A tunnel tent is a tent which is made by stretching fabric across rigid rings to create a tunnel shape, which may be entered through a slit in the side, or via one of the ends of the tunnel, depending on the design. Tunnel tents can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from play to camping in inclement conditions. They are available from some outdoor supply stores, as well as stores which stock games and objects related to play. Tunnel tents aren't just for people: scaled-down versions for pets are also available.
The tunnel tent design is distinctive and also very easy to work with, with no framework to erect when the tent is put up. Some tunnel tents have very rigid hoops, which can make the tent challenging to pack, while others are designed to compress for convenience. There is a lot of workable space inside a tunnel tent, with the side of the tent being determined by the diameter of the hoops and the number of hoops involved.
Tunnel tents designed for camping usually need to be staked in place to be secured, but they have the advantage of being able to withstand lots of weather conditions. They are highly resistant to wind and snow buildups, because the tent doesn't provide a surface for wind to push against, or for snow to build up on. Tunnel tents can also be used to connect larger upright tents, allowing people to travel between tents without having to go outside.
When designed for play, a tunnel tent is more lightweight. Play tunnel tents can come in a variety of sizes, and some connect to other types of tents and shelters which allow children to explore different environments. Pets sometimes enjoy tunnel tents because they can provide a space to shelter from the weather, in addition to a safe space to play in; cats in particular enjoy tunnel tents which have been designed for them.
Whether for play or for camping, a tunnel tent usually has a tough liner so that occupants of the tent will not be hurt by the hoops which provide structural support. Materials like nylon are common choices for construction, as they are lightweight and durable. The tunnel tent may also have features like an awning which can be extended over the entrance, or entrances with zippers which allow the tunnel tent to be mated to other tents to create a bigger shelter.