What Is A Free Standing Tent

Freestanding vs. Non-Freestanding Tents

What kind of tent should you get? First and foremost, some definitions are required: Tents that stand on their own without the need of incorporated poles are known as freestanding tents. The fact that they are not linked to anything means that they may be picked up and transported without changing their shape. MSR Hubba XP is a multi-purpose vehicle. (Weight: 3 pounds, 7 ounces) Temporary structures that need a rope or cord to be fastened to metal stakes that must be pushed or pounded into the ground.

They may also make use of your trekking poles to help them stand up on their own own.

9 oz) It’s similar to the difference between a tent with an endoskeleton and a tent with an exoskeleton in terms of functionality.

A freestanding model has several significant advantages, including the fact that, despite their weight, they may be relocated simply if you detect pebbles in your back.

  • In addition to being stronger, they have greater space both inside and out in the vestibules (a big plus to keep your gear dry).
  • Alternatively, there is a greater learning curve associated with non-freestanding systems.
  • When it comes to putting in or clipping poles, there is very little fussing, and the experience encourages you to be more observant and aware of your surroundings as you learn knots, which types of soil hold stakes better, and what angle to lay up your tarp to reduce rain splash-back.
  • In addition, it is my personal opinion that a well- staked freestanding tent, regardless of design, is always more waterproof than an unstaked freestanding tent.
  • What does it look like when they’re side by side?

Freestanding Versus Non-Freestanding Tents

More Versatile – can be put up anywhere More prone to bad weather conditions, esp. wind
Faster setup initially Heavier
Easily moveable Less waterproof (if not staked as well)
Can be put up in a shelter/on a tent platform Difficult / more expensive to replace poles
Trekking poles / additional gear unnecessary More complicated assembly overall (debatable)
Can be picked up and shaken to clean out debris Less warm (if it is bigger)
More space inside usually
Bigger vestibule
Staked (non-Freestanding):
More Waterproof (if correctly staked) Stakes may come out
More Windproof Doesn’t work on gravel, rock, poor surfaces
Lighter Harder to set up at first
Easier to repair / find replacements Hard to move if your location is poor.
Faster set up once you are used to it May require you to have trekking poles
Warmer (if it is smaller) Less sturdy
Harder to clean out
Less space inside usually
Smaller vestibule (if any)

There’s also the question of whether to use twin walls or a single wall. In addition to having two walls, most freestanding tents also feature a rainfly attached to one side of the tent.

Many non-freestanding tent choices are now experimenting with a single-wall design, despite the fact that it is more expensive (the rainfly is the roof of your tent). This can save on weight, but there are some drawbacks to it as well. So, here’s another graph for you!

Double Wall
Less condensation on the inside More complicated design
More ventilation More seams = less waterproof (debatable)
Cooler Permeable bottom that requires footprint
Single Wall
Less complicated design Less ventilation
Fewer seams = more waterproof (debatable) More condensation
Bathtub bottom is waterproof, no footprint Warmer

If you pay attention, you’ll find that temperature is both a benefit and a drawback. This is because, during the summer months, when boyscouts are able to kayak down sweaty rivers on their backs, they will most likely want a well-ventilated tent that will keep them comfortable. During the fall and spring, on the other hand, you’ll be much happier in a poorly ventilated tent where you can bask in the warmth of your own warm methane fumes. The warm glow of slim jims that have been digested However, how can you extrapolate from raw data to the real-world situation?

  1. When it comes to equipment, I’ve always had a MacGyver mentality.
  2. I liked my old, rusty metal dinosaur of a bicycle over my posh new carbon fiber Trek bike since it reminded me of my childhood.
  3. No.
  4. Even the thought of changing a tire on it makes me feel like I’m doing delicate heart surgery on it.
  5. As a result, I’m at the mercy of bike stores, where I stand awkwardly and look at wall displays for internal gears or disk brakes while someone else handles my bike in close proximity to their own body.
  6. This similar frame of mind may be used to tents.
  7. No, not at all.

As I discovered out after once trying to duct tape together a frozen pole that I had busted wide apart — no.

But what about those bizarre tarp tents and their crazy set-ups?

Is it necessary to have greater knowledge?

Knowing how to tie a bowline and a trucker’s hitch comes in handy in this situation.

But what do you do if anything goes wrong and has to be repaired?

Then your tent is as good as brand-new.

It’s Mac against PC; automatic versus manual shifting; an alcohol stove versus a pocket rocket; and watches versus digital clocks, to name a few comparisons.

John Hodgman (the original PC) has gotten a new appearance.

It goes without saying that you must choose and choose what you are most comfortable with.

I made selections about which pieces of equipment I wanted to devote the majority of my time to learning, because everyone needs to strike a balance between automatic and manual modes of operation.

Perhaps this is why so many tent manufacturers are now going towards a more compromising approach to tent design.

It was quite convenient to be able to set up on a platform or a rocky outcropping after we reached New Hampshire and Maine, and we even took advantage of the opportunity to stay in a shelter on a couple of occasions.

So, in the end, everybody to his or her own.

Alternatively, you may sleep on a hammock.

The following are some useful resource guides: a few fundamentals about tents This evaluation and comparison of hiking tents (both freestanding and nonfreestanding), as well as lightweight shelters, is provided by the Outdoor Gear Lab (non-freestanding and tarps).

*Please keep in mind that this post is not intended for you grittier, nature-hardened tarpers.

In order to experience the full-on tarp lifestyle, I would recommend avoiding the major retail alternatives in favor of one of the tiny firms who specialize in it, such asSix Moon Designs, Tarptents, Mountain Laurel Designs, Zpacks, or Hyperlite Mountain Gear (to name a few examples) (although I have heard the sound of rain on a Cuban fiber tarp is like Chinese sound torture).

And here are a few styles of freestanding tents that are highly recommended:

  • In most cases, you’ll observe that temperature is both a benefit and a disadvantage. This is because, during the summer, when boyscouts are able to kayak down sweaty rivers on their backs, they will most likely want a well-ventilated tent to keep them cool. Fall and spring, on the other hand, are ideal times to spend time in a poorly ventilated tent, when you may bask in the warmth of your own warm methane. Slim jims have a nice glow to them once they have been eaten. The question is, how does one extrapolate from raw data to the real world. In the age-old debate over which tent type is superior, which has been raging since the first death rattle of the Industrial Age, is the subject of whether to use an automated or manual tent raises a number of issues. Regarding equipment, I’ve always had a MacGyver approach. Unless I can fix it with a toothpick, gum, and a few extra birch bark shavings, I’m not interested in owning it in any way. I liked my old, rusty metal dinosaur of a bicycle over my posh new carbon fiber Trek bike since it reminded me of my youth. Sure, the Trek bike is more reliable, goes quicker, and has never spewed weird bolts and screws into the pavement while I ride beside my bemused biker companions, but can I fix it? I’m not sure. No. These ridiculous tiny click shifters are beyond my comprehension, and I have no clue how to repair them! It’s as if I’m doing delicate heart surgery every time I touch it, much alone try to change a tire on it. However, I could always locate screws to fit the cables in my old bike at a hardware store, which allowed me to keep my (very) simple shifting mechanism operational (well enough). As a result, I’m at the mercy of bike stores, where I stand awkwardly and look at wall displays for internal gears or disk brakes while someone else touches my bike in close proximity to their own skin. What a terrifying experience it must have been! Tents may be thought of in the same way. How do tent poles function, do I understand? I don’t believe that to be the case. Yes, I understand that it is made of elastic within hollowed tubes that compress when you draw them apart and fold them, but is it possible to recreate this in the woods? As I discovered after once attempting to duct tape together a frozen pole that I had broken wide apart, the answer is a categorical no. Unlike McGyver, I am not a real person. Then there are those bizarre tarp tents with their odd set-ups to contend with. What further knowledge do you need for this job? Yes. A basic understanding of the bowline and the trucker’s hitch is important. It’s likely that you’re familiar with how to properly stake out a position, especially on difficult terrain. But, what do you do if anything goes wrong and has to be repaired? More rope and sharp bits of metal are added to the mix. So your tent is completely new. Yes, it is exactly what I was looking for. It’s Mac against PC
  • Automatic versus manual shifting
  • An alcohol stove versus a pocket rocket
  • And watches versus digital clocks, to name a few differences. The conflict will continue, and you will have to continuously reevaluate your position in order to stay on top of things. It’s a fresh look for John Hodgman (the original PC). It’s possible that the manual world is becoming fashionable once more. It goes without saying that you must select and chose what you are most comfortable with. Consider that I am personally frightened of fire, therefore instead of using an alcohol stove, I employ a pocket rocket design. Since everyone requires a certain level of balance between automatic and manual operations, I made selections about which pieces of equipment I would spend my time learning. A reliance on gear makers and other hikers that is excessive is risked, while a reliance on physical labor that is excessive is risked by spending an unnecessary amount of time fiddling with items to get them to operate properly. Possibly as a result, a growing number of tent manufacturers are going toward a more compromising tent design. However, in spite of my MacGuyver tirade, I utilized a very popular hybrid tent style on the AT, Tarptent’sDouble Rainbow, which is available in both a freestanding and non-freestanding configuration. It was quite convenient to be able to set up on a platform or a rocky outcropping after we reached New Hampshire and Maine, and we even took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in a shelter on a few of occasions. Besides that, the box is illustrated with a dinosaur. Ultimately, everybody to his or her own. Your Own Tent Can Be Pitched Alternative sleeping arrangements include hammocks. Never underestimate the ability of the British to choose the high road. Resource guides in a nutshell: The following are some fundamental tent facts: This evaluation and comparison of hiking tents (both freestanding and nonfreestanding), as well as lightweight shelters, is provided by the Outdoor Gear Laboratory (non-freestanding and tarps). Two-person shelters/tents are the focus of the majority of the evaluations. *Please keep in mind that this post is not intended for you hardened tarpers from the outdoors. We came across folks who were sleeping beneath a tarp weighing less than one pound and quietly suffering the nasty crawlies while they turned their bodies into a nightly entertainment park, but the insect to person ratio on the AT was too high for me to consider serious tarp camping. In order to experience the full-on tarp lifestyle, I would recommend avoiding the major retail alternatives in favor of one of the tiny firms who specialize in it, such asSix Moon Designs, Tarptents, Mountain Laurel Designs, Zpacks, or Hyperlite Mountain Gear (to name a few) (although I have heard the sound of rain on a Cuban fiber tarp is like Chinese sound torture). Listed below are a few examples of freestanding tents that we think are worth your consideration:
See also:  How Many Weed Plants In A 4X4 Tent

Good luck, and please feel free to share any more tent-related links or ideas in the comments section below! Disclosure of Affiliate Relationships This website contains affiliate links, which means that The Trek may get a commission if you purchase a product or service after clicking on one of the affiliate links in the articles or adverts on this site. Although the consumer pays the same amount as they would have otherwise, their purchases assist The Trek to continue its mission of providing you with quality backpacking guidance and information on a year-round basis.

For further information, please see theAbout This Sitepage.

What is a Freestanding Tent?

Freestanding tents are tents that can stand on their own, making them simple to put up in a variety of terrains ranging from arid sands and snow-covered summits to wooden tent platforms and everything in between. The majority of freestanding tents are double-wall tents with a separate inner tent and a rainfly to help prevent internal condensation from getting into your gear. However, a small number of single-wall freestanding tents exist, which are primarily used by climbers and mountaineers to protect their gear.

Tent stakes are required for semi-freestanding tents to be set up, mostly to stake out vestibules, but fully freestanding tents can be set up completely without the need of any stakes at all.

It’s a little distinction that isn’t really significant because you should always stake up a tent to keep it from blowing away in the wind or during inclement weather.

This issue is covered in greater depth in the articleHow to Set Up a Tent on Sand.

  • The following types of tents are available: double-wall tents in which the Inner Tent is set up first
  • Double-wall tents in which the Rainfly is set up first
  • Single-wall tents.

Here are a few illustrations of each type:

Make / Model Design Setup Weight Price
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Semi-Freestanding Inner Tent First 2 lbs 11 oz $450
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 Semi-Freestanding Inner Tent First 2 lbs 3 oz $400
Nemo Hornet Elite 2 Semi-Freestanding Inner Tent First 1 lb 11 oz $500
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Semi-Freestanding Inner Tent First 3 lbs 8 oz $450
Paria Outdoor Zion 2P Semi-Freestanding Inner Tent First 4 lbs 2 oz $170
SlingFin Portal 2 Semi-Freestanding Inner Tent First 2 lbs 13 oz $485
Exped Lyra II Semi-Freestanding Inner Tent First 4 lbs 4 oz $249
Hilleberg Niak Semi-Freestanding Rainfly First 3 lbs 5 oz $800
Hilleberg Unna Semi- Freestanding Rainfly First 4 lbs 7 oz $725
Terra Nova Southern Cross 1 Fully Freestanding Rainfly First 3 lbs 4 oz $746
Exped Orion II Fully Freestanding Rainfly First 6 lbs 9 oz $649
Big Sky Chinook 2 Fully Freestanding Rainfly First 4 lbs $600
Black Diamond Firstlight 2 Fully Freestanding Single Wall 3 lbs $370
MSR Advance Pro 2 Fully Freestanding Single Wall 2 lbs 14 oz $550
Mountain Hardwear AC 2 Fully Freestanding Single Wall 3 lbs 7 oz $650

Double-Wall: Inner Tent First

The majority of semi-freestanding tents manufactured in the United States by companies such as Big Agnes, MSR, NEMO, REI, and others demand that you first put up the inner tent and then drape the rainfly over the top of it. Due to the fact that it is a relatively simple operation, the tents that employ it are quite popular. On the majority of semi-freestanding tents built in the United States, the inner tent is set up first. All you have to do is stake out the corners of your inner tent, extend the poles and insert them into grommets in the corners, then attach the walls and ceiling of your inner tent to the poles so that the structure stands on its own.

Most of the time, the vestibule doors will need to be staked out, although this normally only requires one or two tent stakes.

In dry weather, this inner tent first design is effective; but, if you have to put up your inner tent while it is raining, it may result in a soaked inner tent.

Even if the worst case scenario occurs, a camping towel can typically be used to wipe up any rain that has penetrated the mesh ceiling of the inner tent, allowing you to continue using the tent as usual.

Double-Wall Tents: Rainfly First

It is common practice in Europe to set up rainfly first on tents built in that country, such as the totally freestanding and semi-freestanding tents made by Hilleberg, Exped, and Terra Nova. The tent poles are inserted into sleeves sewed into the rainfly cloth, and the inner tent is hung underneath the rainfly for protection from the elements. You may also keep the rainfly and inner tent linked while taking down the tent in dry weather so that the complete structure can be pitched at once the next time you pitch the tent, if the weather is dry.

The Hilleberg Niak tent, as depicted here.

This type of tent is also often significantly more expensive than other types of tents since it is more difficult to make and is constructed of more durable materials.

Single-Wall Freestanding Tents

There are also single-wall freestanding tents that do not have a separate inner tent and rainfly, but instead have a single skin that is attached to the ground. These tents, which are frequently completely freestanding, are primarily intended for climbers and mountaineers who require tents that are simple to put up on small rock ledges in difficult winter conditions, when staking up a tent would be impossible otherwise. Freestanding tents are ideal for use on wooden tent platforms since they do not require any additional stakes to be placed around them.

This sort of tent has tent poles that cross within the tent, which means you have to crawl inside to place them in the tent corners, which might be difficult.

See also:

  • A review of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 Tent
  • A review of the Hilleberg Niak Tent
  • And a review of the Black Diamond Firstlight 2 Tent

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: If you’re considering about purchasing gear that we’ve reviewed or recommended on SectionHiker, you may contribute to our fundraising efforts. We may (but not always) get a small portion of any sales made using the links provided above. Simply click on any of the vendor links provided above. Although the cost of the product remains the same for you, your purchase allows us to continue to test and create unsponsored and independent gear evaluations, beginning FAQs, and free hiking guides for you.

Freestanding vs Non-Freestanding Tents: What’s the Difference?

It is possible that when looking for the best tent, you will find that some are branded as freestanding, while others are designated as non-freestanding (see below).

There is no need to be concerned if you are unsure of what this signifies or how much it matters to you. We’ll go through the distinctions between freestanding tents and non-freestanding tents in further detail.

Freestanding Tents:

Tents that stand on their own are supported by a number of poles that are provided with the tent. Pros: It’s simple to put together, re-orient, and clean out the inside trash (simply shake it out!). Cons: It is difficult to repair poles if they get broken, and this might increase the total weight of the tent.

2. Dual-wall construction

Single-wall structure is common in freestanding tents, with the tent itself and the rainfly cover constituting two separate walls. Pros: A good ventilation system is provided by the nylon mesh inner and polyester rainfly outside of the bag. Interior condensation has a lower chance of forming. As a result of the requirement to attach the waterproof rainfly after assembling the tent, it is more probable that items will become wet during installation in the rain. The dual-wall design has the potential to increase the total weight of the tent.

3. Structure does not rely on staking the tent

It is not necessary to use anchors or guy lines to support a freestanding tent because it is structurally solid on its own. Despite the fact that pegs and guy lines are frequently used to anchor the tent to the ground and to form the vestibule, they are not required for the construction of the tent. Advantages: Quick and simple assembly. It is possible to use the tent on land that is difficult to secure down with stakes. Strong winds may cause the material to fail.

Non-Freestanding Tents:

Non-freestanding tents are frequently equipped with poles, however campers have the option of substituting trekking poles if they choose. A pair of trekking poles may also be necessary in addition to the standard poles. Pros: The use of trekking poles instead of regular tent poles reduces total tent weight. Trekking poles are inexpensive and simple to repair if they become broken. Cons: Trekking poles are not included and must be purchased separately. Walking poles that are easily adjusted have a propensity to slip down the poles throughout the night.

2. Single-wall construction

Non-freestanding tents feature a single-wall design, which means that they do not require a rainfly to provide waterproof protection from the elements. Advantages: When setting up a tent in the rain, the interior is less likely to become wet. The use of a single-wall design reduces the total weight of the tent. Cons: It is possible that this tent may not ventilate as effectively as dual-wall tents. Condensation in the interior is more likely.

3. Must be staked for structure

Non-freestanding tents rely on guy lines and pegs to maintain their structural integrity; they are unable to stand erect on their own without assistance. Pro: When properly secured, non-freestanding tents can withstand strong winds and inclement weather. Con: Properly anchoring a tent may be difficult and time-consuming, especially on hard or rocky terrain, and requires more knowledge and expertise.

Freestanding vs. Non-Freestanding Tents

Guy lines and stakes are required for the structural integrity of non-freestanding tents, which cannot stand taut on their own.

When properly anchored, non-freestanding tents can withstand strong winds and inclement weather. Pro: Properly staking a tent may be difficult and time-consuming, especially on hard or rocky terrain, and requires additional knowledge and expertise.

What Are the Different Types of Hiking Tent?

In terms of backpacking gear, your tent is likely the most important piece of equipment since it will have a significant impact on how the rest of your setup will appear. Having a clear understanding of your alternatives will make selecting the most appropriate tent for your requirements much simpler.

Types of hiking tents – Freestanding vs Pole Tents vs Semi-Freestanding Tents

As far as backpacking equipment goes, your tent is likely the most important since it will have a significant impact on the rest of your set-up. Having a clear understanding of your alternatives will make selecting the most appropriate tent for your needs that much simpler and more enjoyable.

See also:  What To Look For In A Tent

Freestanding tents

Freestanding tents are exactly what they sound like: tents that do not require any additional support in order for the tent body to maintain its shape. They are supported by a framework and may be moved without collapsing. Their springy frames make them relatively simple to erect, but they can be difficult to take down and stow due to their large size. The majority of these tents are double-walled and feature a separate rainfly, while some of them are single-walled and waterproof in construction.


  • Very adaptable and simple to put together
  • Provides excellent livability and ventilation
  • This tent may be used on land that is difficult to drive pegs into
  • It is lightweight and portable.


  • When parts are broken, it is difficult to replace them. If you’re interested in lightweight backpacking, this is not the greatest option. A properly established rainfly is not the most waterproof alternative if it is not firmly staked in place.

Non-freestanding tents (pole tents)

Tents that are not freestanding can only maintain their form if they are staked out. As a result, you stake them out and then support them up with trekking poles, much as you would with a standard canvas tent. These tents are often single-walled and extremely lightweight, placing a higher emphasis on packing space and weight than on comfort and convenience.


  • Lighter in weight than freestanding tents
  • Less difficult to maintain than freestanding tents
  • Tents that are more windproof than freestanding tents


  • It cannot be used on all types of surfaces (for example, rock and gravel)
  • Once the arrangement is complete, it is difficult to move. Interior space is less than that of freestanding tents.

Semi-freestanding Hybrid tents

Semi-freestanding tents are equipped with pole frameworks that help to hold them upright, but a portion of the body must still be staked out in order to make a firm tent frame. These tents are a cross between freestanding and pole tents, combining the comfort and weather protection of freestanding tents with the reduced weight of pole tents to create a hybrid that is both lightweight and durable.


  • Compared to pole tents, it provides better comfort and protection. The fact that it is exceptionally light and small
  • It does not require a lengthy setup process.


  • Tents that are more costly than freestanding tents and pole tents These tents, which are intended for ultralight camping, are not the most durable on the market. When working in less-than-ideal conditions, it might be difficult to get everything set up.

Basics of hiking tents

Hiking tents include a number of features that should be considered while cutting down the selection. Here’s what you should concentrate on:


In the bush, ounces are more important than liveable space if you’re a weight-conscious hiker who wants to cover as many kilometers as possible. The larger the tent, the more space you’ll have to move around and the more opportunities you’ll have to utilize your tent for things other than sleeping. However, the larger the tent, the more weight you’ll have to lug along with you.

Ease of setup

Spending hours setting up camp while hiking is the last thing you want to do when you’re out enjoying yourself. If you’re anything like us, you’ll want a shelter that can be set up fast and without difficulty. Others require staking, which is a time-consuming process that takes significantly longer than with single-hub pole systems that collapse down and snap together.

Protection against the elements

A rainfly is required, and most tents are seam-sealed, so you won’t have to worry about water seeping into the structure. For best results, seek for a rainfly that can be anchored firmly away from the tent walls to help avoid condensation. Look for a tent that has a waterproof “bathtub floor” part that extends at least 4 inches above the base of the tent body to provide protection from the ground or precipitation. Because they are stronger than tents supported by poles, freestanding tents often have an advantage when it comes to weather protection.

Ventilation vestibules are staking out extensions of the rainfly in order to provide greater protection space outside the tent’s entrance. Additionally, interior pockets are excellent for keeping your things organized, so that’s something else you might want to think about.


A double-wall freestanding tent is your best choice if you prefer to customize your kit to meet the region and climate you’ll be traveling in. It’s possible to remove the rainfly on warm nights to allow for more airflow, and if you’re traveling light, you may leave the tent and only use the rainfly as a floorless shelter.

Final thoughts

We hope that this information has helped you gain a better knowledge of the many types of hiking tents available, as well as how freestanding tents, pole tents, and semi-freestanding tents compare to one another. Just to recap: most hikers will choose for a basic freestanding design, but that doesn’t rule out pole tents as an option because of their numerous advantages (such as their small packed size and light weight). If you aren’t sold on freestanding tents and aren’t sold on pole tents, a semi-freestanding tent can be a good compromise between the two options.

What’s a freestanding tent?

If you have gained a better grasp of the many hiking tent types, as well as how freestanding tents compare to pole tents and semi-freestanding tents, we hope this information has been useful. To summarize, most hikers will choose for a basic freestanding design, but that doesn’t rule out pole tents as an option because of their numerous advantages (such as their small packed size and light weight). If you’re not sold on freestanding tents but aren’t sold on pole tents either, a semi-freestanding tent can be a good compromise between the two options for you.

What Is Freestanding Tent And What Is Non-Freestanding Tent

If you look at a tent’s description, you’ll notice terminology like “freestanding” or “free standing tent,” “standing tent,” and other terms with hyphens like “self-standing tent,” “self-supporting tent,” “free standing tent,” and so on. Of course, the non-freestanding tent is the polar opposite of the freestanding tent. So, what exactly is the point of all of this, and what exactly is the difference between a freestanding tent and a non-freestanding tent?

Freestanding tents

In a nutshell, a freestanding tent is a form of tent that may be set on any surface and does not require the use of stakes to hold it in place. This implies that once it is put up, you will be able to move it a small distance around if you see that the ground is not level or level enough. Moving about the Big Agnes Blacktail 3 tent is a good thing to do. So, how does this work? Having poles and grommets that are near to the ground of the tent has a typical impact on the floor of the tent. There are two types of poles that can be used in construction:

  1. As soon as the pole tips are sealed into the grommets, they become freestanding structures. This comprises two sub-types (please notice that the language used here is not mine):
  • Once the tent is tied to them, they are no longer able to support themselves independently. There are two subgroups in this case:
  • Tents with numerous poles
  • Tents with a single pole
  • Tents with no poles

About the group 1

Together with the poles, you have one of the elements from group 1: one of the following elements: You can find any of the following elements in the first group, together with the poles, in the second group, and so forth.

What is semi-freestanding tent

Because of the previously described hubs, a very basic Y-shaped pole construction may be achieved. As a result, there are two grommets on one end of the tent, but only one grommet on the other end of the tent. As you may have guessed, these grommets are responsible for the three points of the Y. A common type of aluminum hub in this situation is the one seen above; you can see it in the photo below, taken from the Nemo Hornet 1 tent. Tent of the semi-freestanding style, the Nemo Hornet 1, with a Y-pole.

  • In concept, the Y-shaped pole structure may stand on its own, resembling a tripod in appearance and function.
  • As soon as you link the tent to the framework, the whole thing becomes even more sturdy.
  • For this reason, staking it down as shown in the photo is preferable, however you may get away with it if you’re on a hard surface and can’t stake it down as shown in the picture.
  • Is there anything you don’t like or want to say?
  • The pole tips that are connected to grommets.

An example of a multiple grommet adjustment may be seen in the image above. What is it and why do you require it? The reason for this is that the fabric’s tension changes depending on the amount of moisture present, and you may adjust the pole tip to get an appropriate tension.

Fully freestanding tents

A tent with two poles in this situation has an X-shaped construction, which is the most basic type of tent structure. In the case of winter tents, you can use extra poles to make the structure more solid overall. This is where you may locate any of the hubs that were previously mentioned. The hub pole construction of the Sierra Designs Meteor 3tent. Image via Sierra Designs. However, there are many other variations of this type of course. The top of yet another basic construction has a single pole, and it splits at both ends to produce a fork-shaped structure with two short poles on either end of the structure.

The group 2

There are two major sub-groups in this section:

  • Tents having a number of poles. This is a straightforward arrangement in which the poles are not locked. Because of the stress caused by the tent itself, the tent clips or sleeves ‘lock’ them together, and the structure becomes freestanding and sturdy. Single pole tents, such as this Big Agnes Rabbit Ears 6 Person tent and this Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Person tent, are typical examples of this style. Is it actually freestanding? More information is provided below.

Can a tent with a single pole be fully freestanding?

There is a chance that you will be startled by the response. Yes, it is possible. This is the same group 2 as previously indicated, however it is a subgroup known as “tent-cots” in this case. Here, you have an acot that acts as a platform for the tent to be pitched on. With a zipper or a permanent attachment, you may keep the tent linked to your bed. So you have a single pole with two points, which you insert into two grommets on either side of the cot to make a cot. When you join the tent to the poles, tension is formed in the fabric, which makes the entire construction extremely sturdy.

Take note of the additional brow pole or ridge pole.

The iUcar Portable Camping Tent Cot is a free-standing construction made of a single pole.

So then, what is a non-freestanding tent?

There are several tents of this sort described on the site, many of them are from the Sierra Designs manufacturer. In this instance, you will need to anchor the tent in order to keep the poles from falling over. To put it another way, you stake out the base of the tent and then add the poles, attach the inner tent (or the tent in general if it is not a two-layer design), and then stake out the top body of the tent to ensure that the poles are secure. Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 is a non-stand-alone flashlight.

See also:  How To Put Up A Screen Tent

It is not permitted to be put up on rocky terrain, sand or gravel, or on frozen ground.

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Freestanding Versus Non-Freestanding Tents ⋆ Expert World Travel

With so many different tents available on the market today, picking which one to purchase may be a difficult undertaking. Especially for those of us who have a hectic schedule, online shopping is a very handy method to peruse the vast selection of tents available, and it’s also a terrific way to locate the greatest discounts available. It is your responsibility, though, to figure out what all of that technical tent jargon truly means if you do not have an excited sales assistant nearby. The terms ‘freestanding tents’ and ‘non-freestanding tents’ are two that you may have heard but may not have completely grasped what they mean.

Considering the fact that tents aren’t cheap, you’ll want to make certain that your investment will live up to your high standards.

And in case you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve included some of our favorite freestanding and non-freestanding tents throughout this article to help you get started.

What is a freestanding tent?

Unexpectedly, a freestanding tent has the ability to stand on its own – that is, they do not require any additional support to maintain their shape. Tent poles are used to keep the shape, but nothing is nailed to the ground or linked to anything else at the campsite to keep it in place. You can simply pick up the tent and move it to an another location without having to deconstruct it because of its self-contained design.

What is a double wall?

Freestanding tents are also more likely to have two walls than other types of tents. You might be unfamiliar with this word, which simply implies that, in addition to the tent itself, there is also a rainfly that extends over the top of the tent to provide additional protection from the elements. So, to summarize, freestanding tents are as follows:

  • Have a tent-like structure supported by tent poles. The structure does not rely on stakes
  • Instead, it is based on rules. Dual walls are more common than single walls.

What is a non-freestanding tent?

Non-freestanding tents, in contrast to freestanding tents, have a form that is supported by a rope or cord linked to anchored pegs to maintain its shape. This does not imply that they do not employ tent poles; rather, it indicates that the poles alone are insufficient to retain the shape. Trekking poles are frequently used instead of standard tent poles when camping. Typically, the staking is completed before to the assembling of the poles during the set-up process.

What is a single wall?

You might have guessed it already. A single-walled tent has just one wall, which is the one that is provided by the tent structure itself. Because of the absence of an extra layer (the rainfly), this single wall serves as the only barrier between the interior and the elements outside. Single-wall tents are the most common type of non-freestanding tent. To summarize, non-freestanding tents are as follows:

  • Having a system that is based on stakes is important. Trekking poles are often used to support them (but standard tent poles can also be used). Single-walled structures are more common.

Are there exceptions?

Having a system that is based on stakes is advantageous. Trekking poles are often used to support them (but regular tent poles can also be used). A single-walled construction is more common.

Advantages of freestanding tents

Freestanding tents are often much faster to set up than non-freestanding tents when you’re first becoming acquainted with a new one. This is especially true when you’re initially getting acquainted with a new tent. The first advantage is that if it isn’t too windy, you won’t have to worry about pounding in those pesky stakes, which we all know can be a real pain at times. Aside from the clear directions on how to put up your tent, you may also find color-coded tent poles and fast clips, all of which will save you a great deal of time and frustration.

In comparison to removing your entire tent and starting over from the beginning, which would be the case with a non-freestanding tent, this is far simpler.


Some terrain is simply unsuitable for stakes. It’s possible that the soil is too rough, or that there is a rock just where you were expecting to hammer in a stake when you get there. Given the fact that freestanding tents do not rely on anchors to maintain their shape, they allow you to be a little more flexible when it comes to deciding where to set up your camp. Sure, we recommend a few stakes in case the wind comes up and to optimize internal room, but it isn’t a big deal if you forget to put in a couple or three.

In addition, the fact that freestanding tents are available with an optional rainfly provides you with some flexibility – you may camp in the rain with your rainfly on or take it off to stare at the stars on those bright summer evenings.


It all boils down to the fact that freestanding tents have two walls on each side. Freestanding tents can afford to have a well-ventilated inner layer since they have an outside cover that is meant to shield you from the elements. This is frequently composed of permeable fabric to allow moisture to escape your home, and large mesh panels are frequently included as well. Furthermore, on hot evenings, you may even remove the rainfly completely to keep oneself cool, which is not an option with non-freestanding tents.

Weather protection

This is partly owing to the fact that freestanding tents are double-walled, as previously stated. Simply said, freestanding tents provide two levels of protection as opposed to a single layer of protection provided by a non-freestanding tent. In addition, the interior layers can be utilized largely for ventilation, allowing the outer layer to be as tough as it requires without interfering with the ventilation. Apart from that, the additional support provided by tent poles can assist non-freestanding tents in standing up to the elements more effectively than non-freestanding tents that typically utilize trekking poles rather than tent poles and require fewer tent poles in general.

Interior space

Due to the usage of tent poles, freestanding tents are often tauter, higher, and have steeper walls than non-freestanding tents. Freestanding tents are also more expensive. Higher walls from the bottom to the top increase internal space, particularly in corner spaces, allowing you to have more space to stretch out.

Disadvantages of freestanding tents

Despite the fact that double-walls have certain distinct advantages, bringing a whole extra layer around with you will definitely increase the weight of your camping equipment. Additionally, you will have tent poles, which a non-freestanding tent may not have (and if it does, it will likely use less). It’s possible that you’ll be able to lose some weight if you don’t carry stakes with you. However, as previously said, we recommend utilizing at least a few, even if you are using a freestanding tent.


Carrying an additional layer of clothing and additional poles can also add to the overall heaviness of your package, which is something to keep in mind, particularly if you’ll be carrying your tent on your back while camping.

Advantages of non-freestanding tents

Although setting up a freestanding tent is significantly easier in the beginning, we believe that with practice, setting up a non-freestanding tent is really easier. While it takes some practice to figure out how tight to position your man lines and how long your trekking poles should be, once you get the hang of it, there are far less poles to construct and clips to attach. In a similar vein, as your sense of where a good pitching position is developing, you won’t have to waste time dismantling and reassembling your tent in order to relocate to a better pitching location.


It may come as a surprise that the absence of a second wall and an abundance of tent poles results in non-freestanding tents being significantly lighter than freestanding tents on average.


Additionally, because there is no need for an extra layer and fewer poles are used, non-freestanding packs may be folded into more compact bundles than freestanding tents, which is a significant advantage for hikers.

Disadvantages of non-freestanding tents

Because non-freestanding tents are often single-walled, only one piece of material is responsible for both shielding you from the weather and ensuring that you have adequate ventilation. However, although a cool breeze on a hot summer night is welcome, the vents that would enable it would also allow in undesired rain and wind in the event of a thunderstorm. Because of this, a trade-off must be made, which normally entails somewhat less ventilation and slightly less weather protection than is ideal.

Interior space

Non-freestanding tents are often shaped in the style of a ‘A-frame’ due to the limited number of poles that are used in their construction. These sloping sides reduce the amount of room available within your tent, particularly in corner regions, as opposed to freestanding tents, which often have walls that are more straighter in profile.

Other considerations

In this article, we’ve discussed the primary distinction between freestanding and non-freestanding tents; nevertheless, there are a plethora of additional considerations to consider when selecting a tent. If you’re going to be camping with a lot of muddy gear, the quantity of vestibule space available may be an essential consideration in your choosing. Although one might assume that the high walls of freestanding tents would result in larger vestibules, this is not necessarily the case, as the size of vestibules varies significantly between the two types of tents in use today.

Similarly, you’ll find tents of both sorts made of a variety of materials, some of which are significantly more durable than others, and others of which are not.

Because of the two walls, freestanding structures are a suitable choice if you want adequate weather protection but don’t want to spend a lot of money on high-end materials.

Freestanding tents summed up

  • Easy to assemble in a short period of time
  • Versatile
  • Good weather protection
  • Good ventilation
  • More internal space


  • Stakeable ground is required
  • Weather protection is less effective. There is less ventilation and internal room.

Do I want a freestanding tent or a non-freestanding tent?

Stakeable land is required; weather protection is inadequate. Interior space is reduced due to less ventilation.

Freestanding Tents

Stakeable ground is required; worse weather protection is provided. Reduced ventilation; reduced internal space

  • Overall dimensions are 64 inches high by 34 inches wide and 76.5 inches deep. One tent, one cot, one air mattress, one sleeping bag, one pillow, one rain fly, one foot pump, and one carrying bag are included in the overall product weight of 26lb.

Sleeping in the tent was a fantastic experience for me. The top portion, which keeps the poles in place, was, however, missing.

In order to keep things together, I used electrical tape. I didn’t get the fullness effect, but it was still effective. Please send a new component to my address. Thank you; I’ll be attending a music festival in August. Daria lives in Penticton, British Columbia. 2018-06-19 13:38:23 (Eastern)

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