The Dome Tent

Considerations before buying your new tent are the number of occupants, type of camping and weather exposure.

Dome tents are available in a variety of types and configurations. While most campers choose the dome tent based on the ease of set-up, the overall advantage of the dome tent is the increased space over the traditional A-frame tent design. The curved sidewalls also shed rain and snow easier, causing it to run off before it can collect. The number and strength of the poles determine the amount of structural stability. Some lightweight 3-season tents have only two assembly poles while others add a third or fourth pole. And heavy-duty tents have up to 8 poles that form a dome to fully support the fabric.

Main Advantages of Dome Tents:
Because dome tents are freestanding you can put the tent together and place it in any location before staking it to the ground. One disadvantage of the dome tent is that they do catch the wind and can blow away, but they do stake to the ground easily with four or five tent stakes. A great advantage is the ease of disassembly and packing. Simply pull the tent stakes and poles and roll the tent. With some practice the tent will pack away efficiently with the rest of your camping equipment.

  • Dome tents can resist wind and most types of weather conditions effectively but be sure to choose your tent based on season and climate.
  • The corners provide more room for storage of clothing and gear.
  • Dome tents are lighter in weight than frame tents.
  • They give greater amount of head room than conventional A-frame tents.
  • They set-up, disassemble and pack easily and quickly.

Tent Rating
Tents are rated as three-season or four-season. Because three-season tents hold up well in moderate wind and rain they are the ideal choice for most campers. But they do not hold up to high winds and heavy snowfall. Four-season tents are designed for high winds, very cold temperatures and snow.

Charactertics of the four-season tent.

  • Most four-season tents are heavy duty with aluminum poles, extra bar tack loops, and multiple stakeout points to secure against high winds.
  • Most four-season tents have a roofline that prevents water and snow collecting.
  • Four-season tents include a full-coverage rainfly for maximum protection from the weather. These tents also would have extra ventiliation.

Vestibules are an extension to your tent that can provide extra room for storing gear such as muddy boots, wet clothing, and other items that do not belong inside the tent. Vestibules are usually created as an extension of the rain fly, and therefore, they have no floor. Some elaborate vestibules do have a floor and are designed to create a small second room.
Vestibules are great for extended camping trips from one location, but because of the additional weight and set-up time they are not ideal for mobile camping conditions such as hiking and canoe camping.

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