Frame tents are tents which use a rigid structure – metal poles and connectors. There are no central support poles and guy ropes and other fasteners only play a supporting role. The outer tent is stretched over the frame and the inner tent is attached from the inside. Therefore, the outer shape and interior of the tent determine the shape of its frame. Wood or (for small one to four-person tents) fibreglass can be used as the frame material.
The main advantage is the ease of assembly
The main advantage of a frame tent is how simple and quick it is to assemble. Tent manufacturers try to unify poles and connectors to simplify assembly as much possible. Many parts of the frame can be replaced if lost. You don’t need to be an expert to assemble a modern frame tent. In addition, if you are not happy with where you have pitched your tent, you can easily move it to another place without dismantling it. If you have a frameless tent, you will need to know how to mark out the area and install guy ropes (any mistakes made may lead to the tent deforming, losing stability and protection from flowing water). These skills only come with experience, but how much time and nerves will be spent on gaining them? Therefore, if you don’t have such experience, choose a frame tent such as the Pamir 10.
Efficient use of interior space
An important advantage of frame tents is the absence of the central pole inside the tent. Therefore, the pole doesn’t interfere with placing people inside the tent or hinder emergency evacuation. In frameless tents, the support poles are opposite the entrances and exits and may get in the way when leaving the tent in the event of a fire.
The main disadvantage is the danger of deforming frame elements
When you go camping with a frame tent, it is worth remembering that the metal parts of the frame may deform. This can happen because of rain water accumulating on a poorly stretched tent, or in winter when snow is not removed from the tent roof. In regions subject to heavy snowfalls, it is important to choose a winter frame tent with shaped poles, like the М-10 and М-30 tents. Frame pipes and connectors can also be deformed during transportation. If the frame is deformed, it might not be possible to assemble it. It is quite difficult to break a frameless tent, the worst that can happen is that the central pole breaks, which can usually be replaced on the spot by using a tree branch.
M-3 – the most compact frame tent
A small lightweight tent with a fibreglass frame (such as the М-3)is perfect for single campers or for a group of two to three people. These tents are now commonly used by people who love travelling by bicycle or going fishing and have fully replaced their predecessor – the two-sloped roof frameless tent. Don’t forget that fibreglass is a fragile material and needs to be protected from knocks.
What’s the best tent when travelling in a group?
When travelling with a group of five to ten people or more (especially if you’re planning a long stay), you will need tents providing greater capacity and comfort. A good choice is the «Geologist» frame tent or a tent in the Pamir series (the smallest is the Pamir-4). If you are looking for greater comfort, then you can choose the Pamir Deluxe or the М-8).
The Lavvu tent; let’s make a frame from branches
When choosing large tents, the only disadvantage of a frame becomes apparent – its weight. The frame significantly increases the weight and volume of the product, which makes it unsuitable if you are hiking. To avoid increasing the weight, you can make the frame in the camp itself. This is possible if you choose the Lavvu tent. All you need to do is cut down some long branches and, following the instructions, attach them to the tent. The Lavvu is the only tent where you can light a fire inside; this could be suitable for heating or for creating a special atmosphere.