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I was searching around after a new hiking tent, when I noticed a specification called "unisex", I know that something is "unisex" if it's suited for all genders. Though it makes me wonder, how on earth isn't a hiking tent suited for all genders? After a bit of digging, I realized that some might argue that a princess tent is a "girl tent" or whatever. But on hiking tent, isn't that information completely redundant?

Example of unisex tent

Edit To add to the conversation about the "unisex tent" being especially common in the UK, here's a listing from a swedish manufacturer (Found down in the productspecification). It's still in Europe, though.

Swedish unisex tent

  • Good edit. It is still bizarre. Oddly, another dome tent listed there is "Andes 4 Person Man Berth Double Skin Camping/Festival Dome Tent", so it seems there is some weird product alignment going on? Although one can't Refine by 'unisex', only by number of persons (male, female, unisex, whatever). There are a variety of other tents listed as Unisex as well. Perhaps it is a British thing since it is Amazon UK? – Jon Custer Jul 25 '18 at 14:53
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    Maybe someone's tried to take the old "4-man" size description and remove gender references, but got it wrong. – Chris H Jul 25 '18 at 19:14
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    Women's tent has individual stalls for everyone, men's is just wide open; no privacy. – ShemSeger Jul 25 '18 at 22:10
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    This coleman tent uses the term 'attractive unisex colouring'. That begs the questions what is unisex colouring though. – wanderweeer Jul 25 '18 at 23:00
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    Maybe the same store sells clothing that is designed to fit one sex, and they need to put something in the database field that describes which sex. – jejorda2 Jul 26 '18 at 22:33
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My guess, backed up by the definitions for unisex in the Oxford English Dictionary is that this is a attempt by manufacturers and sports shops to show that they recognize that women too, hike and backpack and need tents. They are trying to overcome an image of backpacking being only for homo saps with a Y chromosome. Coming soon at a hardware store near you: unisex clamps, unisex hammers and unisex saws. (Homebuilders will be in deep trouble if unisex electrical connectors come into fashion.)

From the OED, unisex:

A 3. adj Designed to be suitable for either sex; not peculiar to one sex.

B 3. n 3. Also with capital initial. The state or condition of being sexually neutral or indeterminate; the quality of being equally suitable for both sexes.

The OED gives several examples, of which the most pertinent is:

1969 Sunday Mail (Brisbane) 11 May 24/8 It's unisex where men and women have abandoned the old ‘vive la difference’ school of thought in dressing.

Substitute recreation for dressing, and you have the "logic", however weird, behind unisex tents.

Still in question, who started this idiocy about unisex tents, and where?

9

This looks like a combination of keyword stuffing and people in the UK apparently wanting unisex products. It might be like labeling things that don't normally contain gluten as gluten-free for the extra exposure.

For example of keyword stuffing in titles consider,

  • Coleman Water Repellent Instant Tourer Unisex Outdoor Pop-up Tent available in Green - 4 Persons
  • Coleman Weatherproof Galiano Unisex Outdoor Pop-up Tent See Size Options Coleman Weatherproof Galiano Unisex Outdoor Pop-up Tent
  • Yellowstone Waterproof Fast Pitch Unisex Outdoor Pop-Up Tent
  • Regatta Waterproof Malawi Unisex Outdoor Pop-Up Tent
  • Easycamp Unisex Cyrus 200 Tent, Aqua Blue, One Size

As far as the UK is concerned, I search "unisex tent" on both amazon.com and amazon.co.uk in the Sports & Outdoors section.

  • amazon.com -> "Showing results for "unisex tent" in Toys & Games. Search in Sports & Outdoors instead."
  • amazon.co.uk -> Lots and lots of tents.

Also supporting this theory are these results searching amazon.co.uk for "unisex"

  • Kingfisher Unisex Olham Rubber Steel Shaft Camping Tent Mallet, Black
  • JOOWEN Unisex Two Tone Cotton Twill Unstructured Baseball Cap Adjustable Dad Hat
  • Under Armour Undeniable 3.0 Md Unisex Sport Duffel
  • Gelert Unisex Wind Blocker
  • NGT Unisex Stainless Baiting Tool Set in Sleeve (4 Piece), Green, One Size
  • Mora Unisex 163s Spoon and Bowl Crook Carving Knife, Natural

Mallets, knives, windblockers and duffel bags don't seem to be specific to one gender, I don't see why a tent would be.

4

Existing answer already give good reasons why there might be an unisex tag even though it's factually irrelevant. There is one much less involved reason: Shop templates. The linked Fjällräven shop also sells clearly gender-specific stuff, not just tents. So due to those items fields for gender are already present lowering the threshold to include it for items, where it isn't really necessary (it's there anyway). If they'd had to purposely add it to templates and databases, they might still do it due to the reasons given in Charlie's and ab2's answers.

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