Camping – What Your Tent Says About You

Updated: May 11, 2020 | By | More

You think that people judge you based on what you wear or what you drive? Think again. Oh, certain narrow minded cross sections of society may make primitive judgements based on such things, but the vast majority of the population are wise enough to look beyond such superficial trinkets and base their first impressions on more important observations; such as what kind of tent you own.

Make no mistake; when you visit a campsite, everyone around you is watching as you erect your temporary dwelling and they’re all secretly judging you. They might not look like it, but trust me, they are. First impressions are vitally important in all things, so to make sure you don’t inadvertently alienate your new neighbours we present this simple guide on what your tent says about you.

The Pop-up Tent

They seem like such a good idea on paper. Putting up a tent is an arduous and time consuming process that nobody enjoys very much, even when everything goes right. When everything doesn’t go according to plan you frequently find yourself: hammering tent pegs into the ground with a tin of beans on account of forgetting a mallet, arguing with your significant other for ninety minutes about the best place to pitch the tent and not speaking for the rest of the holiday after you turn out to be wrong.

The self constructing tent aims to take all of those problems away, and to a certain extent it does. Say what you like about pop up tents (and I certainly intend to) but when they are functioning properly they are an absolute doddle to set up. The problem, or more accurately, the first problem, is that these tents working as they are intended tends to be the exception rather than the rule. Springs get bent or caught on the tarpaulin, joints jam; I have literally witnessed one of these contraptions tear itself to pieces during construction. Not a pretty sight.

But even if the tent functions exactly as intended, you are not yet out of the woods. You see, all of the effort that you saved setting your tent up is going to have to be paid back, with heavy interest, when it comes time to pack the thing away again. Returning a pop-up tent to its original state is an act best compared to trying to get a particularly violent ferret to wear a dinner jacket. You may think a pop-up tent will save you time, but in actuality all you are doing is putting off the work until the end of the holiday, when you are likely to be considerably less enthusiastic about it.

What it says about you: You’re fast paced and always on the go. You value your time highly but sometimes struggle to stop and relax. You own at least one Shamwow and still maintain that it was worth every penny. You’re very fond of the theory of camping, but have little practical experience.

The One Man Tent

The ultimate in no frills camping, one man tents (or tubes as I like to call them) work on the basic rational that you’re probably going to be uncomfortable anyway, so you might as well pick a tent that is convenient. One man tents are compact and lightweight; in fact they’re so light as to sometimes be a problem. Make sure you anchor your tent firmly to the ground, as I have literally seen these things uprooted by the wind and blown halfway across the campsite.

The one man tent
Photo licensed under the Creative Commons, created by Vern

Be warned, no matter how much you and your partner enjoy snuggling; do not attempt to share one of these tents with another person. The combination of the hard ground and somebody sleeping on top of your arm will leave you waking up sore and irritable. To be avoided if at all possible.

What it says about you: You’re strong willed, independent and don’t put too much stoke in creature comforts or material possessions. Right now you’re single, and you’re quite happy with this state of affairs. You’re a seasoned camper, but you’re not really in it for the love of it, camping instead because it provides low cost accommodation in close proximity to one of your other interests.

The Fly Tent

Festival goers will probably know what I mean when I say “there’s always one”. At any heavily trodden campsite there will invariably be a person who arrives toeing a basic fly tent with them, who ends up having to share somebody else’s dwelling as soon as it stars to rain. The fly has many practical utilities when camping: it can be erected over the top of another tent to provide additional protection from the rain, and it can make for a nice communal area. It is not however appropriate for sustaining human habitation once the heavens take it upon themselves to open.

What it says about you: You’re a hopeless romantic and this has occasionally been known to get you into trouble. You have a strong connection to the natural world and enjoy the idea of sleeping with the wind in your hair. Secretly though you crave the companionship of another human being. This is almost certainly your first camping trip.

The Mansion Tent

Capable of holding as many as ten people in comfort, the mansion (or family) tent is ideal for those toeing an extended family with them on their camping trip. Design wise these tents vary from the simplistic ‘large open space’, to the almost laughably complex layouts that contain four separate rooms and an erectable table.

One positive is that these titanic tents enable you to keep your children in close proximity to you, but on the negative front, these titanic tents enable you to keep your children in close proximity to you.

One work of advice, if you’re attending a festival alone, do not bring one of these tents. It sounds good on paper; you’ll get a lot more camping space to enjoy, but remember than you’ll be the one who is stuck providing lodgings to the idiot who turned up dragging a fly tent.

What it says about you: You’re probably a committed family man/woman, a real social butterfly or a total lunatic. Either way, you’re a committed and experienced camper who prefers the simplicity of a field to the creature comforts of a hotel room.

The Bedouin Tent

Lavish, impressive, comfortable and spacious enough to house you and your entire retinue. The Bedouin tent is ideal for camping holidays, festivals and attending international summits. Be warned, whilst the fully furnished Bedouin is unquestionably the height of tent luxury, pitching this goliath structure can prove very challenging. It is advisable to make sure that you have all of the necessary permits and permissions in hand before setting out on your trip.

Bedouin Tent, Sahara
Photo licensed under the Creative Commons, created by jonl1973

What it says about you: You’re confident and highly eccentric, and you want the whole world to know it. You’re clearly affluent, but you still prefer the experience of camping. In fact, there are few things you enjoy more than a pitched tent, and you have been known to have one constructed inside of hotel rooms. When you’re not camping you like nothing better than tyrannically oppressing a small desert nation.

So there you have it. A comprehensive (unless you own a boring tent) and scientific list of which demographic of people own which kind of tent. Use it well.

Stefan Duberley is a freelance writer and walking enthusiast who owns more outdoor clothing and outdoor equipment than is reasonable. His tent of choice is hexagonal and made out of white satin and pastrami. He doesn’t understand it any better than you.

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