The Best Tents Reviewed & Compared
What better way to experience the outdoors than to sleep in it. Get away from work
and housework and get in touch with nature and yourself. Camping can mean many different
things to so many people. It is a great way to unplug from the daily chaos and get some peace
and quiet plugging into nature. Camping is also a great way to exercise, push your endurance and even learn survival skills. Some of my friends think camping is designed for gathering friends close to a lake for water sport and rock music.
Generational camping has become very popular, it is a great way to get outside and spend
some quality family time together. This may sound dreamy, however, the reality of camping can
vary. With many families or even partners, too much togetherness can cause tension. You can’t
enjoy the great outdoors when you are too tense in one tent!
With a cramped tent and tight sleeping quarters, there ARE bound to be some unhappy
campers. To maximize favorable family time and get the most out of camping you must first buy
the right tent. Want an unflappably good time? Set yourself up for a great camping trip by
staking down what you want and need to get out of a tent (a little tent humor, free of charge).
These buying guidelines can help you figure out what tent is going to work for you and your mates.
With all of that in mind, here is our list of the best tents. We included tents of all styles and sizes
to fit everyone’s needs.
- REI - Kingdom 8
- Awesome Versatility
The Top Rated Tents Overall
REI - Kingdom 8
Ratings: 4.7/ 5
Size: 12 foot 6 inch x 8 foot 4 inch
Square Footage: 104 square feet
Vestibule area: 33.3 square feet
Height: 6 foot 5 inch
Weight: 22 lbs 3 oz
Season: 3 seasons
Additional Sizes: 6-person tent
or a luxuriously spacious camping trip at a whole 104 square foot size. It is easily set up
in ten minutes with the aluminum poles. The tent features two huge doors and a vestibule as well as four zipper sliders. The mesh panels on doors and windows are bug-proof so you won't be having to share living quarters with any creepy crawlies big or small. The center divider allows you to divide up the living space to create two rooms for privacy.
Weather will not be a problem with the seam-sealed waterproof polyester rain fly and
seam sealed cut-in floor, and the weather protective awning and vestibule. The tent is made of a 75 denier nylon taffeta canopy, and a coated rainfly, as well as a 300 denier, coated polyester oxford floor.
The connect tech zipper attachment lets you add more living space or storage with
optional add-on accessories. The vertical walls of the cabin style tent allow you to maximize square footage, you can put cots right up against the side wall to save space. The vestibule protects gear or supplies from the weather without the wasted space in the tent. While it is a bit heavy, the backpack carry bag makes it easy to carry the 22 lbs without too much effort.
Cons: This tent is very heavy, most definitely suited towards car camping with the family. This is not a tent you would want to carry on a hike. Because it is so suited towards car camping it is not as versatile to fit some needs, but it may be the perfect solution for your group or family.
- Great for larger parties
- Semi-weather sealed
- Excellent protection overall
- Very heavy
- On the expensive side of things
Big Agnes - Flying Diamond
Ratings: 4.5/ 5
Size: 14 foot 7 inch x 9 foot 7 inch
Square Footage: 112 square feet
Vestibule Space: 35 square feet
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 23.6 lbs
Season: Four Seasons
Additional Sizes: Six person tent
made of breathable polyester rip-stop with nylon mesh windows, and a rain fly made out of
durable polyester with a weatherproof polyurethane coating. For added security against the
elements, the tent body has seams taped with waterproof solvent-free polyurethane tape. This
tent is a four season giving you the freedom to camp wherever whenever, many reviews even say
that this tent handled torrential hail!
The tent also comes with two doors and a large vestibule off of the larger front room.
Each door is outfitted with storm flaps storm flaps which can double as shade canopies with
trekking poles. It has an impressive sixteen interior pockets and includes gear loft loops for the
added storage. It is estimated that the setup will take around thirty minutes, using DAC
combination lightweight aluminum poles, and twenty aluminum hook stakes and the included
reflective guylines. Weighing in at over twenty pounds, the briefcase style bag with long
shoulder straps and organizational pockets makes the most out of the situation.
Cons: at a little over twenty-one lbs the tent is a relatively good weight for a tent of this
size, the carrying bag also makes it easy to carry, but it is not at all a backpacking tent. The
Flying Diamond tent is much more appealing for car camping. While it is lighter than the
Kingdom, it will take longer to set up, or you may need some extra hands pitching in (pun most
- Excellent, breathable build quality
- Great storage options
- Expensive, but not for the value provided
Nemo Hornet 2P
Ratings: 4.8/ 5
Size: 85 x 51/43 x 40 inches
Square Footage: 28 square feet
Vestibule Space: 16 square feet
Height: 40 inches
Weight: 2 lbs
Season: Three Seasons
Additional Sizes: Hornet 1P, Elite 1p, and Elite 2p
sits out away from the body of the tent so if any condensation builds up on the fly it won't seep
through the main tent as well. For being a featherlight tent it is incredible to feature two doors
and vestibules, never having to wake your tent mate for a midnight bathroom run is superb
The Vestibule and fly are a 10D Sil/PU Nylon ripstop 1200mm, the Canopy is a 15D
nylon ripstop. Windows and doors are covered with a no-see-um mesh, and the floor is a 15D
Sil/PU Nylon Ripstop (1500 mm). Included Accessories: Divvy Sack dual-stage drawstring stuff
sack, Guy-out Cord, Repair Kit, and Stakes. Optional Footprint available for $49.95.
Cons: It is quite a tight setup for two but it is a luxury setup for one, and being only 2 lbs
it won't cost you energy to transport. It is considered Semi-freestanding, it does require two
stakes at the foot which can limit campsites on rocky terrain but is necessary otherwise the foot
of the tent gets tangled around your feet at night. Overall a fantastic one person backpacking tent.
- Awesome two door design
- Very lightweight
- Can be cramped with just two people depending on the situation
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
Ratings: 4.6/ 5
Size: 88 x 52/42 x 40 inches
Square Footage: 29 square feet
Vestibule Space: 9 square feet
Height: 40 inches
Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz
Season: Three Seasons
Additional Sizes: HV UL1, 3, and 4
architecture to fit that second backpacker on your trip. Because it fits an extra person, you can
even split up the weight between campers, or carry it yourself since it is still an Ultralight tent. It
has large dual zipper doors with vestibules to incorporate that second camper comfortably.
The tents DAC tent poles and J steaks are created through their new Green Anodizing
process that is safer for the environment and reduces waste. The new design allows for high
volume pole architecture resulting in steeper walls without adding weight. There is a huge
ceiling pocket that provides ample storage space since floor space is limited. It also incorporates
media pockets located above sleeping for headphone routing from phones or other devices.
The fly and floor are silicone treated proprietary patterned random ripstop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating. Tent body is proprietary patterned random ripstop
nylon breathable and polyester mesh. All seams are taped with waterproof, solvent-free
polyurethane tape for extra weather resistance. For increased water resistance and ventilation, it features double walls.
It’s Almost impossible to find other or possibly better freestanding 2 person tent under
3lbs. Overall a perfect choice for a two person backpacking tent.
Cons: slightly heavier than the Nemo Hornet for only a single additional square foot may
not seem worth it. The nearly vertical walls are what make the largest difference in additional
usable space. The added weight can make a difference if carried by a single person, every ounce counts.
- Ample space for two
- Double wall construction
- Still under 3 pounds
- A bit heavier than others on this list, especially if going it solo
Eureka K-2 XT
Ratings: 4.8/ 5
Size: 107 in x 92 in
Square Footage: 52 square feet
Vestibule Space: 21.8 square feet
Height: 4 feet
Weight: 11 lbs 12 ozs
Season: Four Seasons
which is why it can stand up to so much wind. It is a four season tent with top of the line weather
protection. 4000 series aluminum poles, 75D StormShield polyester ripstop with a 1900mm PU
coating Rain fly. Body of 0D nylon-taffeta and 40D "no-see-um" mesh. The floor of 70D
nylon-taffeta with a 3,000mm PU coating. 52 square feet interior.
It fits three people comfortably with double doors and vestibules. The tent will stay
comfortable with zippered High/Low tent vents (2 each in roof and side walls) and 2 scoop vents
in fly. All campers will have room to spread out because of the four gear loft loops, a flashlight
loop, and a very unique 14 pocket organizing wall.
Cons: It comes in much heavier than the lightweight backpacking tents but it does hold
up to three people comfortably and can be spread between campers. Some of the weight is
attributed to its increased weather protection and structural support to be a four season tent.
While it may be heavy for just a summertime backpacker, it is a fantastic option for those four
- Great stability against windy situations
- Great size, even for 3
- Comfortable even in colder climates
- A bit heavier than some might prefer
- Probably not ideal for summer campers
Mombasa Adventure II
Ratings: 4.75/ 5
Size: 90x 71 inches open
Square Footage: 44.375 square feet
Height: 3 feet 8 inches
Weight: 150 lbs
Season: Three Season
it has a new upgraded poly-coated fabric and a 3/4-person size, available in green and tan. The
tent is made of Poly-cotton 260g/m2 and PU Coating, a Rain fly of Poly-cotton 260g/m2 PU
Coating, and two windows of PE mesh.
It easily fits three adults, or two adults and two children. The bottom of the tent features a
2.5" foam mattress extending the entire floor of the tent. It is constructed of an aluminum base
frame and telescoping adjustable ladder to minimize weight. The ladder adjusts from 45 inches
all the way up to 81 inches in height. For taller vehicles, there is an available ladder extension
attachment that will give you up to an extra 12 inches of height. To Expand square footage you
can also purchase an additional Changing Room.
Cons: The weight of this RTT can be limiting, depending on your car's roof weight
capacity and the capacity of your roof rack that it secures to, once you take into account campers weights also. Because you are limited by the size of the car roof there can be limited space inside the tent. There is, however, the added space of the vehicle to store and protect belongings and supplies.
- Foam mattress along te bottom lining is a welcome addition
- Spacious for 3
- Adjusting ladder works great
- Cartop setup won't be ideal for everyone
The Criteria Used When Choosing The Best Tent
When buying a tent, sizes can be misleading. For example in a tent that is marketed as a six-person, may actually only fit four adults and few personal items. The key to tent sizes is the square footage. On average, an adult will need twenty to twenty-five square feet. This may seem excessive, but to sleep comfortably with six-foot length, and two and a half foot wide is already a total of fifteen square feet. Add a single duffle bag to the mix and by this time you have a full twenty square feet.
Doing some math, if you have twenty-five square feet per person and four adults all under six feet tall, you would need one hundred square feet minimum. Start adding gear, bags, supplies, or airbeds/cots and the extra square footage starts flying out the window. How long you plan to camp is also something to take into consideration. The longer the trip, the greater amount of personal items and gear, and it will take up tent space. Being cramped and uncomfortable is a sure fire way to have some cranky campers or a cramped body in the mornings. Now is not the time to be modest and think of all the things you could leave at home to squeeze into that fancy tent. Being realistic about how much space you need will lead you to the tent that will make you the happiest with your purchase. It may also save you from having to buy a larger tent!
Tents are commonly assumed to be short, causing hunched over walking or even crawling around. With new tent heights as tall as six feet eight inches, there is plenty of room to stand, change, stretch and easily move about the space. Tents with extra height can even be used for more storage with added gear lofts. Added height and gear lofts allow for tons of storage overhead, saving that valuable floor space for other things. There are tents that more resemble a coffin than a room to sleep, but even the lightest single-person backpacking tents are growing for comfort all while staying light as a feather for long trails.
If you will be touring, or backpacking you already know that the weight adds up and storage is very limited. If you plan to carry the tent, then the weight and storage size is a crucial feature to pay close attention to. Some tents are easily split into components to share the load with others. When backpacking, the tent will be one of the four heaviest items you carry, accompanied by backpack, sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Having a tent that is even a few ounces lighter can be a great way to reduce weight.
You don’t need to spend a small fortune for a great tent that will do its job. If you are a camping junkie or avid backpacker you may want to shell out the extra cash for the best of the best that will last years. Otherwise, there are plenty of other options that will get the same job done for a fraction of the cost.
The purpose of a tent is to protect you from the elements while camping. If your tent doesn’t protect you then you may as well save your money and sleep under the stars. It is always great to get a steal of a deal on a tent, but it’s crucial to make sure that it can stand up to the elements and do its job.
Seasons for Camping
Are you an all weather camper looking to conquer the winter or just a clear forecast summer camper? It is very important to realistically predict the season in which you will be using the tent. Do you expect rain, high winds, snow or even hail? Narrowing down when you will use the tent helps narrow down what tent is best for you.
Summer tents are lightweight and focus on ventilation for those hot summer nights. If you are strictly a summer camper, a rainfly may be the only weather protection you need.
A two or three season tent will handle rain or even an early snowfall but they are not designed for heavier snow. These tents are made to handle spring, summer, and possibly fall depending on the climate.
A four-season tent handles all seasons: cold weather, snow, and rain, with extra features for weather protection.
An Expedition tent is considered a five season tent because of its ability to handle extreme weather conditions such as strong winds, heavy rainstorms, cold temperatures and heavy snowstorms.
The Different Types of Camping
Kayak/canoe, horse, cycling etc. Touring is a self-containing trip ranging from singleday to weeks, months and even years. On a tour, you will carry or outfit all the supplies you will need for the length of the trip. If you are solely camping while touring then the amount of gear needed will be overwhelming. To minimize the size and weight of the tent, small simple tents will need to focus on reliability rather than new fancy features like E-Ports.
Backpacking refers is a multi-day hiking trip involving camping outdoors and carrying allyour gear on your own back. These trips also can last from a few days to months and years. The size of the tent can range from a single person to a many person base camp, depending on how you can split the weight of the tent among backs to carry it. It is essential that the tent is lightweight, and compact, as space in a backpack is at a premium. Carrying a heavier tent may not seem like a big deal, but by day three of the heavier tent, you may find yourself questioning if you even need a tent at all.
This may sound like just sleeping in the car, may as well stay in the driveway, right?
Well, car camping is also called base camping, where you drive up to a designated tent pad. Very common around lake recreation areas, and in parks. Car camping tents may be heavier since you do not have to hike with them to find a campsite. They also can come with some other features such as the electrical port that I will talk about more below.
Taking car camping to the next level, truck camping utilizes the bed of a pickup as tent space. Tents are specialized to fit and be pitched in truck beds. Because you don’t even have to take the tent out of the truck, these tents can be much heavier with no issues. However, the space in the bed of a truck can be limited so these also tend to be smaller tents.
Roof Top Camping
The magic of an instant tent simply unfolds and lower the ladder. No carrying complicated setups, or finding a spot to pitch. This type of camping offers great views, and off the ground away from bugs, or other wildlife. Especially great for Off-roading trips when the car comes along anyways! They just attach to the rack of any car or truck. Who wouldn’t love no-pitch tent camping?!
Other Features To Look For
A lovely summer rain quickly ruined by being stuck inside of a musty tent. These awnings cover windows and doors from rain, to keep you dry. They also allow for the windows and doors to be open even in rain for ventilation.
This addition allows for an electrical extension cord to pass through the lower tent wall. This feature is definitely more geared towards car camping, and some tents come ready for electrical hook up. This is beyond handy when you have gadgets and gizmos to charge up.
A footprint is a protective floor layer to protect your tent. It can protect from abrasion and extends the life of your tent. There is a tradeoff of the added weight to the added durability, a footprint can be easily forgotten at home for the sake of weight while backpacking.
This is game-changing added storage above your heads in the form of shelves or cargo netting attaching to the ceiling of a tent. An ideal loft should be low enough that everything in the loft is accessible but high enough to be out of the way. It can be used to hang or lay out wet or damp items to dry as long as they aren’t too heavy. They are also a great spot for a light either hanging or in the loft itself. They are great for storing personal items because your belongings are kept off the floor in case of flooding, and within easy reach and visibility as well.
Removable Room Dividers
Whether the divider zips in or clips in, a room divider essentially does just what it says,divides the room. Taking one large open tent room and turning it into two functional spaces could be a valuable option when privacy is at an all-time low. If you have two groups of campers in one tent or would like your own escape within the tent a removable room divider may be well worth their weight. Creating bedrooms, a changing room, or even a storage area, being able to divide living space allows you to customize the tent to cater to your own needs.
There is more to sleeping comfort than just room to stretch your legs. Proper ventilationallows for any condensation to escape the tent, instead of it collecting inside. No one likes to stand up and have a wet sweaty tent wall soak your clothes. It is also useful for allowing heat to escape, and the smell that may follow you or friends and family members into the tent.
Think of it like a foyer, or more realistically a mudroom. A place protected from the weather or the sun to dump your muddy, dirty, or smelly gear before entering the tent. This makes amazing flex space for storage, protected from rain and the elements but not taking up space inside the tent. Great for items like bikes, strollers, area to take off shoes, even a grill, and so many other possibilities. They are very commonly seen on tents in areas with frequent rain and are standard for multi-person base camp tents. The buffer zone between the tent and the great outdoors aids in weatherproofing, by keeping precipitation further away. Because a vestibule protects the door, you can leave the door open during a summer rain to increase ventilation, and to let in the glorious fresh rain smell. Having two doors also ensures that you won’t be crawling over people and their gear piles every time you need to get in or out of the tent.
If you have ever owned a circular tent or built an igloo as a kid (or adult…we are not judging) you will know that with a low, angled roof, some floor space is non-utilizable. Because of low ceiling heights along the edge where it meets the floor the area cannot be used for much. In the Cabin style tents, the walls are virtually vertical, allowing for full use of all square footage.
Not limited by height, cots or airbeds can be flush against the wall leaving other floor space for personal belongings and gear and supplies.
Water Resistant floors
Even without expected rain or moisture, morning dew can seep through the floor and soak personal belongings. A water-resistant floor will ensure that your belongings in the tent will stay dry. Especially a Tub style floor keeps all seams or potential water entry points higher off the ground for extra security from sitting groundwater and/or flooding.