What Is A Pup Tent And Why Is It Called That?

What is a pup tent?

You may ask yourself “what is a pup tent?” Well, a pup tent is a simple tent, and if you are in the military, you probably wouldn’t be asking what it is or where it came from. But, if you don’t know, read on to find out more about this ancient innovation.

Pup Tent Explained

Also referred to as a shelter half, a pup tent is a small tent about 3.5 feet, not more than 7 feet long, and 5 feet in its width. The first pup tents could only hold two occupants thanks to their size.

A pup tent is used for storage or pets such as dogs or cats for camp lovers. Some camping sites will allow you to have a pup tent for free or at a fee, while some will not allow any pup tents.

Pup tents are built with two canvases joined together with straps, buttons, or snaps to create a large surface at the bottom. The shelter half is then erected using poles or rifles, as in the case of the first military pup tents.

Setting up this tent is super easy. According to their size, they do not require inner sectioning. The whole setup, which includes the poles, the covers, and the stakes, may not exceed ten pounds, making it lighter.

This light characteristic of the pup tent makes it convenient for people who love the outdoors.

Why is it Called a Pup Tent?

Historically, pup tents were used by the military in the civil war. The military used to call all of their essentials’ dog,’ and their tents fell in the same category.

As you probably know, moving from one place to another is part of a soldier’s job description. So, naturally, this meant that they needed a smaller and lighter tent to carry around. The tent, therefore, derived its name from the civil war troops, and that is why until this day, people still call it a ‘pup tent.’

Some people even say that the name is derived from the soldiers’ description of this tent. The military pup tent was small, had no floor, and was prone to flooding because it was not waterproof. Thus soldiers considered the accommodation more suitable for a dog and not for humans.

All About Today’s Pup Tents

Outdoor enthusiasts now use modern pup tents for their camping needs.

The tents are now improved with features to enhance comfortability, security, and durability to meet the modern camper’s needs.

They now come with a floor, and they are also waterproof. Some of them also come with a net to keep bugs away during the night.

However, these improvements do not mean that only campers can use them. Considering their portability and light nature, military fighters still use them.

Some of today’s pup tents also come with tent poles, so the military doesn’t have to use their rifles to support them.

Despite the improvements and additions, the pup tent is still very light to carry around.

Uses Of The Modern Tent

As mentioned earlier, pup tents are now improved to enhance the camping experience. If you love camping, you can add the pup tent as part of your camping gear.

You can use it as a temporary shelter for one or two people or even your pet. For example, having a pump tent around will save the day if you have an expected additional person on your camping crew.

That said, what are other uses of the modern pup tent? Let’s find out.

Ample Housing For Your Pet

You have that one pet you would want to tag along to your camping sprees instead of leaving them at the boarding. If you have one such pet, and you think they would fit in a pup tent, then a pup tent can be of great help.

It can be pretty challenging to have your pet with you at the camp, but a pup tent might make it easier for you. However, it all comes down to the camping site you choose. Some camping sites do not appreciate pets at their sites, so you first need to inquire before considering your pet.

Extra Storage

Some avid campers use the modern pup tent to store their extra camping gear. The tent is waterproof and large enough to fit your belongings. This leaves you ample space in your tent.

However, it doesn’t matter how small the pup tent is; some camping sites will still require that you pay for the extra tent. So before you decide to carry your pup tent with you, consider the additional charges you may incur. Some camping sites may not charge you, but you need to confirm first.


Why do they call it a pup tent?

A pup tent is so named because it is smaller in size than a standard tent, similar to how a puppy is smaller than an adult dog. The name “pup tent” likely originated from military use, where smaller tents were used for individual soldiers or a small group.

Can you sleep in a pup tent?

Yes, it is possible to sleep in a pup tent. Pup tents are designed to be used as a shelter for one or two people and are typically smaller in size and lighter in weight than a full-sized tent, making them ideal for backpacking or camping in remote locations.

Why do campsites not allow pup tents?

Campsites may not allow pup tents for several reasons, such as fire regulations, space constraints, or to maintain the appearance of the campground. Some campsites may also limit the number and size of tents in an effort to control the number of people on the site and minimize the impact on the environment. Additionally, some campsites may prefer larger tents that can accommodate more people and generate more revenue.

Bottom Line

As it was during the civil war, pup tents are still handy for both military and civilians. Before purchasing one, ensure it’s constructed with quality material to ensure durability.

Also, be sure to inquire if the campsite you intend to visit allows pup tents, either for free or at a fee. However, open to rejection, especially for sites with limited space. Either way, having a pup tent in your camping expeditions is one thing you’ll never regret.

Next up: Broken tent poles mean a disastrous camping trip. But with all the different types of tent poles out there, how do they stack up? Find out in our guide to aluminum vs fiberglass tent poles.

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