While every camper has their own opinion of what constitutes the right amount of “roughing it,” a camping tent is almost always essential. The best camping tent for your adventure provides a satisfactory refuge for yourself, your fellow campers and your personal gear, whether you’re hiking, biking, skiing or just lounging around the campground. At the end of the day, tents are more than just utilitarian; you should feel a sense of relief—and perhaps joy—as you return to your outdoorsy home away from home.
Whether you’re heading for a summit or spending a weekend camping with the family, here are the best ... [+] tents for your next adventure.getty
To narrow down the best camping tents for any sojourn, we enlisted the help of two outdoors experts: Tessa McCrackin, CMO for Northgate Resorts and head of marketplace marketing at Campspot ; and Eric Bergdoll, an AMGA single pitch instructor, WMA wilderness first responder and leave no trace master educator, and head of Island Mountain Guides in Hawaii. Whether you’re soloing to the summit of a 14er or spending a weekend in the wilderness with the whole family, you’ll find a tent to suit your adventure below. (And while you’re gearing up for your next trip, check out our other camping and hiking gear picks, from the best coolers to the best camping stoves.)
- Best Camping Tent Overall: REI Co-op Base Camp 4 Tent
- Best Value Camping Tent: Coleman Sundome Tent
- Best Camping Tent For Families: Coleman Carlsbad 6-Person Dark Room Camping Tent
- Best Camping Tent For Four People: The North Face Wawona
- Best Camping Tent For Solo Adventurers: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo
- Best Camping Tent For Car Camping: Kelty Grand Mesa 4 Person Tent
- Best Camping Tent For Backpacking: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 mtnGLO
- Best Hammock Tent for Tree Camping: Tentsile Safari Vista 3-Person 3-in-1 Tree Tent 3.0
- Best Rooftop Tent for Overland Camping: GoFastCampers Platform RTT
- Best Camping Tent for Quickly Pitching: Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup
- Most Versatile Camping Tent: Sea to Summit Telos TR2
- Best Four-Season Camping Tent: Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 Tent
Best Camping Tent Overall
A Classically Sturdy Geodisic Dome For All Seasons
REI Co-op Base Camp 4 Tent
- Sleeping Capacity: 4 people
- Weight: 16 pounds, 14 ounces
- Floor Area: 59.7 square feet
- Peak Height: 60 inches
We get it: There are tons of options and it can be hard to decide. Consider the REI Co-op Base Camp 4 Tent a catch-all. Its dome shape is designed to be a sturdy and rugged structure while also allowing for enough internal space to move around comfortably. Weighing just under 17 pounds, it’s a fairly reasonable lift for a tent that can accommodate four people in all four seasons. And best of all, it is simple to set up, so even if you don’t find yourself getting into the great outdoors very often, you’re not going to need to re-learn how to pitch your tent each time.
- Good ventilation
- Color-coded poles and sleeves
- Two doors
- Heavier than others on this list
- Footprint sold separately
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Best Value Camping Tent
Amazon’s Affordable Bestselling Camping Tent
Coleman 4-Person Sundome Dome Tent
- Sleeping Capacity: 4 people
- Weight: 4 pounds
- Floor Area: 63 square feet
- Peak Height: 59 inches
When you close your eyes and picture a camping tent, it probably looks a lot like the Coleman Sundome, one of the most popular tents you’ll find. And there’s little mystery as to why: Relatively quick to set up, suitable for use in moderate rain and wind, and available in two-, three-, four- and six-person sizes, this is a fine tent for any casual campout.
And of course the very reasonable price tag—ranging from $25 to $130 for the above-mentioned sizes—seals the deal. But make no mistake, this tent isn’t cheaply made. In fact, with thousands of global reviews posted on Amazon, the Coleman Sundome manages to maintain a solid star review after over a decade on the market.
- Very well rated by thousands of users
- Well ventilated
- Stakes are a bit thin
- Doesn’t come with a footprint
Best Camping Tent For Families
A Tent With A Dark Sleeping Area And Bug-Free Screen Room
Coleman Carlsbad 6-Person Dark Room Camping Tent
- Sleeping Capacity: 6 people
- Weight: 21 pounds, 5 ounces
- Floor Area: 90 square feet
- Peak Height: 68 inches
When it comes to camping with the family, space and durability matter most, so it’s okay to sacrifice a little by getting a heavier tent. (Many hands make light work.) But you want to make sure your tent can stand up to the rigors that both your children and Mother Nature will throw at it. The Coleman Carlsbad checks both those boxes and is packed with clever features designed to make camping with kids less stressful.
Its interior is darker than most tents thanks to the brand’s Dark Room fabric of the walls and rain fly. That (potentially) lets the fam sleep in a bit later after sunup and might even let you put the kids to bed before sunset. A screened-in vestibule gives parents a bug-free space to chill outside the tent proper and the windows zip open for airflow. For convenience, a loop at the top of the dome can hang a lantern or fan and two side pockets allow for stashing phones, flashlights, toiletries and more. Also, despite being cavernous inside, the tent sets up in well under 10 minutes once you’ve done it a few times.
- Dark Room fabric also reduces heat
- Storage pockets sewn into sidewalls
- Special port for bringing power inside
- Screen room susceptible to rain
- Regular sidewalls are translucent
Best Camping Tent For Four People
Enjoy Plenty Of Head Room And Gear Storage
Sleeping Capacity: 4 people
Weight: 13 pounds
Floor Area: 58 square feet
Peak Height: 68 inches
When you’re shopping for a four-person tent—whether you want to camp with friends, family or a pack of pups—it’s important to consider not just floor space, but overall volume. The North Face Wawona is roomy enough that most people can stand fairly comfortably inside so there’s plenty of space for your whole crew and their assorted gear.
The vestibule is also large enough that you can set up camp chairs, making it a perfect spot for enjoying a coffee or to read without bothering tent mates if you’re the first to wake up in the morning. And though it’s meant for four people, it’s easily set up by just two.
- Huge vestibule
- Hybrid double-wall construction
- Only partial rain coverage
- Lack of storage and interior hanging loops
Best Camping Tent For Solo Adventurers
A Simple Setup That’s Cozy And Sturdy
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo
- Sleeping Capacity: 1 person
- Weight: 1 pound, 10 ounces
- Floor Area: 26 square feet
- Peak Height: 49 inches
The award-winning Lunar Solo is featherlight at less than two pounds because it removes all the poles from the equation. (You have to supply a trekking pole adjusted to 49 inches.) But that’s also a bonus when it comes to the simplicity of setting it up. Despite those conveniences, it’s quite durable and also somehow more affordable than other backpacking tents in its class. All in all, this is a great rig for roughing it on your own.
- Super light
- Floating floor and canopy
- Re-tensioning straps on all tie-out points
- Pole sold separately
Best Camping Tent For Car Camping
A Classic Backcountry Companion
Kelty Grand Mesa 4 Person Tent
Sleeping Capacity: 4 people
Weight: 7 pounds, 7 ounces
Floor Area: 54.5 square feet
Peak Height: 56 inches
As opposed to backpacking, when every inch and ounce counts, with car camping—where you drive rather than hike right up to the campsite—you can go bigger and heavier with your equipment than you otherwise might. Even so, at roughly 7.5 pounds, the Kelty Grand Mesa 4 is far from backbreaking. But McCrackin recommends it as an upgrade for solos and couples on car camping trips.
Essentially it’s a two-pole dome tent with one door and a single vestibule. Just assemble the aluminum tent poles, snap them into the color-coded corners, hoist up the body and clip it to the poles, then throw on a rainfly if you like. Although it may be a bit tight for four, it’s certainly roomy for two adventurers towing decent-sized bags.
- Easy to set up
- Easy to pack up
- Potentially tight for four, but okay for three and great for two
Best Camping Tent For Backpacking
A Tent That’s Lightweight And Well-Lit
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 mtnGLO
Sleeping Capacity: 3 people
Weight: 3 pounds, 15 ounces
Floor Area: 41 square feet
Peak Height: 43 inches
This solo-minded tent adds new meaning to the term ultralight. Not only does it weigh very little, but it also integrates a flexible LED light strand right into the tent seams. A battery-powered remote lets you power the light on and off or set it to 50 percent brightness, preventing awkward eye squints at night.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 mtnGLO folds down to 20 x 6 inches and weighs less than 4 pounds so it can tuck into or strap onto any pack of decent dimensions. The footprint is large enough to accommodate you, a medium-sized dog (or perhaps two smaller ones) and your sleeping bag comfortably, while also being tall enough for a larger camper to sit fully upright. In fact, according to McCrackin, it’s “the best tent out there for overall space, quality and weight.”
And you won’t have to worry about finding floor space for your bag, thanks to a bin at the foot that provides ample elevated storage. Additionally, it features oversized media and ceiling pockets as well as internal hang points. With the fly cover secured, you’ll stay dry and warm even when rain and wind come blowing through due to an exterior waterproof coating and fully taped seams. And we also love that the side door can be propped up with a pair of trekking poles to create an awning for a little extra shaded space.
- Great blend of space, quality and weight
- Built-in, remote-controlled lights
- Dual zippered doors
- On the expensive side
Best Hammock Tent For Tree Camping
A Flexible “Flying” Tent
Tentsile Safari Vista 3-Person 3-in-1 Tree Tent
- Sleeping Capacity: 3 people
- Weight: 39 pounds 11 ounces
- Floor Area: 78 square feet
- Peak Height: 48 inches
Usually when you get to a campground, the first thing you need to do is spot a flat, level piece of ground that seems reasonably free from water, rocks and other typical terrestrial hazards. But not so with tree tents, essentially a hammock strung between three trees with a tent safely strapped to it. After spending a couple of nights in one, Bergdoll recalls, “I slept like a rock and have wanted one ever since.”
The largest such offering from Tentsile—which pioneered the category a dozen years ago—is the Safari Vista, which can quickly convert from a giant three-person hammock to one with a roof to a full levitating tent with a removable rainfly and insect-proof mesh. So however and pretty much wherever you want to camp (that has trees), this tent has you covered—or uncovered, as you prefer.
- Off the ground
- Highly flexible
- Can be pitched for months at a time
- Must be pitched in a wooded area
Best Rooftop Tent For Overland Camping
Thin, Sturdy And Primed For Off Roading
Sleeping Capacity: 2 people
Weight: 135 pounds
Floor Area: 31.25 square feet
Peak Height: 60 inches
Whereas traditional car camping simply refers to how you get there, RTTs (rooftop tents) literally take vehicle-based camping to a whole new level. Bergdoll admits, “In the past, I've been a little critical of rooftop tents. But now a big part of me wants one. The technology is just starting to get really good.”
Specifically, he’s partial to Go Fast Campers because of their dialed-in design. In particular, the 135-pound RTT unit is both svelte (just six inches tall) and aerodynamic enough to be permanently mounted to your Land Cruiser, 4Runner or other SUV without sacrificing its high-speed or off-road drivability.
When quickly folded out, the four-season tent offers plenty of head room, protection from the gustiest winds and a platform for your solar panels or surfboards. It features doors on both sides, plus a rear door. And an optional collapsible 8-foot ladder accessory adds to its accessibility.
- Thin and aerodynamic
- Light for its construction
- Very expensive
- May take six weeks for shipping
- Ladder must be purchased separately
Best Camping Tent For Quickly Pitching
A Shelter That’s Ready In 60 Seconds
Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup
- Sleeping Capacity: 6 people
- Weight: 24 pounds, 10 ounces
- Floor Area: 90 square feet
- Peak Height: 72 inches
Assume for a moment that you’ve found a decently priced tent that’s reasonable to carry to the campsite and that promises to offer maximal space and durability. That all falls flat if you can’t quickly and easily get the tent pitched in a pinch.
While truly “instant” tents do exist—they literally spring out of your hands and pop into form in a matter of seconds—they don’t tend to pass the durability test if you’re doing much more than resting on the trail or staying shaded at the beach. Especially for families, McCrackin recommends the Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Set Up. According to her, it is “extremely affordable, provides tons of space, and goes up in only 2 minutes,” a fact to which many YouTubers have attested. But despite the quick pitch time—achievable by just one person, but certainly easier with two—it’s sturdy, weatherproof and offers plenty of space. (The 6-person version is 6 feet tall at its center point and can fit two queen-size air beds.)
- Super fast set up
- Too heavy for backpacking
- May not provide great water protection
Most Versatile Camping Tent
Functionally Modular, Highly Portable And Well-Ventilated
Sea To Summit Telos TR2 Tent: 2-Person 3-Season
- Sleeping Capacity: 2 people
- Weight: 3 pounds, 4 ounces
- Floor Area: 28 square feet
- Peak Height: 43.5 inches
The versatility of this ultralight backpacking tent starts with the fact that its modest heft (less than 4 pounds) can be split into three storage sacks. Once the freestanding tent is set up, two of those sacks convert into gear storage pockets, while a translucent diffuser built into the third cleverly provides illumination when you drop your headlamp into it. In addition to its color-coded two-hub pole set, the Telos TR2 (and its big brother, the TR3) sports a special Tension Ridge pole system that angles up the walls, offering both easier entry and a greater volume once inside. Vents in the baseline and at the apex efficiently manage airflow, humidity and condensation while a waterproof, 6-inch tub helps keep you and any floor-bound gear dry.
When not being used as protection for the tent, the Telos's rainfly can be assembled with the help of two trekking poles as a separate, semi-open shelter. So in that way, this three-season system provides two structures in one. All in all, it’s one of the most well-rounded, ingeniously designed and highly functional tents out there.
- Shape and pole design provides extensive indoor living space
- Modular configuration offers a separate, semi-open shelter
- Flexible yet sturdy
- May be a little tricky for one person to set up
- On the expensive side
Best Four-Season Camping Tent
The Time-Tested Alpine Oasis
Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 Tent
- Sleeping Capacity: 2 people
- Weight: 9 pounds, 10.2 ounces
- Floor Area: 40 square feet
- Peak Height: 38 inches
It’s nearly impossible to find one tent that performs equally well in both mild and challenging conditions throughout all four seasons. And not just because you’ll encounter a world of variance in the weather, from windy and rainy to snowy to blindingly sunny. You also need to consider how much time you plan to be hunkering down. Is it for a whole week along the tree line, a couple of days at basecamp or a quick respite before summiting at high elevation?
Beyond the typical comfort and weatherproofing also expected of their three-season counterparts, four-season shelters must also provide long-term performance and top-notch durability. And that’s where the double-walled Trango 2 shines. DAC Featherlite aluminum poles, 70-denier nylon taffeta floor and rainfly fabric, welded corners and guy clip anchors plus fully taped fly and perimeter seams equal the best possible protection from all the elements.
Outside the 40 square feet of internal floorspace, a large dry-entry vestibule offers ample head room and gear storage. In addition to tent access, the small rear vestibule acts as an overflow storage area. And an internal guy system and line tensioners help steady the whole caboodle. Naturally, all these features comes at the expense of weight, which tops out at over 9.5 pounds. But for peace of mind in a multitude of situations, the Trango’s worth it.
- Highly versatile for various camping climates and conditions
- Handy rear vestibule
What Are The Most Important Factors To Consider When Buying A Camping Tent?
As you might expect, it makes the most sense to tackle the practical questions initially. McCrackin suggests you start by considering how much internal space you need, as well as how much weight you’re willing to carry on your back while getting the tent to its destination. Don’t discount ease of set up, what kind of ventilation you want, and durability—how much abuse will it need to endure? Another critical question: What conditions and time of year will you use it? From there, the key is prioritizing. For instance, if you plan to do mostly car camping from late spring to early fall, you might be okay with a heavier set-up that offers better ventilation.
What's The Biggest Mistake People Make When Buying A Camping Tent?
According to Bergdoll, it’s “going too big.” Beyond the heft factor, larger tents tend to be taller and therefore at greater risk of falling prey to gusty winds. He suggests that “if you do go big in a breezy spot, remember to put big rocks in the corners because having a flat tent is better than a runaway.”
What’s The Difference Between Trail Weight And Packed Weight?
You may see either or both of these common terms listed in the tent’s specifications, so it’s important to understand how they compare. The trail weight (a.k.a. the minimum weight) is lighter for any tent, since it only factors in the body, poles and rainfly. The packed weight includes stakes, guy lines, stuff sacks and any other accessories.
What Should I Know About Rainflies?
Depending on the kind of weather you plan to camp in, you might want a tent which has a rainfly that just partially covers the main body of your tent, or you might want one that offers total coverage.
Bergdoll recounts a particular trip to the southwest in which full coverage came in handy: “I've been flash flooded out in the Grand Canyon and my six-year-old tent (pitched in a high spot, not in a wash) was surprisingly dry at the end of it all, even with sheets of rain falling from the sky.” Of course, more material means more weight, and a harder hike in. But an added benefit Bergdoll points out, “A full-coverage rainfly also allows room for gear outside the bug net of the tent, almost doubling its footprint.”