What is a Pup Tent?

Pup tents, also known sometimes as shelter-halves, are a traditional tent used throughout history. Their look is iconic, and the history behind them is interesting too. 

Why is it Called a Pup Tent?

Pup tents were named as such due to the role they played in the American Civil War. At the time, accessories and equipment used by troops were often called dogs due to their necessity. This is also where the phrase “dog tags” came from. As pup tents are smaller than some of their other counterparts, they were named “pups” as larger tents would be known as dogs. 

Some others speculate that the tents are known as pup tents due to their size, and that they would be more suited for a dog to stay in as opposed to a soldier. 

What do Pup Tents Look Like?

Pup tents are fairly small, usually standing at around 4ft tall and 5ft wide. They’re not designed for an individual to be able to stand up inside, and due to their structure, they have very little space inside. Pup tents are made using poles, a material used as a cover, and stakes. The material is draped over two poles which are placed upright and parallel to each other. The stakes help keep the material secure and in position. 

Traditional pup tents have no door, and were used due to how lightweight they were. Most traditional pup tents don’t exceed 10lbs, meaning they were excellent for carrying. 

History of Pup Tents

Pup tents are renowned for their use during wars and the shelter they offered soldiers during the night. The first instance of a pup tent was noted during the American Civil War, where they were used as fast and easy shelters to set up. They were very flimsy and weren’t cut out for miserable weather, leading a lot of them to wither away throughout the conflict. 

Pup tents were revitalised and used again during WW2, where they saw some upgrades. Whilst still maintaining their simple and lightweight design, pup tents in WW2 were created using more suitable materials, and the poles themselves used to support them were also utilized, by making sure that they too were camouflaged. 

The design didn’t change much when the Vietnam war broke out, but it did inspire some additional alterations to be made for future use. For instance, most pup tents nowadays are lined with mosquito netting, due to issues raised during the Vietnam war. 

Modern Pup Tents

The simple design of a pup tent has helped its use endure for years. With continual modern advancements in both materials and assembly, the pup tent has seen several improvements over the years. Pup tents are no longer used by just military personnel, and its use has expanded to anyone who wants a lightweight, small tent. Whether that be hikers, festival goers, or campers who travel lightly. Pup tents nowadays have doors, are usually waterproof, contain a mosquito net and have a flooring fitted to maximise comfort for their occupants. They’re incredibly useful for anyone intending on travelling lightly or not wanting to spend much time inside their tents.  

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