The Best Tents For Family Camping, Backpacking, and More

Stay dry and sleep well with our picks for some of the best tents out there.

Camping is one of Americans’ most loved outdoor activities. In fact, research shows that in 2019, more than 41 million Americans over the age of 6 participated in camping, up about a million from three years earlier. And there’s little wonder why camping is so popular. Many people love to get out into nature and enjoy all of the opportunities a night—or week—sleeping out in the woods has to offer.

The one piece of camping gear that can make your trip a boom or bust is the tent you use. Get the perfect tent for your situation, and you’ll likely be satisfied with the way it performs. Get one that doesn’t fit your specific needs, and even the best tents can be more of a liability than an asset on your next camping trip. Fact is, tents are made in so many different styles, shapes and sizes, and unless you do your research it’s hard to know what camping tent will be best for you. When shopping for the best tent for you (and/or your family), consider this advice.

Features To Consider When Shopping for the Best Tents

A camping tent is the most critical piece of equipment on a camping checklist for an enjoyable outing in Mother Nature. However, finding options that will be the best tents for you and your family requires a close look at the variety of different features available.

Need a Family Camping Tent?

Your camping style will change your tent choice dramatically. If you and your family are going to drive your car, pickup or SUV right to your campsite, you can easily haul along a pretty large camping tent. On the other hand, if you’ll be carrying your tent to your camping area in a backpack, a much smaller, lighter tent is in order.

For family camping, a group of four or five needs a big tent in order to keep everyone inside yet somewhat spread out, and also store any gear that needs to be kept out of the elements. An 80-to-100 square foot tent will usually suffice for a family of four to six. Large four or six-person tents with dividers to make separate rooms allow everyone more privacy, making for a better experience.

Note that putting up a tent with the help of an entire family can be much harder than doing so alone. Opt for one that goes up easily if you can find one that meets your other criteria. You’ll be glad you did when the kids start pitching in with setup.

Best Family Camping Tent: OT QOMOTOP Camping Tent

Comfy and Roomy

This model can be ordered in a 140-square-foot size that provides lodging for up to 10 people. OT QOMOTOP

BUY NOW

If you have a family, this just might be the best tent for you. While the smaller sizes are great for family camping with two to four people, the larger sizes can accommodate up to eight or 10 campers. Made of high-quality polyester with waterproof-taped seams, this cabin tent is also very easy to assemble, boasting a 60-second setup.

Do You Plan to Go Winter Camping?

While it might not sound fun to some fair-weather campers, winter camping is actually quite popular. It allows you to enjoy nature when campgrounds and trails aren’t quite so crowded, or allows you to extend a winter hunting outing.

Winter camping requires different equipment than summertime camping. Not only do you need specialized clothes and outdoor gear for surviving cold weather, a good 4-season tent is more likely to keep you warm than one not made with winter camping in mind. A good 4-season tent is made for camping in nearly all conditions and will get you through a cold night if you have the right sleeping bag and clothing. Be sure the tent you choose for winter camping is waterproof, as nothing is more dangerous in the woods in winter than getting both cold and wet.

Best Tent For Winter Camping: CAMPROS Camping Tent

Sturdy Construction

This 6-person, 4-season tent has one large mesh door and four mesh windows, all of which zip up tightly to keep the cold out during winter camping trips. CAMPROS

BUY NOW

Whether just a few of you or the entire family, this large 4-season tent is a great piece of gear for winter camping trips. At 77 square feet, six sleeping bags can easily fit within the tent’s confines. Plus, the sub-13-pound tent is super easy to set up with just one or two people.

Will You Be Carrying the Tent in Your Pack?

Few outdoors enthusiasts are more weight-conscious when it comes to their camping gear than serious backpackers. That’s because everything they plan to have in camp has to be carried in on their backs—including their tents. A good backpacking tent should be light enough to carry all day, yet sturdy enough to withstand a storm while back in the boonies. It should also pack down to a small enough size that it can easily be stored in a backpack without taking up unnecessary room. When it comes to choosing a backpacking tent, think small, light, and strong.

Best Backpacking Tent: Clostnature Lightweight Backpacking Tent

Lightweight But Tough

This lightweight backpacking tent weighs only 5.4 pounds, yet is both strong and durable. Clostnature

BUY NOW

If you’re packing in several miles to your campsite, a lightweight tent like this is just the ticket. Easy to pitch with minimal pieces, the tent’s weatherproof material with factory-sealed seams will keep you dry and comfortable in all seasons and weather conditions. With plenty of room for two campers plus some critical gear, this backpacking tent also packs down quite small for easy storage.

Need a Tent for Your Pickup?

For camping enthusiasts who own a pickup, several manufacturers make specialized truck tents that mount on the back of the truck, utilizing the bed as the sleeping area. This is super convenient for those who travel a lot and like to camp alongside the road, or who are going to always drive right to their camping spot.

Good truck tents have plenty of windows and high-quality zippers. Tents that have a window that opens into the rear window of your truck are extremely handy. Some even have tent bottoms so you don’t need to find something else to cover your truck bed when camping.

One thing critically important about choosing the best truck tent is making sure you get one that is the proper size. Many are specific to certain models of trucks and won’t fit other models properly. Others are sold by their dimensions, so be sure and measure the size of your pickup bed before you start shopping for one of these handy tents.

Best Truck Tent: Napier Backroadz Truck Tent

Smart Design

This sturdy truck bed tent comes in five different sizes to fit nearly any pickup truck. Napier

BUY NOW

This truck tent gives pickup owners an excellent option for camping trips. It has two large mesh windows for plenty of ventilation, and has a center height of over five feet, giving users a decent amount of headroom. It also features a full rainfly for those wet nights in the woods, as well as a full floor to keep you from sleeping on whatever grime might be on your pickup bed.

Do You and Your Partner Love Sleeping Beneath the Stars?

For many couples, going on a tent camping trip together can be a romantic getaway without breaking the bank. Sitting around a campfire under a starry sky with the one you love can be quite a fulfilling experience.

However, finding the perfect tent for such an outing is easier said than done. You need a tent big enough for the two of you, but not so big that you won’t get that cozy feeling. You’ll also want to make sure you get a waterproof tent, since nothing can put a stop to that loving feeling like cold water dripping down your neck or back.

On hot nights, a tent with large windows will help keep the air circulating, ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep no matter how cuddled up you are. Make sure those windows have high-quality zippers, and you can enjoy that same tent on cool spring or fall nights, too!

Best Two-Person Tent: Coleman Sundome Tent

Room With a View

This dome tent from Coleman is just the right size for a couple’s outing. Coleman

BUY NOW

The welded corners and inverted seams on this two-person tent keep water from getting in, while the included rainfly offers extra weather protection when things get really wet in the woods. The tent’s strong frame is designed to withstand winds up to 35 miles per hour, and it has large windows for good ventilation. The tent also boasts easy setup and is available in two attractive color combinations.

Best Cheap Tent: What You Get for Under $100

While a true top-quality tent doesn’t come cheap, the best camping tent for you doesn’t have to cost $100 or more. If you only plan to use your tent a night or two a year, shopping budget tents isn’t a terrible idea—but don’t skimp on important features like weatherproofing, or those one or two nights can get mighty wet and miserable.

Best Cheap Tent: Wakeman 2-Person Tent

Great Value

This two-person tent can be used for hiking, camping, fishing, a kid’s indoor or backyard play space, or even shelter at the beach. Wakeman

BUY NOW

With only two fiberglass poles, this cheap tent is very easy to set up and take down. Made of 190T polyester, this dome tent measures 84 inches long and 60 inches wide, with a height of 48 inches. Other features include a removable rain fly, plenty of ventilation and an interior storage pocket to keep your contents neat and organized while enjoying the great outdoors.

Best Tents FAQ: people also ask

What’s the most durable tent?

The most durable tent is one made with a strong nylon outer and strong fiberglass poles to keep you sheltered and dry under most camping conditions.

Are expensive tents worth it?

As with many kinds of outdoor essentials, expensive tents can sometimes be worth it. Largely, the answer depends on how you plan to use it. If you plan to camp 10 or more nights a year or in challenging weather, an expensive tent might pay off.

What’s the easiest tent to set up?

Dome tents are the easiest tents to set up, and many can be built by one person in just a few minutes. Cabin tents are a little more difficult, and some truck tents can seem nearly impossible to set up without help.

A Final Word on Shopping for the Best Tents

In the end, the best tents for you or your family will be the ones that meet all your needs without costing an arm and a leg. Always consider rain resistance when purchasing, and after you buy your camping tent consider adding additional waterproofing, especially the seams, just to be safe. For size, pick a tent that has enough room for your needs, but remember that bigger isn’t always better. You should be able to easily take your tent with you, whether you plan to tote it in your SUV’s cargo area or in your backpack. Most of all, have fun out there enjoying nature!

Related:

An Overlander’s Guide to Camping for Free in the USA