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What is a self erecting tent? What are the advantages of a self erecting tent as opposed to a tent that isn't, and what are the disadvantages?

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Turns out I actually meant a freestanding tent! –  gerrit Nov 5 '12 at 15:48
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

A self erecting tent does exactly what it says. Typically it will be made in a way that the poles will naturally erect the tent so all you need to do is take it out of its bag and then peg it to the ground.

The major downside is that taking it down requires some effort and technique to twist and fold it into its packed configuration. Typically they can't be made that big either, as the springy poles could get tangled in a complex configuration.

We use them for the kids, for day tents or fun tents, but I wouldn't want one for proper camping.

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Why not for proper camping? One major advantage that the seller told me about is that it's much easier to erect a tent in rocky terrain, because there is no need for pegs to create structure. –  gerrit Nov 3 '12 at 23:00
    
In rocky terrain, where there is nothing to peg to, it will save you effort on erecting the tent. You will still need to anchor it somehow. The effort will then be on disassembly. –  Rory Alsop Nov 4 '12 at 10:42
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Also a tent does not have to be self-erecting to be freestanding. My tent can sty up without pegs in rocky terrain but I have to insert and connect the poles myself. –  Kate Gregory Nov 4 '12 at 15:58
    
@KateGregory Hmm. Maybe I'm confusing self-erecting and freestanding! –  gerrit Nov 5 '12 at 14:42
    
Self erecting: youtube.com/watch?v=wRfLzH41lVc –  Rory Alsop Nov 5 '12 at 14:44
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My first experience of camping started with pop-up tent but I ended using a regular tent why? Like the Rory Alsop, it did not answer all the needs raised for a long term camping period. However based on my experience, here are the cons and pros:

Advantages:

  1. Very easy to set
  2. Quicker to set

Disadvantages

  1. It is very hard to master the folding back into its bag
  2. Very Bulky when folded, it will definitely not be the tent that will be used for backpacking camping.
  3. Tent ventilation can be an issue : The model that I used had little ventilation when it was raining.
  4. much less options than a regular tents (for example: vestibule, two doors are very nice to have when doing a long term camping but they seems non-existing or less frequently found than in regular tents)
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