Seven Types Of Traditional Tents From Historic To Modern Design

Seven Types Of Traditional Tents From Historic To Modern Design

Camping tents are a basic shelter system that has been the primary dwelling structure for people throughout history. They help protect us from the great outdoors and have consisted of a variety of materials and styles. Canvas tents are the most traditional but there are many styles including frame tents, pole tents, wall tents, domes, roof top tents, wedding tents, custom tents... the list goes on.

Tents are a portable and temporary shelter that could be made big enough to accommodate large families. Tents are used nowadays for recreational activities such as camping due to their portability and are also utilized by the military and emergency services.

Family Camping Day

An excellent way to get the family together and spend some much needed time together is by planning a fun camping outing complete with tents, fire, marshmallows, fishing, and hiking. You get to enjoy the great outdoors and all that nature has to offer and get the family away from the hectic and busy routine of life and away from technology and electronics for a bit.

Before planning your next camping trip, it is wise to do your homework to find the family tent that will best suit you and your family’s needs. There are many different things to consider when buying a new tent or replacing an old tent. Do you want a family tent that provides the perfect shelter system? Do you want a lightweight tent, an all-season tent a traditional pole tent, or a pop up tent?

Though there are many important factors to consider, the tent size/floor space for sleeping is one of the most important points to consider. If you need a tent for three people, it is advisable to get one that is supposed to fit at least four so comfortably you have that little bit of additional room in case it is needed.

The tents we see today are inspired by tents that have been used throughout history. While the tents continue to serve many of the same purposes, over time, the materials have been upgraded and the uses became more recreational.

Example of Three Season Tent

Modern Day Tents

Three Season Tents

Three Season Tents are lightweight and are designed to withstand different weather conditions during different seasons throughout the year. Three season tents are specifically designed for Spring, Summer, and Fall, and have mesh panels that will increase air flow and a rainfly that can protect the tent from adverse weather conditions such as wind and rain.

Four Season Tents

Four Season Tents are good throughout the entire year and are even suitable for use in snow and colder temperatures. They are sturdier than Three Season Tents and are built to trap more heat to keep you warm. The materials used are from heavier fabrics, and they typically have rounded dome designs to eliminate any snow collection.

Example of Four Season Tent

Tents have been used in history for several years and have evolved over time into what we see now as the traditional camping tent. Bell tents were designed with a simple structure and are supported by a single central pole and are covered in a cotton canvas material.

Double Bell Wedge Tents And Sahara Bell Tents

Double Bell Wedge Tents and Sahara Bell Tents came around the time of the American Civil War and were often referred to as imported French belled tents. They were finished with mud flaps in the bell ends.

Example of Double Bell Wedge Tents

These tents were used by traders and farmers and had an awning that covered the front opening of the tent.

  • Made from a cotton canvas material
  • Two poles are used to hold up the front
  • ​Awning over the front entrance
  • Plenty of interior space

Lavvu Tent

A lavvu tent is one of the only tent options available that allow the occupants to have an open fire. They are good in the winter for this reason, and they are also stable and durable during strong winds.

Originally used by the Sami people of northern Scandinavia, its design is very similar to the Native American tipi. These tents are still being utilized, but the materials have evolved, and the wooden poles have since been replaced by aluminum poles and heavier textiles and lighter fabrics.

Example of Lavvu Tent

A Polish lavvu tent is made from a stronger lightweight canvas and comes in two halves that are attached to become the actual tent structure. Each half can also be used as a poncho and are often used by the military.

  • Supported by three or more evenly spaced poles that form a tripod
  • Does not require stakes or ropes to provide stability
  • Shape and volume are decided by the size and quantity of the poles being used
  • No center pole is needed to support this structure

Kohte Tent

A Kohte tent has a distinctive black color and allows for an open fire. These tents use heavy canvas, and the canvas tarpaulins are fastened together using a loop and grommet system.

Example of Kohte Tent
  • The tent is designed with a covered smoke hole so that an open fire can be employed.
  • External A-frame using two long poles
  • Secured to the ground with eight pegs
  • Fire can be used inside the tent
  • Can add more segments of fabric to create high vertical walls

Native American Wigwam

A Native American Wigwam was used by Native Americans and First Nation tribes and continue to be used for ceremonial purposes. Wigwams were also known as birchbark houses and are smaller shelters that are usually only eight to ten feet tall.

Example of Native American Wigwam

Wooden frames are covered with woven sheets of birchbark and are shaped either like a dome or a cone. Ropes of wood strips are used to wrap around the wigwam to hold all the bark in place. Unlike most other tents or shelters, a wigwam is not portable.

  • Curved structure that can withstand extreme weather conditions
  • Construction varies between the culture and what materials are available
  • Grass, brush, rushes, mats, reeds, hides, or cloth can all be used
  • Men built the structure, and the women covered the structures

Sibley Tents

Sibley tents were invented by Henry Hopkins Sibley, an American military officer, in 1856. They are cone-shaped structures that stand approximately twelve feet high and are around 18 feet in diameter. These structures are large and could accommodate up to a dozen individuals.

Example of Sibley Tent

The structure is supported by a central pole but does not require any guy ropes. A cowl was placed over the central pole to provide ventilation and allowed smoke to escape despite what way the wind was blowing.

  • Heavy duty cotton canvas material
  • Circular floor plan that can range between 10 to 15 feet across
  • Supported by a central pole that takes up less space
  • Can be erected over a firepit for cooking and heat

Conclusion

Although we have a variety of different styles and designs of tents available today, some of the old tried and tested, true classics remain the foundation of the modern-day tents.

Each tent has similar features, but they all can provide temporary shelter and housing for some occupants. Depending on the weather and the area you are in, there are additional features available such as the rainfly to keep you dry or the older style of tents that can accommodate a fire for cooking and heat complete with a ventilation hole to control the smoke.

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