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I was lucky enough to be given an almost new double skin popup tent.

Where I'm camping right now it's got windy a couple of times and rainy a couple of times.

A friend of mine who is camping in his (several seasons old) dome tent says he thinks they're an inherently better design than popup tents against wind.

But is this necessarily true? Is it generally considered that popup tents have a particular set of advantages and disadvantages in comparison to dome tents? ... apart from these points which I think are obvious:

  • Dome is cheaper than popup.
  • Popup is quicker and easier to pitch, and arguably quicker and easier to stow (at least once you've learned how!)
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The disadvantage of a popup : Cumbersome, tend to less ventilated than dome tents –  Amine Aug 16 '12 at 13:36
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The big advantage that classic dome tents will have with strong winds is the addition of the guy ropes. With a popup tent, in high winds the stress will be on the tent itself, with guy ropes the stress is on the ropes and (when erected properly) a certain amount is channelled down to the ground via the pegs.

Now this isn't to say popup tents will break the minute they hit a moderate wind - but the point I find most people don't consider much is that when popup tents do break, they use such a combination of internal poles / springs that they're near impossible to fix in the wilderness with tools you may have on hand. Quite simply, there's much more to go wrong, and much less chance of fixing it if it does.

If you apply this ethos to a dome tent in high winds, if something breaks it's very, very likely to be the guy ropes that go first (because they're what should take the brunt of the force.) If you awake the next morning to find a couple of guy ropes snapped, 10 minutes later they can be near as good as new with a short piece of paracord and a moderate knowledge of good knots.

Combining those together I'd say that at lest for serious use, popup tents are not as well suited to high winds as dome tents.

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Actually the Vango Dart popups, unlike the Quechua popups, do have guy ropes, but they don't have the lower "hoop", only the upper one. Here's a picture of a model similar to mine that I can't include in my question due to copyright reasons. –  hippietrail Aug 12 '12 at 16:42
    
Yep we've also had the elastic string inside our dome tent poles break once in a big storm but it was pretty easy to fix. I don't fancy having to do it with my popup though (-: –  hippietrail Aug 12 '12 at 16:50
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Well both have there own advantages and disadvantages. Its depends on you what is your requirement. but dome tent shape is not particularly resistant to strong winds. The higher the dome the worse this gets. Such tents are OK for sheltered spots and very casual camping, but no more than that.

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Another thing to consider is the quality of sleep you'll be getting. I've never slept in a pop-up tent, but the ones I have seen pitched seem like they have trouble staying up even without wind. Because of the design of the single, continuous pole, I would say they are inferior to dome tents.

I've slept in dome tents where the wind was so strong it would whip the side of the tent into sleeping body. On those few occasions, I doubt the a pop-up tent would have the structure to provide much protection from the wind, and it definitely would have prevented me from sleeping.

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We did have strong wind and rain one night but I didn't the tent pegged in and I wasn't using the guy lines because I was lazy and the weather started great and it's hard to put standard pegs in dry sand at a beach. So yeah the roof came down and lots of water got in! Now it's (almost) properly pegged and tied with guy lines and has stood up to strong wind pretty well though I haven't had the full wind+rain combo again to test it fully. –  hippietrail Aug 18 '12 at 8:41
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Are there any rocks around? I often tie my guylines around those at the beach. If you have some bandanas you could make a sand anchor (this might even work with socks). I'm still not convinced that this kind of tent is AS strong as a dome tent, mostly because (as Berry120 mentioned) the poles/stakes of the dome tent help transfer some of the load to the ground. –  Aaron Dec 26 '12 at 1:30
    
I did collect a good few rocks, but maybe they were'nt big enough. I ended up copying the locals who fill discarded plastic bottles with sand, tie the guylines around the top, and bury the bottle in the sand. –  hippietrail Dec 26 '12 at 1:51
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