Coleman Dark Room Skydome Tent
Featherstone Backpacking Tent Lightweight for 3-Season
Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent

The Best Camping Tents for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Love at first starry night - camping's a true delight
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Amber Sayer

Camping is one of the most popular outdoor pastimes. It’s a great way to connect to nature, step away from technology and the rat race of daily life, and make lasting memories with those you love. What’s better than telling stories around a campfire, roasting s’mores, gazing at the stars, and listening to the sounds of a crackling fire with your friends and family?

When you’re in the great outdoors, though, you need to be prepared for whatever weather may come your way. A camping trip can quickly become less than Instagram-worthy if your tent isn’t up to par. A good tent will keep you cool in the heat and dry in the rain and serve as the centerpiece of your camping trip. The best tent won’t necessarily make your trip, but a bad tent can definitely ruin it. Therefore, before you buy a tent for your next adventure, consider the following:

5 Things to Know Before Buying a Tent:

  1. Size: One of the most basic criteria is size. Tent specifications note the number of people the tent sleeps. Tents can be as small as tiny single-person shelters to pop-up cabins capable of housing nine adults. Think about the number of people your tent will typically need to accommodate. More room is nice if you don’t mind the extra weight and space the tent will take up, but if space and weight are a concern, go with a tent that’s just big enough. Tents list the floor size, which can help you visualize the layout.
  2. Price: There’s a huge range in the prices of tents based on their size, features, weight, season rating, and design. Two-person tents may cost as little as $40, while larger tents, those that are particularly lightweight and compact for backpacking, and winterized tents can cost upward of $200.
  3. Shape: The shape of the tent affects not only its feel but also it’s performance. Dome tents are inherently stronger than other shapes, making them good in windy conditions. The steeper the walls, the more rain and snow the tent will shed, and the more headroom you’ll have. Long low tents, which are called tunnel tents, are tight inside but use fewer poles so they save on weight. They tend to be used as backpacking tents.
  4. Seasons: Camping tents are rated for the weather they can handle based on seasons. For example, three-season tents are designed to be used for spring, summer, and fall camping, while four-season tents give you winter protection as well. The lightest, simplest tents may only be for summer use. Consider the climate and months in which you’ll be camping.
  5. Materials: Most waterproof camping tents are made with polyester coated in polyurethane to seal out water. Canvas tents will be heavier and likely not waterproof. Poles are usually either aluminum, which is lighter, or steel, which is more rugged, or fiberglass. Look at the product specifications for details on the materials, which provides a sense of the durability and weather protection afforded by the tent.

After sifting through the top-rated tents, we tested out the tents with the best reviews. We evaluated their value, durability, features, assembly, weight, construction, materials, design, comfort, and protection against the elements. We’ve curated a list of the top five tents to ensure the memories you make on your next camping trip have nothing to do with waking up in a puddle.

If you find this helpful, you might also want to check out the Best Sleeping Bags, Best Portable Generators, Best Rechargeable Batteries and Best Flashlights.

Our Top Picks

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Top Pick
Top Pick
Coleman Dark Room Skydome Tent
Best Overall Camping Tent

Coleman Dark Room Skydome Tent

Manufacturer :

  Coleman

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Durable
  • Wide doors
  • Well ventilated
  • Stays dry inside
  • Extra headroom
  • Quick and easy assembly
  • Dark room technology for heat and sleeping

Cons

  • A little heavy

Product Snapshot

The Coleman Dark Room Skydome Tent earns our vote for the best camping tent. It combines all the “must-have” features of a good tent with plenty of perks. As a six-person tent, the 10-foot by 8.5-foot floor plan is roomy for the price. In fact, it fits two queen-sized air mattresses and with a generous center height of six feet, most adults can move about the interior cabin space fairly comfortably with minimal stooping. Moreover, Coleman has upgraded their dome design, increasing headroom by 20 percent with the steep walls.

One of our favorite things about this tent is the simple and fast assembly and tear down, which takes under five minutes due to the pre-attached poles. It also outperformed many other tents in the rain department. Designed as a four-season tent, the WeatherTec system uses a tublike floor, patented welded corners, and inverted seams to make the tent impermeable to water, and the strong frame is built to withstand winds howling up to 35 mph. 

Special perks include the namesake Dark Room technology, which effectively blocks 90 percent of sunlight, reducing heat inside the tent on sweltering summer days and allowing you to sleep in without being roused by early summer rays. The front door is extra wide to facilitate moving airbeds and gear in and out. Coleman has also integrated plenty of internal storage pockets to keep essentials handy.

Specs

Size
10 Feet x
8.5 Feet
(with 6-foot center height)
Materials
Fiberglass Poles
68-Denier Polyester Taffeta Fly
1,000-Denier Polyethylene Floor
Weight
17.91 Pounds
Sleeps
6

Where to Buy

Best Backpacking Tent

Featherstone Backpacking Tent Lightweight for 3-Season

Manufacturer :

  Featherstone

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Very compact
  • Two vestibules
  • Very lightweight
  • Durable/rugged
  • Easy to assemble
  • Nice mesh canopy
  • Excellent in the rain

Cons

  • Must be staked
  • Hard to get back in the bag

Product Snapshot

The Featherstone Backpacking Tent checks all the boxes for a good backpacking tent: it’s lightweight, it packs small, it is fully waterproof, and it is highly breathable. This tent is surprisingly rugged despite being so lightweight, due to its construction and craftsmanship.

With floor dimensions of 84 inches by 51 inches and a center height of 43 inches, the Featherstone Backpacking Tent comfortably sleeps two adults. In fact, even though it’s small and lightweight, the ingenious design with two doors and two vestibules provides such plentiful storage for your backpacking gear that it feels more spacious than it should.

It is a three-season tent built with seam-taped construction and an elevated bathtub floor design, which together keep you dry as the rain pelts down by keeping your tent from sinking into wet ground. The tent itself is made from polyurethane-coated ripstop-polyester. It assembles quickly and easily with a single aluminum pole structure. Once assembled, it’s easy to move around as a freestanding structure. Plus, with a mesh canopy, you can stargaze on clear nights. Perhaps most importantly, as a backpacking tent, this tent has a pack weight (tent, rain fly, stakes, pole, bag, footprint, guylines) of just five pounds. It’s also backed with a lifetime warranty.

Specs

Size
7 Feet x
4.25 Feet
(with 3.6 feet center height)
Materials
Aluminum Poles
75-Denier Ripstop Polyester
(with 3000mm polyurethane hydrostatic rated coating)
Weight
6 Pounds
Sleeps
2

Where to Buy

Best Tent for Big Families

Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent

Manufacturer :

  Elevate LLC

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Roomy
  • Stays dry
  • Nice skylight
  • Easy assembly
  • Good ventilation
  • Room divider works well

Cons

  • Heavy

Product Snapshot

If you have a big family or you want to rock the party tent with all your best friends, you need a tent that’s big enough without being unmanageable. Enter the Core 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent. This spacious camping tent boasts a 14-foot by 9-foot floor plan, roomy enough to fit nine adults or two queen air mattresses if you prefer to hover between glamping and camping. With a generous 78-inch center height, even the tallest adults should be able to stand. Ultimately, you get a lot of tent for the money.

This tent assembles in under a minute, so you can get right to relaxing—or partying—without having to wrestle with poles and align a rain fly for half an hour. With a large mesh ceiling, you can not only get some fresh air but also stargaze on clear nights from the comfort of your sleeping bag.

This large tent integrates water-blocking technology and an adjustable ground vent to keep your camping crew dry. There are plenty of storage pockets along the walls to ensure your smaller items don’t get swallowed by the cavernous interior. A handy room divider partitions the space into smaller sections, and there’s an electrical cord access port to power up camping appliances or electronics within your tented walls.

The durable, polyester tent weighs 27 pounds, including the tent, removable rain fly, steel telescoping poles, stakes, and carry bag.

Specs

Size
14 Feet x
9 Feet
(with 6.5-foot center height)
Materials
Steel Poles
125gsm P.E. Floor
68D Polyester (600mm hydrostatic rating)
Weight
27.62 Pounds
Sleeps
9

Where to Buy

Best Four-Season Camping Tent

Eureka Alpenlite XT Four-Season Backpacking Tent

Manufacturer :

  Eureka

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Well vented
  • Great in wind
  • Packs very small
  • Very lightweight
  • Good internal storage
  • Protects against snow, rain, sleet

Cons

  • Small
  • Expensive
  • Low center height

Product Snapshot

If you’re the type of camper who can be found sleeping under the stars come rain, snow, hot, or cold, you need a four-season tent to keep up with your passion for outdoor living. The Eureka! Alpenlite XT Four-Season Backpacking Tent is for anyone who’s more than a fair-weather camper. It will keep you warm, dry, and protected from the elements, no matter what season it is.

This tent features a sturdy six-pole A-frame design that comfortably sleeps two adults. The strong, steep walls are ideal for naturally shedding snow and rain. Thanks to the full-coverage StormShield rain fly, which creates a protected vestibule in the tent, you can confidently stay dry even in driving rains, pelting sleet, and heavy snow. The cold-weather polyurethane transparent window lends light to the interior without letting cold air infiltrate your cozy cove. 

Because of the clips, posts, grommet corner attachments, and the freestanding, shock-corded, aluminum poles engineered for cold-weather usage, it’s easy and quick to set up the Eureka Alpenlite XT Four-Season Backpacking Tent, reducing the stress of having to set up camp at night or in a rainstorm. 

Interior storage options include six pockets, two gear lofts, and two flashlight loops to help you keep your gear organized even in the dark. There’s also an interior clothesline and numerous loops to hang your clothing and belongings. The Eureka Alpenlite XT Four-Season Backpacking Tent has an interior height of 40 inches, weighs 7 pounds 7 ounces, and packs down to an impressive 5.5 inches by 19 inches, compact enough to fit in a hiking pack or bike pannier.

Despite being waterproof and insulated, the tent is still well ventilated—more so than any other backpacking tent we tested. It has a vented door, a rear window, two roof vents, and four side vents. Coupled with Eureka’s patented High/Low doors, which vent from the top and/or bottom, this design provides ultimate control over moderating airflow, making stuffy, stinky tents a thing of the past.

Lastly, this tent has an attached front dual-zippered vestibule, which is perfect for protecting excess gear and facilitating easy entry and exit. The tent comes with the body and fly, poles, stakes, and guylines.

Specs

Size
7.5 Feet x
4.5 Feet
(with 3.3-foot center height)
Materials
Aluminum Poles
Polyurethane-Coated Polyester
Weight
7 Pounds
7 Ounces
Sleeps
2

Where to Buy

Best Pop-Up Camping Tent

Zenph Automatic Family Camping Tent

Manufacturer :

  Zenph

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Very light
  • Breathable
  • Instant assembly
  • Keeps mosquitoes out
  • Easy to move around once built

Cons

  • Can leak
  • Doesn’t seem that durable

Product Snapshot

You no longer need a magic wand and a cape to assemble a tent right out of the bag, thanks to the Zenph Automatic 2–3 Person Family Camping Tent. In what could only be compared to a party trick, this pop-up tent assembles essentially instantaneously—in three seconds or less—completely removing the hassle of setting up camp. 

With floor dimensions of 102 x 62 x 43 inches, the Zenph can comfortably sleep two adults and their gear or three with a cozier fit. The entire tent is coated in polyurethane waterproofing materials, and the tent itself is made from 68D 185T polyester with the bottom formed from 150D Oxford cloth.

This tent is waterproof, breathable, and well ventilated. The design integrates specifically placed vents in the front and back to promote air convection and ensure you stay comfortable and cool on hot summer nights. Every vent is covered in gauze to seal out mosquitoes. The front door includes a screen option to capture a breeze or it can be sealed for chilly or rainy nights.

Specs

Size
8.5 Feet x
5 Feet x
3.5 Feet
(and 5-foot center height)
Materials
Aluminum Poles
50D Oxford Cloth Bottom
68D 185T Polyester Coated in 2000mm Polyurethane
Weight
6.44 Pounds
Sleeps
2 – 3

Where to Buy

Compare

Best Overall Camping Tent
Best Backpacking Tent
Best Tent for Big Families
Best Four-Season Camping Tent
Best Pop-Up Camping Tent
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
  • Durable
  • Wide doors
  • Well ventilated
  • Stays dry inside
  • Extra headroom
  • Quick and easy assembly
  • Dark room technology for heat and sleeping
  • Very compact
  • Two vestibules
  • Very lightweight
  • Durable/rugged
  • Easy to assemble
  • Nice mesh canopy
  • Excellent in the rain
  • Roomy
  • Stays dry
  • Nice skylight
  • Easy assembly
  • Good ventilation
  • Room divider works well
  • Well vented
  • Great in wind
  • Packs very small
  • Very lightweight
  • Good internal storage
  • Protects against snow, rain, sleet
  • Very light
  • Breathable
  • Instant assembly
  • Keeps mosquitoes out
  • Easy to move around once built
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
  • A little heavy
  • Must be staked
  • Hard to get back in the bag
  • Heavy
  • Small
  • Expensive
  • Low center height
  • Can leak
  • Doesn’t seem that durable
Size
Size
Size
Size
Size
Size
10 Feet x
8.5 Feet
(with 6-foot center height)
7 Feet x
4.25 Feet
(with 3.6 feet center height)
14 Feet x
9 Feet
(with 6.5-foot center height)
7.5 Feet x
4.5 Feet
(with 3.3-foot center height)
8.5 Feet x
5 Feet x
3.5 Feet
(and 5-foot center height)
Materials
Materials
Materials
Materials
Materials
Materials
Fiberglass Poles
68-Denier Polyester Taffeta Fly
1,000-Denier Polyethylene Floor
Aluminum Poles
75-Denier Ripstop Polyester
(with 3000mm polyurethane hydrostatic rated coating)
Steel Poles
125gsm P.E. Floor
68D Polyester (600mm hydrostatic rating)
Aluminum Poles
Polyurethane-Coated Polyester
Aluminum Poles
50D Oxford Cloth Bottom
68D 185T Polyester Coated in 2000mm Polyurethane
Weight
Weight
Weight
Weight
Weight
Weight
17.91 Pounds
6 Pounds
27.62 Pounds
7 Pounds
7 Ounces
6.44 Pounds
Sleeps
Sleeps
Sleeps
Sleeps
Sleeps
Sleeps
6
2
9
2
2 – 3

FAQ

How should I clean my tent after use?

Assemble the tent and wait until it’s fully dry. Sweep or brush out any debris. Spot clean dirty areas with soap and water, then rinse the areas after they are clean. If the tent needs a thorough wash, tear it down and soak it in a soapy basin after spot cleaning. Assemble it  to let it dry.

What’s the difference between freestanding camping tents and staked tents?

Freestanding tents can stand on their own, whereas staked tents must be staked to the ground to stand up. Freestanding tents tend to be dome-shaped, whereas staked are usually rectangular. Staked tents typically use less fabric and fewer poles, making them lighter but less hearty in hard rains and high winds. They also can’t be moved once assembled.

Should I use a footprint with my camping tent?

A footprint is a ground sheet that goes between your tent and the ground to provide an extra layer of protection against wet soil, abrasion, and wear on your tent. They sometimes come with the tent, or they can be purchased separately or fashioned out of a tarp. You should use a footprint because it prolongs the life of your tent and insulates the floor of the tent from the cold ground. Ensure your footprint is slightly smaller than your tent floor so that it doesn’t collect extra rainwater that then pools underneath the tent.