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Advantages of a Dome Camping Tent

Updated on December 9, 2012

The Dome Camping Tent Design

Dome Camping Tents are based on the simple principle that poles bent inside the fabric cover, and pushing against each other as they cross, form a stable and rigid structure

The simplest form is to have a square or rectangular base and two sets of poles fixed at the four corners. These push out and up forming a domed roof. Poles bend sufficiently to give a nice high roof unlike many other tent designs.

Unfortunately, this shape is not particularly resistant to strong winds. The higher the dome the worse this gets. Such tents are OK for sheltered spots and very casual camping, but no more than that.

As you add more poles the structure becomes stronger and sheds the wind more easily. The payoff is extra weight and expense. If you need a strong, spacious tent and don't intend to carry it far from your vehicle then that's no concern of yours.

For a really spacious tent the solution is to join two. Many manufacturers now offer large family tents with two domes linked by one large all-encompassing flysheet. These are an excellent choice for any family intending lengthy or regular camping trips. There's lots of room, some independence and many extra features to the camp life more like home.

Advantages of a Dome Camping Tent

I have pointed out some advantages above.

The only other major advantage that dome tents have is the ease with which they can be set up.

There are pop-up dome tents available. These must be the easiest of all tents to pitch. However, this ease comes at the cost of strength.

Standard Dome Camping Tents, ones that require you to thread or clip the poles yourself, are still quick and easy to set up. Poles are nearly always shock-corded (tied together on the inside so you know which goes with which) and the same length. Only poles for porches differ, and that should be obvious.

There will be little need to adjust the tent once erected. The poles force the fabric into the desired shape.

To summarise, the advantages of a dome camping tent are as follows:

  • generous headroom;
  • strength (3 or more crossing poles);
  • easy to pitch; and
  • easily incorporated into a dual design - making for the best large family tents available

Disadvantages of a Dome Camping tent

No tent is perfect and there are weaknesses even with this clever design.

As stated in the first section, the simplest dome camping tents are inherently weak. They are fine for many activities so long as you are aware of this weakness. Weather forecasters can usually get the wind strength and direction right even if they can't specify where precipitation will fall with total confidence.

Doors can be formed as a T shape or an inverted U. The latter involves the zip travelling along a curved path. If you are not careful this is likely to jam. You would do well to look for a T-shaped door unless your kids are older and likely to follow instructions.


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