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Best Tents

last updated Dec 18, 2018

No matter the season, exploring and living in the great outdoors for a least a little while is a call that many people never want to stop hearing. Because of this, finding the right tent for use while camping, hiking or just being outside can be a very important task. Whether you’ve just started your adventure, or you’re looking to continue one started long ago, the best tent can certainly make all the difference. Below we have listed the top ten best tents in the market today including detailed criteria for each product to help you decide which tent is the best fit for you.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research

icon
Big Agnes rattlesnake mtnglo
98/100 our score
Capacity
98
Ease of Use
97
Materials
98
Style
99
Big Agnes rattlesnake mtnglo
Why is it better?

Easy to set up and take down

Great protection from the elements

Compact enough to store and transport with ease

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Big Agnes rattlesnake mtnglo
Test Winner: Big Agnes rattlesnake mtnglo
Researched Sources
10
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
13k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
9
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
18
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide of the best tents has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed tents to help you stay warm and dry while camping. A great tent to keep your eye on is the Coleman Sundome 3. We love this tent as it is known for its easy set up and large interior size.

Sorting Options
Capacity Ease of Use Materials Style By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98
Capacity
98%
Ease of Use
97%
Materials
98%
Style
99%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$299.99
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Capacity
97%
Ease of Use
96%
Materials
96%
Style
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$48.99
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Capacity
95%
Ease of Use
94%
Materials
95%
Style
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$118.95
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Capacity
93%
Ease of Use
92%
Style
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$298.95
$299.00
See Deal
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.7
Capacity
90%
Ease of Use
91%
Style
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$252.10
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Capacity
90%
Ease of Use
89%
Materials
90%
Style
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$499.95
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Capacity
88%
Ease of Use
89%
Materials
87%
Style
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$399.95
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.3
Capacity
83%
Ease of Use
84%
Materials
83%
Style
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$259.00
See Deal
$259.99
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.3
Ease of Use
81%
Materials
82%
Style
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$51.94
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.8
Capacity
78%
Ease of Use
79%
Materials
79%
Style
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$94.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Big Agnes rattlesnake mtnglo
  • Alpha Camp Dome 4
  • Kelty Salida 2
  • Marmot limelight 3P
  • Eureka copper canyon 4
  • Big Agnes copper spur
  • MSR Hubba NX
  • Marmot tungsten 3P
  • Coleman sundome 3
  • Winterial 3 Person
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. Big Agnes rattlesnake mtnglo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98
Big Agnes rattlesnake mtnglo
Capacity
98
Ease of Use
97
Materials
98
Style
99
best offer for today
$299.99
Pros:

Easy to set up and take down

Great protection from the elements

Compact enough to store and transport with ease

Cons:

Only enough room for two people

Whether you have an urge to go camping during the summer, fall or spring, this backpacking tent from Big Agnes is a fantastic choice. Not only does it offer great protection overall, but offers a more comfortable sleeping arrangement than most.

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Overall Capacity

This tent is able to house two people and their equipment with not much issue. It offers a good amount of headroom, well over three feet.

Ease of Use

This tent is one of the most simple tents overall to set up. The DAK pole system with easy to use press fit connectors, and plastic clips to attach the tent to the poles in a snap. Taking it down is just as quick and simple.

Protection from the Elements

If you purchase the footprint for this tent, which is sold separately and use the included rainfly there is very little chance of rain or water getting into to disturb your sleep. In addition, the fabric of the tent is made of a lightweight yet strong and breathable material, so even if you experience the random snowfall, chances are you won’t have to worry about the extra weight.

Storage

This tent can easily fold down to a package that is 6 inches by 18 inches in dimension, so it’s fairly easy to store in a trunk of the car or even tied to a backpacker’s frame.

Transportation

Because it can be easily folded up into a relatively small package, transporting this tent is very easy to do. The overall weight of the tent and poles is just less than four pounds, so carrying on your person is relatively easy as well.

Summary

If you’re looking for a great two person tent that is a great choice no matter whether you want to camp in the summer, spring or fall, this is it. It’s easy to carry, simple to set up, and offers great protection overall.

2. Alpha Camp Dome 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Alpha Camp Dome 4
Capacity
97
Ease of Use
96
Materials
96
Style
95
best offer for today
$48.99
Pros:
  • Sizable interior allows for great capacity
  • Relatively easy to set up with two or more people
  • Provides adequate protection from the elements
Cons:
  • Does not come with tent footprint as advertised
  • A bit bulky for storage and transportation

When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors with a larger group of people, having a tent that can fit everyone’s needs is essential. Thankfully the Alpha Camp Dome 4 Tent from Alpha can handle not only a large group, but also everything that comes with them.

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Overall Capacity

This tent can easily fit six adults comfortably plus a minimum amount of gear. The floor measures approximately 86 feet square, and the height of the tent measures just over six feet at the highest point. In addition, there are two separate doors on either side, making entry and exit relatively simple.

Ease of Use

The tent itself is fairly easy to set up and take down with two or more people. The poles for the frame are color coded and equal in length, so it’s easy to see what goes in which place in the set up. It also includes a backpack style storage sack, and a pole repair tube for easy storage.

Protection from the Elements

Regrettably, the footprint that goes with this particular tent is sold separately, which is a disappointment, considering the overall cost of the tent. Other than that, there is substantial protection from the elements through puncture resistant flooring, and a full coverage rainfly to keep things relatively dry and comfortable.

Storage

Given its size when completely open, this tent folds down to a surprisingly small 25 x 16.5 x 9.5 inches. The size makes it fairly easy to store in a garage or a trunk of a car, but a little bit cumbersome to be stored in a backpack.

Transportation

If you take only the minimum of what is needed for camping on the trail with this tent, the packaged weight comes to about 17 pounds and 14 ounces. If you want to take everything, including the tent spikes, poles, rain fly and actual tent material, the total weight comes to be about 20 lbs, 12 ounces. In either case, it is a bit of a heavy burden for a single person to carry over long distances, and it’s definitely suggested that the load be shared between two or more people.

Summary

The Alpha Camp Dome 4 is designed with many of the creature comforts in mind once set up is complete. While it is a little bulky and heavy to practically carry by one person, once things are set up it provides adequate overall protection from the elements for at least six people and their gear.

3. Kelty Salida 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Kelty Salida 2
Capacity
95
Ease of Use
94
Materials
95
Style
94
best offer for today
$118.95
Pros:

Very easy to set up and take down.

Comfortable for two people

Cons:

Not as good protection from the elements as desired

This truly lightweight tent from Kelty offers the ability to enjoy the night in the great outdoors without sacrificing the ability to go long distances. It’s relatively easy to set up and transport, and is surprisingly adept at keeping the elements at bay.

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Overall Capacity

On paper, this tent can adequately fit two people, but most people find that it may be a bit cramped for two people plus their gear. When fully deployed, this tent measures approximately 30.5 feet at the base, and has a max height of 43 inches.

Ease of Use

This dome size tent is fairly easy to set up, and features hug clips on the tent that allows it to be attaching to the poles with a single hand, which is a proven benefit, especially when setting it up alone. The take down is a simple process as well, and the tent is surprisingly easy to fold down into the compact carrying case.

Protection from the Elements

While the added benefit of being a lightweight tent is certainly welcomed on long backpacking treks, the overall protection from the elements was found to be somewhat of a disappointment. While the tapered construction did allow for much of the inclement weather to roll down off of the sides, the ample mesh sides did allow for a significant amount of moisture and damp air to enter into the tent. In addition, the tent footprint is sold separately. This means that you need to be careful where you set the tent up for maximum comfort while sleeping.

Storage

Overall this tent is fairly easy to store, folding easily down into a package that can be easily carried in a backpack or on a person.

Transportation

With everything that is included, this tent is surprisingly lightweight, weighing just less than six pounds, so carrying it on your person is more of a viable option than some of the other tents on this list.

Summary

While it may not offer as much protection from the elements as we would have liked, the Kelty Salida 2 is a viable option if you want a fairly comfortable two person tent that is not only easy to set up and take down, but a breeze to carry.

4. Marmot limelight 3P

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Marmot limelight 3P
Capacity
93
Ease of Use
92
Style
92
best offer for today
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$298.95
$299.00
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Pros:

Roomy on the inside

Easy to set up

Transportation and storage is not a problem

Cons:

Door zippers allow some water in regularly

If you’re looking for a roomy tent that is relatively easy to set up and allows for a comfortable night’s sleep for two to three people, it’s hard to beat the Marmot Limelight 3P tent.

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Overall Capacity

This tent can easily fit two people plus their gear, or three people if the equipment that they bring is minimal. The floor measures approximately 42.5 square feet in size, and the maximum height is about four feet at the peak.

Ease of Use

These tents have a fairly straightforward set up and take down. The press-fit poles are easy to put together with help, and the pre-bend allows for the creation of vertical walls that allow for more interior space. While the pre-bend poles did present a bit of a struggle for re-packaging at first, with a little trial and error we were able to reduce things down to a manageable size once again.

Protection from the Elements

In addition to a durable rainfly and tent wall materials, this tent also includes a sturdy footprint that allows for added protection from ground dampness and temperature control. While the two doors of the tent have been known to allow some water in via the zippered closure, for the most part, this tent does a great overall job of protecting you and your gear from inclement weather.

Storage

The Marmot Limelight 3P tent packs down to a surprisingly compact 22 inches by 8 inches in size, making it fairly easy to store just about anywhere, including attached to a backpacker’s frame.

Transportation

Based on its compact size and low weight of just less than 7 pounds total, this tent is easy enough for one person to carry during their day treks or to their designated camping spot.

Summary

Both surprisingly roomy and compact at the same time, the Marmot Limelight 3P tent offers a great balance between portability, protection, and ease of use. While we were disappointed in the quality of the door zipper closures, the inclusion of a quality tent footprint more than made up for it.

5. Eureka copper canyon 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.7
Eureka copper canyon 4
Capacity
90
Ease of Use
91
Style
91
best offer for today
$252.10
Pros:

Easy two person set up

Lots of interior space

Cons:

Heavier than we would like

This tent from Eureka offers a rare thing in the world of outdoor tents – adequate capacity to truly fit the number of people it was designed for, their gear, and adequate headroom. If you’re looking for a great four person tent that is designed for both practicality and comfort, the Copper Canyon 4 is hard to beat.

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Overall Capacity

As the name implies, this tent offers more than enough room for four people to sleep comfortably, even if you include the typical camping and backpacking gear that is used. The floor provides enough room to easily fit two twin size mattresses, or a queen-sized airbed and camping equipment without too much trouble. Also, at the peak height, there is more than enough room for a grown adult to move around comfortably without too much bending over.

Ease of Use

The tent itself is very easy to set up and take down with a partner. The sturdy steel and fiberglass frame is easy to manipulate, and the combination ring and pin assembly means that if one person holds the ring steady, another can easily slide everything together. Then it’s just a matter of attaching the rainfly and guy lines for added protection and stability.

Protection from the Elements

Overall this tent offers great protection from the elements, with the exception of the base, which is not adequately reinforced in our estimation against water infiltration and ground hardness. The purchase of the footprint, which is sold separately, is highly recommended. The included rainfly does provide great protection from the rain overall, and the mesh windows and zippered door allow for adequate cross ventilation during the night.

Storage

When folded down properly, this tent measures about 10 x 10 x 30 inches, so it can easily fit in the trunk of a car, or in a backseat. It may be a bit large to carry in a backpack, but for the most part finding a way to store this tent while not in use shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Transportation

Not surprisingly, given the size of the deployed tent, there is a significant amount of weight to this tent. If all the poles and stakes are carried along with the tent, it weighs about twenty-two pounds overall. This makes transportation by one person somewhat problematic. This tent is definitely suited for transportation via vehicle or being split into multiple smaller packages.

Summary

The Eureka Copper Canyon 4 person tent is a fantastic way to set up your base camp to allow for a comfortable night’s sleep for four people without having to worry about bumping into each other during the night. While we would have liked to see a little more reinforcement in the flooring, and the weight makes transportation via a single person somewhat problematic, overall this is a fairly good tent.

6. Big Agnes copper spur

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Big Agnes copper spur
Capacity
90
Ease of Use
89
Materials
90
Style
90
best offer for today
$499.95
Pros:

Roomy tent for a single person plus gear

Nylon material offers great protection from the elements

Cons:

Not quite enough room for two people to fit comfortably

If you think that camping alone can be an uncomfortable, boring experience, then you really should consider taking a look at the Big Agnes Copper Spur Backpacking Tent. While it may not help to alleviate boredom, you won’t have to worry about the elements or lack of room making the experience an uncomfortable one.

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Overall Capacity

While the tent is designed for two-person use, most people found having two people plus equipment to be a little too close for comfort. However, for a single person, there is more than enough room to comfortably stretch the legs and get some much needed rest. We would have also liked to see a bit more headroom, especially considering the two person design.

Ease of Use

The overall hoop design of the tent made for a relatively easy set up and takes down. Packing it away is also fairly straight forward.

Protection from the Elements

In addition to having weather resistant nylon sides, this tent offers a rainfly that can easily redirect much of the rain or snow that you may encounter, as well as such things as hail and snow. The frame and tent walls were both surprisingly lightweight and strong, and were able to withstand a significant amount of mountain winds as well.

Storage

This tent easily folds down into a compact and portable size that is easily stored in a backpack, cooler, or tied to a hiker’s waist. It can also easily be stored in a cupboard or cabinet while not in use.

Transportation

This tent weighs just over three pounds, and based on its relative compact size, moving it from place to place is a simple matter indeed. Simply tie it to your backpack frame, or store it inside the backpack itself, and you should be good to go.

Summary

If you’re searching for a roomy single person tent or a very cozy two person tent that can be quickly set up and protects you from the elements easily, this Copper Spur Backpacking tent from Big Agnes is a fantastic choice overall.

7. MSR Hubba NX

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
MSR Hubba NX
Capacity
88
Ease of Use
89
Materials
87
Style
88
best offer for today
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$399.95
Pros:

Lots of interior space

Relatively easy to set up

Cons:

No included footprint

Sometimes finding a two person tent that is ultra light, offers great protection, and is roomy can be a bit of a hassle. Thankfully this tent from MSR is able to find the balance between these criteria quite easily.

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Overall Capacity

This tent offers more than enough interior space for two people to sleep comfortably. The floor area measures approximately 29 square feet, and the peak height is just over three feet. While you’ll definitely have to stoop down or crawl to move around, you’ll be surprised at the overall roominess that you’ll find in this ultra-light tent.

Ease of Use

The flexible aluminum poles and easy to understand tie-off system allows for a quick set up, usually only taking a few minutes at the end of a long hike. While it’s easiest to set up with two or more people, it is possible to do it by yourself if necessary. Take down is a simple process as well, although re-packing it into the original carrying case can be a bit troublesome the first few tries.

Protection from the Elements

The nylon material of this tent is treated with a water repellant solution that adds to the already superior water protection provided by the tent material and the included rainfly. The tent is also resistant to tears and punctures. We would have certainly liked to see an included footprint, but the flooring does provide decent protection from seepage from the ground.

Storage

This tent can be packed down in size to approximately 18 inches by 6 inches, which makes it fairly easy to store in a wide range of places, including a car trunk, cupboard, or even in the closet.

Transportation

While the overall size when packed is a bit bulky for one person carry, the overall weight of this tent at just around three pounds does make it somewhat manageable. A simple tie to a backpack or carrying it one handed is more than possible.

Summary

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person tent provides a great deal of interior space for two people without sacrificing its ultra-light status. While it’s a tad bulky when folded down to its carrying size, the ease of set up and lighter weight more than compensate for that shortcoming.

8. Marmot tungsten 3P

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.3
Marmot tungsten 3P
Capacity
83
Ease of Use
84
Materials
83
Style
83
best offer for today
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$259.99
$259.00
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Pros:

Roomy enough for two people

Quick and easy set up and tear down

Great protection from the weather

Cons:
  • Not very tear resistant

If finding a lightweight yet roomy tent has you frustrated, your search may be over after reading this description. The Marmot Tungsten 3P tent is not only a great overall choice for protection, but it offers more than enough room at an affordable price.

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Overall Capacity

This tent from Marmot offers more than enough room for two people to sleep comfortably and offers a good amount of room for the associated gear. The interior floor space measures approximately 41 feet and the two doors make for easy entrance and exit when necessary. The peak height when fully assembled measures just shy of four feet, so moving around within the tent while bending over slightly is more than possible

Ease of Use

With its two-pole design and easy clip-on attachments, this tent is a breeze to set up overall. Two people can easily get things ready in less than five minutes with practice. Repackaging it is also fairly easy, and can be done in a matter of minutes as well.

Protection from the Elements

The tent is made from a combination of polyester mesh and taffeta material allows for superior ventilation without allowing a significant amount of water or moisture in. This tent also includes a sizable footprint tarp that adds an additional layer of protection from the ground as well. While would have liked to see stronger protection from rips and tears, overall this is a solidly built tent.

Storage

This tent folds easily into a package that measures eight inches by 22 inches overall, making it somewhat large but still easy to store in a hall closet or the trunk of a large car.

Transportation

If everything is included, this tent has a package weight of just over six pounds, making it possible for one person to carry it to and from the campsite.

Summary

The Marmot Tungsten 3P Tent is a great choice if you want to spend more time enjoying the camping experience and less time fighting with the tent set up. There is more than enough room for two people in the tent, and set up and tear down are simple processes indeed. While we would have liked to see better tear or puncture resistance, the inclusion of a footprint and great rain protection is hard to pass by.

9. Coleman sundome 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.3
Coleman sundome 3
Ease of Use
81
Materials
82
Style
81
best offer for today
$51.94
Pros:

Great overall protection

Compact size

Easy set up

Cons:

Not a whole lot of headroom

If you’ve been searching for a relatively inexpensive tent that still allows you to sleep comfortably and focus on the wonders of the great outdoors, this Sundome 3 Person Tent from Coleman is a great choice.

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Overall Capacity

While this tent is rated for three people to sleep comfortably, it is an extremely tight fit. This tent is more suited for two adults plus gear, or three small children or pets. The dome set up provides for a good amount of overall space, but it is still a fairly shallow tent vertically. While sitting up comfortably is more than possible, standing up within the tent is nearly impossible.

Ease of Use

Thankfully, this tent is fairly easy to set up, taking a single person less than 15 minutes from start to finish. The continuous pole sleeves allow for easy attachment to the tent, and the included rainfly is easy to attach to the tent and guy lines with a few clicks.

Protection from the Elements

The included rainfly and canopy materials do offer adequate protection from the elements, including rain and hail, but don’t really withstand up to heavy winds or snowfall especially well. The welded flooring and inverted seams do provide an extra layer of protection, and the entrance zippers are elevated from the ground to help prevent infiltration of water via the zippered areas.

Storage

The tent and all the necessary included equipment folds down to a size approximately two feet by six inches square, making it an ideal size for storage in a wide range of areas, including inside of a camper’s backpack. There is also an included storage case for easy overall storage as well.

Transportation

This tent is fairly lightweight, weighing just about eight pounds total, and the relatively compact dimensions and included carrying case means that it is very easy to transport from place to place.

Summary

While we would have certainly liked to see more available headroom and interior space, this dome tent from Coleman is extremely easy to set up and take down, and is easy to store due to its compact size. The overall construction and materials used also offers great weather protection.

10. Winterial 3 Person

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.8
Winterial 3 Person
Capacity
78
Ease of Use
79
Materials
79
Style
79
best offer for today
$94.99
Pros:

Separate Rooms

Tons of space

Cons:

Because of height, doesn't stand up well to wind

The Winterial 3 Person tent is a regular in the top list for tents. Not only does it hit all the marks we would want in a three person tent, but it has some great extra features that will make your next camping adventure a success.

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Overall Capacity

This tent sports a huge 83.3 square feet of interior space, and a maximum height of about 75 inches. The dubbed pole makes for near vertical walls makes the ceiling nearly flat and the tent super easy to move around in.

Ease of Use

While not the easiest tent to set up, it's not that difficult either. We recommend trying a few times at home so that once you're out at your site you're not fumbling around. If you're an experienced camper, this won't be anything new to you and you'll handle it with ease.

Protection from the Elements

While one "room" of this tent is made with solid tent fabric, the other is made of mesh. This is great for ventilating the space but not great for keeping you dry. That being said, the room meant for keeping you dry will do just that. But for extra rainy weather you might look for another model.

Storage

This tent is not the smallest, either packed or set up. But the easy carrying case it comes with, as well as following the specific instructions for folding, will help to ease some of the bulk from the tent.

Transportation

Based on the overall dimensions, and weight of about 19 pounds, it is possible to easily carry this tent from one location to another either via person, or by vehicle using the large back that can be used as a backpack. This carrying case allows you to easily lug around a tent on the heavier side.

Summary

This tent is easy to set up, tear down, and offers a compact foldable design that is both easy to store and transport. Although we would have liked to see better protection in both rooms during rain overall in most instances it held up very well indeed.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Capacity

When it comes to the best tents, often the name of the game is how many people you can fit comfortably in the tent each night.  While each tent is rated for a certain occupancy by the manufacturer, it’s important to remember that often these numbers don’t include the added hiking or camping equipment such as backpacks, sleeping bags, food, and other things that most people take with them on camping trips.  They are simply an estimation of the number of average adults that can fit side by side into the tent.

That’s why looking at the square footage of the floor space as well as the overall and maximum height is so important when shopping for the best tents.  An average hiker or camper needs about 25 square feet to feel comfortable in a tent.  So a tent that is about 50 feet square will most likely be rated for 3 people, but actually, be better suited for two.

Ease of Use

The last thing you want to worry about as you’re getting ready to set up camp is to find yourself fighting with your tent, trying to get it up and ready. People are often tired, cranky, and your hands may be sore from dealing with the weather during the trek. That’s where having an easy to use and easy to set up tent is so vital. Thankfully, many of these tents are easy to set up by yourself or with the help of another person. Take down is also fairly straightforward in most cases, with the most challenging part being the repackaging into the carrying case.

Materials

Of course, another important aspect of any tent is its ability to protect you during the night from the elements. Things such as heavy rain, snow, sleet, high winds, and even the coldness of the ground can potentially get into your tent and can certainly put a damper on the festivities overall. Thankfully, with many of these tents, the manufacturers used quality materials and solid design techniques to help to repel most of the weather-related hazards and keep them outside. While we were disappointed that more of the tents we reviewed didn’t include a footprint tarp, we found that the majority of them offered more than adequate protection from the elements for the average camper.

Style

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.

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Size Matters

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 a 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 duffel 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!

Other Factors to Consider

Portability

While the ability to use and store a tent is important, one factor that many people tend to overlook is the ease of moving the tent from one location to another. After all, if you enjoy the outdoors as much as most avid campers or hikers do, you’ll probably want to set up camp a little further off the beaten path than your car can go. Thankfully most of these tents have a great ratio of weight to packed dimensions and included carrying cases. This makes for easy overall transportation from one place to another. When the tent is not in use, finding a way to store it that isn’t a hassle can be a bit of an issue at times. Depending on the available space in your living quarters, or the space in your car, having a box or bag that is bulky or heavy may prove to be a significant disadvantage. Thankfully, except for a few tents like the Eureka Copper Canyon 4 person tent, most of these can easily be stored just about anywhere in the home or vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How big a tent do I really need?
a:

Answering this question depends mostly on who will be using the tent, how much gear they may need to store within the tent, and how many people will be using the tent. For the most part, an average adult plus equipment needs about 25 square feet of interior space. Children and teens often need a little less overall space, about 18 to 20 square feet.

It is important to keep in mind, though that these are just based on the average adult and the average child or teen. If you are larger, or smaller you will need a little more or less room respectively.

Also, it’s a good idea to consider how you wish to move around while you’re inside the tent. If you don’t mind crawling or moving around in a lowered position, a tent that measures only 4 feet or less at its maximum height is more than enough room. However, if you want to stand, you’ll probably need a tent that measures about 6 to eight feet at its highest point, if not more.

q: When can you use these tents? Which type of terrain or season?
a:

Tents are divided mainly into seasonal categories. Their usefulness is based not only on their overall capacity and ease of use but also on which season or seasons that they are best suited for. For the most part, a tent is either suited for use during the whole year including the colder winter months, or for only the spring summer and autumn. As you can expect, the ones rated for year round use are called four-season tents, while those rated for slightly warmer weather are called three season tents.

The tents we’ve presented here are rated as three season tents, which means that although they can withstand an occasional snowfall, they are more suited for rainy or windy conditions overall. So if you think that you will be doing a fair amount of camping during the colder months, then these may not be the best tents to choose from. However, in most cases, a three-season tent will prove to be more than enough to get the job done.

q: What is the average height of each tent?
a:

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.

q: What is the average weight for a good high quality tent?
a:

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. The average weight for each tent is around 3-6lbs depending on the size and quantity of fitting. 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.

q: What’s the best way to store a tent?
a:

When you’re taking down your tent and putting it into storage, it’s important to make sure that it is completely dry and free of debris, and packed away in the manner suggested by the manufacturer. This helps to keep the tent newer for a longer period and to prevent the growth of mold or mildew, which can make the tent pretty much unusable.

Sources

  1. Michael Karamat, Best camping tents of 2018, Blog, Aug 08, 2018