What Is A Dome Tent And How To Pick The Right One?

Do you wonder what is a dome tent? What are its characteristics? Why is this tent shape so popular among outdoorsmen?

popular dome shape tent

This type of tent is affordable, easy to pitch on different terrains, easy to put in your backpack, and lightweight compared to other, bigger-sized models.

Read on to know more about these popular tents and why you should consider getting one.

What is it like?

This tent type is one of the most common types that outdoor enthusiasts choose as their outdoor shelter.

They usually have a rectangular floor and light poles that run across each other diagonally and cross at the peak. The poles hold the shelter together when it is stretched out to give the shape of a dome.

man camping

The rectangular shape and fixed peak are just the basic features of such tents. Meanwhile, there are dome units with irregular floors, multiple rooms, and vestibules.

They are available in different sizes from light tents that can only suit one person to bigger ones.

How to choose a dome tent?

Before you go and choose the first one that you come across, there are a few things that you have to consider to opt for a shelter that will suit your outdoor needs.

A vestibule

A vestibule is one of the design aspects that you must consider when choosing this type of shelter.

dome tent vestibule

A vestibule will hold your extra gear and provide you with an area for taking off your shoes when you arrive from your outdoor excursions. If you need all these functionalities in your tent, then you should get one with a vestibule.

See how you can use a vestibule and why is it important to have it.

How many rooms will you need? 

If you are camping alone, then you won’t need a multi-roomed tent. But if you are out there with your family or with other people, then you should get one with multiple rooms.

You can get one with separate bedrooms that will provide the privacy that you need.

The season

If you will be camping during summer and spring alone, then you will be okay with a 3-season unit.

But if you plan on camping throughout the year, then you should consider getting a 4-season one that will protect you from the harsh elements during the winter such as snow and strong winds.

durable 4-seasson tent

Some of the four-season models have a geodesic structure that is supported by at least three poles to ensure the stability of the shelter in bad weather.

Tent poles

You have different pole options to choose from. I am giving you information about the two pole types which are the most common.

The poles should be strong and durable to be able to withstand strong winds and a considerable amount of snow in the winter. Steel and aluminum poles are recommendable to have in such situations.

Tent brand

You should always go for a credible manufacturer when buying your tent so you won’t be disappointed. Avoid products from shoddy manufacturers as they may not be durable and they may not have a valid warranty.

camping time

Dome tents for sale

Here are some popular dome camping tents that you can opt for. They differ in brand, shape, setup, and price.

Ozark trail 4 person dome tent

Coleman dome tent

Heimplanet inflatable dome tent

Gdrasuya10 bubble dome tent

The Advantages

Now that you understand the factors that you should consider when buying a dome tent, let’s take a look at the benefits that you gain when you buy it.

Strong and durable

One of the selling points of these units is that they are strong and durable. This is the best type of tent regarding wind resistance. Their low-laying structure makes them less of an obstacle to the wind.

This gives them the stability to keep you safe for the entire time you will be outdoors. Strong wind can be a problem so having a low tent comes in handy as you will feel more secure inside.

Check how to set up a tent in high winds.

Easy and fast setup

They are easy to set up and you will be able to pitch them alone and in a very short period of time. Some are also designed to be freestanding so it reduces the setup time and effort considerably. Dome tent instructions tend to be easy for understanding.

instant dome tents

Light and portable

They are light and portable when compared to other outdoor units such as cabin tents for example.

Moving them around is quite easy, especially if they are freestanding. Most come with a backpack carrier so transporting them from place to place is an easy task.

The Disadvantages

These kinds of tents have a lot of great attributes so it is difficult to identify their disadvantages. What are the disadvantages of a dome tent? The only thing that I am able to note is the reduced vertical height as a result of the dome shape.

Moving inside is, therefore, difficult as they don’t offer so much height but if you plan to use them to spend the night, this will not be an issue.

Are dome tents good?

When should you pack it for outdoors? If you will camp alone or with your significant other a dome-style tent will serve you well.

It is built strong and has good wind resistance due to the structure. So, it is appropriate to use in windy and stormy weather.

This is the best shelter to use if you are going backpacking on camping without a vehicle. Why?

They are built from minimum material so they are the lightest among outdoor tents. You will hike with a backpack so your shelter must be as light as possible.

There are models that are made of more quality material and those that are cheaper, so consider the dome tent features when buying it. The options are infinite.

Pro tip: If you will camp throughout the year and love to go outdoors in the mountains then you need a pricier model from a reputable outdoor brand that guarantees protection.

Meanwhile, you can opt for a cheaper version if you intend to camp in warm temperatures occasionally, let’s say at weekends.

Where to use a dome tent?

What is a dome tent used for? It has a low structure and is more grounded than a cabin unit, for example, so it is a stable shelter in the storm with the wind.

It is an ideal option if you are going camping with a backpack or backpacking since it is lightweight.

A geodesic tent is an upgraded dome unit that is professional outdoor equipment for alpinism and mountain camping.

Don’t you ever compromise with the product’s quality and price when going to the mountains since you have safety at stake.

dome outdoor tent

A dome model is the most optimal option if you are going on a weekend camping or backpacking trip, or on a festival where you will spend a few nights in nature.

Is a dome tent waterproof?

The waterproofness of the tent depends on the model, not its shape. You can choose a seasonality that will tell you how waterproof it is. Look at the tent and find the information about the seasonality and waterproof level.

The tent is waterproof if it has at least an 800mm hydrostatic head but it’s better if this measure is higher. The higher the number, the more waterproof it is.

How to put a dome tent up?

How to assemble a dome tent? Here are the three steps to follow if you want to know how to pitch a dome tent properly.

Step #1

Look for the perfect location to set it up. Remove the debris and branches from the ground. If you have a tarp use it.

Step #2

Place all the parts from the storage bag on the floor so you will see each part. Extend the fabric where you want to pitch the shelter.

Dome tents for camping have two main poles that will criss-cross at the top of the unit. Extend them and insert through the sleeves of the material and stabilize them.

Step #3

If the unit came with the rain fly you can put it on and attach it to the poles. Stake it down and you are ready to go. This is a simple way to erect a dome tent.

Pro tip: If you intend to camp in the mountains where there will be wind gusts and snow loads consider checking this guide for setting the tent in the snow.

Here is how to put up a dome tent video to help you understand the whole process.

How to fold a dome tent?

Folding it is the opposite of setting it up. Take the rain fly off (if it has it), detach the poles and stakes, and store all the parts in the storage bag.

Friendly tip: Make sure that you store a dry tent unless you might have problems with mold and mildew the next time you will pitch it.

Having an instant or a pop-up unit?

If the model is instant or a pop-up you don’t have to go through the mentioned procedure. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you will be camping in no time as these two are known for the fastest setup processes.

What’s the difference between a dome tent and a cabin tent?

The main difference is in comfort and height. A dome tent is lower and provides space for sleeping (and not so much comfort) and is lower than a cabin tent. Generally, it is easier to set up a dome unit than a cabin unit.

Geodesic dome tents 101

I want to tell you more about geodesic dome units which are one of the most durable and stable structures to use outdoors. A geodesic tent is an improved dome type of tent that is like an upgraded dome unit that is meant for the toughest terrains and weather.

Alpinists, mountaineers, and other mountain lovers use them to stay safe and secure when the wind and snow are relentless. The unit has flattering and other geometric shapes, divided off by the different crossing support poles.

A fully geodesic model has at least 5 pole crossing points, so it has at least 3 poles that provide high stability and strength in harsh weather conditions.

If you intend to stay in the mountains don’t forget to take it with you as it is the most reliable camping tent to have out there.

Where to buy dome tent replacement poles?

Did your tent pole snap? The smartest way to buy replacement poles for your dome tent is to look in the store of the brand that you bought a shelter from. You can go to an official brand site or on Amazon and find the right pole and other dome tent parts for your model.

Final word

If you will camp minimalistic then I recommend you to choose a tent in the shape of a dome. So, what is a dome tent?

It is meant for spending the night outdoors. It is among the lightest, is easy to set up and also to move on the other campsite. However, it’s not best to use it if you want a glamping experience.

If you will go outdoors alone or with someone else, go ahead and buy the right size of this popular tent.

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