|Garden Marquee||16 x 16ft||200||100||53|
|Marquee||18 x 20ft||200||100||180|
|Marquee||20 x 28ft||200||100||240|
|Marquee||20 x 36ft||200||100||300|
|Marquee||20 x 45ft||200||130||360|
|Marquee||20 x 54ft||200||150||410|
|Marquee||20 x 63ft||200||170||460|
|Marquee||20 x 72ft||200||200||510|
|Ridge tent and fly sheet||14 x 14ft||155||77||62|
|Patrol tent and fly sheet||14 x 14ft||155||77||62|
|Patrol tent and fly sheet||14 x 8ft||155||70||51|
|Command Tent||9 x 9ft||130||44||42|
|Mess Tent||15 x 12ft||78||55||52|
|Mess Tent Extension||15 x 12ft||75||70||40|
|US Mess Tent||240||80||145|
|Army Cook Shelter||200||45||34|
|Party Event Tent||3 x 6 m||235||26||91|
|Party Event Tent||4 x 4 m||235||26||96|
|Party Event Tent||4 x 6 m||235||26||101|
|Party Event Tent||4 x 8 m||235||63||129|
|Party Event Tent||4 x 10 m||235||63||143|
|Party Event Tent||6 x 10 m||235||64||257|
An example of a simple tented shelter.
Tent fabric may be made of many materials including cotton (canvas), nylon, felt and polyester. Cotton absorbs water, so it can become very heavy when wet, but the associated swelling tends to block any minute holes so that wet cotton is more waterproof than dry cotton. Nylon and polyester are much lighter than cotton and do not absorb much water; with suitable coatings they can be very waterproof, but they tend to deteriorate over time due to a slow chemical breakdown caused by ultraviolet light. Since stitching makes tiny holes in a fabric, it is important that any seams are sealed or taped to block up these holes.
Rain resistance is measured as a hydrostatic head in millimetres (mm). This indicates the pressure of water needed to penetrate a fabric. Heavy or wind-driven rain has a higher pressure than light rain. Standing on a groundsheet increases the pressure on any water underneath. Fabric with a hydrostatic head of 1000 mm or less is best regarded as shower resistant, with 1500 mm being usually suitable for summer camping. Tents for year-round use generally have at least 2000 mm; expedition tents intended for extreme conditions are often rated at 3000 mm. Where quoted, groundsheets may be 5000 mm or more.
Many tent manufacturers indicate capacity by such phrases as '3 berth' or '2 person'. These numbers indicate how many people the manufacturer thinks can be fit snugly into a tent with just sleeping bags. These numbers do not allow for any personal belongings such as luggage, inflatable mattresses, camp beds, cots, etc. Experience indicates that camping may be more comfortable if the actual number of campers is 1 or even 2 less than the manufacturer's suggestion.
Tents can be improvised using waterproof fabric, string, and sticks. This allows them to be easily built and moved.
A variety of dome tents
There are three basic configurations of tents, each of which may appear with many variations:
Single skin (USA: single wall): Only one waterproof layer of fabric is used, comprising at least roof and walls.
Single skin with flysheet: A waterproof flysheet or rain fly is suspended over and clear of the roof of the tent; it often overlaps the tent roof slightly, but does not extend down the sides or ends of the tent.
Double skin (USA: double wall): The outer tent is a waterproof layer which extends down to the ground all round. One or more 'inner tents' provide sleeping areas. The outer tent may be just a little larger than the inner tent, or it may be a lot larger and provide a covered living area separate from the sleeping area(s). An inner tent need not be waterproof. The double layer may provide some insulation.
Many factors affect tent design, including:
A small, two-person, backpacking tent
Shelters are not normally used for sleeping. Instead they may act as a store or provide shelter from sun, rain, or dew.
With modern materials, tent manufacturers have great freedom to vary types and styles and shapes of tents.
Many tents which use rigid steel poles are free-standing and do not require guy ropes, though they may require pegs around the bottom edge of the fabric. These tents are usually so heavy (25 to 80 Kg) that it takes a rather strong wind to blow them away.
Flexible poles used for tents in this section are typically between 3 and 6 metres long (10 and 20 feet) and are normally made of tubes of fibreglass with an external diameter less than 1 cm (1/3 inch). For ease of transportation, these poles are made in sections some 30 cm to 60 cm long (1 to 2 ft), with one end of each section having a socket into which the next section can fit. For ease of assembly, the sections for each pole are often connected by an internal cord running the entire length of the pole.
Dome tents have a very simple structure and are available in a wide variety of sizes ranging from lightweight 2-person tents with limited headroom up to 6 or 9-person tents with headroom exceeding 180 cm (6 ft). These may be single wall, or single-wall with partial flysheet, or double wall. Depending on the pole arrangement, some models pitch outer-tent first, while others pitch inner-tent first. The former helps keep the inner tent dry, but the latter is easier to pitch.
The basic dome has a rectangular floor and two poles which cross at the peak; each pole runs in a smooth curve from one bottom corner, up to the peak, and then down to the diagonally opposite bottom corner. There are usually special fittings at each corner which fit into sockets at the ends of each pole - pole tension keeps everything in shape. The poles usually run outside the tent fabric, which is attached to the poles by sleeves. In some new models clips are also used. Dome tents do not require guy ropes and pegs for structural integrity, but must be pegged down in high winds.
The basic dome design has been modified extensively, producing tents with three poles, tents with irregularly-shaped bases, and other unusual types. A common variation is to add a third pole going from corner to corner on one side; this is angled away from the tent, and supports an extended flysheet or outer tent to give a porch/storage area.
Most of these tent styles are no longer generally available. Most of these are single-skin designs, with optional fly sheets for the ridge tents.
All the tents listed here had a canvas fabric and used a substantial number of guy ropes (8 to 18). The guys had to be positioned and tensioned fairly precisely in order to pitch the tent correctly, so some training and experience were needed. This made these styles relatively unsuitable for casual or occasional campers. Pup tents might use wooden or metal poles, but all the other styles mentioned here used wooden poles.
These larger tents are seldom used for sleeping.