Just different people require different types of vehicles, different types of campers require different types of tents. Let’s start by discussing the different types of tent users.
Outfitters normally host outdoor events such as backcountry wilderness trips, hunting trips, extended research trips, etc. Outfitters normally require large 4-season tents that can handle almost any type of weather that nature can throw at it.
Group campers normally require a larger 3-season tent for larger families or groups. They normally want a comfortable tent where users can comfortable stand upright. Some Group Campers may be into “Glamping” or Glamorous Camping where they have many of the comforts of home.
Family campers need a larger tent for a small to medium sized family. These user want some comfort but don’t mind “roughing it” a bit. They often have smaller children and need some extra room for supplies, toys, etc.
Minimalist campers just need a basic tent for weather protection. The minimalist uses the tent as a place to sleep and does not need much in the way of space or comforts. There are also different type of minimalists including car campers and bikers. Those doing car camping need a tent that is relatively small to pack depending on their vehicle. Bikers are normally limited by space first and weight second. For bikers weight is important but the size of the packed tent is critical. Bikers must be particularly careful when choosing a tent that will fit in your packs. Later I will present a few tips for bikers and for packing tents to help maximize space and distribute weight.
Casual backpackers need strong and lightweight tents that can be easily carried. The Casual Backpacker will go on short backpacking treks of a few nights. Weight is important but adding a few pounds to the pack might be OK.
Serious backpackers spend longer periods of time on trails and need an extremely lightweight shelter. These users sacrifice weight for comfort and may even substitute a tarp, bivy, or hammock for a tent to reduce weight. These backpackers may spend weeks on the trail, will normally carry very heavy packs, and need to minimize weight anywhere they can.