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

When comparing a dome tent vs suspended tents, they each offer low-weight convenient options great for traveling campers but are suspended tents worth the extra cost to shave a few pounds?

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!

Dome Tent vs Suspended Tent

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

Dome Tent

dome tent vs backpacking tent

One of the most common tent types, the dome tent is distinguished by having two crossed poles anchored in the four corners to form the tent frame.

Suspended

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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 dome tent vs suspended tents are where they can be used and their capacity. 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. Dome tents have two or more poles that intersect to create the frame on the ground.

Suspended tents pretty much only come in sizes for one, maybe two people, while dome tents are frequently large enough to stand in and can come in large sizes up to about 8 people. The lower capacity and completely different structure does make suspended tents significantly easier to use while backpacking or backcountry camping since they weigh less and pack up into a smaller bundle using less poles.

Both types of tents usually use a two-layer design to repel rain but a dome tent will be far more comfortable to spend a long period of time inside during a storm with the larger amount of space and ability to stretch vertically a bit (not to mention you won’t get swung by the wind).

The only other major consideration before buying a suspended tent is temperature. Since you are elevated from the ground, you are surrounded by air on all sides which makes insulation more challenging than when using a sleeping pad and bag on the ground. Be sure to also bring a sleeping pad, not for comfort, but for warmth if you go for a suspended tent over dome tents.

Best Uses For Dome & Suspended Tents

A suspended tent is best used for backpacking and backcountry camping due to the flexibility in where it may be set up. Dome tents can be used for backpacking too but will add more weight to your pack than the more specialized tents will. Suspended tents are too small for use during family camping and likely too small for car camping unless everyone is bringing their own suspended tent!

Dome

Suspended


Family Camping


Car Camping


Backpacking

Feature Comparison | Dome Tent vs Suspended Tent

Outside of the high portability where suspended tents shine, dome tents have the higher possible capacity. The tent types are similarly matched for other categories.

Product

Dome Tent

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!

About the Author

Photo of author

Robbie

Robbie is a Co-Founder and editor at Midwest Camping. Robbie has backpacked over three hundred miles of the Appalachian trail, visited seventeen national parks, and camped regularly for the last two decades.

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