Camping in Western Australia is extremely popular with many tent options available on the market. Not sure which tent is for you? Read on.
Our passion for camping in Western Australia offers action-packed adventures for every kind of explorer daring enough to embrace it; yet, as enchanting as the landscapes are to discover, we know bad weather can quickly turn the adventure on its head if our equipment isn’t up to the job.
So how do you choose the right tent for your camping trips?
If you ask me what my favourite choice is – admittedly, I fell in love with the rooftop tent setup during our road trip around Australia back in 2018 – a special year in my life – and you can read more about it on our other travel blog, The Dirty Drifters. For long-term camping that will involve off-roading, I found the rooftop tent to be compact, capable, and comfortable. The views were great up high, and I felt safer sleeping off the ground. However, I would not choose a rooftop tent for every camping occasion!
To help you make the right choice, I’ll break down the 6 most popular types of camping tent setups in Western Australia.
1. Dome Tent
Dome tents are the most popular type of camping tent because they’re affordable, simple to construct, and offer decent weather protection in a range of conditions. Distinguishable by 2 curved poles that cross over each other at the top, the strong dome construction means the tent can withstand strong winds and keep heavy rain out (providing you don’t leave the flaps open!).
Headroom in a dome tent is generally good, so is interior space, although we’d advise choosing a tent with an extra berth to spare. For example, choose a 2-man tent for yourself, a 3-man tent for two of you… and so on.
Additional features can include a double-layer porch and rooftop ventilation panels that are useful for regulating the temperature inside the tent.
Ideal for: Solo adventurers, small groups, couples.
Pros: Affordable, easy to set up, decent weather protection
Cons: Can be bulky and heavy once packed.
2. Instant Pop-up Tent
If you’re the kind of camper that likes to make a big entrance, no other tent does it better than the pop-up tent. Spring-loaded to unfold or uncoil, the tent instantly adopts its final shape with one simple action. With an instant tent, the frame that is often found on the outside of the fabric, is hidden inside to give a tidy aesthetic.
The living space inside a pop-up tent is just like you’d find in a dome or pod tent, with adequate headroom and enough space to store your belongings. Take extra care if strong winds are on the menu, however, as the frame of a pop-up tent can’t withstand as much of a battering from mother nature as its more old-school rivals.
These fabulous features do come at a heftier price tag, but for the ease-of-use and great practicality on offer, the instant pop-up tent is a firm fan-favourite for campers in Western Australia.
Ideal for: Just about everyone.
Pros: Effortless setup, practical living space.
Cons: Average weather protection, higher entry price.
3. Swag Tent
There couldn’t be a more Aussie way of camping in the outback than to be peering out at the stars from the comfort of a swag. Constructed by erecting half-circle poles to form a tunnel, then wrapping the entire frame in a waterproof canvas, swag tents are much like a bivvy with an opening flap for ventilation. Most swag tents also feature a PVC vinyl floor to add some comfort to rocky or uneven ground.
Of course, with such an elongated design, sitting up isn’t really an option, you’ll find yourself laying down inside which will mean certain tasks are easier to perform outside the tent.
Swag tents are perfect for camping in locations where the nights get cold, or strong winds and torrential rain are frequent. We definitely wouldn’t recommend a swag tent if you’re planning to hike or walk on any treacherous routes as the tent is quite heavy to carry.
Ideal for: Solo adventurers.
Pros: Great weather protection, intuitive setup.
Cons: Heavy and bulky to carry, limited living space.
4. Backpacking Tent
Backpacking tents are most popular with hikers, mountaineers, and other outdoor activities where travelling light is key. In terms of appearance, backpacking tents can take the form of a dome, swag, pod, or tunnel tent. What makes them backpacking tents is their ultra-lightweight build, meaning once packed away correctly, they’re hardly noticeable in your luggage.
Backpacking tents are quick to setup and pack away. Despite their lightweight construction, the backpacking tent holds up well in the harsh weather conditions hikers and climbers are often faced with.
The only downside of this tent is the size and practicality of the living space, it’s drastically reduced compared with other tent types, most notably the headroom – so if you want to create a cozy, humble abode on your date with nature, you should probably steer clear of this one.
Ideal for: Solo adventurers, hikers, mountaineers, scouts.
Pros: Highly portable, easy to setup, ultra-lightweight.
Cons: Small living space, better models are expensive.
5. Hammock Tent
Lightweight, portable, and easy to setup in just a few minutes, hammocks are an extremely affordable and versatile way to enjoy the wilderness of Australia. Whether you want a hammock just for yourself, or you want to sleep 2 in the comfort of the trees, there is a myriad of different hammock tent styles to choose from.
Hammocks and hammock tents have many distinct advantages over settling on the ground for the night. For starters, an uneven ground surface or wet, sodden soil to pitch your tent on is of no concern to you with a hammock. Another benefit of sleeping above the ground is you won’t be a target for any nightmarish creepy crawlies looking to bed-up with you for the night.
Your choice of place to sleep will of course be governed by the existence of some trees to secure the hammock to, but once you’ve secured the straps into place, you’re good for the night.
Ideal for: Solo adventurers, couples.
Pros: Cheap, easy to use, compact, practical.
Cons: Location dependent, not for cooler climates.
6. Rooftop Tent
If road trips and 4×4 adventures are more your thing (like it is for my partner and I!), a rooftop tent might be the perfect choice for you. A solid platform easily folds-out from the roof rack of the vehicle to support the tent. Because the tent and ladder are all connected as one, unfolding the platform is the only real installation step.
Rooftop camping is awesome because it removes the hassle of carrying the tent, finding some even ground, and any other problem that often needs to be solved before you can relax. Climb the ladder to access the tent, and experience views from a stunning perspective. A huge advantage of rooftop camping is how much living space you get inside the tent, you could easily sleep a small family or group inside.
Rooftop tents are considerably more expensive than other kinds of tent, but their popularity is rapidly increasing because of their practicality and added layer of comfort. Turn your vehicle into a hotel on wheels and you’ll never go back to ordinary camping again.
Ideal for: Just about anyone with a vehicle that can hold a roof rack.
Pros: Effortless install, practical space, great weather protection.
Cons: High price-tag, long-term durability yet to be seen.
What did you think of my guide to the 6 most popular camping tent setups in Western Australia? I’m hopeful this guide to different tent types will help you decide on the perfect camping tent for the adventures you plan to have.
Always respect nature on your travels and leave camping areas without a trace of your presence, be kind to other campers and we’re sure you’ll make a friend or two in the wild.
Travel safe, live free, share your experiences.