The Best Tents for Camping

A tent is a home away from home while car camping, backpacking, or mountaineering. The best tents will protect you from the elements as you explore the great outdoors.

By Oliver Harriett | Updated Sep 30, 2020 11:34 AM

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The Tent Option

Photo: amazon.com

When camping or otherwise planning to sleep outdoors, tents are part of the roster of key equipment needed to stay safe and sheltered from the elements. However, not all tents are the same: they are more than just a piece of fabric that will keep you warm and dry. The best tents are waterproof to a certain degree, allow for ventilation, are easy to set up, and are convenient to use. When choosing the best tent for you, keep in mind camping style, capacity, height, waterproofing, ventilation, ease of setting up, and weight. Ultimately, the tent you purchase will be determined by the type of camping you’ll be doing and how many people will be joining you in the tent.

Our Top Picks

We kept cost, weight, ease of use, size, and more in mind when choosing the best tents.

Best Overall

The Tent Option: ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-Person Tent
Photo: amazon.com

The ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-Person Tent provides superior ventilation with an all-mesh interior and two mesh doors. While a bit heavier than other hiking tents at 5.8 pounds, this three-season tent works well for two adults thanks to 28 square feet of floor space. The two vestibules add extra storage separated from the sleeping area. This tent uses a freestanding, two-pole design that cuts down assembly time to no more than a few minutes and it’s 38-inch peak height holds up to strong winds. Mesh storage pockets and a gear loft for storing clothing and gear free up floor space.

Best 8-Person

The Tent Option: Coleman Sundome Tent
Photo: amazon.com

If spaciousness ranks high on your list of priorities or if you plan on doing your camping with all the family and maybe even a friend or two in tow, then the Coleman 8-Person Tent for Camping is a fantastic option. This tent offers a whopping 112 square feet of floor space, a peak height of 6 feet and 2 inches, and a large, extended door awning that provides plenty of sheltered space for external gear storage. Its WeatherTec waterproofing system, patented corner welds, and inverted seams all make it more than capable of dealing with the odd rain shower and prevent groundwater from soaking through the floor of the tent. It also uses large mesh panels in the tent body to improve ventilation. A four-pole design for stability in windy conditions, a wide door, interior storage pockets, and an expandable carrying bag for added convenience make this tent a top tent for a crowd. The tent’s continuous pole sleeves and the patented pin-and-ring system also make it relatively easy to set up.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Tent Option: Coleman 8-Person Tent for Camping
Photo: amazon.com

The Coleman Sundome Tent uses a simple but very sturdy two-pole, freestanding, and two-layer design that offers excellent stability in high winds and enough waterproofing to keep your dry in light to moderate precipitation. The interior of this tent is also roomy enough for a group of four adults or even two adults and three younger kids, thanks to its 63 square feet of floor space and 4-foot-6-inch peak height. The Sundome also offers excellent ventilation thanks to a large hooded window in the rear and mesh vents in the roof, making it a great option for camping in warmer temperatures or in high humidity. A polyethylene floor with welded seams reduces the risk of springing any leaks on the underside of the tent, while the polyester body and fly fabric offer more than enough ruggedness and tear-resistance for even the wildest of backcountry adventures. This tent is easy to set up and features a zippered electrical access port to run AC power into the tent, a ground vent, interior storage pockets, a hanging loop in the ceiling for lamps or lanterns, and very easy-to-use pole sleeves and clips.

Best for Families

The Tent Option: CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent
Photo: amazon.com

This wonderfully roomy, easy-to-assemble, and practical tent boasts an incredible 126 square feet of floor space and a 78-inch peak height, making it a very spacious tent. While most tents of this size are notoriously tricky to pitch, the CORE Instant Cabin Tent is much simpler to set up. This tent’s frame consists of robust telescoping poles that come pre-attached to the structure, meaning it can be assembled in no time with a little bit of practice. The CORE Instant Cabin is more than well-equipped to deal with the odd rain shower: it uses heat-sealed seams to prevent any leaks from springing. It’s well-ventilated, too, thanks to large mesh windows and doors. This tent also comes with a feature that’s sure to appeal to families or groups of individuals who like to have a little bit of private personal space: a provided detachable divider can be used to transform the tent’s interior into two separate rooms.