Tents have been around for a few thousand years in different forms for everything from basic shelter for survival to party and canopy tents for celebrations of all kinds.
Roman soldiers used to use canvas tents back in biblical times while conquering all the (then) known world. Medieval knights in armor used them on the battlefields of Europe and in the middle east for the Crusades. Soldiers, nomads, pioneers, hunters, explorers and adventurers have been using tent shelters of various designs ever since then, to keep them safe from the elements. So if you go camping outdoors, then you are going to need a camping tent as well.
If you need a tent, please do yourself a real favor and buy a good-quality camping tent. You will be so much more comfortable! Purchasing a really cheap tent might save you some dollars, but I guarantee it will cost you in the long run.
Outdoor tents have been slept in, cooked in, dined in and even made whoopee in for all that time. And while tent designs have improved since then — just like our means of transport have gotten faster and better — our need for shelter from the heat of the day, from the cold of the night and even from rain, wind and snow has remained almost the same.
The camping tent functions as our home away from home while we’re away from our stone, wood or brick home someplace else. Sure, some folks are nomadic anyhow and not everybody has their own place to call a home… but whatever the case, tent camping provides comfort and a good night’s rest where otherwise there would be no shelter. That’s what a tent does. It basically sets the standard for an effective lightweight shelter that can be carried without too much difficulty.
Even canvas wall tents, with their heavy wooden poles, are lighter than the Mongol tribesman’s Yurt (modern dome tents are shaped round) or the American Indian’s Teepee or Wigwam. Those nomadic tribes made their shelter out of available materials — namely animal skins and stick frames. Canvas and man-made fabrics came later.
Since those days, tents have been used by explorers, big game hunters in Africa, fur trappers in Canada and Alaska, gold prospectors and Boy Scouts just about everywhere.
Even in modern times, tents are used as emergency shelters for refugees and storm victims. The military uses them not just to house their personnel but larger tents are also used as field hospitals (remember the TV series M.A.S.H. ?), and big army tents are used as camp kitchens and mobile command posts.
Thankfully, the modern camping tent is very much more compact. Which means we can fit it easily in (or on) a modest vehicle. Some tents are small enough and light enough to be used by hikers, backpackers or cyclists, who are very limited in what they can take with them — both in weight and in packed volume.
Some modern tents are designed to spring open, almost by themselves. These are called pop up tents.
Tents can be small enough for one lone camper, or large enough to accommodate a whole family or two. You can also have a screen tent as a portable dining and kitchen shelter. Basically, these gazebo-like tents have a four legs, a roof on top and sides of insect-proof netting.
And if you go camping anywhere where there are lots of insects, like camping here in Australia, be sure to buy yourself a decent-quality tent with full insect proofing. You’ll so be glad you did because the flies (by day) and mosquitoes (by night) can make camping outdoors a nightmare for the unprepared.
One of the smallest designs of sleeping tent is the little A-tent (sometimes called a pup tent), but thankfully they aren’t being made much any more.
There are also gigantic, specialised party tents; these are called marquees in Britain and Australia. Some are large enough to shelter dozens of champagne-sipping guests at a wedding party, at sports events or any other celebration where you need extra shelter for lots of guests.
The smallest type of tent you’ll come across is the shower tent, which often does double-duty as a toilet tent. Some small pup tents and kids play tents are also diminutive, but since they are for play and not for camping, I won’t cover them here.
Whatever size camping tent you are looking for, I’m sure you’ll find some useful information here on this web site to help you choose the right camp tent or shelter for your needs.