Whether you’re a happy camper, a dedicated festival nut, or just the sort of person who likes to prepare for any eventuality, choosing the right tent can be a long, bewildering process. So we’ve decided to do it for you: below you’ll find our list of the 10 most amazing tents under the sun. From the safest to the strangest and the most inventive, we’ve got everything to keep even the most alternative camper fully satisfied…
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Designed to be suspended above the ground from the branches of trees, giving the impression of levitation, the Tentsile Stingray is bizarre, impressive and bizarrely-useful. Ideal for those planning to camp in bear country, the tent also looks aesthetically wonderful to boot.
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It sounds like a prop from a Monsieur Hulot film, but in 2009 Orange made their solar-powered tent a reality. With a wireless control hub, internal heating and a strange mechanism that makes the tent glow orange by simply sending a text (in case you should ever misplace it), the Orange Solar tent wins both our ‘greenest’ and ‘most unusual’ awards.
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Are you exceptionally lazy? Is erecting a tent the absolute last thing you want to be bothered with while camping? Then the Gelert Quickpitch is for you: simply chuck it on the floor and it self-inflates in seconds, allowing you to sit back and relax while your friends struggle to get their regular tent up. Winner of our: ‘best option for lazy people’ award.
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Somewhere between an igloo and a puffy football, the i-gloobox is an easily-constructed super-tent designed to keep you warm in even the harshest of winters. Perfect for those considering an Arctic trek or expecting to be caught short in frozen conditions; this offering is perfect for hardy adventurers and Inuit alike.
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For those who want to take a house on a holiday, the Atago 5-man tent is easily the best option. Bigger and more exclusive than even the vast Colonial tents of Victorian generals, the Atago 5-man could easily fit 5 men and all their friends and relations if it had to. With two separate ‘bunkrooms’, a living area and a spacious porch, this is for those who like their home comforts even in the depths of the forest.
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Heading somewhere windy? The Wedge is a specially streamlined tent designed to divert anything from a light breeze to howling hurricane and improve your mountaintop survival chances to boot. Possibly the safest tent to use at altitude, it’s also superbly easy to assemble and frighteningly durable in most conditions.
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A tent shaped like a book? Oh yes, if your primary camping aim is to proudly display your oddness to the world at large, look no further. Available in a veritable library of designs, Fully Booked is destined to be this year’s novelty tent of choice – which may well defeat the point of owning a novelty tent but doesn’t detract from its basic awesomeness.
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Not one for those who like throwing stones, the Bubble Tree tent is a completely transparent, well, bubble designed to house two people in the great outdoors. Wonderful if you want to enjoy a 360 degree, unimpeded view of the surrounding countryside; less so if you want to get undressed or shake the feeling that you’re in a giant alien zoo, the Bubble Tree nonetheless stands out as the most iconic of all our options.
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Made from recycled PVC pipes and designed to keep the cool air flowing even in the heart of the Mojave Desert, this concept-offering loses points for practicality but gains them for thinking outside the box. Displayed only once, in 2004 and then shelved indefinitely, it nonetheless remains a fine example of the sheer imagination designers can put into tents.
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Finally, a sturdy all-rounder to end on; the Retreat 60 is compact, cheap, comfortable and capable of housing up to three people with little hassle. While it may lack the extravagance of some of our other selections, it does the job and does it well: a low-key winner.