There are various types of tents to choose from for backpacking. When it comes to the fundamentals of choosing a tent, there are four of them; size, structure, weight and bulk.
A traditional type of tent is the A-frame tent. It’s called that because it forms the shape of the capital letter “A”, more like a triangle. The A-frame tent is very rugged, simple and very cheap. You rarely ever see people use this type of tent anymore but you can still get them at some places.
The A-frame was originally made of canvas but now some are made of breathable material. You can use a waterproof fly to cover the tent to protect it from rain. There will be an air space between the tent and the fly so that it keeps you warmer when it’s cold and cooler when it’s warm.
A newer type of tent commonly used for camping is the dome tent. There’s a lot of interior space with this type of tent and often includes a vestibule for storing gear or cooking in bad weather. Make sure you have good ventilation when cooking inside the vestibule. This type of tent is commonly used as a 2 person tent or a family tent. It can hold as much as 10 people depending on the size.
The structure of the dome tent is very strong especially when the frame follows a hexagonal structure. This type of tent structure does well against the wind, snow and rain. This is one of those tents that you’ll likely be comfortable in when the weather forces you to stay inside for a couple of days.
If you’re looking for something that has minimal size, structure, weight and bulk then go for the bivvy. This is great for mountaineers, cyclists and climbers because you don’t need a lot of footprint to set this up and they’re very quick to set up. It is shaped like a cocoon (or sleeping bag) and some are supported by poles . They pack down very small and weighs very little.
To summarize, there are four main areas of concern when purchasing a tent. First the size so you need to decide on how many will sleep in the tent. Then the structure where there are advantages and disadvantages of each type of structure in terms of strength, simplicity, price and ability to withstand the weather. The weight and bulk should be considered especially if you are backpacking, motorcycle camping or climbing.