Sadly after many years my trusted Helsport tunnel tent1 took some damage in a storm that I'm not sure will be repairable. I'm therefore looking into the possibility of getting a new tent.

When I looked into tent trade-offs last, tunnel tents where the ones who provided the best ratio in terms of internal space2 for low weight.3

That was a long time ago though, I have have seen many new (and sometimes rather exotic) tent constructions here and there...

So are there tent constructions that provides more space than tunnel tents do for the same weight?

Some details on what I'm looking for and what not:

  • I'm looking for 3-season double-wall tent constructions.
  • Size that I'm targeting: 2-3 person tent
  • I'm not currently interested in ultralight-solutions. I do self-sustained treks of 1-2 weeks in northern Scandinavia - and quite frankly, I don't trust ultralight solutions enough to bring them with me on such a trip.
  • As I hope my new tent will last me an other 10-15 years, I'm ok with spending some money. While an answer such as "more expensive tunnel tents will be lighter than cheap ones" isn't exactly what I'm looking for, if it boils down to it I'll go that way...

1 : My tent is probably the ancestor model to the Fjellheimen Pro Camp. Only like 20 years older. :)
2 : I don't need standing height. I'm mostly looking for space in the inner tent and a roomy vestibule for keeping packs etc.
3 : In comparison, dome tents tend to (tended to?) provide you the best stability/robustness in high winds and adverse conditions.

  • 1
    How do you measure internal space? Volume? Floor area? Floor area where you can sit/kneel (or even stand)?
    – Chris H
    Feb 21, 2018 at 15:24
  • Answers might depend on what size you need. I think it is hard to beat a tunnel construction for a "light two person"/"roomy one person" tent, but if you are hiking solo or in a larger group there might be other solutions...
    – Guran
    Feb 22, 2018 at 8:01
  • @Guran, I updated the question: I'm looking at 2-3 person tents.
    – fgysin
    Feb 22, 2018 at 10:30
  • @ChrisH: Inner tent doesn't need to be unreasonably big (as mentioned I'm doing long treks, so weight is an issue). Some extra space in the inner and a roomy vestibule can go a long way though IMHO.
    – fgysin
    Feb 22, 2018 at 10:35
  • 1
    Probably the best approach would be to make a table with columns like weight, inner volume, people, weight/volume, weight/person. Alas, I can't help with filling it right now. All that I know is that 5 years ago a 1 kg / person tent was considered a good choice for mountaineering.
    – Steed
    Feb 22, 2018 at 10:51

1 Answer 1


What are your options?

As someone who makes their own shelters I've given a great deal of thought to the pros and cons of different architectures. But like most things involving gear choice, the real answer is that "it depends".

Given that you are camping in exposed places, I wouldn't waste much time on the more exotic geodesic architectures - at the consumer end they are mostly designed for below the treeline, and at the mountaineering end they are designed for snow loading and are heavier than you really need for 3-season use.

So your main choices boil down to the tunnel, the dome and the pyramid/tepee.

You can't go far wrong with a good Scandinavian dome or tunnel

You're not going to find any dramatic differences in the space to weight ratio between domes and tunnels - it really boils down to your subjective preferences in terms of features. They both use space effectively, and they both pitch easily and take the weather. The downside is that a robust design is likely to work out at around a kilo per person.

But if you want to save weight, your best option is to consider a pyramid

Your best option for significant weight savings would be pyramid or tepee.

This is especially true if you or your party use walking poles, as in contrast to domes and tunnels you won't need to carry additional tent-poles.

Even when made of ultralight materials, mids can be bomber when well executed. For Scandinavian conditions I would have no qualms about using a mid from vendors such as Mountain Laurel or SeekOutside.

MLD DuoMid in stormy conditions...

The downside of mids is their use of space - the walls slope and you have a pole in the middle. But the upside is that this architecture is more efficient in terms of poles and fabric.

So in return for some mild inconveniences you can save significant weight. A spacious double-wall setup from Mountain Laurel starts at under 300g per person if your budget stretches to Cuben - a very significant saving over your typical Scandinavian tunnel or dome. More budget-friendly silnylon models will still work out significantly lighter.

Some people don't get on with mids, while others swear by them and wouldn't use anything else. It's really a question of your own usage, preferences and dislikes.

But if weight is a priority, I would suggest that mids are certainly an option worth exploring.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.