The 9 Best Camping Tents of 2024 (2024)

Best Overall Camping Tent


The North Face Wawona 6


85

OVERALL
SCORE

  • Space and Comfort9.0

  • Weather Resistance8.0

  • Ease of Use7.0

  • Family Friendliness9.0

  • Quality9.0

Inside Height: 6' 4" | Floor Dimensions: 10' x 8' 6" (85 sq ft)

REASONS TO BUY

Huge front vestibule

Great in the wind and rain

Amazing value

REASONS TO AVOID

Updated detached fly makes pitching unintuitive

Back window pockets obstruct views

Only one door

Are you a camper with a hobby? Then this is your camping tent. The North Face Wawona 6, a long-standing favorite in this review, is the perfect basecamp for mountain bikers, rock climbers, anglers, hunters, or anyone packing lots of gear that needs to be protected. Why? The vestibule is like a two-bike garage. The main tent packs an additional 85 square feet, creating a remarkable living space. The Wawona has you covered, and all for a very fair price.

All this space does make a few things less straightforward. Setting up the rainfly and garage in the moderate wind isn't as intuitive as it could be. The North Face went with a pin-and-circle locking mechanism that requires some effort to lock, and because of the height and length of this tent, the guylines are a requirement unless you enjoy watching your tent sail away into the sunset. That said, once it is up, it is massive, comfortable, and withstood some howling winds and rainy nights in Joshua Tree with ease. With some of the best usable space and an excellent price point, the Wawona has been an award winner year after year with good reason. The Snow Peak Alpha Breeze is another tent worthy of mention for its excellent weather resistance.

Read more: The North Face Wawona 6 review


Best Bang for Your Buck


REI Co-op Skyward 4


78

OVERALL
SCORE

  • Space and Comfort8.0

  • Weather Resistance7.0

  • Ease of Use8.0

  • Family Friendliness8.0

  • Quality8.0

Inside Height: 6' 6" | Floor Dimensions: 8' 4" x 7' 3" (60 sq ft)

REASONS TO BUY

Tall interior

Quality materials

Spacious built-in vestibule

Excellent value

REASONS TO AVOID

Silly rainfly

Fabric lacks some breathability

Storage bag too small

The REI Co-op Skyward 4 is the perfect amount of features, space, and ease of use for the money. Some tents cost less, but you sacrifice a lot. With the Skyward, you get a lightweight setup with 6'6" ceilings and a large built-in vestibule (19.5 square feet) with an optional awning. These two things alone provide great family-friendly options. Add in some good storage options and adequate ventilation, and you really can't go wrong with this tent made by a brand well-known for its quality.

Now, this is still an entry-level tent that has its flaws. The rainfly is small and difficult to attach, and the tent is a pain to get back into its storage bag. If you look past these issues and a few other minor ones, you will find a great value tent that will likely outlast other tents in this price range. Other affordable options include the Coleman Sundome 6, which has plenty of space for the family.

Read more: REI Co-op Skyward 4 review


Best 4-Person Tent


MSR Habitude 4


82

OVERALL
SCORE

  • Space and Comfort8.0

  • Weather Resistance9.0

  • Ease of Use8.0

  • Family Friendliness7.0

  • Quality9.0

Inside Height: 6' 1" | Floor Dimensions: 7' 11" x 7' 11" (62.4 sq ft)

REASONS TO BUY

Built tough

Tall interior

Perfect size vestibule

REASONS TO AVOID

Only one door

Harder to pitch

Are you looking for a spacious and high-quality camping tent but don't want a massive setup? The MSR Habitude 4 is a great choice. This stylish tent is not only light (12 pounds) and compact, but it's also built with top-of-the-line materials and is both tall (6' 1" in the middle) and spacious (62.4 square feet). On top of that, it features unique touches like a porch light, a large vestibule, and great ventilation.

Although there are many positives to the Habitude 4, it isn't perfect. Some flaws include a single door that requires two zippers to open, a light that doesn't come with a battery, and an awkward bag. Those minor things aside, this tent outscored all other 4-person tents in our lineup. Other great four-person tent options are the Marmot Tungsten, which has its own unique features and lightweight build that may offer what you're looking for.

Read more: MSR Habitude 4 review


Best for Tent For Bad Weather


REI Co-op Base Camp 6


82

OVERALL
SCORE

  • Space and Comfort9.0

  • Weather Resistance8.0

  • Ease of Use6.5

  • Family Friendliness8.0

  • Quality9.0

Inside Height: 6' 2" | Floor Dimensions: 9' 2" x 9' 2" (84.3 sq ft)

REASONS TO BUY

Solid

Rainproof and windproof

Lots of features

Two large vesitbules

Tons of storage pockets

Two wide-mouth doors

Really cool Vehicle Connector option

REASONS TO AVOID

Elevated price

Slower setup

Needs ground stakes to stand firm

Its manufacturer touts the REI Co-op Base Camp 6 as one of its most weatherproof general camping tents ever, and we agree. This three-season shelter is engineered to do battle with Mother Nature, and in fact, it even has design elements that pay homage to more rugged four-season tents. Things like full-length pole sleeves, high-end aluminum poles, a low-hanging rainfly, and a large pole-supported vestibule, all point toward a more rigorous shelter system that can handle its own against the elements. The Base Camp 6 also has tons of pocket storage, two massive doors, and a full array of gear loops — and don't let us get started on its optional REI Co-op Base Camp Vehicle Connector. This little beauty takes the Base Camp 6 to an entirely different level by connecting nearly any car directly to your camp.

Complaints are few, but we did find a couple of things we weren't too keen on. The setup process (especially when you include the Vehicle Connector) is a bit cumbersome and time-consuming. And, although it stands well, we don't feel the Base Camp 6 is a straight up free-standing tent, so it absolutely requires the use of ground stakes to take on its true form. This is particularly vexing if you're desert camping on sand or rock (where stakes are useless) and you need to find alternative ways to sturdy your tent. We listed a few other annoyances, like sticky zippers, in our review, but overall this is a superb system, and one of our favorites. If you were drawn to the Base Camp because you like out-of-the-box designs, take a look at the Gazelle T4 Hub. It offers a whole new slant on camping tents.

Read more: REI Co-op Base Camp 6 review


Best Form and Function


NEMO Aurora Highrise 6


80

OVERALL
SCORE

  • Space and Comfort9.0

  • Weather Resistance7.0

  • Ease of Use7.0

  • Family Friendliness8.0

  • Quality8.0

Inside Height: 6' 5" | Floor Dimensions: 8' 4" x 10' (83.3 sq ft)

REASONS TO BUY

Very large interior

Enormous front door

Stylish design

REASONS TO AVOID

Setup is a two-person job

Bad window design

Light on pockets

The Nemo Aurora Highrise 6 is the total package. It packs tons of space and features into a functional, good-looking design. This tent fits a twin mat and two singles with room to spare, and with a max height of 6' 5", you can add jumping jacks to your morning indoor camp routine. But the list keeps going. With dual vestibules and an extra large front door, along with great privacy options and a fun floor design, you will be hard-pressed to find a tent that pairs form and function better.

On the flip side (because every coin has two sides), the Highrise is a bit complicated to set up the first time — though it does get easier as you learn. Still, you'll want two people for the job. We don't love the window design on this model, and ideally, there would be more storage pockets. Perhaps Nemo will address some of these things in a future update, but even if they don't, this is a great tent that we don't foresee you being disappointed with. If you're looking for a more traditional design that will sleep six, we suggest reading up on the Eureka Copper Canyon LX 6.

Read more: Nemo Aurora Highrise 6 review


Most Versatile


Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3


77

OVERALL
SCORE

  • Space and Comfort7.0

  • Weather Resistance8.0

  • Ease of Use9.0

  • Family Friendliness7.0

  • Quality8.0

Inside Height: 4' 0" | Floor Dimensions: 7' 6" x 5' 8" (42.5 sq ft)

REASONS TO BUY

Very lightweight

Quick to pitch

Amazing views with or without the fly

Extremely versatile

REASONS TO AVOID

Small interior

Low ceiling

Guyline stakes not included

The Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 is the perfect choice for campsites or occasional short backpacking trips. It's also great as a solid backup, sitting in the garage ready to toss into the car with a moment's notice. We pitched it in an impressive 4 min 30 seconds and have improved on that time as we've learned the design. This tent has an all-mesh build for fantastic views, and the fly can be configured in multiple ways, allowing for both scenery and quick protection from the weather at any time.

The included footprint adds additional value to this well-constructed tent. The mesh is 40D polyester, the tub floor is 68D ripstop polyester, and the poles are DAC Pressfit aluminum. The interior square footage is small, but dual vestibules help to keep everything you don't need for sleeping separate. And while very lightweight, you'll sacrifice headroom in the tradeoff. Overall, this tent is small but mighty and a great addition to any campers toolbox, depending on your needs. Another lightweight option is the Marmot Tungsten 4. It weighs just a little more and offers the same quality.

Read more: Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 review


An Affordable and Spacious Option for Families


Coleman Skydome XL 8


75

OVERALL
SCORE

  • Space and Comfort9.0

  • Weather Resistance6.0

  • Ease of Use6.0

  • Family Friendliness9.0

  • Quality6.0

Inside Height: 6' 1" | Floor Dimensions: 16' 2" x 7' 1" (114.5 sq ft)

REASONS TO BUY

Tons of space

Weather-resistant

Great price

Easy to clean floor

Massive mesh rooftop

Electrical port

String lighting feature

REASONS TO AVOID

Large and heavy

Timely setup

Relies heavily on ground stakes

So-So rainfly

Boasting nearly 115 square feet of comfy living space, the Coleman Skydome XL 8 is a mammoth of a tent, and most likely the largest we've ever tested. We love this tent's spacious design and feel it will hit the spot for families or large groups looking for a larger reliable shelter that won't break the bank. Specifically, the Skydome can comfortably sleep eight if every camper is dozing upon smaller sleeping pads or foam. However, if your group is less than eight, there's enough room for a whopping three queen-sized air mattresses. In addition to its real estate, we love this shelter's tarp flooring. It's easy to clean and can handle the rigors that are inherent with kids and pets. This tent also has an incredible mesh roof, great vents, storage pockets, an electrical port, and fun string lighting that mounts at the tent's ceiling.

There was a lot we didn't like about the Coleman Skydome XL 8. It's large, bulky, and not that easy to set up. Its size makes it somewhat unstable, so it requires a full arsenal of ground stakes and guylines to keep it sturdy, especially in the wind. We also think its rainfly is a bit thin, and the overall structure is not as rugged as many of the tents in our lineup. However, for the price, we simply can't deny this monster tent's incredible value. Our favorite good deal is the REI Co-op Skyward 4. It offers a ton of value for the cost, but it only sleeps four.

Read more: Coleman Skydome XL 8 review


Our Favorite Pop-up Model


Gazelle T4 Hub


74

OVERALL
SCORE

  • Space and Comfort7.5

  • Weather Resistance7.0

  • Ease of Use8.0

  • Family Friendliness7.5

  • Quality7.0

Inside Height: 6' 5" | Floor Dimensions: 7' 10" x 7' 10" (61 sq ft)

REASONS TO BUY

High-speed setup

Spacious with large windows

Great internal storage pockets

Removable floor

Ample headroom

REASONS TO AVOID

Heavy

Large packed size

Lacks a vestibule

Slightly complicated rainfly assembly

Difficult to repack

No assembly required sums up the Gazelle T4 Hub. This tent is so easy to pop into place that the average camper could bypass reading the instructions and still have it fully operational in less than two minutes. The T4 Hub is our favorite instant shelter because it's stable, weatherproof, and full of conveniences. The best thing about this shelter is that it's completely self-contained so that you can say goodbye to bundles of bungee-connected aluminum poles — no more assembling, crisscrossing, bending, or clipping. Instead, to set up the T4, plop it on the ground, pull on each of the four sidewall handles until the wall pops into place, and then lock in the rooftop with a push. We love this tent's removable floor, two large doors, eight massive windows, and seven humongous storage pouches.

The drawbacks of this type of structure are weight and size. The rapid setup and solid stability of the T4 Hub are made possible by thicker fabrics and an intricate pattern of fiberglass poles. The result is a heavier tent (31.6 pounds) and a packed size of nearly six feet in length. In short, transportation and storage are not this tent's strong suits. It also lacks a vestibule feature, and it's a challenge to stuff it back into its duffel bag. However, if you love this tent's unconventional conveniences and simplicity, you won't mind its slight imperfections. Another self-contained, pop-open option is the Coleman Camp Burst Dark Room 4, although it's smaller in size.

Read more: Gazelle T4 Hub review


Best Rooftop Tent


Thule Approach M


Weight: 128 lbs | Max Inside Height: 40"

REASONS TO BUY

Roomy interior

Simple installation/removal once assembled

Locks to roof rack

Huge windows

REASONS TO AVOID

Frustrating rainfly

No built-in cover storage

If you've ever been intrigued by vehicle rooftop tents and think you're ready to take the plunge, check out the Thule Approach M. This softshell tent attaches to the top of your vehicle via a mounting track. Once you get past the initial installation, setup is a breeze (illustrated in our video below). The interior is spacious, with 40 inches of headroom at the highest point, and there are large windows that are lovely for stargazing. The Approach locks to your rack, which is a nice feature.

We should mention that this style of tent isn't for everyone. You'll need to be prepared to climb up and down a ladder to get in and out of bed, and you'll also need to assess that your vehicle can handle this type of weight on it. If you've taken all this into consideration and you're ready to move forward, the Thule Approach is one of our top recommendations. Our only real complaints are that the rainfly is semi-frustrating (it's hard to access all the snaps to attach it), and there is nowhere to store the tent's cover when you remove it (you'll need to stash it in the trunk or truck bed). Overall, we love the Approach and think it's one of the best rooftop tents on the market. We don't have a lot of vehicle-mounted tents to compare the Thule Approach M to; however, the Smittybilt GEN2 Overlander is a great great budget model.

Read more: Thule Approach M review


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How We Test Camping Tents


To prepare for this review, we scoured the internet, read personal accounts, and dug into bloggers' and YouTubers' thoughts on the best tents on the market. After selecting the most promising options, we purchased 19 of the best camping tents on the market and got to work. We measured, weighed, and inspected each before carting them to the woods and desert for proper testing. We tested them side-by-side in various Lake Tahoe locations, in the hot and harsh conditions of Joshua Tree National Park, across the great state of Utah, and in the ripping wind of Reno, NV. Our team conducted more than 60 individual tests to help you find the perfect tent to match your needs and budget.

Our in-depth testing process of camping tents breaks down into five rating metrics:

  • Space and Comfort (35% of overall score weighting)
  • Weather Resistance (25% weighting)
  • Ease of Use (15% weighting)
  • Family Friendliness (15% weighting)
  • Quality (10% weighting)

See more info on our testing processes in our how we test article.

Why Trust GearLab


The center of any great outdoor adventure is basecamp. Having the best camping tent is a crucial part of that (in addition to good food and good people). Our head tester Rob Gaedtke put these tents to the test so that you can choose your next home-away-from-home with confidence. Rob is no stranger to the outdoors or adventure. He has raced across India, done an IronMan in Mexico, and Jeeped through the African safari. He is also a rock climber, backpacker, and avid camper. Over the past 20 years, Rob has set up hundreds of basecamps across various terrain. We took this experience, coupled with a rigorous and detailed testing plan, and got to work finding a diverse set of tents for consideration.

Jason Wanlass, who has spent the last 20 years of his life exploring the outdoors, joins Rob. He is an experienced backpackerwho has trekkedin Iceland, Nepal, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Argentina, and Chile's Patagonia Region. Closer to home, he hikes weekly in the foothills above his home in Utah and has backpacked countless miles in nearly every Western state. Whether wandering vast U.S. mountain ranges like the Sierras, Tetons, and the Cascades or catching a plane headed for one of the remote corners of the world, Jason knows a thing or two about gear, and he uses his knowledge of backpacking tents to help him pick out the best features of the tents in this review.

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The 9 Best Camping Tents of 2024 (38)
The 9 Best Camping Tents of 2024 (39)

We took these tents far and wide to ensure they were top-notch and ready for your camping journey.


How to Pick the Best Camping Tent for You


While many forms of camping exist, from sleeping on top of your car to spending the night miles away in the backcountry, camping tents are best used for campsites near the car. These tents are large, comfy, and ready for the whole family. If you're looking to sit by the fire with your cooler full of goodies and a cozy camp bed waiting for you, you're looking at the right kind of tent.

Tent Type


Just any ol' tent should be good enough, right? Well, maybe, but you probably won't be all that comfy. You'll want something spacious enough for the whole crew and durable enough to handle a storm, or if you're family camping, kids and dogs running in and out. Camping tents are best suited for established campsites or within a campground.

Four-Season: These tents are slightly more durable than three-season tents and can handle temperature drops in the winter. They have a lower profile to handle wind gusts and snow storms. Four-season tents might be a little overkill if you're more of a warm-weather camper, and they cost quite a bit more. If you camp in the snowy winter, a four-season tent is your best option.

Double-Wall: This review mostly covers double-wall tents and is likely what you have in mind when thinking of a camping tent. They have two “walls” of fabric: the tent itself and the rain fly. The tent walls are breathable, not waterproof, and often have mesh windows - perfect for a night under the stars. The rain fly layers over the top of the tent and is waterproof. Because camping tents are carried a stone-throw distance from the car, there isn't much need to choose ultralight materials. If you specifically want a lightweight option, opt for a single-wall or backpacking tent.

Single-Wall: Primarily used in the backcountry or on mountaineering trips, these tents are very light, compact, and aren't designed to be comfy. Instead of having a separate rain fly, the main body of the tent is waterproof and lacks the same level of ventilation that a double-wall version has. Interested in a lightweight tent? We have an entire review on the best backpacking tents that might interest you.

Tent Sizes


Camping tents are typically available in 4-person and 6-person sizes. This number refers to the amount of people that can sleep in the tent shoulder to shoulder. While you can fit four people in the 4-person tent, it'll be a tight squeeze. Our rule of thumb is to subtract two from the indicated number. So, two people will comfortably fit within the 4-person. If you're a group of four, opt for a 6-person tent. Is a bigger tent worth it? If you can afford the space in your car, we think bigger tents can be more enjoyable, especially if you're family camping.

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Analysis and Test Results


We put these camping tents against the elements, battling kids, wind, dogs, dirt, heat, and a very opinionated husband and wife team. From setup and breakdown to weather resistance and durability to the quality of the space for both hanging out and sleeping, we put these products through a lot to help you find your best match.


Value


Value is all about getting the most tent for the least cash. We like to see a solid balance of performance and price. Generally, when the price goes up in the tent world, so does the performance, though there are some notable exceptions.

A notable contender for value in the 4-person tents goes to the Marmot Limestone 4, which performed well yet still falls slightly lower on the price spectrum. But hands down, the best bang for your buck is the REI Co-op Skyward 4. This tent is the perfect mix of space, height, quality, and ease of use. Another value-packed camping tent is the Kelty Wireless 6. We rarely find a quality 6-person tent at a price point this low.

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On the flip side, if you are looking for a small but extremely versatile tent, the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 packs tons of value into a little package. Since it serves both short backpacking trips and car camping, the value increases.

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Once you step down into the lower price ranges, it gets complicated. We would be remiss if we didn't give a huge value nod to the Coleman 4-Person Cabin with Instant Setup. This little tent is cheap, sturdy, and a great option to put up with only a moment's notice.

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Space and Comfort


This is arguably the most important category when it comes to car camping. When your campsite is only a few yards away from your trunk, a little extra weight in exchange for better comfort and space is an easy choice. For this metric, we looked at the overall footprint of each tent, including the vestibule space. We checked the height and headroom, doors and windows, and the general airflow with and without the rainfly. And finally, we looked at pockets, clips, and storage options.


Let's dive into The North Face Wawona 6 first. When you combine the spacious and tall interior (6' 6" max height and 85 square feet of floor space) with the large double-doored vestibule (and additional 44.7 square feet), you have a comfortable masterpiece. The new design also allows the Wawona to be used without the vestibule, adding a great option for warm-weather camping. We also love the tall, full-sized door feature that allows you to enter without ducking.

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The Nemo Aurora Highrise 6 also receives great marks here. With 83.3 square feet of floor and a super tall interior measuring 6' 5" plus two vestibules, this tent can provide both space and comfort for a family of four, all sleeping on air mattresses. The overall pocket count could be better, but it is adequate, and there are many hanging options.

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The REI Co-op Base Camp 6 provides 84.3 square feet of floor space and has a maximum height of 6' 2". This tent can comfortably sleep six, and it offers tons of thoughtful extras including two massive doors, 14 storage pockets, gear loops, two generous vestibules, and a large mesh rooftop. the Base Camp is also compatible with the REI Base Camp Vehicle Connector which provides an additional 62.2 square feet of canopy coverage, and seamlessly connects your tent to your car.


The Coleman Skydome XL 8 also received top marks in this metric, namely for its gargantuan 114.5 square feet of floor space. This monster tent can sleep eight, and even has the space for three queen-sized inflatable mattresses. The Skydome maxes out at 6' 1" in height, has a massive mesh rooftop, offers six pockets and interior string lighting.


There are a few other tents that scored respectability in this category. The Big Agnes Bunk House 6 has a max height of 6' 9" and offers a unique shelter option giving you more versatility. But the tallest tent in our lineup is the Eureka Copper Canyon LX 6 with a 7' tall clearance. And, thanks to the near-vertical sidewalls, that height isn't just in the center.

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We don't often see a 4-person tent score so high in this category, let alone two. The MSR Habitude 4 and REI Co-op Skyward 4 both have just enough room, features, and comforts to rise to the top. The Habitude offers 62.4 square feet of floor space, a perfectly sized vestibule, and seven pockets, making this tent worth a look for those not interested in setups for 6+ people. The Skyward has a 6' 6" height profile and a larger-than-normal, built-in vestibule.

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Although it earned fairly low scores across the board, we did like one unique feature of the Coleman Camp Burst Dark Room 4. In this metric, we certainly focused on how many people a tent would sleep, but we also considered any special features that made each tent stand out from the rest. In the case of the Dark Room, its name says it all. The walls of this tent are completely blacked out. And, when the optional rainfly is affixed, there is almost no light at all.


Floor Plans

Be sure to review the floor plan images for a tent before committing. If you are like us, you have air mattresses and chairs that you would like to use inside, so the floor plan can help you map it out. And remember, most of these tents say they sleep a particular number, but that is usually elbow to elbow.


Both the Big Agnes Bunk House 6 and The North Face Wawona 6 have massive outside storage areas. These tents offer great storage and covered cooking and cleaning stations, and they are plenty big enough to handle loads of gear.

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Weather Resistance


Getting wet, poles breaking in the wind, and roasting in the hot sun. These are all deal-breakers when camping, especially if you have children. So for the weather resistance category, we considered all of the following: hot day options, cold day options, rainfly coverage, aerodynamic-ness, stakes, poles, and guylines. We tested these in a mix of real-world situations and fabricated ones, thanks to a sprinkler rig and backpack blower. We got these tents hot, cold, wet, and winded. Here is how they stood up.


We put the Marmot Limestone 4 up against the wicked hot days of the southern California desert and the windy nights of Reno, NV. Its shape held up perfectly to both, and the full-covered rainfly kept everything dry. Two extra poles on the tent's roof add just enough extra height to feel open without turning it into a flat-walled sail.


Breaking the dome shape mold but still scoring top points are the MSR Habitude 4 and Snow Peak Alpha Breeze. Thd Habitude is very capable in both hot and cold weather. And while a touch on the broadside, the included guylines and slanted vestibule face make this tent very wind worthy. The Alpha Breeze sports thick canvas and a robust A-frame-inspired design — features made to handle the elements with ease. It also has super thick poles, metal guylines, and a whopping 20 stakes. Bad weather, watch out.

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Several other tents scored among the best in the weather resistance category. The Wawona 6 rainfly only covers the side mesh a little bit, allowing for moisture to sneak through in windy situations, but it remains a burly tent in every other way. The REI Co-op Base Camp 6 has an amazing, reinforced rainfly that nearly reaches the ground on all sides, and provides two huge vestibules. One of the more surprising tents to score so well in this category is the very tall REI Co-op Wonderland 4. Thanks to a ridiculous amount of stakes and guylines, this tent holds strong in bad weather, and with the large mesh top and large side vents, the tent breaths quite well.

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Stake It Out

Wind resistance often comes down to how well you stake down a tent and use the guylines to keep it taught. Unless you're assured of a balmy, windless night, staking out the guylines as you set up is a good habit to get into as it will keep you from scrambling around (and likely getting soaked) if bad weather hits. We highly recommend buying an extra cord, burlier stakes, and a mallet for most tents.


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Ease of Use


Setting up and tearing down camp can make or break your trip. We have all been there, rolling into camp at 11 pm, tired and ready to relax — the last thing you want is a fight with your tent or your partner about the tent. We took one for the team here and got the frustration out so you can be prepared. We also noted whether each tent easily fit back into its bag, the total packed size, and the packed weight.


Before digging in further, we should point out that any tent you pitch enough times will get easier. However, we made it a point to judge the first pitch, as many folks only use their tent once or twice a year, and who knows what you will and won't remember after most of a year has passed. Especially if you happened to throw out the directions.

The Coleman 4-Person Cabin with Instant Setup scored the highest here. This thing went up in under 60-seconds and came down nearly as fast. But ease of use isn't just about setup and tear down — we took one point away here due to its weight being on the heavy side for a small 4-person tent and the struggle required to fit the tent back in the bag. We also hope the mechanisms that make this tent so quick to set up stay smooth and easy to use over time. But if you're looking for a camping tent you can toss up after a few beers or in the dark, check this one out.

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The Gazelle T4 Hub sets up even faster than the Coleman Instant. In fact, some of our testers had it pitched in under 40 seconds, making it the easiest tent to set up on our list. However, in this metric, we also considered weight and packed size, and this is where the Gazelle T4 falls behind a bit, as it's the heaviest tent in our lineup and it has one of the largest packed sizes. But, when graded solely on its ease of setup and many convenient accessories, the T4 scores very well and is very easy to use.


The Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 not only went up fast but also was a snap to tear down and get back into the bag. Add to that the simple fly deploy, perfectly sized bag, and intuitive center clip, and you have a hassle-free tent. While not our favorite, the hub also allows for easy solo pitching. It's the only 3-person tent in our lineup and weighs in at only 7.1 pounds for the full package with a trail weight of 6.2 pounds — this tent is light enough to trek a few miles into the wild.

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The 9 Best Camping Tents of 2024 (54)

The Mineral King 3 is lightweight and easy to set up thanks to its center clip.


Another notable tent here is the Marmot Tungsten 4. Pitching this tent garnered one of our fastest times, and at just 7.9 pounds, this is the second lightest tent in our review. A large carry bag allows your fold and roll to be less than perfect when you just want to get on the road, and excellent design elements such as color-coded poles and clips are the icing on the cake.

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We would be remiss if we didn't share two features of the Kelty Wireless 6 that speak directly to ease of use. Kelty added what they call Quick Corners to aid in solo setup. These are essentially pockets on all four corners that make the poles stand erect without needing to hold them. They also have just a single side color-coded. While this seems strange, having only one color to look for versus two is a great simplification that we hope other brands copy.

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While this category of tents is focused mainly on car camping, weight still factors into the equation. Lugging a heavy tent across a field or a few campsites away can add up when you are hauling over 20 pounds.


Don't Forget the Footprint

Consider buying a ground cover — a.k.a. “footprint” — for your camping tent and laying this out first. It helps keep moisture and mud off the underside of your tent (thus making re-packing a much more pleasant task). It also helps your tent last longer because it protects it from abrasion. Most manufacturers sell a footprint separately (usually made of the same material as the tent) designed to fit your model tent's exact floor size. Despite the extra cost, it's a great thing to take along. The savvy camper's alternative is a cheap plastic tarp, like something you'd throw down to paint your living room. You can often pick one of these up for a fraction of the cost of an official manufacturer's footprint, though it won't have features like rivets to accommodate your stakes.


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Family Friendliness


Family Friendliness doesn't just mean actual family. It begs the question, how useful is the tent for a small group? Will it fit two dogs and a friend or three and still be comfortable? We looked at how comfortably each tent could fit at least four people, whether it had phone/jewelry storage options, if it provides a space to clean your feet before entering, if there are multiple room options for privacy, and if it is dog/animal friendly — among other things. Though some of these aspects fall under other categories, we felt it was important to our readers to look at them again but with this viewpoint in mind.


The North Face Wawona 6 checks most of the family-friendly boxes, easily sleeping a family of four with great height, storage, and covered outside space. Because of the large, tall vestibule, we were able to set up a camp shower for a quick rinse after a sweaty day of climbing. Just remember not to ask your kids to take the fly off, as the locking mechanism requires some serious force to get out.

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The Coleman Skydome XL 8 is another family favorite for its sheer size and spill-safe flooring. This tent boasts 114.5 square feet of sleeping space. It also has a tub-style tarp floor that is super durable, easy to clean, waterproof, and ready to handle the rigors that come from camping with kids and pets.


The Nemo Aurora Highrise 6 is another fantastic family-friendly camping tent with a little funky style. The super high ceiling, large footprint, and dual vestibules give this tent plenty of room and options for everyone.

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The Kelty Wireless 6 fits two adults, two kids, and two dogs comfortably inside, and the dual vestibules allow for even more storage and organization. Add in the ease of setup, a nice carry bag, and wonderful star-gazing capabilities, and you have a solid tent. And given the bargain price of the Wireless 6, it's hard to pass it up.

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Typically this section is reserved for larger 6-person tents; however, the REI Skyward 4 and Marmot Tungsten 4 both packed enough family-friendly features to make the cut. If you are looking for a smaller, lighter alternative to a 6-person tent that can still handle a family, these are two great tents to explore.

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Every Family is Different
Sometimes the most family-friendly tent isn't the biggest or the most feature-rich. Instead, it is a wonderful mix of ease of use, features that speak to your family and pet situation, and an ideal build for your typical camping environment.



Quality


For this metric, we looked at the materials used, the general feel of the poles and stakes, and details like how the stitching and seams are constructed. We also tap into our experience and knowledge to judge overall quality and potential long-term durability. But let's face it, when it comes to buying long-lasting gear these days, the age-old saying does hold: you get what you pay for.


The MSR Habitude 4 checks every box for quality materials. From the 7000-series aluminum poles to the DWR 68D polyester taffeta on the floor — everything down to the guyline tighteners is top-notch. The only complaint you will have in the quality department is the included porch light and bag, but these are minor issues.

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The Wawona 6 is a long-standing champ in our review for many reasons, not least of which is how well it has withstood the test of time. The main tent is made out of 150D polyester taffeta, the floor out of 68D polyester, and the poles are DAC MX — strong and light. And, of course, all seams are seam-sealed with a tub-style floor.

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The REI Co-op Base Camp 6 is another high-quality tent that is built to last. It offers high-end aluminum poles, thick polyester fabrics, double-stitched sealed seams, and full-length pole sleeves. A lot of the features on this tent resemble more robust four-season tents.


Several of our tents scored high in this category, but one worth calling out is the Snow Peak Alpha Breeze. This tent has a 300D fire-resistant PU-coated Oxford polyester floor, crazy thick poles, metal guylines, smooth zippers, soft pole sleeves… the list just keeps going.

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For anyone hoping to set up something with feet inside the tent (like a cot or small table) without puncturing the floor, the Marmot Limestone 4 and Coleman Instant Setup sport 150D polyester material floors.

If you are looking for a budget camping tent, the single best upgrade to your durability is swapping out the fiberglass poles and getting a set of aluminum ones. Poles and mesh are where the budget tents fail. Except for the impressive Kelty Wireless 6, the mesh areas on the budget tents we reviewed are at least twice as large as the other tents and feel significantly cheaper in quality. Get better poles and be cautious around your mesh, and a budget tent can last you for years.

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Consider the Long-Term Investment

Unless you're only planning on going camping once or twice a year on an idyllic beach, it's worth taking the long view when it comes to the quality of your tent. We are fans of quality gear that performs well season after season, which often means investing more upfront.


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Conclusion

A camping tent is the most important item you will buy when it comes to camping, so picking the right one is key to a successful adventure. Think about the type of camping you intend to do and what you find most important in a shelter. Innovations are happening all the time, so if there's a feature you want, you'll likely be able to find it. Now, go get yourself a tent and get outside!

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FAQs

The 9 Best Camping Tents of 2024? ›

Choosing a lightweight fabric tent, like a pop-up tent is like giving your event a breath of fresh air. The lightweight fabric makes reliable shelter overhead while letting the breeze in. Keep in mind that these types of fabrics are typically translucent and don't fully block the sun's rays.

Which tent stays the coolest? ›

Choosing a lightweight fabric tent, like a pop-up tent is like giving your event a breath of fresh air. The lightweight fabric makes reliable shelter overhead while letting the breeze in. Keep in mind that these types of fabrics are typically translucent and don't fully block the sun's rays.

What is the best tent to live in full time? ›

White Duck Regatta Canvas Bell Tent is the best overall tent for full-time living, due to its high-end features and versatility. The tent's rugged canvas material and waterproof finish make it ideal for all seasons, while the built-in stove jack provides a comfortable and warm experience even in cold weather.

What time of year is best to buy a tent? ›

When is the best time to buy a tent? The best times to buy a tent are 4th of July, 4th of July Weekend, Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, Black Friday Weekend, Cyber Monday, Earth Day, Labor Day, Labor Day Weekend, Memorial Day, Memorial Day Weekend, Presidents' Day, Presidents' Day Weekend, spring, and early fall.

What tent is really waterproof? ›

Tent fabrics treated with silicone are both very water resistant and remain lightweight. Silicone also doesn't break down as quickly when exposed to the elements. Teflon Coating: Though less common, some tents are processed with a Teflon coating. Teflon is very waterproof, resists stains, and has great durability.

What tents do special forces use? ›

Liri Tent provides military-grade tents tailored for housing solutions. Crafted with the highest quality materials, these tents offer a durable and practical housing option for military personnel in various environments.

How many years should a tent last? ›

Most tents are designed to last a good five to six years. This is a good amount of time for most people and tends to last. This is especially true if you really take care of your tent. A tent can last much longer if you take proper care of it.

What is best to sleep on in a tent? ›

Inflatable sleeping mats offer the best combination of low weight and sleeping comfort. Down sleeping bags offer the best warmth to weight ratio, but in damp conditions synthetic is better. A three-season tent is usually more than adequate.

Which tents are the warmest? ›

Top Winter Tents
  1. MSR Access 3P.
  2. The North Face - VE 25.
  3. The North Face Mountain 25 Tent.
  4. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV2 Expedition Tent.
  5. Black Diamond HiLight 2 Person Tent.
  6. Mountain Hardwear Trango.
Dec 11, 2023

How can you tell if a tent is good quality? ›

Buying a tent? 10 handy tips to help you make the best purchase
  1. Consider the number of people using the tent. ...
  2. Think about the conditions of use. ...
  3. Consider ease of use. ...
  4. Make note of the tent's material. ...
  5. Consider the weight of your tent. ...
  6. Think about the tent's ventilation. ...
  7. Be aware of additional features.

What color of tent is better? ›

3. Blend with the Environment. The tent color should harmonize with its surroundings, creating a seamless integration with the landscape. Opt for earthy tones like green tents, light gray, or tan to complement natural or architectural elements, making your tent an inviting extension of the space.

What is the best shape for a tent? ›

The dome tent's shape gives you some freedom regarding where you can camp. On rocky terrain for example. They are also less sensitive to changes in wind direction, which is ideal if you are camping in exposed areas. They also have a little more headroom, which makes them feel more spacious.

What tents do Everest climbers use? ›

Camping Gear
Required ItemDescriptionRecommended Items
The North Face Mountain 25 Tent,
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent
Sleeping PadInsulates from the cold ground and provides cushioningTherm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad,
NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad,
8 more rows
Feb 18, 2024

What is the highest waterproof rating for tents? ›

Waterproof ratings for tents are measured in millimetres and will usually be between 1000mm (the lowest level considered waterproof) and 10,000mm. The higher the rating, the more waterproof a tent will be. Ratings are measured using a hydrostatic head test but these ratings don't take into account wind driven rain.

What are high quality tents made of? ›

As a result, most tents on the market today – especially family ones – are made from polyester. Lightweight tents are often made of nylon. This man-made textile is normally coated to make it more durable to both abrasion and UV, with coatings such as acrylic, polyurethane (PU) or silicone.

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