information tent uses, shapes, features, and materials. 
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Tent Uses

Recreational Camping
Tents for recreational camping are made for fair weather at established campground facilities and are easily assembled and transported. 

Travel & Car Camping
Similar to recreational tents, car or truck bed tents are made for easy assembly and are attached to the back of a vehicle for easy camping in fair weather. 

Backpacking
Lightweight and compact, backpacking tents are both durable and made to be packed up and carried for long distances. 

Four Season Tents
While most other tents are considered three season tents (meant to be used only in fair weather), four season tents are made to withstand the cold, snow, wind, and rain, while being relatively easy to pack up and carry for backpacking and mountain climbing. 

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Tent Shapes

Dome tents offer simple set-up, stability, and are designed to shed wind and rain. This is the most popular style of tent for camping. 

Cabin tents are best for campgrounds or established areas, but offer plenty of room for cots, chairs, and coolers. 

Modified dome tents range from recreational family-sized tents to single-person cots. 

A-Frame tents offer a sturdy design that's easy to assemble for hiking and camping. 

Screen room tents are great for recreational purposes and feature a section with open screens for indoor/outdoor relaxation. 

Hammock tents are recreational, family-style tents that are large enough for multiple sleeping and lounging arrangements. 

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Features

  • Rain Fly. This is a protective covering that goes over your tent to protect it from rain and wind. Look for reinforced loops that stitch to the sides of the tent for additional stability. 
  • Footprint. A nylon layer with a heavy duty waterproof coating can be used underneath the floor of your tent for protection against ground water. 
  • Vestibule. This outside covering attaches to your tent or works as an extension of your rain fly for additional protection and storage outside. 

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Materials

Tent Poles

  • Steel poles are both the strongest and heaviest types of poles. They are also prone to rust. 
  • Fiberglass poles are the most common for recreational tents for a variety of uses at a great value.
  • Aluminum poles are the most lightweight, will not shatter in extreme cold temperatures, and are more durable than fiberglass. Most backpacker and four season tents have aluminum poles. 


​Tent Panels

  • ​Polyester Panels can withstand extremely wet conditions and extended UV exposure, however the waterproof coating reduces breathability. 
  • Mesh Panels come in two styles of weaves for either more ventilation and less protection from insects, or a tighter weave for slightly less breathability with more resistance to insects. 

Use a sealant on the thread seams of your tent to ensure maximum waterproofing and durability. 

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