Best 3 Person Tents
A tent is arguably the most important item of a camping trip. It will determine your safety from the elements, your comfort, and how well you sleep. Finding the perfect size tent can be troublesome. In this article, we are focusing on three-person tents. However, who says you need to adhere to the rules? A three-person tent is actually great for two people as well. It provides you with a bit more personal space and extra room for your belongings. Whether you are one person looking to stretch out, or four people willing to squeeze in, a three-person tent is a versatile size.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Taped seams for waterproofness
You can roll back the fly for an unprecedented view of the sky
The hubbed pole system assembles in minutes
Top 10 Picks
1. Mountain Hardwear Vision 3
Taped seams for waterproofness
You can roll back the fly for an unprecedented view of the sky
The hubbed pole system assembles in minutes
It is on the heavy side for lugging on foot
When it comes down to it, there just is not a superior three-person design than what Mountain Hardwear has created. Their Vision 3 could be dubbed the total package as it sports a waterproof construction, excellent ventilation and plenty of storage capacity.Read more
The MH Vision 3 is constructed of 40D nylon rip-stop fabric while the canopy is crafted of 20D nylon mesh. In addition to this, the fly can be rolled back to gaze at the stars and the seams are taped to ensure waterproofness.
Inside of the Vision 3 are four mesh pockets and these can be used to store all types of gear and accessories. Plus, there are two dry-entry full-size vestibules that sport dual-sliders.
At just under six pounds, this is certainly not the lightest three-person design in the world. Now, six pounds may not sound like much but if you are going on a multi-day trip on foot, small amounts can add up very quickly.
Ease of Use
For quick and easy pitching, the hubbed pole system sports reflective starter alignment tabs. As for the MH Vision 3 itself, there are twin widescreen doors for easy entry and exit and the aforementioned vestibules.
Thanks to the full mesh canopy and the oversized mesh doors, proper ventilation of the Vision 3 is not difficult to achieve. Plus, with the mesh walls, you can experience a 360-degree view of the outdoors.
Not too many tents can compete with the Vision 3; no matter how many people they claim to hold. The extra weight can be seen as a disadvantage for backpackers but the phenomenal ventilation and construction make up for it.
2. Nemo Dagger
Comes with a dual-stage stuff sack
It is engineered for comfort with its multiple doors
Uses advanced technology to minimize bulk and maximize space
The plastic clips used to connect the rainfly are a bit fragile
All things considered, the Nemo Dagger came close to securing the top spot. It was a close call as the advanced technology to maximize the usable space inside and the water tightness almost gave it the edge it needed.Read more
The fly in combination with the bathtub floor design provides a foundation to keep water out. Now, one user did take issue with the plastic clips used to connect the rainfly to the tent; noting they could break easily.
First off, the vestibules provide an ample amount of space for your gear. But, the overhead light pockets and built-in privacy panel only add to the interior storage.
While the packed weight by itself, which is well under five pounds, is lightweight enough for portability you can even shed some weight by only using the poles, fly, and footprint. Plus, a drawstring stuff sack comes with the Dagger.
Ease of Use
All you need to do is anchor the pole tips to the grommets, which have been reinforced for strength, and then clip the body to the frame. It really is as easy as that, folks.
Nemo designed the Dagger with advanced technology and the result is a design that is able to maximize the total amount of space it has without adding unnecessary bulk. On top of this, there are mesh panels for ventilation.
Only a fool would pass on the Nemo Dagger; or someone who felt too sketchy about the plastic clips. Either way, the Dagger is top-notch quality personified and 100 percent recommended.
3. ALPS Mountaineering Meramac
Easy to set up and break down
May be better for 2 people
While this may be one of the heavier tents on our list, the Meramac shines in other ways. With mesh windows on two walls and doors on the other two, you'll have plenty of ventilation with this tent. Another great feature of the tent is the full-length rainfly.Read more
Users have been impressed by the materials of this tent. The walls, rainfly, and floor are constructed from a strong polyester taffeta to withstand rain, wind, and abuse. The poles are made from shock-coated fiberglass and are durable and lightweight. The zippers on this tent are also slightly larger than normal, making them more durable and easier to use.
This tent has two doors, making it easier to exit the tent without waking up your roommates. With three people, there is not very much storage for other items in this tent. There is a small gear loft and a small hanging bag that you can use for your phone, flashlight, and keys.
Also worth mentioning is the rainfly. The rainfly on the Mermac is full length, giving you more security in the rain.
This tent weighs in at 8.11-pounds. Depending on how far you will be walking with this, it could feel heavy. It’s packed size is 6”x 24”.
Ease of Use
Most reviewers agree that this tent is a breeze to set up. The included rainfly has its own stakes included and is also simple to attach. Packing up the tent is also said to be a simple, one-man job.
This tent has two doors and on the other two walls, it has large mesh windows. This allows for plenty of ventilation, with or without the doors open.
4. Big Agnes Cooper Spur
All the seams have been taped
The large dual-zipper door allows easy entry and exit
Built with a random rip-stop pattern nylon
The logo on the rainfly is rather ridiculous
The door angle does not match up flush with the rainfly
If you have done any digging in the past, you have probably run across Big Agnes before. They manufacturer some of the best tents available today and their Cooper Spur UL actually comes in variations to accommodate one person, two, three or up to four.Read more
The proprietary rip-stop nylon fabric that Big Agnes utilizes in this design is 20 percent stronger for enhanced durability. Additionally, all the seams have been taped with solvent-free polyurethane.
There are storage pockets everywhere, literally. You have four interior mesh pockets, media pockets above the sleeping area and eight superlight J stakes gear loft loops.
What is shocking is the extra durable fabric does not weigh this down. In fact, at just under four pounds, it is one of the lighter designs on this list despite being one of the most durable, as well.
Ease of Use
Velcro tabs are used to connect the fly to the pole structure and there are even pre-cut guy lines and tensioners attached to the fly. Also, thanks to the plastic clips that attach the body to the frame the intuitive set up is made even easier.
Both the spaciousness and ventilation are above-average. In areas where you need it most, the breathability has been prioritized.
Even if you wanted to fit more or less than three people, Big Agnes makes this design in versions for one to four people. No matter how many you need to sleep, though, the Cooper Spur UL is never going to be a bad choice.
5. Marmot Fortress
Both the rainfly and the floor are treated with a water repellent
Guy outs and a canopy are included
Very robust and spacious interior design
Over six pounds in weight; making it a little heavy
The Fortress has an appropriate name as it is built like a fortress. It sports a very robust design that can easily fit you and two other friends. However, it is one of the heavier designs on this list which could be a nuisance for backpackers.Read more
The fabrics on the Fortress have been treated to better repel rain. In addition to that, this comes with a full canopy to even better be ready for oncoming storms.
With a lampshade pocket that can hold headlamps for ambient light, multiple internal pockets for small gear, and two vestibules for even more gear placement, you should have no issues finding a place for everything.
There is no getting around the fact that this is a heavy model. Now, you can disperse it amongst three people to even the load; but, still, it almost weighs six-and-a-half pounds.
Ease of Use
Instead of only one entry point, this sports two D-shaped doors for multiple escapes and entry points. As far as the physical set up goes, the color-coded clips attach to the aluminum poles.
Both the vertical walls and the pre-bend design aid in the interior spacing. Because of these integrations, you can comfortably sleep yourself and two other buddies.
Yes, there are other lighter alternatives out there. But, you may not find many other three-person designs that can top the Fortress’s waterproof construction and incredibly spacious interior.
6. Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3
Features a one-pole setup
Velcro tabs connect the fly to the pole for enhanced stability
Engineered for waterproof protection
It may not fit three adults comfortably
The Fly Creek UL, with this version fitting three people, is a great example of a three-person design that realistically fits two people. It will fit three, but it may not do so comfortably. Of course, one advantage the Fly Creek UL does have is its waterproof protection.Read more
Big Agnes designed both their fly and the floor to be waterproof by coating it with a 1200-millimeter polyurethane coating. In addition, the seams have been taped with a solvent-free polyurethane tape.
Sold separately are gear loops that can add to the storage space but as it sits, the UL3 Fly Creek sports five interior mesh pockets, two media pockets, and a dry-entry vestibule.
Much like with their other products that were featured on this list, this model sports a rather minuscule weight of only three pounds and five ounces; making it ideal for multi-day treks.
Ease of Use
With only one pole, 11 aluminum J stakes, and pre-cut guy lines, the Fly Creek is ready to pitch right away. As a plus, the angle SF hub on the pole system creates steeper walls and an increased amount of interior space.
As for the Fly Creek itself, is crafted of a breathable nylon and mesh polyester. However, fitting and sleeping three people comfortably may not be feasible. Depending on the size and age of the occupants, it may or may not work for you.
Do not get fooled, this is still an awesome three-person design. However, those three people may either need to be two adults and a child or three small adults. Do not expect to fit three burly guys inside, in other words.
7. MSR Elixir 3
The ventilation is excellent
Comes with footprint and rainfly
Glow in the dark zipper
Some have had issues in the rain
With six stakes included, you may be blown away by the features of this tent, but not by the wind. This three-season tent from MSR combines great fabrics, a footprint, and rainfly to keep you comfortable. There have been a few concerns about how well this tent functions in the rain, but there have also been rave reviews. We recommend setting this tent up at home a few times, with the rainfly, before heading out on the trail.Read more
This great looking tent from MSR combines two of our favorite fabrics, mesh and canopy. This blend provides a lightweight and durable tent that manages to keep you warm and ventilated. This tent is marketed as a three season tent but a few reviewers have stated that it does not hold up well in the rain, despite it's DWR finish.
This tent comes stock with a rainfly and footprint. With these two features, you could even create your own basic ‘without walls’ tent if the weather and bugs obliged. The shape of the poles and how everything connects together leaves with what looks like a small tent but turns out to feel quite spacious on the inside.
Additionally, this tent features a glow in the dark zipper. This is a great feature that gives you just enough of a light to find the door in the dark, but not enough light to keep you from sleeping. There are also two vestibules, making it easy for all campers to enter and exit without disturbing their roommates.
This tent weighs in at 6.39- pounds. It has been boy scout approved and won’t weigh you down.
Ease of Use
The MSR Elixir 3 packs down to 8” 20”. It is simple to carry, set up, and break down. One user recommends practicing a couple of times at home but still agrees that the process is simple.
The combination of mesh and canopy provides great breathability. If you are looking for less ventilation, you can attach the rainfly and block the mesh siding.
8. Marmot Tungsten
Both the waterproof fly and floor keep rain out
A footprint is included for your convenience
The zone construction enhances the interior space
Not the lightest of tents at just under six pounds
Only sold with six pegs
Marmot integrated what is known as a zone construction for their Tungsten design. Because of this, the amount of livable space is maximized without adding bulk. It is quite an impressive construction method and it does wonders for the Tungsten.Read more
The Tungsten is built with fabrics that have been treated to handle downpours. Plus, Marmot has also constructed its product with sturdy velocity poles that can withstand gusting winds.
There are interior storage compartments that can accommodate small gear, two vestibules that allow you to store your dry gear, and a lampshade pocket for ambient lighting included in the Tungsten.
While you can reduce the overall weight of the Marmot by using the included footprint, fly, and poles, it is around six pounds if you set it up normally. Indeed, it is not exactly light.
Ease of Use
For a quick set up, the clips are color-coded. Also, there are two D-shaped doors that provide more than one entry and exit point.
First off, the no-see-um mesh material utilized keeps bugs out while still delivering fresh air. Thanks to the aforementioned zone construction, in addition, the interior space is enhanced.
If you like to only look at the glass half-empty, the extra weight of the Marmot may be a killer. Still, most adventurers will appreciate the interior space and robust fabrics that have been utilized.
9. Big Agnes Rattlesnake
All the seams have polyurethane tape
There are media pockets above the sleeping area
LED lights are integrated into the tent seams
Not very spacious
Doesn't hold up well in strong winds
Right off the bat, as one user pointed out, it is important to note that this is a three-person design. It is not listed very well as it would appear this only fits one person. But, alas, this is the SL3 Rattlesnake and it is one of the best in the business.Read more
This is built to handle inclement weather that is for sure. Not only are the seams taped with solvent-free polyurethane but the floor and fly have been treated with a 1200-millimeter waterproof polyurethane coating.
Outside of the interior pockets for media and other small items, the true wonder is the integrated lights of the Rattlesnake. LED lights have been built into the seams and they can be powered by any USB source.
This is an absolute beast when it comes down to it. The packed weight is over seven pounds and if you want to backpack with this, you may consider buying the separate footprint to reduce this weight.
Ease of Use
Big Agnes simplifies the setup process with their DAC pole structure with its lightweight hubs and Pressfit connectors. On another note, the Quick Stash makes it very easy to stow the unzipped door.
To create a more breathable atmosphere for you to sleep in and be in, the Rattlesnake has been made with a breathable nylon fabric.
Clearly, the most talked about point of the Rattlesnake is its integrated LED lights. The trade-off to this convenience, however, is the extra weight. You really need to ask yourself: are these lights worth the extra weight on your back?
10. MSR Mutha Hubba NX
Features a revised floor plan
The updated frame configuration expands headroom
Can be set up in two ways
One user noted the breathability could be improved
Another user pointed out the set up was not very freestanding
Slight issues aside, which will be addressed down below, the Mutha Hubba NX is another fantastic design from MSR. Again, some improvements could have been implemented but the excellent construction and reduced weight keep it afloat.Read more
Both the lap-felled seams and the infinity bar tracks have been reinforced for extra durability. Past this, the Hubba is made of durable high-tenacity nylon and Durashield coated for waterproofness.
To be honest, the compartments are lacking in the NX and it can be difficult to organize anything inside.
This model is lighter than the previous one MSR designed and as a bonus, it does come with a stuff sack for transport.
Ease of Use
What is nice about the NX is it sports a freestanding design with a bathtub-style floor. On top of this, there are two doors that are equipped with side-entry zippers. Of course, there was a buyer who questioned the freestanding nature of this when setting it up.
The updated frame configuration does increase the headroom but one buyer also noted that condensation is an issue unless the vestibule is left open.
Are there notable issues with the NX? Yes, there are. But, the good outweighs the bad significantly and that is what truly matters.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When you are buying a home, one of the primary components that you need to consider is how structurally sound it is. The same goes for a tent and to be honest, there are two primary factors to consider. One is how durable it is as a whole and the second is its ability to repel and protect you from the rain. For most tents, they will be made with what is known as rip-stop nylon. Basically, this refers to a special reinforcing technique that makes the fabric all-but resistant to tearing and abrasions. The poles should also be strong enough to withstand decent winds and should not collapse at a small gust of wind.
As far as the waterproofness goes, there are a number of factors that come into play. For starters, are the seams taped? With taped seams, the tape will be melted over the seams and it will seal them shut. Also, are the fabrics treated with a waterproof coating? Next, does it comes with a rainfly and is it treated against the rain? All these design integrations can keep you dry during rainstorms; so keep them in mind.
Depending on how you plan to use it, you may need to either store a lot or a little gear. If you are at a campsite and are only using it to sleep, you may not find interior storage compartments of use to you. Then again, backpackers may find them absolutely critical to hold all their accessories and equipment. Either way, it is never a bad thing to have some dedicated locations for items. For starters, some tents will sport interior mesh pockets or small gear pockets. These can be ideal for electronic devices and smaller items. Also, some may integrate lampshade pockets and these can be used for headlamps allowing you to have access to some ambient light.
Of course, perhaps the most important storage compartment is its vestibule. Think of a vestibule as the mudroom as it provides extra space for your gear. As vestibules are built in the front and on the sides, they can be used to keep your gear dry.
There are going to be a plethora of questions to ask yourself before you buy a three-person design. But, one of the most important is where you plan to use it? In other words, are you going on a hiking trip or merely to a campsite with your vehicle? The difference is paramount because if you are trekking with a tent, the overall weight is an astronomically important detail. What is the big deal? A six-pound tent is only three pounds bigger than a three-pound tent and that is not that much, right?
Well, perhaps it is not but when you go head out on a long distance trek, every small amount of weight counts. You need to remember, it requires much more than a tent and small items can add up fast. Now, you can always split it up amongst your friends to disperse the load but the point remains. In addition, you can also look to see if a dedicated stuff sack or storage sack comes with your purchase.
Ease of Use
Raise your hand if you enjoy spending 30 minutes setting it up. Assumingly, zero people raised their hands as not too many people will enjoy when it takes longer than a few minutes to assemble. Now, practice does make perfect and over time, you will get faster and more efficient at setting it up. Still, it should not be a convoluted process, to begin with. The set up should be as intuitive as possible and easy ways to do so are with color coding and as few steps as possible. Of course, you can always assemble the tent in your backyard to get the hang of it first; this not being a bad idea at all.
As for the structure, you can look for simple features such as how many doors you want and how large you want them to be.
If you have done any research on tents in the past or have owned quite a few, you probably know that you can’t always trust that a specified number of people will fit inside that is marketed as such. In other words, that a three-person design will not comfortably fit and sleep three people. This is a reality that buyers must face and it is a little frustrating, to be perfectly honest. As such, it will require a bit more digging on your part. Look for tents that optimize the amount of space they have. As an example, look for vertical walls that do not slant in horrendously.
By the same token, you need to also assess the ventilation. No matter what season you are using it in, condensation build-up can be a disaster and you want the air to be breathable. Clearly, mesh panels can assist with this as air passes easily through the mesh. But, some tents will be made with breathable nylon which can also assist in breathability.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
As you already know, you should never store it when it is damp. Doing so can cause mold and mildew to grow because of its exposure to moisture. However, how should you store it? Besides not storing it wet, do not do so when it is dirty either as this can affect the performance of the waterproof coating.
What you should do, instead, is to find a dry and cool location in your home to store it. However, you want it to physically be stored in a compartment that is breathable and provides protection. An ideal bag would be a mesh duffel bag, for instance.
When you recieve your tent, you should always open it up and double check that all of the pieces are included and functional. To inspire more confidence once outdoors, it's also a great idea to practice setting it up a few times at home. If you end up arriving late to your campsite, it will be much more difficult to set up the tent for the first time ever in the dark.
Other Factors to Consider
We all know how unpredictable mother nature can be. Being prepared for rain, snow, UV rays, and wind can save you a lot of stress. Many tents are water resistant, but not waterproof. To prevent water from getting in, you can additionally purchase a rainfly, which, put simply, is an umbrella for your tent. If you are an avid camper, you may a tent for each season and possible weather. If not, you may prefer to take the plunge now and spend a little bit more money to invest in a tent that will get you through any weather situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What actually defines a waterproof tent?
The waterproofness was already documented in-depth so you may be asking yourself why this question is even coming up. Well, the main reason is it is a very intriguing question that you may be curious about the answer to. Indeed, what does define a waterproof model? A true waterproof tent is one that has its seams factory-taped, most of the time with a polyurethane coating, to seal them. In addition to this, they will also sport a waterproof coating on the fabric itself.
Of course, this leads to another thought and that is what the “mm” rating for a waterproof coating really means. For example, you may see a 1200mm coating or 1500mm coating. This number is indicative of the level of waterproofness that a fabric possesses. To elaborate, take for example 1200mm. Essentially, this would withstand a 1200mm column of water for more than a minute.
q: What are the quickest ways to kill a tent?
Taking care of a product such as this really is not that hard but you need to understand, you can very quickly become the death of your tent. The manner in which you care for it can either prolong its life or completely destroy its effectiveness. Here are a few mistakes to avoid as if you fall victim to them, your tent is going to suffer. First off, and this is common sense, stake it down as it will blow away if you do not. It seems stupidly obvious but it also can be easy to forget. Also, avoid storing food inside of it as this will draw critters and perhaps even wild animals.
Oh, another thing, never store it when it is damp or wet. Proper storage will be alluded to in a brief while but this is an important note to bring up anyway. Storing it wet can cause mold and mildew to grow due to the moisture build-up. Lastly, keep it out of the sun for extended periods as it can suffer from ultraviolet light damage.
q: Why should you invest in a footprint?
Sometimes but not always, manufacturers will include a footprint with. If they do not, though, it may be in your interest to look into them. Footprints are used underneath tents and it not only keeps the bottom clean but it can also protect it from abrasions and tears. As if this was not enough to convince you to buy them, they can also be a great minimalist alternative to the actual product itself.
By utilizing the footprint, fly, and poles, you can decrease the weight but still be provided with the shelter you need. Not all tents can do this but some can and it is a great idea for backpackers looking to save as much weight as possible.
q: What do season ratings mean?
This is actually something that has not been addressed yet and while it is important, it is not as critical as you might think. First off, you will see a season rating when you are looking at a specific tent. Typically, it will either be a three season tent or more. If it is a three season, that means it is designed and optimized for spring, summer, and fall. Whether the poles are aluminum or fiberglass is sort of irrelevant as neither is sufficient to handle the rigorous nature of winter.
That would then mean that multi-season tents are made for all of the seasons, right? Well, they are designed to handle winter weather that is for sure. But to say they are designed for all of the different seasons is not quite accurate. Due to their weight and rugged nature, they are not ideal for summer use. Their ventilation capabilities are not great and they will not be light in the slightest. For the most part, four-season tents are really only good for one season, ironically.
q: Can you re-treat fabrics?
It is worth noting that just because a tent has been coated with a waterproof repellent, does not mean it will last forever. Due to the general wear and tear, and factors such as the rain, wind, and sun, the fabric is going to weaken over time. The performance of the coating is going to diminish as time goes on but thankfully, you can re-treat your fabrics.
This will restore the water repellency and add protection against UV damage. You should be able to find proper waterproof repellents online or at certain retail stores.