The Hottest Tent Types and Styles Right Now
Camping season is right around the corner, and for many outdoor enthusiasts that means it’s time to invest in some new camping gear. One of the most important pieces of equipment for any camper is a reliable, comfortable tent. The tent market has exploded in recent years, with many new styles and designs to choose from. In this blog post, we’ll break down some of the hottest tent types and styles available in 2023 to help you pick the perfect model for your next adventure.
Ultralight Backpacking Tents
Ultralight tents have become hugely popular with backpackers and thru-hikers looking to cut down on pack weight. These minimalist shelters often weigh less than two pounds yet offer ample space and weather protection for one or two people.
Popular ultralight tents like the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV use lightweight materials like nylon and mesh to keep weight low. The Fly Creek HV packs down to the size of a Nalgene bottle, making it easy to strap to the outside of a pack. Other features like simple single-pole setup, large vestibules for gear storage, and steep walls for interior space set these tents apart from traditional backpacking models.
For those looking to shed even more ounces, dyneema composite fiber tents like the Zpacks Duplex offer sub-one-pound shelter. The tradeoff is a higher price tag and less livable space, but for hardcore gram counters, a DCF tent can’t be beat.
Roof-top tents mount right onto a roof rack providing quick setup and off-the-ground sleeping. Originally created for overland vehicles, RTTs have also become a favorite for more traditional car camping and road trips.
Hard-shell models like the Tepui Kukenam unfold and pop up in seconds once unlatched. The low profile aerodynamic shape is ideal for better gas mileage when left installed while driving. Lightweight materials and compact folded size make most RTTs easy to install or remove as needed.
For a more budget-friendly option, soft-shell RTTs like the Smittybilt Overlander offer comparable space and features. The canvas tent material sheds rain well and is more resistant to rips and tears during setup. Just be prepared for a little more assembly time compared to hardshells.
Family Camping Tents
Family camping tents prioritize livable space, ease of setup, and durability over portability. Models like the Coleman 8-Person Tent feature multiple rooms for privacy, over 7 feet of head room, and screened porches for views. Large rain flies and thick water-resistant materials stand up to the elements while keeping everyone dry.
For even more space, cabin-style tents like the Eureka Copper Canyon provide near-vertical walls and room to stand up inside. The Copper Canyon fits two queen air beds with Walk-in convenience and over 85 square feet of floor space. Multiple large windows and mesh roof panels allow fresh air flow on nice days.
Standout features like electrical cord ports, storage pockets, and removable room dividers demonstrate how today’s family tents combine livability and convenience. Easy setup is also a priority, with shock-corded pole systems and snag-free clips for quick pitching.
Sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles – you just need simple, reliable shelter. For that, nothing beats a classic A-frame tent.
The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx offers a timeless 2-person backpacking tent weighed under 5 pounds. The dual vestibules provide gear storage while the factory-sealed fly resists water intrusion. At a budget-friendly price, it’s a great tent for first-time campers or anyone looking for a pared-down shelter.
On the more boutique end, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid is a Dyneema single-wall pyramid weighing just 16 ounces but with floor space for two campers. The simple yet effective open-shape design sheds wind and weather well. Despite the limited features, its unique Dyneema construction and featherweight carry make it popular with discerning wilderness campers.
For car camping, the Nemo Bugout is a breezy backpacking-style tent with a standout feature – sets up with trekking poles or a unique [#) pole system. The fast pitch and open mesh provide (bug-free) views without skimping on interior space.
Pop up tents represent the ultimate in quick setup thanks to their pre-assembled poles and folding design. Once taken out of the carry bag, these tents quite literally “pop up” into an assembled shelter in seconds.
Models like the Gazelle T4 Hub Tent provide over 90 inches of headroom once popped up along with screened windows for views and ventilation. Teardown is just as fast – simply push the top downward until the poles collapse, then stow it away.
Other pop up tents like the Coleman 4-Person Instant Cabin feature integrated rainfly/vestibules for all-in-one weather protection. The pre-assembled poles make these tents foolproof to pitch while maintaining ample interior space.
While not the most portable option, pop up tents offer car campers, festival-goers, and anyone who values fast setup a distinct advantage. Just unfold, pop it up, and enjoy your home away from home in 60 seconds flat.
Four Season & Expedition Tents
Serious mountaineers and winter campers demand tents built to handle the harshest conditions. That’s where 4-season and expedition tents excel.
Built with reinforced poles and ripstop nylon resistant to high winds and heavy snow loads, these tents are made to weather the worst. Extended vestibules allow gear storage away from falling ice/snow while steep sideshed buildup.
Mountaineering-focused designs like the Hilleberg Jannu feature linked inner and outer tents that move in unison – crucial for maintaining structural integrity when winds shift. For added strength, the Jannu uses multiple intersecting poles in a lattice layout.
Expedition tents go even further maximizing interior space for multiple occupants and long-term use. Models like the The North Face VE-25 provide cavernous interiors and multiple vestibules while weighing less than 20 pounds. The VE-25 even adds features like media pockets, gear lofts, and kerosene-lamp compatible stove jack for a true portable basecamp.
Whether tackling Everest or winter camping in the backcountry, 4-season and expedition tents provide dependable shelter few other tents can match. Just be ready to make a sizable investment as these tents frequently cost $1,000+.
Tent Fabric Innovations
Along with new designs, tents continue getting upgrades in materials and fabrication. One standout is Dyneema Composite Fabrics, an ultralight, highly waterproof fiber found in tents from Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Zpacks, and others. Though expensive, DCF tents offer unmatched strength-to-weight ratios perfect for gram counting hikers.
Several companies have also introduced electrospun nanofiber technology for even greater waterproofness, moisture permeability, and strength. The Slingfin Portal uses electrospun nanofibers on both its floor and rainfly – creating one of the most technical backpacking shelters available today.
ubiquitously waterproof polyurethane coatings are also getting upgraded. Many mainstream tent makers now use polyurethane blends containing solvent-free aqueous formulations. This reduces environmental impact while boosting tent life expectancy.
Tents may still use the same pole and stake designs, but constant fabric and component innovations continue revolutionizing performance and reliability.
Whether you’re a hardcore thru-hiker, car camper, or occasional weekend warrior, an excellent tent tailored to your needs makes all the difference. Luckily the market offers cutting-edge options for every camping style. Ultralight trekkers will flock to Dyneema shelters while families lean towards cavernous cabins with all the amenities. The right pick comes down to carefully assessing your priorities like weight, space, weather protection, and cost.
One thing is certain – tents will continue getting lighter, stronger, and smarter. Expect even more exciting innovations withing the next few seasons. For now, equip yourself with one of the hottest, most capable tents available in 2023. Then get outside and enjoy it!