What is a Tent?

A tent is a portable shelter made of cloth, supported by one or more poles and stretched tight by cords or loops attached to pegs driven into the ground.

A tent is a shelter consisting of sheets of fabric or other material draped over, attached to a frame of poles, or attached to a supporting rope. ( Wikipedia)

Types of tents and classification.

Be aware that, many tents come in different shapes and sizes with features designed for specific purposes.

To be able to classify tents, we should consider two main factors.

One is the shape and structure of the tent. Secondly, the uses of the tents.

This classification can be used to determine the best location where you can find users for these tents.

But also helps you give an idea of the different manufacturers of tents and will you in choosing the durable tents for outdoor activities including camping trips.

In this article, we will discuss in detail about types of tents, uses of these tents, and additional case studies for Mount Kilimanjaro tents and safari tents in Tanzania.

Types of tents according to shapes and structures

1. Geodesic camping tent

These are the best tents for extreme weather conditions. Large in size and can accommodate three or four people.

The geodesic tent is an improved version of a dome tent, with more poles that cross each other to increase a tent’s stability.

Suitable for mountain climbing and even for outdoor camping.

These tents are of high quality and are also priced higher compared with other camping tents available in the market.

2. Dome tent

Easy to recognize this type of tent. The Dome tent comes with two poles, crisscrossed at the point to form two semi-circles running across the tent body.

The design for these camping tents is very different from other tents.

They come in different sizes and can accommodate from six to eight people.

Easy to pitch on the ground, more breathable with a decent amount of space.

Dome tents are the best fit for a family safari or short trips either to the beach or any other outdoor activity.

3. A-frame/ Ridge tent

The name of this tent reflects the design of this tent, A-frame tent is a very simple design when pitched it looks like the letter A.

There is a slight difference between the modern A-frame and the previous one.

The modern A-frame tent is lighter. Before the Ridge tent was made of canvas and came with metal poles or wooden,

This tent is so easy to set but, pause also comes with limited space. But also when packed become so heavy. These are ideal tents for permanent camping.

4. Pop-up tent

These are the best tents for summer camping with lightweight. Pop-up tents are so easy to set up and take down, you can set so instantly compare with other camping tents.

These tents are loaded with springs and they pop up into a shape as soon as they get released from the bag.

Pop-up tents are not expensive like other tents, but it’s very limited to extreme temperatures.

These tents can accommodate four to 6 people. If you will be traveling as a group, these tents could be the best option.

5. Tunnel tent

With a cylindrical shape, the Tunel tent has a slight difference from the Dome tent.

They are very long and accommodate families or groups of family either on safari or any vacation.

With an exterior pole, the rope that runs from attachment points outside the tent body is staked in staked into the ground to provide more stability to the Tunnel tent.

These tents withstand bad weather compared with pop-up tents. Despite all that, Tunnel tents are so heavy and bulky.

You need transport to move with this tent if you’re doing mobile camping.

6. Bivvy tent/Bivouac tent

Small in size and lightweight, Bivy tents are designed for wild campers and short hiking. The main purpose of these tents is for emergencies.

Suitable for travelers or campers who don’t like to carry much weight.

Bivouac tents help provide additional layers of protection from the environment, though not suitable for extreme weather.

You can purchase these tents in either ridge shape or tunnel tent shape.

7. Roof-top tent/ Car top

Designed for adventures, researchers, filmmakers, or road-tripping. It’s so easy to recognize.

The roof-top tent is designed for people who are interested in road-tripping.

The roof of the car becomes the ground for the camping setup.  These tents can be popped up and folded down so fast.

Some cars are designed with roof bars that can be used to handle the tent.

A good thing about a car-top tent comes with a ladder that can be used to access the tent. Is a unique way to do camping in a fashionable style.

8. Cabin tents /  Family tents

Are you looking for a budget-friendly tent for the family? If, yes then Cabin tents are the best choice.

These tents come with canvas, polyester, or nylon with aluminum poles. It forms a shape like a cabin when fit together.

A cabin tent can provide families with enough space even to be able to set up a bedroom.

Despite that cabin, tents are not durable to withstand the extreme weather during your camping trip.

9. Backpacking Tent

Is an amazing tent for multiple days camping trips. With limited space to accommodate one to two people only.

These tents are designed the campers who prefer lightweight camping gear.

Backpacking tents are very small and light, they come with fewer poles.

These tents can either be in Ridge or Tunnel shapes tents.

If you’re looking for simplicity, then go for a backpacking tent.

Types of tents according to uses

We classify tents by considering different factors including size, space, durability, shape, weight, and even the market price for the tent.

Based on usability we can put tent two broad categories.  These groups are Mountain tents and, safari tents.

Mountain tents / Mountaineering tents

What are mountain tents?

These are durable tents designed to withstand extreme weather conditions.

The main uses of these tents are for wilderness camping either at higher altitudes or in cold climates.

This type of tent provides space for the storage of supplies and a sleeping room.

In-term of design, mountaineering tents look the same as other tents.

The big difference is the form of materials used during construction.

Difference between mountain tents and other types of tents?

The material used

The materials which are needed to construct the mountain tent are very durable compared to summer camping tents or safari tents.

These tents are priced high because of the cost of construction.

  • The complexity of the construction of the mountain tent makes it so heavy compared to other tents like summer camping tents.
    The use of the gamut of nylon blends to canvas adds to the weight of the mountain tent.
  • The material is also heavily coated to make it easier for rain and snow to slide off the exterior of the tent.
  • Different layers of coating are applied on the canvas to protect against rain or snow. Check on the Mount Kilimanjaro tents section.

Mountain tents use mesh doors

As compliments to the fabric doors, mesh doors are very common for mountaineering tents.

Once the fabric door is sealed with zipper pulls, the mesh doors can be used instead for ventilation.  Many mountain tents comprise a single door, so the mesh doors use comes in.

Tents poles and structure

Poles placements and support structures set apart mountain tents and other types of tents.

  • The external framework of metal poles that define the shape of the tent is the main feature of these mountain tents.This framework allows the interior of this tent to have enough space.

Storage space

Enough storage space is the key feature of the mountain tent.

Apart from storage space can have plenty of rooms for sleeping and even moving around during the day.

Mountain tents provide a separate chamber for the storage of supplies which can sustain the climber’s or hikers’ trip.

This chamber ( vestibule) can be used also to store the necessary equipment needed for the survival of the campers either during hiking or climbing mountains.

Can be either Mountain Everest or Kilimanjaro.

Pricing of mountain tents

The durability of these tents is why mountain tents are more expensive compared to other types of tents.

The mountaineering tents last for many years. While providing enough living space for sleeping and storage.

Pitching for a mountaineering tent is easier than traditional tents.

Mountain tents are not limited to a high altitude only and can be used for casual city camping in a warm climate.

Safari Tents

These are tents designed for a camping trip in low-altitude environments including visiting wildlife parks or beach holidays.

Safari tents can be either operated as tented camps or mobile safari camps.

Taking into account the purpose of these tents. Safari camping tents can be so heavy, and large and even accommodate more than 100 people at once.

If you visit safari destinations around the world, for instance, Serengeti, you could find a lot of these safari camps.

The construction of safari camps can be very complex and require a lot of material to setup up.

Some of these safari tents provide baths for showering, a veranda, a sleeping room, and even small groceries.

Case study: Tanzania safari tents and tented lodges

Here is the case study for Tanzania safari tents and tented lodges.

Tanzania is the best destination in Africa for safari goers.

Whether you are planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or witness the wildebeest migration in Serengeti.

Visiting Tanzania lets you experience camping more than any other country in East Africa.

There is no way you can avoid experiencing any of the above types of tents we have been discussing in this article.

Tanzania offers a lot of activities to its visitors.

Best national parks which guaranteed the big five, the best sandy beach in Zanzibar, and the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro 5,895m.

Tanzania camping tents can be classified into two main broad categories which are Mount Kilimanjaro climbing tents and safari camping tents.

There is some difference between these two categories. Let’s see have a clear discussion for each category.

Mount Kilimanjaro Camping Tents

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa 5,895m above the sea.

This mountain is the best destination in Africa. Because of its nature, Kilimanjaro provides 90% of camping accommodation during climbing except for one route which provides huts.

Many trekking operators supply different types of tents during climbing because of crew size and the number of clients.

For smaller groups of clients, you will find geodesic or backpacking tents.

The best routes for camping are Machame, Lemosho, Rongai, and Umbwe.

These routes provide tents for accommodation.

These are mountaineering tents made to withstand the snow and bad weather during Kilimanjaro climbing.

Including Mountain Hardware tents, Kailas X4 II Alpine tents, and others.

Mount Kilimanjaro tents can either be mess tents, sleeping tents, or mobile toilet tents.

Food during climbing is served in the mess tents while sleeping in the other tents.

Many tour operators provide shared tents for two people.

Apart from camping on Mount Kilimanjaro, you can decide to sleep in mountain huts.

These mountain huts are available for one route only which is the Marangu route.

What do Kilimanjaro Mountain huts look like?

These huts are provided by Kilimanjaro National Park. Mountain huts are wooden, A-frame structures.

Even though there are beds with mattresses, we advise you to bring your sleeping bag and pillow. These huts were built along the Marangu route.

Private toilet tent on Kilimanjaro

Private toilets in Kilimanjaro are by far the best option. It comes with a stand-size toilet tent.

The chemical toilet unit also has a seat and a flush. It is easy to put up and dismantle. You can surely include this in your Kilimanjaro Gear List.

Read more about Mount Kilimanjaro toilets

Tanzania Safari camping tents

Tanzania is an adventure land and, the use of tents on safari is the best option available.

These tents can be either permanent or mobile-tented lodges.

These camping facilities can be priced the same as 5-star hotels in Paris or  Newyork.

The construction of these safari camps is so unique and beautiful.

These safari tents provide all budget to luxury services.

The camping safari tents can range from 100$ – 2000$ a day.

Depending on which park you’re visiting in Tanzania for safari.

These camping safari tents can be grouped into budget and luxury camping tents.

While in Tanzania you can be able to experience a budget camping safari by camping at Simba, Seronera, or Nyati camps.  Campers to these places prefer backpacking tents.

If your interest is luxury safari camping tents, you can either choose permanent tented camps.

These camping tents are available throughout the year across Tanzania parks.

If you visit Ngorongoro Crater you can stay at Ang’ata camps and Tortilis camps within the parks.

But if you heard of Serengeti, you can stay at either Whisper camps, Tukaone camps, Zawadi camps, or Accasia camps.

There is nothing so uniquely African as spending the night in a tented camp. It is a memory that will certainly stay with you.

Unlike in a brick-and-mortar lodge – you get to smell, hear and feel the wilderness: there is simply nothing quite like it.

Read more about the Best places to stay in Serengeti


As we drive this topic home for “tents”. We believe you have enjoyed reading and learning something about camping tents around the world.

If you’re planning a camping experience in any part of the world, remember there is a tent for everyone’s taste and budget.

If you’re planning to visit Tanzania for safari either with family or as a solo traveler,

Blessing Safaris experts are ready to help you design an epic tent camping safari or Mount Kilimanjaro climbing. Contact us today.

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