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Dome Tents Vs Canvas Tents

What Is the Difference Between a Dome Tent and Canvas Tent?

As there are so many different types of tents available today it is important to explore and understand what your options are.

The most popular tents on the market are the dome tent and canvas tent. Read on to discover the differences between dome and canvas tents, and choose the one that fits your camping style the best!

What Are Dome Tents?

The dome tent is characterised by two or three poles. These poles cross each other at the centre of the roof. This design ensures a spacious living area, plenty of head room and even the ability to create separate rooms for additional privacy.

In addition to the large amount of room, a dome tent is quite stable. Since they are freestanding, you can also move them once they have been set up. This feature is especially handy when you are camping in poor weather conditions, because it enables you to move the dome tent according to the direction of the wind.

What Are Canvas Tents?

Canvas tents are easy maintenance tents which have a much longer life span than nylon or polyester tents. Canvas tents can be easily retreated for water repellence & mould resistance.

Cotton canvas breathes and regulates humidity, which makes a better alternative to nylon or polyester tents. New cotton canvas tents need to go through a process called weathering or seasoning. It's simple to avoid a soaking though, just put up the tent when rain is forecast and wait for the clouds to open. Or hose down with water and wait overnight for the tent to dry.

The tent will get wet, some drips will come through whilst the cotton fibres in the weave swell and nestle into one another. The result? A perfectly waterproof tent and one that will give years of good service, if looked after.

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Other Tent Types?

Even though the dome tent and canvas tent are the most sold tents on the market, there are additional options out there.

To learn more about these additional tent types, please read on.


When you need a tent for extreme weather conditions, you will need a geodesic tent.

You will often see these tents on TV during an expedition, because the geodesic is amongst the most stable of tents currently available. In order to provide the necessary stability during extreme weather conditions, the geodesic tent uses multiple poles that run across the surface of the tent.

There is also a semi-geodesic tent, which also gives great stability, but less than the geodesic tent due to using less poles.

Being the most stable tent on the market does however come at a cost, with the price of a geodesic tent considerably more than your average tent. That being said, if you need protection against extreme weather conditions and ensure your safety and comfort during an expedition, the geodesic tent is recommended.

Quick Pitch / Pop-Up

The quick pitch tent, also known as the name instant tent, is the most popular choice for inexperienced campers. If you've never pitched a tent, then you will need something that's easy to set up. The quick pitch tent meets that requirement, taking only a minute to erect.

Most quick pitch tents are equipped with a sprung frame, which is hidden in the fabric of the tent. Thanks to this you only need to throw the tent in the air for it to activate, setting up your tent in no time at all.

The first generation of quick pitch tents were only good fair weather conditions, however this has changed over recent years. Manufacturers see the benefits of a quick pitch tent due to their popularity, so have added a number of features making the instant tent a lot more robust.

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The inflatable tent is quite uncommon on the campsite, but offers similar benefits to that of the instant tent.

Instead of having to work out the flexible or rigid poles before you set it up, the inflatable tent simply sets itself up with the help of a compressor.

Only recommended for use on a campsite, the inflatable tent can also be quite heavy, so is not a good option for campers who like to go hiking.

Large Family

Families love to go camping, which is why tent manufacturers have created the large family tent.

If you want to go on a camping trip with more than four people, you often need more than one tent to accommodate everyone. However, the large family tent has so much space, it eliminates the need of acquiring additional tents.

The large family tent is durable and strong, but can be a bit of a challenge to set up during windy weather conditions. Because of their bigger size, the wind can easily go into the tent when it is being set up, creating a so-called ‘kite” effect. For that reason, a large family tent is not a good option for when you intend to camp in a large open area. However, if you have some help to set up the tent, you can still benefit from this great tent option.

Rigid Frame

Many people prefer the convenience of flexible poles. However, rigid poles have not disappeared from the market, and can still be a great option for the frame of a tent.

The rigid frame tent is a spacious tent that uses straight poles and angled joints. Thanks to the use of this ‘framework’, campers can count on a tremendous amount of space and stability.

Even though the rigid poles make a frame tent a lot heavier, it can be a great option on a campsite, especially if you want to spend your trip in luxury. However, the rigid frame tent is not suitable for hiking and trekking due to its high carry weight.

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