When To Use An A Frame Tent / Ridge Tent & What Is It?

Three canvas A-frame tents set up in a mountain campsite

An A-Frame Tent is a camping tent that gets its name from its distinctive shape. These tents are tall and narrow, with triangular shaped roofs.

A-frame tents used to be a camping staple. But A-frame tents have fallen out of fashion. So what is an a frame tent, when to use an a frame tent and what the heck are ridge tents?

Related: Looking for a new tent that has enough space for the whole family? Find out what the best 10 man tent is.

What is an A-Frame Tent or ridge tent?

An A-frame tent, also called a ridge tent, is a type of tent that typically looks like the letter A. The tent peaks in the middle to a high point with sloping walls. A-frame tents are classic camping tents that are sturdy and provide plenty of room.

When should you use an A frame tent?

A-frame tents are often used when camping. The tent has lots of space and, provided you don’t set it up too high, will do a decent job at repelling wind and rain. A-frame tents are also very easy to set up using just hiking poles and a tarp.

However, with advances in fiberglass tent pole manufacturing, you no longer need a tent with expensive aluminum poles to have a set of flexible tent poles. This has led to the rise of dome and tunnel tents, which provide much better space and weatherproofing than ridge tents.

The Advantages of an A-Frame Tent

The advantages of a-frame tents include the following:

  • Provide a lot of space for a reasonable price
  • They are lightweight and easy to assemble
  • Provide decent protection from the elements.

The Disadvantages of an A-Frame Tent

An A frame tent has some disadvantages, including:

  • The tent is not as strong as other types of tents.
  • Setting up a tall a-frame tent will reduce how aerodynamic the tent is and cause issues in heavy winds.
  • The available space isn’t as efficient as tunnel tents or dome tents and can feel a little claustrophobic.
A-frame Tarp tent on a forest background.
The A-frame tarp tent. You can use a second tarpaulin as a groundsheet.

How do you pitch a ridge tent?

To pitch an A-frame tent, the first step is to find two trees or other sturdy objects you can tie your hiking poles to. Make sure the distance between the two objects will be large enough to fit your tarp once it is pegged down.

Next, stake out four corners of your tarp using guy ropes and attach them to the hiking poles.

Then stake out the two remaining corners of your tarp to provide extra stability and protect against weather.

Pitch your tent on top of the tarp so that you have some space underneath it to store gear or sit down.


A-frame tents are a classic type of camping tent that provide plenty of space and are easy to set up.

However, dome and tunnel tents have largely replaced them because they offer better protection from the elements and more efficient use of space.

If you’re looking for a sturdy, roomy tent for your next camping trip, an A-frame might be a good option – just be prepared for possible space issues.

Next up: Choosing a tent? But is it a cabin tent? A dome tent? A tunnel tent? There are so many options! Find out what a dome tent is.

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