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Sunday, June 16, 2024

3 Popular Types of Tents: Which is Best for You?

Photo by mixetto via iStock

Everyone needs a break from life every once in a while – and what better way to do so than by going out on a camping trip? 

Before you set off on a camping trip though, you need to consider where you’ll stay or sleep. Plus, you need to know which tent to choose, given the gazillion types of camping tents on the market.

With so many different types of tents on the market, deciding which is right for you can be overwhelming – but that’s where I’ve come to help!

To help you find the perfect tent for your next outdoor adventure, I’ll highlight three popular types of tents: cabin tents, rooftop tents, and dome tents. 

Table Of Contents

The Three Most Popular Types of Tents Described


Let’s start by discussing the features of the three most common tent styles and examine which one is best suited for various camping experiences. 

This section will assist you in finding the ideal tent for your upcoming camping trip, whether you’re a car camper, a backpacker, or somewhere in between! 

Rooftop Tents

Rooftop tents have grown in popularity in recent years as a practical and comfortable camping option.

These tents are mounted on the roof of a vehicle, allowing for easy access to the great outdoors while still providing the comforts of home.

But not all rooftop types of tents serve the same purpose, and it’s important to understand the differences between the two main types: softshell and hardshell tents.

Softshell Tents


Softshell tents, like The Softshell from SMRT Tents, are made of canvas or a similar material and are renowned for their strength and breathability. They are also relatively lightweight and quite simple to set up and take down. 

For instance, The Softshell weighs 128 pounds and can be set up in a matter of minutes. Thanks to the tent’s waterproof softshell fabric, you’re guaranteed to have a peaceful night’s sleep regardless of the weather. The tent also includes a rainfly made of 420D Polyester Oxford ripstop fabric with a PVC waterproof coating for added protection.


The Softshell comes loaded with features that make it a comfortable and functional option for your camping trips. There’s an aluminum telescopic ladder that makes ingress and egress much easier. Once you’re inside, you can enjoy a 2.5-inch high-density foam mattress to get a good night’s sleep.

softshell-tent-from-smrt inside

All the hardware on The Softshell is made of stainless steel to ensure long-term durability. This includes the six window poles that give the tent rigidity and ensure you have ample headroom inside the tent.

With a sleeping capacity of up to four people, The Softshell tent is a great option for small families or groups of good friends that don’t mind cozying up for the night!

Hardshell Tents

suv camping smrt sky loft

Contrarily, hardshell tents, like the SMRT Sky Loft, are known for their aerodynamic design and their ability to survive severe weather. 

In order to keep you warm on frigid nights, this kind of tent is usually equipped with built-in insulation. It is made of a hard plastic material that is both lightweight and sturdy. 

In contrast to softshell tents’ softer appearance, hardshell tents typically have a sleeker appearance and a much more contemporary design. Of course, the shell of the tent is hard, too!

smrt sky loft 4runner

The SMRT Sky Loft is made with a fiberglass composite material that is both strong and lightweight. Moreover, it comes with an insulated and removable top, making it the ideal choice for windy evenings. The hardshell cover of the Sky Loft is an ideal spot for solar panels, too. 


Hardshell tents like the SMRT Sky Loft often come with a bevy of features that make them a functional addition to your camping setup. For example, the Sky Loft comes with a telescopic ladder, a three-inch high-density foam mattress with a removable and washable mattress cover, and two show bags where you can keep your muddy shoes outside the tent.

Speaking of the outside, the tent body is made of 280gsm ripstop canvas and has a PU coating of 2000mm with a UPG of 40+ for the ultimate in weather resistance and breathability.

Sky Loft SMRT Tent

Like The Softshell described earlier, the Sky Loft has stainless steel hardware, high-quality SPS zippers, and mesh panels on the entrances to keep bugs out and air flowing freely. This tent is smaller than The Softshell – it’s best for one or two people – so it’s an ideal option for solo trips or adventures with your favorite person!

Softshell vs. Hardshell Tents: Choosing Between These Two Types of Tents

Rooftop Tent

Photo by jeffbergen via iStock

So, which type of rooftop tent is best for you? Well, the answer depends on your specific requirements for the trip. 

When it comes to ease of use, softshell tents are typically easier amongst other types of tents to set up and take down than hardshell tents. 

The latter may require a bit more effort due to the hardshell material and its locking mechanisms. 

On the other hand, I’m a huge fan of hardshell tents since they offer better protection from harsh weather conditions and more security against critters and other wildlife.

Cost-wise, Softshell tents are generally cheaper than other types of tents, but then again, they might offer less durability and protection. 

Dome Tents

Dome Tents

Photo by fotoVoyager via iStock

Dome tents are popular types of tents among campers thanks to their easy setup, stability, and spacious interiors. These tents are characterized by their arched or dome shape, providing extra headroom and a roomier interior than traditional A-frame tents. 

One of the main benefits of dome tents is their incredibly simple setup. Most dome tents are designed with color-coded poles and snag-free sleeves, making it easy to assemble the tent, even for novice campers. Going camping for the first time is no difficult feat, thanks to these types of tents.

Coleman Sundome Tent

A highly popular choice for a dome tent that I personally love is the Coleman Sundome Tent, which has snag-free, continuous pole sleeves that make setup a breeze and can be set up in about 10 minutes.

Another advantage of these types of tents is their stability. Their arched or dome shape provides extra structural support, making them less likely to collapse in high winds or bad weather. 

For example, the Coleman Sundome Tent features a WeatherTec system that uses patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep water out, making it a reliable option for camping in different climates and seasons.

Coleman Sundome Tent 2

Another feature of dome tents is their roomy interiors, which provide plenty of space for you and your gear. 

The Coleman Sundome Tent, for example, has a spacious interior that can comfortably sleep up to six people and has a built-in vented rainfly to help keep the air flowing and reduce condensation.

Coleman Sundome Tent 3

These kinds of tents are perfect for a variety of camping styles, including car camping, family camping, and backpacking. 

Moreover, tents like the Coleman Sundome have a compact and lightweight design that makes it simple to pack and carry places, making it the ideal choice for backpacking trips. However, the tent is also large and spacious enough for family and car camping trips.

Cabin Tents

CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent

Cabin tents are well-loved for their sturdy build and ability to house large groups of people. 

A cabin tent may be the ideal option for you if you’re planning a camping trip with family or friends and want a comfortable and reliable shelter.

One example of this type of tent is the CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent. This tent can comfortably sleep up to 9 people and features a room divider that allows for privacy and separate living and sleeping spaces. Camp or luxury hotel? You tell me!

CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent 2

The tent’s pre-attached poles make setup quick and simple, and its advanced venting system keeps it cool and comfortable. 

These tents also include a rainfly that can be easily deployed to shield from adverse weather.

Cabin tents are a type of tent generally best suited for family, group, or extended camping trips where you want more room and comfort. 

CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent 3

They’re also ideal for camping in colder weather, as the sturdy construction and larger interior make it easy to stay warm. 

Overall, these types of tents are a great option for campers looking for a comfortable and reliable shelter. 

The CORE Cabin Tent is a great example of a high-quality cabin tent that is easy to set up and offers a comfortable and spacious interior. 

Conclusion – There’s Types of Tents for Everyone!

Campsite with tent and fire pit

Photo by jacoblund via iStock

Although there are many different types of tents, the one best suited for you depends on your specific needs and the type of camping trip you’re planning. 

For example, rooftop tents are great for those looking for a convenient camping option. Softshell tents are great for the traditional camping experience, while cabin tents are perfect for larger groups or extended camping trips where comfort is important. 

Before choosing the ideal camp style for your upcoming trip, make sure to have all your specific requirements and needs in mind to make the trip easier and much more enjoyable. 

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