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Tunnel Tents

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Tunnel Tents Guide

The tunnel tent is one of the most popular tent designs available. These spacious and rigid structures come in a variety of sizes and styles. Typically, the larger sizes are purchased and used as family tents. No matter the campsite you visit, you’re sure to see a tunnel tent pitched up nearby.

Before going further and looking to see which are the best camping tents, let’s take a moment and do a little deep dive in what are exactly tunnel tents.

What is a tunnel tent?

A tunnel tent is, basically, a double wall tent that is structured to look and acts like a robust tunnel. This means that the tent is arched over and more elongated in length than dome-shaped tents or tepee tents. Due to its shape, the tunnel tent affords large internal space, but requires guy ropes and pegs to remain upright.

Using flexible poles arranged to create a half cylinder, tunnel tents are lightweight tents that can range from one-berth to 10-person tents. Often, they are designed with a sleeping area at one end and a vestibule at the other. Sometimes, they will also have a central opening for increased access.

Pros and cons of the tunnel tent

Tunnel tents have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, like other tent types. Depending on the occasion you plan on using the tent for, a tunnel tent can be either helpful or bothersome.

Pro: Lightweight

The typical tunnel tent doesn’t weigh an unbearable amount. If you’re a backpacker looking for a tent that you will be carrying around, start by considering tunnel tents. Much of the weight is the poles but, given the amount of space a tunnel tent affords, the weight is still comparatively low.

Pro: Easily pitched and stored

Built using identical length poles, tunnel tents are easy to assemble and disassemble quickly. Once the poles have been removed, the tent can be folded or rolled away compactly. Again, this makes this style suitable for the traveler who requires a comfortable carry load.

Pro: Multiple access points

This varies based on the size of the tent. Still, tunnel tents are likely to have more than one access point. On the average tunnel tent, you will find an entrance on the short end of the tent. As the sizes become larger, you may find another access point on the side of the tent, or two on each side.

Con: Occasionally unstable

Though the tunnel tent will not fall apart during a gust, strong winds can push down on the tent and cause misshaping. Moreover, a tunnel tent requires several attachment points. If the guylines and pegs are poorly-placed, they can cause sagging in the structure.

Who is a tunnel tent suitable for?

Though a tunnel tent can be handy in most events, there are some outdoor excursions that their attributes suit more than others.


For the living space alone, families tent to gravitate towards the tunnel tent. Its tough, protective exterior coupled with its hospitable features makes it the tent of choice for camping families.


When you’re trekking, you just want to find a level clearing and pitch up quickly. Tunnel tents are ideal in this situation offering quick pitching times. Furthermore, their practicality makes them a convenient, yet useful, item for long-distance walkers.

Maintaining a tunnel tent

Nobody wants to spend their entire trip in a tent covered in dirt and mud. Rain doesn’t clean it – it only makes things worse.

Grab some lukewarm water and a sponge. Don’t use soap as it can damage the integrity of the fabric.

Check that the guy lines, poles and pegs are still in a working condition before and after pitching.

Ensure that the tent is resistant to water and UV using a seam sealant.

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