Blog 11.02.2019

Expedition kit jargon busting – tents

Have you ever wondered if hoop tents are better than geodesic, what ‘Hydrostatic Head’ actually means and if you even need to worry about it? Vango have created a guide to help DofE Leaders and volunteers like you understand what the different features of expedition kit actually mean and how to meet the needs of your group.

Vango is the DofE Recommended Kit partner for tents, rucksacks, sleeping bags and much more. All Vango kit has been designed by genuine outdoor enthusiasts and feedback from DofE Leaders is incorporated into kit development – providing you with reliable, quality and innovative gear for your expeditions.

Here we focus on tent technology and tent construction. For rucksack and sleeping bag jargon busting, check out the full guide.

Tent technology explained

Hydrostatic head

Water resistance is measured and expressed as hydrostatic head in millimetres (mm). This indicates the pressure of water needed to penetrate a fabric. Therefore, the higher the hydrostatic head, the more water resistant your tent will be. Look out for it in Vango features list as: 5,000mm HH.

Ripstop flysheet

Constructed with a rip stop weave, ripstop flysheets will stop any tears spreading both minimising the impact of the damage and making it quicker and easier to repair.

Gothic arch

A pointy ‘gothic arch’ shaped pole that provides extra head room, increases strength and stability in adverse conditions while encouraging water/snow run-off from the flysheet.

DofE Recommended Vango tents with a gothic arch include the Scafell Pro.


A guy rope, also known simple as a guy, is a tensioned cable designed to add stability to tents. The rope or line is fixed to the ground to secure the tent in place.

Venturi vent system

Reduces condensation by drawing trapped air in the porch out as wind flows through the vent. Fresh air moves through the vents at the rear of the tent to replace the trapped air, creating a fresh flow of air through the tent.


Vango’s patented Tension Band System (TBS) increases tents performance in adverse conditions. It helps brace the pole against strong, changeable winds adding strength and stability. Adjust the system to remove the slack (but do not over tension) and stow away in calm conditions.

Yunan eco poles

Superior strength, lightweight poles which have been made with acid free processing to be kinder to the environment.

Fastpack tent bag

Oversized opening for easy packing and compression straps to reduce pack size.

Tent construction explained


Quick and easy to pitch, tunnel tents are great for camping on good pitches where you can use guy ropes comfortably. Tunnel tents offer a great space to weight ratio so perfect for multi-day treks or expeditions.

DofE Recommended Vango tunnel tents include the Banshee Pro.

Fully geodesic

One of the strongest constructions in tent design. Fully geodesic tents have five crossover points in the pole structure making it extremely strong and stable regardless of the conditions.

They are freestanding, can be pitched almost anywhere and have double porch/entry points for extra storage and entry/exit away from the direction of the wind.


Semi-geodesic tents have three crossover points in their structure making them extra stable in adverse conditions.

A great mid-way between tunnel tents and fully-geodesic; semi-geodesic tents are free standing and strong, yet lighter than a fully geodesic tent. DofE Recommended Vango semi-geodesic tents include the Mirage Pro.


Hoop tents are often favoured by solo or smaller parties going long distance as they are very light weight and quick to pitch. Make sure to find a good piece of ground to camp on though as you will need to guy these tents out to pitch them.

Most Vango hoop tents have TBS to add stability should you be caught in bad weather or side winds.

Updating your kit store

Expanding your group? Tents need an upgrade? Need to support more participants?

DofE recommended retailers GO Outdoors and Tiso can offer further discounts on group orders when updating your kit store.

Find out more about group sales and how to contact each retailer for your quote.