Backpacking Tent vs Suspended Tent | Which is the Best for Camping?

Backpacking vs suspended Tents

When comparing a backpacking tent vs suspended tents, they each offer low-weight options great for traveling campers but are hammock tents right for you?

We’ve broken down the major similarities and differences of common tent types to help you make the right decision for your next outdoor adventure!

Backpacking Tent vs Suspended Tent

First, let’s break down each type of tent:

Backpacking

backpacking tent vs suspended tent
True to their name, backpacking tents are intended for backpacking! They are traditionally smaller than most other tent types as their primary focus is keeping the weight down while protecting you from the elements.

Suspended

a-frame tent vs suspended tent

Suspended tents are essentially hammock tents. While there are multiple designs between hammocks and suspended tents, they are defined by the hanging design that secures against trees, poles, or other objects.

Major Differences

The biggest difference between a backpacking tent vs suspended tent is the setup. Suspended tents hang from trees or beams to create an enclosed hammock that will protect you from the elements anywhere you can find 2-3 trees. In contrast, backpacking tents intercrossing poles to set up a shelter directly on the ground. Suspended tents are basically hammocks with a rain tarp and backpacking tents are mini versions of traditional tents.

Another difference between these two tent types is the cost. You can find comparable suspended and backpacking tents at the same price between $150 – $300 but you can also find backpacking tents for $1k+. If weight is the most important thing for your camping style and you have the cash to back it up, you can save pounds by opting for the higher-priced backpacking tents.

Both types of tents usually use a two-layer design to repel rain but a backpacking tent may be slightly more comfortable to spend a longer period of time inside during a storm as you can sit inside with more room easily compared to suspended tents. Being off the ground in a suspended tent prevents any kind of rain from pooling below the tent but also exposes you to wind on all four sides which may cause swaying as you hang.

Best Uses For Backpacking & Suspended Tents

While each tent can be used in almost any situation, they both are best for backpacking trips given the small capacities and tent weights. There isn’t anything holding you back from using backpacking and suspended tents for family or car camping but you’ll only be able to fit a couple of people in each one!

Backpacking

Suspended


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | Backpacking Tent vs Suspended Tent

Since suspended tents and backpacking tents have similar capacities and purposes, they are very comparable when it comes to their overall features. The primary difference stems from the way the tents form to their environment.

Backpacking tents being on the ground will hold up slightly better in storms (less swaying and strain against the straps/poles) than suspended tents. You’ll still be safe in a suspended tent but the wind on all sides may be less comfortable in the long run.

Product

Backpacking

Suspended

Sturdiness

Capacity

Cost

Portability

Lifespan

Want more?

Check out our infographic and larger article covering the ten most common tent types or use our tent finding tool to quickly find the tents that suit your needs!

Grab our car camping packing list for your next trip!Don't forget anything and be the first to hear news from Midwest Camping!

Pop-Up Tent vs Tunnel Tent | Which is the Best for Camping?

Pop Up vs Tunnel Tent

When comparing a pop-up tent vs tunnel tent, these two different designs come with important considerations to think about before you make your decision! Extra space from tunnel tents comes with some tradeoffs that may change your plans.

We’ve broken down the major similarities and differences of common tent types to help you make the right decision for your next outdoor adventure!

Pop-Up Tent vs Tunnel Tent

First, let’s break down each type of tent:

Pop-Up

a-frame tent vs pop-up tent
A newer tent category with fewer offerings than most other types of tents, pop-up tents are specifically designed for the easiest set-up possible. The poles are integrated directly within the tent frame and fabric.

Tunnel

dome tent vs tunnel tent

Tunnel tents use poles to form a series of half-rings that frame the tent (compared to the cross-pole design of a dome tent). Tunnel tents frequently have extended vestibules for more space to store gear, your shoes, and keep wet things outside of the living area!

Major Differences

The biggest differences between a pop-up tent vs tunnel tent are capacity and portability. Tunnel tents come in capacities of up to about 8 people and may also be large enough to stand in. These tents use multiple arcing poles in a row to provide structure for the tent that allows for a semicircle-type roof that enables far more space than the sharply angled a-frame tent. In comparison, pop-up tents use a series of poles integrated within the fabric to spring into their shape that usually caps out around 4 people but are much easier to set up.

Pop-up tents typically employ a two-layer design to repel rain but the second layer only covers the very top of the tent, as opposed to longer rain flys present in A-frame or Dome tents. As seen in the photos above, pop-up tents use a single layer of rain protection for up to 75% of each side. Tunnel tents frequently use a single-layer tent which allows for larger windows and can allow for better airflow than pop-up tents.

While they should both offer fine rain protection, other tent types may be more reliable in harsher storms since pop-ups are built for convenience as opposed to protection and other structures may be stronger with more rain coverage.

Best Uses For Pop-Up & Tunnel Tents

Each of these types of tents is great for both small-family and car camping! Smaller families may prefer the simplicity offered by pop-ups or enjoy the larger amount of space offered by tunnel tents. Neither tent is appropriate for backpacking (there are better options) as they almost always have too large of a package to reasonably pack and walk miles with.

Pop-Up

Tunnel


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | Pop-Up Tent vs Tunnel Tent

Tunnel tents have the advantage of high capacity while pop-up tents are significantly easier to set up. Each have similar rain protection with the limited dual-layer of pop-ups and frequent single-layer tunnel tent design. Not sold on either type? We’d recommend a dome tent for any type of camper from beginner to expert!

Product

Pop-Up

Tunnel

Sturdiness

Capacity

Cost

Portability

Lifespan

Want more?

Check out our infographic and larger article covering the ten most common tent types or use our tent finding tool to quickly find the tents that suit your needs!

Grab our car camping packing list for your next trip!Don't forget anything and be the first to hear news from Midwest Camping!

Winter Camping in Illinois | Your Guide to Cold Weather Fun

Winter Camping in Illinois

Finding the perfect place for winter camping in Illinois can be tough as most campgrounds close for the off-season. We’ve pulled together the best state parks, local campgrounds, and private spots to spend a weekend warming over the campfire.

winter-camping-in-illinois

Where to Go

Winter Camping in Northern Illinois

These campgrounds are open throughout the year for winter camping options in the northern side of the state.

Starved Rock State Park – The most popular state park in Illinois, Starved Rock has limited campgrounds available through December as hunting season is active. Unfortunately, the campgrounds are completely closed between January and March so you’ll need other options for winter camping in Illinois.

White Pines Forest State Park – White Pines is open for walk-in camping from November through April as long as the weather permits. The Illinois DNR cautions that the campground occasionally closes during March and April because of soft ground conditions and recommends calling ahead during these months to check the status of the campground.

Lowden State Park – Just on the other side of the river from White Pines, Lowden State Park offers access to local hiking trails and primitive campgrounds for an extra private experience

Winter Camping Near Chicago

For winter camping near Chicago, try out these options:

Cook County Forest Preserves – Some cook county campgrounds are open all year round

Adeline Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park – From October onward, Illinois Beach State Park is open for walk-in campers as the weather gets cooler. This is a great way to get a lakeside campsite for the offseason!

Winter Camping in Southern Illinois

Benton KOA – One of the only private campgrounds open for winter camping in Illinois, the Benton KOA offers nearby access to the Shawnee National Forest

Wayne Fizgerrell State Park – Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area overlooks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 19,000 Rend Lake Reservoir. Their campgrounds are open for walk-in reservations during the offseason from November through March

cabin camping packing list

Where to Find Cabins in Illinois

If you’d rather enjoy the outdoors with the safety and security of a cabin to return home to, there are plenty of places to do that across the state!

19 of Illinois’ State Parks have cabins that are able to be rented by the night and offer unprecedented access to the state parks that otherwise have almost no development.

For cabin camping closer to Chicago, the Cook County Forest Preserve operates cabins at campgrounds just outside the city.

If you need a larger cabin or want more options to pick from, check out companies like Airbnb, VRBO, and Hipcamp.

What do you need for winter camping in Illinois?

In addition to the regular gear you need for camping, winter camping in Illinois means you need to be prepared for temperatures to drop well below freezing.

Tent

While your normal tent will likely suffice with some preparation, you’ll want to have to ensure you can make it through the night safely and comfortably when winter camping in Illinois! Either add extra insulation through floor blankets and overlapping tarps or splurge for a 4-season tent that has less ventilation but offers more heat retention.

Sleeping Bag & Sleeping Pad

Even if you don’t usually use a sleeping pad during summer camping, make sure you have something to separate your body and sleeping bag from the cold hard ground below for better insulation. Take a look at a sleeping pad’s r-value to understand its insulation capabilities and be sure to go for a higher R-value to stay warmer!

The sleeping bag itself may also need an upgrade if you’re used to sleeping in 60-degree weather. Check your label and model to see where your bag is rated down to and either bring extra blankets or upgrade your sleeping bag to ensure you won’t freeze if the temps drop below 0!

Clothing – Layers are Everything

You probably won’t need to buy anything else as long as you already have some non-cotton gear ready to layer up. While that Canada Goose jacket does great for walking in the city, layers are the key to ensuring you stay warm and are able to adjust with the sun throughout the day. Winter camping in Illinois can easily go subzero with limited notice so pack more over less!

Layers to Bring Winter Camping

Underlayer / Wicking Layer – This layer is what is against your skin. Consider long johns or long sleeve shirts but avoid cotton to prevent hypothermia risk as cotton will soak up any of your sweat and become very cold very fast

Base Layer – A sweatshirt or other heavier materials that add heat retention while still being comfortable

Outer Layer – The coat or jacket layer. This keeps the wind out and really packs in the heat while allowing you to adjust by opening the jacket to let heat out or even take it off as the sun reaches its peak.

Don’t forget lots of socks!

pexels mikhail nilov 6623917

Other Equipment Considerations

Water bottles are not only important for keeping hydrated but also can be useful for keeping you warm. Add warm water to a Nalgene, tighten the cap, and stick it in the foot of your sleeping bag before you go to sleep to keep the water from freezing overnight and provide a little warmth.

Cold weather can cause your electronics to lose power quicker than indoors. Consider bringing an extra battery pack to ensure you still have a working cell phone in the morning!

What to Do

pierre jarry LL b3o1I9Pw unsplash

Winter Activities in Illinois

While the state might be flat, there is a lot to do across the different campgrounds mentioned above!

Ice Fishing – If your campground or park has a lake, you’re probably allowed to ice fish when it freezes! Check out specific regulations and available fish for this unique opportunity for catching your own winter dinner.

Cross Country Skiing – One of the benefits of the flatter nature of the state is that cross country skiing is much easier to try and get the hang of. Many forest preserves and state parks offer rentals so check out your nearby options!

Snowshoeing – Check out the nearby state parks for snowshoe rentals to hike in deep snow!

Hiking – Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t go hike! Snowy days can create a silent atmosphere and fewer people outside makes for a peaceful and serene hike at any park or campground.

Sledding – Many state and local parks have some of the only hills in the area so check out your local park for any hills that would be good to bring a sled to! One example is Blackwell forest preserve which has a tubing hill that is available anytime it snows more than a few inches!

Birdwatching – Winter brings unique birdwatching opportunities. When the cold weather freezes the rivers, bald eagles flock to Starved Rock to feast in the patch of water created by the nearby locks.

Illinois Winter Camping Safety Tips

While winter camping can be a ton of fun, it doesn’t come without risk. The biggest risk is going to be the temperature. Ensure you have enough layers and the right equipment to stay warm and dry and avoid hypothermia. If you find yourself wet or damp, be certain to change clothes to try to stay dry and avoid falling ill.

As with any camping trip, food and drink is going to be important too! Being outdoors in the cold will increase the number of calories your body uses so you’ll need a little extra food to ensure you’re replacing those calories and able to maintain your body heat.

Conclusion

Want to check out all the campgrounds across the state? Check out our Illinois campground guides! Still need a tent? We’ve got you covered.

Grab our car camping packing list for your next trip!Don't forget anything and be the first to hear news from Midwest Camping!

Illinois State Park Fun Facts & Statistics | 5 Things You Never Knew

IL State Park Fun Facts

The Illinois DNR can trace its history back to the very origins of the state’s creation as the first game law was put in place in 1853. These fun facts show how far Illinois conservation has come over the last 200 years!

5. (Almost) No Fees!

Illinois is one of the only states that do not charge entry fees for their state parks! Other than some parking fees at state park beaches, every state park is free to enter and enjoy!

4. First Illinois State Park

Along the Ohio River, Massac State Park was first established in 1908 to preserve the history behind this French-Indian war encampment first built in the mid-1700s

3. Most Popular Illinois State Park

In 2020, the most popular state park in Illinois was Starved Rock State Park. A longtime Illinoisan favorite, over 2.3 million people visited in 2020.

2. Least Popular Illinois State Park

With less than 4,000 visitors in 2020, the Fall Creek Scenic Overlook was the least popular state park in Illinois. A small park with limited activities, this park sees about 300 people a month throughout the year for archery hunting.

1. Largest Illinois State Park

The largest State Park in Illinois is Pere Marquette with over 8,000 acres to explore at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

Illinois State Park Statistics

Number of Visitors (2020)34.9 million
Number of State Parks*117
Northern Illinois49
Central Illinois39
Southern Illinois29
Largest State Park8,000 Acres
*Includes recreation areas, state trails, fish & wildlife areas, conservation areas, and forests

Grab our car camping packing list for your next trip!Don't forget anything and be the first to hear news from Midwest Camping!

Pop-Up Tent vs Cabin Tent | Which is the Best for Camping?

Pop Up vs Cabin Tent

When comparing a pop-up tent vs cabin tent, there are some important aspects to cabin tents that should be considered before you make your decision! Extra space from cabin tents comes with some tradeoffs that may change your plans.

We’ve broken down the major similarities and differences of common tent types to help you make the right decision for your next outdoor adventure!

Pop-Up Tent vs Cabin Tent

First, let’s break down each type of tent:

Pop-Up

a-frame tent vs pop-up tent
A newer tent category with fewer offerings than most other types of tents, pop-up tents are specifically designed for the easiest set-up possible. The poles are integrated directly within the tent frame and fabric.

Cabin

pop-up tent vs cabin tent

Featuring multiple rooms and more space than any dome tent could off, cabin tents ensure there is privacy and room available for everyone.

Major Differences

The biggest differences between a pop-up tent vs cabin tent are capacity and portability. Cabin tents are built to be able to stand in with many people. They are available in sizes of up to 12 people for large families or groups that want multiple rooms available for increased privacy. Cabin tent rooms are usually made with a piece of tent fabric between portions of the tent that are able to be opened and closed. In comparison, pop-up tents cap out around 4 people but are much easier to set up.

Both pop-up and cabin tents typically employ a two-layer design to repel rain but each tent type’s second layer only covers the very top of the tent, as opposed to longer rain flys present in A-frame or Dome tents. As seen in the photos above, Cabin/pop-up tents use a single layer of rain protection for up to 75% of each side.

While they should both offer fine rain protection, other tent types may be more reliable in harsher storms since pop-ups are built for convenience as opposed to protection and other structures may be stronger with more rain coverage.

Cabin tents can be slightly more challenging to set up but if you have the labor to help out (and fill the large capacity tent), it is significantly easier. Pop-ups are the easiest type of tent to set up and can go from bag to tent in under a minute!

Best Uses For Pop-Up & Cabin Tents

Each of these types of tents is great for both small-family and car camping! Smaller families may prefer the simplicity offered by pop-ups or enjoy the larger amount of space offered by cabin tents. Neither tent is appropriate for backpacking (there are better options) as they almost always have too large of a package to reasonably pack and walk miles with.

Pop-Up

Cabin


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | Pop-Up Tent vs Cabin Tent

Cabin tents have the advantage of high capacity while pop-up tents are significantly easier to set up. Each have similar rain protection and offers a relatively similar price range by capacity but your selection of pop-up tents is going to be fairly limited as they are a newer entry to the category. Not sold on either type? We’d recommend a dome tent for any type of camper from beginner to expert!

Product

Pop-Up

Cabin

Sturdiness

Capacity

Cost

Portability

Lifespan

Want more?

Check out our infographic and larger article covering the ten most common tent types or use our tent finding tool to quickly find the tents that suit your needs!

Grab our car camping packing list for your next trip!Don't forget anything and be the first to hear news from Midwest Camping!

Pop-Up Tent vs Rooftop Tent | Which is the Best for Camping?

Pop Up v Rooftop Tent

When comparing a pop-up tent vs rooftop tent, the decision really comes down to price and whether you have the supporting equipment or not. We’ve broken down the major similarities and differences of common tent types to help you make the right decision for your next outdoor adventure!

Pop-Up Tent vs Rooftop Tent

First, let’s break down each type of tent:

Pop-Up

a-frame tent vs pop-up tent
A newer tent category with fewer offerings than most other types of tents, pop-up tents are specifically designed for the easiest set-up possible. The poles are integrated directly within the tent frame and fabric.

Rooftop

dome tent vs rooftop tent

Mounted on the top of your SUV, Truck, or Jeep, these tents fold down flat while you’re driving and pop right up when ready to sleep. Rooftop tents are perfect for those who like to find backcountry campgrounds in dispersed lands or who hate setting up the tent once they get to their campground.

Major Differences

The biggest differences between a pop-up tent vs rooftop tent are their setup, capacity, and best use. Rooftop tents attach to a jeep or truck bed and are set up by pulling the ladder down to unfold the tent and attaching any necessary exterior poles to stretch the tent out. In contrast, pop-ups use multiple poles that are integrated directly into the fabric to create a pre-determined shelter frame that can be set up with a quick shake out on the ground once you arrive at the campground.

Pop-up and rooftop tents will have similar peak heights, although rooftop tents may have straighter sides that provide much more room than the oval pop-up footprint with sloped sides. pop-up come in sizes of around 4 people at their largest while the largest rooftop tents max out at around 6 people.

Both types of tents usually use a two-layer design to repel rain but rooftop tents may be slightly more comfortable to spend a longer period of time inside during a storm as you can sit inside with more room (or just jump back into the car to stay extra dry). Pop-up tents also have less coverage with the two-layer rain fly than most rooftop and other tents.

A pop-up’s biggest advantage is its ability to be set up anywhere with flat ground as Rooftop tents can only be used wherever you can drive your car to. That said, jeeps and trucks can get to spectacular backcountry campgrounds in national forests and other wilderness for free and incredible possibilities.

Best Uses For Pop-Up & Rooftop Tents

Pop-up tents can be used in most family or car camping situations while rooftop tents are able to be used across any camping setting! While not true backpacking tents, rooftop tents can access back country campgrounds using your jeep or truck so we’ve included a check mark in that row as well! Pop-ups usually have too large of a package to effectively take backpacking.

Pop-Up

Rooftop


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | Pop-Up Tent vs Rooftop Tent

Rooftop tents and pop-up tents are very different from their general structure to their intended purpose and capacity. If you have the car for it, a rooftop tent can be a pricey but versatile tent to take you new places that are inaccessible without days of walking otherwise. Pop-ups can be great for newer campers or those who just want an easy tent for the one or two times per year they go out.

Given their differences, you’ll want to pick the one best suited for your next couple of years of camping plans!

Product

Pop-Up

Rooftop

Sturdiness

Capacity

Cost

Portability

Lifespan

Want more?

Check out our infographic and larger article covering the ten most common tent types or use our tent finding tool to quickly find the tents that suit your needs!

Grab our car camping packing list for your next trip!Don't forget anything and be the first to hear news from Midwest Camping!

Pop-Up Tent vs Suspended Tent | Which is the Best for Camping?

Pop Up v suspended Tent

When comparing a pop-up tent vs suspended tents, they each offer beginner tent options but is the convenience of a pop-up tent worth the price difference?

We’ve broken down the major similarities and differences of common tent types to help you make the right decision for your next outdoor adventure!

Pop-Up Tent vs Suspended Tent

First, let’s break down each type of tent:

Pop-Up

a-frame tent vs pop-up tent
A newer tent category with fewer offerings than most other types of tents, pop-up tents are specifically designed for the easiest set-up possible. The poles are integrated directly within the tent frame and fabric.

Suspended

pop-up tent vs suspended tent

Suspended tents are essentially hammock tents. While there are multiple designs between hammocks and suspended tents, they are defined by the hanging design that secures against trees, poles, or other objects.

Major Differences

The biggest difference between a pop-up vs suspended tent is their setup. Pop-up tents can hold up to 4 people and have all of their structural poles integrated within the fabric of the tent. These usually just need a quick shake-out or push of some expandable sections to go from bag to tent quickly.

Pop-Up tents also typically have an oval footprint where the frame sits on the ground.

In contrast, suspended tents hang from trees or beams to create an enclosed hammock that will protect you from the elements anywhere you can find 2-3 trees. Since they are effectively hammocks with roofs, suspended tents typically max out their capacity at 2 people. Larger tent types can be found in different structural designs.

Both types of tents usually use a two-layer design to repel rain but a pop-up tent may be slightly more comfortable to spend a longer period of time inside during a storm as you can sit inside with more room easily compared to suspended tents.

Suspended tent’s largest advantage comes from their size and weight. Built specifically for backpacking, manufacturers can use minimal poles and fabric to get incredible low weights. If you have experience with hammocks or are comfortable setting up suspended tents, they can be perfect for your next backpacking trip. Pop-up tents usually fold into bulky packages that aren’t good uses of space within a backpack (if it fits at all).

Best Uses For Pop-Up & Suspended Tents

Pop-up tents can be used in most family or car camping situations while suspended tents are absolutely the way to go for backpacking (or specialized backpacking tents) to keep the weight low and pack size small. You can camp almost anywhere with a suspended tent, as long as you have trees nearby to hold your weight!

Pop-Up

Suspended


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | Pop-Up Tent vs Suspended Tent

Suspended tents and pop-up tents are very different from their general structure to their intended purpose and capacity.

Given their differences, you’ll want to pick the one best suited for your next couple of years of camping plans!

Product

Pop-Up

Suspended

Sturdiness

Capacity

Cost

Portability

Lifespan

Want more?

Check out our infographic and larger article covering the ten most common tent types or use our tent finding tool to quickly find the tents that suit your needs!

Grab our car camping packing list for your next trip!Don't forget anything and be the first to hear news from Midwest Camping!

A-Frame Tent vs Tunnel Tent | Which is the Best for Camping?

A Frame v Tunnel Tent

When comparing an a-frame tent vs tunnel tent, the two highly different designs may change your weekend in ways you might not expect.

We’ve broken down the major similarities and differences of common tent types to help you make the right decision for your next outdoor adventure!

A-Frame Tent vs Tunnel Tent

First, let’s break down each type of tent:

A-Frame

a-frame vs backpacking tent
The A-Frame tent is distinguished by its triangular prism design which uses a rectangular floor, two A-frames on the ends, and a cross pole in order to form the tent frame.

Tunnel

dome tent vs tunnel tent

Tunnel tents use poles to form a series of half-rings that frame the tent (compared to the cross-pole design of a dome tent). Tunnel tents frequently have extended vestibules for more space to store gear, your shoes, and keep wet things outside of the living area!

Major Differences

The biggest differences between an a-frame tent vs tunnel tents are their construction and capacity. A-frames use a cross pole held up by four corner poles to establish that well-known ‘A’ on the front and back of the tent. They traditionally will cap out around 4 people but may be large enough to stand in at their peak in the very middle of the tent.

Tunnel tents come in capacities of up to about 8 people and may also be large enough to stand in. These tents use multiple arcing poles in a row to provide structure for the tent that allows for a semicircle-type roof that enables far more space than the sharply angled a-frame tent. Since the poles do not cross, the structure is slightly less stable than the interlocking a-frame design (but still protective).

A-frame tents typically employ a two-layer design to repel rain while tunnel tents frequently use single-layer protection. Each should suffice but the dual-layer always makes us more comfortable in poor weather. While they should both offer good rain protection, a-frame tents may be more reliable in harsher storms since their structure allows wind to flow around the tent better and the rain fly offers more coverage. A benefit of single-layers in tunnel tents is that they have larger windows and can allow for better airflow than a-frame tents.

Both a-frame and tunnel tents may have a vestibule in the front of the tent which allows for gear and shoe storage to help keep things dry overnight or in the rain but tunnel tent vestibules are going to be much larger than the small a-frame vestibules. A-frame vestibules may hold a couple of pairs of shoes and help keep rain out while you get into the tent but cabin tent vestibules could add another 50% of dry floor space in some models.

Both tent types can typically be set up by just a couple of people without too much difficulty!

Best Uses For A-Frame & Tunnel Tents

Each of these types of tents is great for both family and car camping! Some small a-frame tents can be used for backpacking (although there are better options) but tunnel tents are heavier since they use more poles and usually have more materials than the average a-frame.

A-Frame

Cabin


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | A-Frame Tent vs Tunnel Tent

Outside of the structural differences, A-Frame and tunnel tents are fairly similar. Tunnel tents will offer more capacity at the same price range while A-frames could be used for backpacking in a pinch if you don’t have a more specialized tent.

Product

A-Frame

Tunnel

Sturdiness

Capacity

Cost

Portability

Lifespan

Want more?

Check out our infographic and larger article covering the ten most common tent types or use our tent finding tool to quickly find the tents that suit your needs!

Grab our car camping packing list for your next trip!Don't forget anything and be the first to hear news from Midwest Camping!

A-Frame Tent vs Cabin Tent | Which is the Best for Camping?

A Frame v Cabin Tent

When comparing an a-frame tent vs cabin tent, there are some important aspects to cabin tents that should be considered before you make your decision! Extra space from cabin tents comes with some tradeoffs that may change your plans.

We’ve broken down the major similarities and differences of common tent types to help you make the right decision for your next outdoor adventure!

A-Frame Tent vs Cabin Tent

First, let’s break down each type of tent:

A-Frame

a-frame vs backpacking tent
The A-Frame tent is distinguished by its triangular prism design which uses a rectangular floor, two A-frames on the ends, and a cross pole in order to form the tent frame.

Cabin

dome tent vs cabin tent

Featuring multiple rooms and more space than any dome tent could off, cabin tents ensure there is privacy and room available for everyone.

Major Differences

The biggest differences between an a-frame tent vs cabin tent are capacity and portability. Cabin tents are built to be able to stand in with many people. They are available in sizes of up to 12 people for large families or groups that want multiple rooms available for increased privacy. Cabin tent rooms are usually made with a piece of tent fabric between portions of the tent that are able to be opened and closed. In comparison, a-frame tents cap out around 4 people.

Both a-frame and cabin tents typically employ a two-layer design to repel rain but cabin tent layers don’t go nearly as far as dome tents usually do. As seen in the photos above, Cabin tents use a single layer of rain protection for up to 75% of each side compared to an a-frame tent only relying on single layers on just the bottom of the tent itself.

While they should both offer good rain protection, a-frame tents may be more reliable in harsher storms since their structure allows wind to flow around the tent better and the rain fly offers more coverage.

Cabin tents can be slightly more challenging to set up but if you have the labor to help out (and fill the large capacity tent), it is significantly easier. A-frames are less easy than a dome tent or an instant tent but can typically be set up by even just one person with enough patience.

Best Uses For A-frame & Cabin Tents

Each of these types of tents is great for both family and car camping! Smaller families may prefer an a-frame’s smaller package or enjoy the larger amount of space offered by cabin tents. A-frame tents can be used for backpacking (although there are better options) but cabin tents almost always have too large of a package to reasonably pack and walk miles with.

A-Frame

Cabin


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | A-Frame Tent vs Cabin Tent

While cabin tents have the advantage of capacity, a-frame tents are slightly more versatile and likely to offer longer-lasting rain protection with the more comprehensive dual-layer rain fly. While you can find each type of tent at a wide price range, you can usually find a value brand a-frame at a lower price than similar capacity cabin tents. Not sold on a-frames? We’d recommend a dome tent for any type of camper from beginner to expert!

Product

A-Frame

Cabin

Sturdiness

Capacity

Cost

Portability

Lifespan

Want more?

Check out our infographic and larger article covering the ten most common tent types or use our tent finding tool to quickly find the tents that suit your needs!

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A-Frame Tent vs Rooftop Tent | Which is the Best for Camping?

A Frame v Rooftop Tent

When comparing an A-Frame tent vs rooftop tent, the decision really comes down to price and whether you have the supporting equipment or not. We’ve broken down the major similarities and differences of common tent types to help you make the right decision for your next outdoor adventure!

A-Frame Tent vs Rooftop Tent

First, let’s break down each type of tent:

A-Frame

a-frame vs backpacking tent

The A-Frame tent is distinguished by its triangular prism design which uses a rectangular floor, two A-frames on the ends, and a cross pole in order to form the tent frame.

Rooftop

dome tent vs rooftop tent

Mounted on the top of your SUV, Truck, or Jeep, these tents fold down flat while you’re driving and pop right up when ready to sleep. Rooftop tents are perfect for those who like to find backcountry campgrounds in dispersed lands or who hate setting up the tent once they get to their campground.

Major Differences

The biggest differences between an A-frame tent vs rooftop tent are their setup, capacity, and best use. Rooftop tents attach to a jeep or truck bed and are set up by pulling the ladder down to unfold the tent and attach any necessary exterior poles to stretch the tent out. In contrast, A-frame tents use multiple poles to set up a shelter directly on the ground (the classic tent you’re likely thinking of). A-frames use poles on the front and back sides of the tent in combination with a pole across the top connecting the front and back to create the frame of the tent.

A-frames and rooftop tents will have similar peak heights, although rooftop tents may have straighter sides that provide much more room than the sloped A-frame style. A-frames come in sizes of around 4 people at their largest while the largest rooftop tents max out at around 6 people.

Both types of tents usually use a two-layer design to repel rain but rooftop tents may be slightly more comfortable to spend a longer period of time inside during a storm as you can sit inside with more room (or just jump back into the car to stay extra dry).

An A-frame’s biggest advantage is its ability to be set up anywhere with flat ground Rooftop tents can only be used wherever you can drive your car to. A-frames aren’t great for backpacking but can give you the option to use primitive campgrounds that are more private than being right off the road atop your truck at a traditional campsite. That said, jeeps and trucks can get to spectacular backcountry campgrounds in national forests and other wilderness for free and incredible possibilities.

Best Uses For A-Frame & Rooftop Tents

Rooftop tents might be better for family camping since they can get up to a larger capacity and offer more general space while either is good for almost any car camping situation in smaller groups. We wouldn’t recommend using an a-frame for backpacking since the number of poles can be both heavy and bulky but it’s certainly possible if you’re willing to put up with the weight.

A-Frame

Rooftop


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | A-Frame Tent vs Rooftop Tent

Rooftop tents can get you to unexpected places and are easy to set up but can be very expensive compared to the classic a-frame. A large a-frame won’t be more than a few hundred while low-end rooftop tents can easily run over $1,000 for a new tent, not to mention needing a truck or jeep to attach it to.

Given their differences, you’ll want to pick the one best suited for your next couple of years of camping plans!

Product

A-Frame

Rooftop

Sturdiness

Capacity

Cost

Portability

Ease of Setup

Want more?

Check out our infographic and larger article covering the ten most common tent types or use our tent finding tool to quickly find the tents that suit your needs!

Grab our car camping packing list for your next trip!Don't forget anything and be the first to hear news from Midwest Camping!
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