Dome Tent vs Cabin Tent: A Basic Guide

There are plenty of camping tents on the market that choosing one ends up being a tedious task. One cannot easily take a tent off the shelf as there are factors to consider before buying, especially the shape. When shopping for an outdoor shelter, buyers tend to wonder and ask which is better in the battle between dome tent vs cabin tent. Well, here is a rundown on how these two tents fare.

A Common Denominator

Those who tend to camp in big groups, either with family or friends, should consider either dome and cabin tents. After all, these two kinds of shelters are for big groups.

The two, however, are far from being highly similar. While both tents can accommodate a large group of people, one type is for those staying at the same place for some days, while the other one is for those looking for a grab-and-go shelter. Plus, one of these two provides more space than the other.

Understanding the Basics of a Dome Tent

The Dome tent is a geodesic kind of shelter that can easily fit six to eight people. It often uses crossed-pole models where extra poles are squeezed to support all the fabric the tent uses.

This type of tent is also free-standing and does not require any supporting pegging or guidelines for it to stay up. This makes this tent an excellent choice for camping in rough terrains or hard surfaces since it would be hard to stake a shelter. Plus, dome tents also come in pop-up designs, which make them easy to set up.

Dome styles also have a broad peak, which means users will have a breeze sitting up or moving inside. There are also variations of this tent that allow for the connection of several shelters that would create a huge tent perfect for big groups. Dome tents often come with rain flys that cover the majority, if not the entire tent, providing better protection from rain and wind.

Knowing the Basics of a Cabin Tent

Big groups or families tend to invest in cabin style tents since they often have a long life. Cabin tents, generally, are larger and more spacious than most outdoor shelters including the dome ones.

This type of tent also has partitions or walls for those who want some divider inside the shelter. They also have vertical walls which provide additional floor space that lets users make the most out of every square foot. This means that there are more beds or air mattresses that can be placed inside. The peak height of dome tents ranges between six to eight feet but can go higher, which provides more headroom. Most designs have many doors and windows for more air ventilation.

As its name suggests, cabin tents resemble small cabins or homes. They can withstand harsh weather conditions especially those made from canvass and have ground anchoring.

Dome Tent vs Cabin Tent: Which Fares Better?

There are several aspects to consider when one is trying to determine the similarities and differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these two tents. One has to think about the peak height, construction, portability, and assembly. When considering tent camping, one has to think about the peak height, construction, portability, and assembly of the tent.

Peak Height

The cabin tents have higher peak heights than the dome ones. The former can have a peak height of as much as 30 feet while the latter averages only about six feet. The peak height matters since it provides more headroom, which means that the cabin tent is more spacious than its dome counterparts. For car camping, the additional headroom and space provided by cabin tents can make a significant difference in comfort.

And speaking of headroom, there is more space as well inside a cabin tent since the curved poles of the dome leave the floor edges unusable for sleeping. Cabins, on the other hand, can maximize the floor space and can provide additional space for storage of camping gears and accessories.

Construction and Tent Poles

When talking about the battle of dome tent vs cabin tent, one also has to look at their construction as they use different materials.

Cabin shelters are often made from heavy materials such as canvas tents, which provide durability and better temperature control. Dome styles generally use lighter materials, particularly nylon tents, which are more portable but may have issues with condensation. The poles and stakes also differ as those of the cabins are durable and of heavier materials. Cabin tents can even be used in a semi-permanent set-up and would be great for long outdoor camping.

Ease of Setting Up

Those who value the ease of setting up a tent are better off choosing the domes which often come in pop-up designs. Some cabin tents, like the instant cabin tent, feature telescoping poles that make setup quick and easy. There is no complicated and challenging assembly process. These tents often come with tent poles that remain connected to the walls, eliminating the need to connect individual pieces. On the other hand, cabin styles require pitching on the ground. Dismantling cabins also take a while.


Cabin tents use heavier materials as their fabrics are thick and their poles are sturdy. Canvas tents, while durable and spacious, are heavier and less portable compared to dome tents. On the other hand, dome ones tend to use lighter materials. Campers who would prefer to travel light are better off choosing the dome tents.

Which to Buy?

Those who are not so experienced in purchasing a tent would tend to ask which between the dome and the cabin tent is better to buy. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question as one has to consider the virtues which they find most important in a camping shelter. Another consideration is whether the tent has a tent floor, as some canvas tents do not come with a sewn-in floor, allowing users to choose their own flooring.

Campers who prefer to travel light and would not stay long in one place are likely to choose the dome tents. After all, the domes use lighter materials and are more portable than the cabin-style ones. Those using the domes, however, should not expect a roomy shelter as this kind of tent has a relatively low center height and is unable to maximize each square foot.

On the other hand, outdoor lovers who are looking for a spacious and semi-permanent shelter would tend to choose the cabin tent as its center height can be as tall as 30 feet, which allows users to move around comfortably and store additional beds and outdoor gears. However, the cabins are heavier due to their durable materials, making them less portable. They also require more time to set up and disassemble.

Personal Preferences and Camping Habits Matter

One cannot say that the dome is better than a cabin tent or vice versa. After all, each of them has their virtues as well as downsides.

Choosing either of the two depends on the camping style of the users as some like grab-and-go shelters and others prefer sturdier shelters that can withstand a couple of days of camping. Others prioritize portability among all the features of the tent while some campers would not mind the additional weight as long as they have more headroom in the shelter. Overall, choosing between a dome or cabin tent depends on the camper’s preferences. Properly drying out the tent before storing it in the tent bag is crucial to prevent mold and mildew growth.

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