4th Royal Eltham



The main categories of tent are;



Dome and Tunnel

Quick pitch

Instant Pitch

Nylon or Canvas

Before you buy


















Quick Pitch Tents

These are mostly dome tents and are more expensive than the "normal" ones. Manufacturers claim that the tent can be erected in 20 seconds! You just take the tent from it's bag, open it out enough to find the poles and clip them open. Once this is done you then just have to peg the tent down. There is also a variety which comes coiled up in a bag. You just take it out of the bag and drop it on the ground. By the time it hits the floor, it up! However, most are "play" tents and will leak during wet weather, and the ones that are "real" tents are very expensive.

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Dome and Tunnel Tents

Are often the least expensive type and are normally made of Nylon and have poles which are made of glass fiber. The tents are usually laid out on the ground and the poles inserted into sleeves on the tent. The poles are then bent and clipped to the base of the tent. The tent is then pegged down. It is very easy to accidentally push a pole through the side of a sleeve causing damage which is difficult to effectively repair. This is especially so during wet weather. It can also be difficult to remove the poles when taking the tent down. The poles are connected by an elastic cord. If you try to pull the pole out, it will often come apart making it quite difficult to retrieve what is left in the sleeve. Always push the poles out of the sleeve. There are varieties available which do not have sleeves. Once the poles are attached to the base of the tent, the tent is then clipped to the poles, pegged down and the fly sheet thrown over the top, tied to the poles and pegged down. We have found these tents to be easier and quicker to put up and less likely to be damaged by the poles.

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Ridge Tents

Range in size to accommodate from, a single person and up to a patrol of six or even eight. They consist of a number of poles, usually wooden or steel, which form the ridge (roof support) and uprights. Some tents have "A" frames instead of upright poles. These allow more room inside the tent because they go on the outside. The tent is normally laid open on the ground and the poles inserted.  "A" frame tents are normally pegged down around the groundsheet before suspending the tent on the poles. The tent is then pegged down.

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Frame Tents

Are normally quite large and good for a family, patrol or for use as a store. They consist of a number of poles, usually steel, which need to be put together to form the frame. The tent is then placed over the frame and pegged down. There are usually a considerable number of guy lines and eyelets to peg and, this process can take quite a time. They do not normally have a fly sheet so, care must be taken during wet weather so as not to touch the sides or roof.

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Canvas Tents

Canvas tents are more expensive than Nylon ones. While they do fade, they are pretty much unaffected by sunlight in any other way. While they are normally stronger than Nylon they are also heavier. Canvas tents do not always have sewn in ground sheets.

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Nylon Tents

Nylon tents normally have a cotton inner tent and a sewn in groundsheet. They are cheaper and lighter than Canvas ones. They are affected by sunlight which hardens the nylon and eventually causes the tent to become holed. The time that this process will take depends entirely on the length of time that the tent is exposed to sunlight and, the strength of the sunlight. As a very rough guide, if you use your tent entirely in a cooler climate and keep it mostly in shade, it could last for ten years. If you use your tent entirely in a hot climate with constant direct sunlight, it may not last much more than a year. Nylon tents are often not as strong as canvas ones.

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Instant Pitch Tents


The ones we have are very good and much the same quality as dome or tunnel tents. However, as you can see by the photos, they are up in a few seconds and require just a few pegs to keep them where you left them.



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Decide on use before you buy

Before going to a shop, decide what your main use for the tent will be. Hike/camping will require a tent to accommodate only one or two people and the main things to look for would be packed size and weight. If you want a large tent for the whole family, or to use as a store tent then a frame or large ridge tent will be required. Packed size and weight are not so important. If you will be using your tent just for yourself and perhaps one or two friends then a small ridge, dome or tunnel tent will do the trick.

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