What Is A Geodesic Tent And Why Is So Popular?

There are many different types of camping tents, but geodesic ones have recently become popular and are causing a stir in the camping and hiking scene.

geodesic unique shape tent

What is a geodesic tent? Let’s dive in and see where can you use it and how they compare to other types.

What exactly is this tent?

It is a shelter that tends to conform to the earth, looking more like a miniature hobbit hill than a traditional, iconic, triangular pitch tent.

Its flattering shape is formed by different triangles and other geometric shapes, which are divided off by the different crossing support poles.

Why is it called geodesic?

The shortest possible path between two points on a curved surface can be called a geodesic line. When you take a sphere and cut off all its round surfaces so that every side is flat, then it becomes a geodesic sphere.

Certain sports balls are round, but each of their surfaces is completely flat. This is why these units were named after them.

And what’s a semi-geodesic tent?

These camping models are those which are much the same as geodesic ones, except that they have fewer poles.

They’re easier to assemble, but at the sacrifice of some of their wind resistance – they also weigh a bit more.

Officially, semi-geodesic ones have 4 or fewer spots where the poles cross, while fully geodesic ones have 5 or more.

Geodesic camping tents

Read on and find out all about these popular extreme tents.

Geodesic tents 101

The first model of this kind was patented in 1948. There have been 70 years of research and development since then. The principles of this one are simple: a round model makes the most use of space because of limited corner uses.

The intercrossing poles help distribute stress all around the structure instead of at a single joint and that these round and not sharp angles of the unit give it better aerodynamics than anything else possible so that it is the most wind resistant.

Semi-geodesic tent purpose

Because of the strong design and wind resistance, both geodesic and semi-geodesic have excellent backpacking purposes.

geodesic tent

But the added weight of the fewer poles and less wind resistance of the semi-geodesic one sets it apart as being better for backpacking trips and mountain climbing excursions.

Typically, they’re 2 person models and tend to weigh around 4.5 lbs all folded up in the carrying case.

Geodesic tent purpose

Fully geodesic units have at least 5 pole crossing points, which means that they have at least 3 poles. This makes them stronger than their semi-geodesic siblings. This means that they can be lighter, about 3.5 lbs to carry.

You’d see them being used on mountain climbing expeditions or extreme mountain activities, especially with high winds from the lofty altitude and unrelenting snowfall from the proximity to the clouds.

Inflatable geodesic tents

Recently, a breakthrough in research and development has lead to a new kind of tent assembly: blow-up. In some new models, the rods that would normally hold and support the unit are being replaced fully with inflatable tubes.

These kits include air pump adapters, so all you’d need to do is hook up your air pump, and your shelter is assembled.

For campers who are very tired and have a bunch of other things to do as they make camp, an inflatable tent can be a great option. This kind of inflatable pole system makes it a must-have.

Fast pitching

Generally, these pole tubes can even be inflated in under a minute. They are built with ruggedness in mind, having two layers inside the tubes, as well as a patented system on the inside to help inflate all the tubes at once.

Environmentally-friendly production

The processes of manufacturing these ones are always looking to get greener, and some of them are created with recycled materials.

This seems like a brilliant way to keep production costs low while still being environmentally friendly.

Geodesic tents vs Tunnel Tents

Geodesic and tunnel tents share many of the same features, being round-ish, geodesic in the tent’s surface, and being made for wind resistance.

night camping

The difference between the two is that tunnel ones absolutely require to peg it and set all the guy ropes in place.


A geodesic tent is freestanding. But tunnel ones, even when pitched correctly to the wind’s direction, actually can’t be more wind-resistant than geodesic ones, so geodesic still wins in that category.

Don’t forget about the assembly. Because the guy wires for tunnel tents are required for it to stand, the process of setting it up tends to take longer and not be as simple as a normal geodesic one. But, every other difference between these two types is quite negligible.

Which is the best geodesic tent?

Vango is a well-known outdoor company from the UK that manufactures one of the best geodesic tents on the market.

Vango F10 MTN 2 is an award-winning 2 man model that includes 4 poles. This self-supporting structure provides an excellent balance between weight and stability. 

Stability is increased by the Axial Hub pole system. It is a freestanding geodesic dome tent that is versatile to use in inclement weather due to its strong design and multi-function flysheet door.

It is made of 70 denier nylon fabric that has 6,000mm HH. You will be able to set it up in about 8 minutes. This geodesic dome unit for camping weighs 7.5 pounds and has a pack size of 19.3 x 6.7 inches.

Which is the best semi-geodesic 2 man tent?

For the best semi geodesic tent, I picked the Vango Hydra Trekking model for 2 persons. This is a 4-season model that offers good protection in bad weather but not so good as a geodesic one that is meant for the most extreme weather situations.

The design gives a self-supporting structure that gives a great balance between weight and stability. The flysheet is made of quality ProTex 70D 5000 mm hexagonal polyester.

The inner fabric features 70D lightweight polyester, while the poles are PowerLite 7001-T6 alloy.

It packs small but still provides great space to weight ratio, stability, and strength. You will be able to pitch it in about 12 minutes. The pack size measures 18.1 x 6.7 inches.

When to use a geodesic tent?

It is the most useful in the mountains where there are extreme weather conditions. Due to its design and shape, it is able to withstand the strongest wind gusts and snow loads.

It doesn’t have any meteorological limits as it can withstand windstorms with a speed of 100 km/h and up.

Who should use it?

According to its strong, durable and windproof design it is a must-have equipment for:

  • Alpinists
  • Mountain climbers
  • Ice climbers
  • Ice fishers
  • Alpine scrambling outdoorsmen
  • Snowshoers

How much can these tents hold up to?

A geodesic one can generally withstand from 60 to 100 mph wind gusts, but semi-geodesic and tunnel tents are more around the range of being able to withstand gusts of 40mph.

This means that if you’re going out into extreme temperatures, you’ll want the geodesic type.

best geodesic camping tents

How do you secure a tent in high winds?

Anchoring a tent in mountains is very important since it will make you secure while the winds are blowing strong.

No matter that you have the right model for the job you must stabilize it to stay safe as you don’t want to stay without the shelter in extreme conditions.

Heavy-duty gear

I advise that you use heavy-duty stakes, pegs, and guy lines to do it. Use a hammer on the stakes and stake them at an angle of 45 degrees. This way the shelter will be more stable in the snowstorm.

Pitching a tent in the right direction

Set it with the lower part in the direction of the wind as it won’t make such wind resistance and have fewer possibilities to be blown away.

Prepare for the extreme conditions

Now that you know all about a geodesic tent and how it compares, you’re all set and ready for your next camping trip with your family or maybe even your furry pet companion.

Don’t forget to bring your tent and all of your camping necessities. If you will camp on extreme terrain make sure you bring things that will help you to overcome the wind gusts and snow.

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