Home > Camping > Tents

The Best Camping Tents of 2024

We make finding the right camping tent easier for you by bringing you the best camping tents of 2024. Whether you are planning a weekend in Big Sur or returning to Burning Man, a tent is your home on the road.
REI wonderland tent(Photo/Eric Phillips)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

Our team brings decades of camping experience in every sort of condition imaginable, from national park campgrounds to multiday festivals to long road trips. Our experience and exacting standards give us the expertise to make your shopping easier and have shown us that while many tents claim to do it all, many excel in certain circumstances over others.

Some tents are wilder-nests that thrive in a more backcountry-adjacent use, while others are downright front-country palatial. We gathered our most camp-savvy testers and sent them into the woods across the country in search of the perfect camping tent for every type of weekend. And since we started, our experts have considered hundreds of camping tents, slept in more than 35, and winnowed down our gear rooms to the 15 best of the best collected in this guide.

For our evaluation, we focused on weather resistance, comfort, ease of setup, extra features, and value. Using these five guidelines, we’ve compiled a list of the best camping tents of this year. Check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions for helpful tips and have a look at our comparison chart to steer your decision-making.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Camping Tent guide on April 4, 2024, to shake up our award winners in a big way, landing the MSR Habitude 6 at the head of the table. We also added the Kelty Discovery Basecamp 4 and Coleman Skydome Darkroom 6-Person Tent to the list.

The Best Camping Tents of 2024

Best Overall Camping Tent

MSR Habitude 6


  • Floor Area 83 sq. ft. (120" x 100")
  • Weight 14 lbs.
  • Height 77"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors One
  • Carry Size 23" x 10" x 10"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Large family camping outings where weather might be variable
Product Badge The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Smart pole geometry and tough fabrics means this tent is built to last
  • LED porch light integrated into the tent
  • Generous sleeping area
  • Rain fly coverage drops low to prevent gusts from sneaking in
  • Steep canopy walls


  • Single door means you may have to stumble over tent mates to enter/exit
  • Expensive
Best Budget Camping Tent

Kelty Discovery Basecamp 4


  • Floor Area 53 sq. ft. (97" x 79")
  • Weight 8 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Height 58"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors One
  • Carry Size 23" x 6"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Casual weekends of car camping, festivals, beach camping
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Easy and intuitive to set up
  • Inexpensive
  • Pre-attached guylines
  • Storage duffel is easy to stuff and unpack


  • Rainfly isn't full protection
  • Fiberglass poles
Best Tent for Families

REI Co-op Wonderland X


  • Floor Area 70.5 sq. ft. (100" x 100")
  • Weight 35 lbs., 1 oz.
  • Height 75"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors Four
  • Carry Size 27.4" x 14" x 12.8"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Mondo-sized camping trips with the whole crew
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Huge tent for four people
  • Doubles as a massive shelter for cooking, entertaining, or eating
  • Extremely durable
  • The sleeping area is very large and protective from the elements


  • Expensive
  • Too big for smaller campsites
Best Tent for Group Camping

Mountain Hardwear Bridger 4


  • Floor Area 62.5 sq. ft. (96" x 90")
  • Weight 18 lbs., 9.4 oz.
  • Height 68"
  • Footprint Included Yes
  • Number of Doors Two
  • Carry Size 26" x 13" x 13"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Camping with the whole crew, or bringing along the kitchen sink in gear
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Vestibules are huge, and can fit entire bikes or coolers if needed
  • Many pockets inside the sleeping area and vestibules
  • Saloon-style doors open up to easily combine areas
  • Simple rope-bag style stuff sack


  • Not the easiest to set up single-handed
  • Pretty pricey
Best Harsh Weather Camping Tent

REI Co-op Base Camp 6


  • Floor Area 84 sq. ft. (110" x 110")
  • Weight 20 lbs., 11.5 oz.
  • Height 74"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors Two
  • Carry Size 24" x 11" x 11"
  • Seasons 3-4 season
  • Best For All-weather camping where comfort is in high-demand
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Huge vestibule
  • Excellent weather resistance
  • Easy to set up


  • Heavy
  • Expensive
Best Crossover Tent for Camping and Backpacking

Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3


  • Floor Area 42.5 sq. ft. (90" x 68")
  • Weight 7 lbs., 1.2 oz.
  • Height 48"
  • Footprint Included Yes
  • Number of Doors Two
  • Carry Size 25" x 7"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Do-it-all camping and backpacking for folks who don't want to have separate tents
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Compact packed size
  • Roll-back rainfly for star viewing
  • Spacious twin vestibules
  • Amenable to car camping or backpacking


  • Hubbed poles can be finicky
  • Not as spacious as other 3-person camping tents
Best of the Rest

The North Face Wawona 4


  • Floor Area 58 sq. ft. (96" x 90")
  • Weight 13 lbs.
  • Height  68"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors Two
  • Carry Size 27" x 10" x 10"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Camping with extra kit to store in the vestibules, or just kicking back beneath the shade
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Unique second door design
  • Plenty of interior storage pocket options


  • Rainfly isn’t the most intuitive to put on
  • Rear door isn’t covered by rainfly

NEMO Aurora Highrise 4P


  • Floor Area 62.5 sq. ft. (100" x 90")
  • Weight 15 lbs., 14 oz.
  • Height 75"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors Two
  • Carry Size 25" x 8.5" x 8.5"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Camping with the whole family, sleeping on cots, and tall parents
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Steep side walls bumps up livable space
  • Fun print on interior floor
  • Both doors stow away completely


  • Rainfly doesn't provide 100% coverage

Marmot Limestone 6-Person Tent


  • Floor Area 82.9 sq. ft. (120" x 100")
  • Weight 17 lbs.
  • Height 76"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors Two
  • Carry Size 24.4" x 10.4"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Any-weather camping where the forecast looks less than optimal
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Excellent weather protection
  • Lighter weight than similar 6-person shelters
  • Redesign adds additional vents to the fly
  • Close to vertical wall design


  • Rainfly contacts tent mesh in some spots
  • Vestibule isn't the largest

Eureka Copper Canyon LX 4-Person Tent


  • Floor Area 64 sq. ft. (96" x 96")
  • Weight 20 lbs., 4 oz.
  • Height 84"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors One
  • Carry Size 27" x 9" x 9"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Car camping with a view!
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Roomy
  • Airy and open
  • Tall height


  • Only one door
  • Not great in heavy wind

REI Co-op Skyward 4


  • Floor Area 60 sq. ft. (100" x 86")
  • Weight 13 lbs., 11 oz.
  • Height 78"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors One
  • Carry Size 27.5" x 9.8" x 9.8"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Campground camping with the family, or using camping cots
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Spacious interior with near-vertical walls
  • Simple pole design and setup
  • Multiple interior pockets
  • Simple vestibules have enough space


  • Minimal coverage rainfly won't stand up to tough weather
  • Broad sides catch wind

Coleman Skydome Darkroom 6-Person Tent


  • Floor Area 85 sq. ft. (120" x 102")
  • Weight 18 lbs.
  • Height 72"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors One
  • Carry Size 25.7" x 9"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Car camping in the desert or busy campgrounds
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Budget pricing
  • Near-vertical walls
  • Black-out fly blocks out ambient light


  • Pre-attached poles are good in theory, annoying in practice
  • Front vestibule has poor coverage of door
  • Fly only goes half-way down tent body

Big Agnes Big House 6


  • Floor Area 83 sq. ft. (118" x 100")
  • Weight 16 lbs., 7 oz.
  • Height 81"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors Two
  • Carry Size 26" x 15.5" x 8"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Camping in sunny locales
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Roomy
  • Two doors
  • Shade canopy feature


  • Not built to withstand extreme weather

Decathlon Quechua 2 Second Easy Camping Tent


  • Floor Area 46.8 sq. ft. (83.5" x 80.7")
  • Weight 18 lbs., 1.6 oz.
  • Height 52"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors Two
  • Carry Size 28" x 8.7" x 8.7"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Easy car camping, festivals, or camping at the beach
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Setup and takedown are a piece of cake
  • Keeps out most light for undisturbed sleep
  • High waterproof rating on the bathtub floor


  • Low ceiling height
  • Small vestibules
  • The rainfly can’t be removed, so no stargazing mode

MSR Habiscape 4 Tent


  • Floor Area 62.5 sq. ft. (95" x 95")
  • Weight 12 lbs., 11 oz.
  • Height 73"
  • Footprint Included No
  • Number of Doors 2
  • Carry Size 24" x 9" x 9"
  • Seasons 3-season
  • Best For Camping with tykes with wandering hands
The Best Camping Tents of 2024


  • Front and rear access doors
  • Easy to assemble, even solo
  • Generous vestibule space


  • Not as weather-resistant
  • Weak tent stakes

Camping Tent Comparison Chart

Camping TentPriceFloor AreaWeightHeightNumber of Doors
MSR Habitude 6$70083 sq. ft. (120″ x 100″)
14 lbs.77″One
Kelty Discovery Basecamp 4
$12053 sq. ft. (97″ x 79″)8 lbs., 8 oz.58″One
REI Co-op Wonderland X$1,24970.5 sq. ft. (100″ x 100″)35 lbs., 1 oz.75″Four
Mountain Hardwear Bridger 4$78062.5 sq. ft. (96″ x 90″)18 lbs., 9.4 oz.68″Two
REI Co-op Base Camp 6$54984 sq. ft. (110″ x 110″)20 lbs., 11.5 oz.74″Two
Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3$37542.5 sq. ft. (90″ x 68″)7 lbs., 1.2 oz.48″Two
The North Face Wawona 4$40058 sq. ft. (96″ x 90″)13 lbs.68″
NEMO Aurora Highrise$40062.5 sq. ft. (100″ x 90″)15 lbs., 14 oz.75″Two
Marmot Limestone 6-Person Tent$52982.9 sq. ft. (120″ x 100″)17 lbs.76″Two
Eureka Copper Canyon LX 4-Person Tent$27064 sq. ft. (96″ x 96″)20 lbs., 4 oz.84″One
REI Co-op Skyward 4$29960 sq. ft. (100″ x 86″)13 lbs., 11 oz.78″One
Coleman Skydome Darkroom 6-Person Tent
$20085 sq. ft. (120″ x 102″)18 lbs.72″One
Big Agnes Big House 6$60083 sq. ft. (118″ x 100″)16 lbs., 7 oz.81″Two
Decathlon Quechua 2 Second Easy Camping Tent$39946.8 sq. ft. (83.5″ x 80.7″)18 lbs., 1.6 oz.52″Two
MSR Habiscape 4 Tent$50062.5 sq. ft. (95″ x 95″)12 lbs., 11 oz.73″Two
GearJunkie Testers Hanging Out Under Camping Tent Vestibule
There’s nothing quite like returning to a big shady awning after a big ride or hike; (photo/Eric Phillips)

How We Tested Camping Tents

You wouldn’t jump headlong into a full weekend outdoors with an untested roof over your head, and thankfully, you don’t have to. Camping tents come in all different shapes, sizes, and qualities, and while many are winners, we’ve run into a few clunkers in our time. The GearJunkie staff may be a diverse bunch when it comes to our sporting specialties, but the one thing that unites us is a near-universal love of camping. We’ve been at this for a number of years, and we’ve learned a thing or two in the process.

Gear Editor Mallory Paige has spent hundreds of nights sleeping under the stars, and she knows first-hand the importance of a good shelter. She kicked off our search for the most worthy camping shelters in 2021 with an initial 12 tents, and set out a detailed testing regimen that includes tests against the elements, timing how quickly we can erect each tent, and the classic garden hose rain shower test.

Since then, our testing team has added contributor Ryan Baker, who started backpacking and car camping as a child. He also has lived in tents ranging from lightweight tarps for extended thru-hikes to heavy-duty basecamps to withstand extreme conditions. He is intimately experienced in the joys and pitfalls of only having a thin piece of synthetic fabric between the elements and a dry night’s sleep.

And finally, Senior Editor Nick Belcaster has enjoyed more than his fair share of evenings staring up at the canopy of his tent waiting out a rain storm. A veteran of the Pacific Crest Trail, Belcaster has the set up and tear down of his tent limited to mere minutes, and now travels the West testing camping tents for this guide on a rolling basis.

All of these outdoor addicts know that not only do you need something sturdy and reliable, but it also needs to be set up easily and packed well. We went to the internet for a deep dive into the research. After hours of research, we narrowed it down to the top tents for a head-to-head test. This involved lots of camping and various testers, and to date our estimated time testing numbers in the hundreds of hours.

We camped through a quintessential Colorado spring weekend, complete with sun, snow, sleet, and gale-force winds. We enjoyed hot summer nights, a few surprise thunderstorms, and plenty of regular ol’ campground outings from Moab, Utah, to the hills of North Georgia.

Then, we put the tents to the ultimate head-to-head test. Each was erected in the same valley and left for a week. Through rain, sun, and some epic wind, we were able to see which tents could withstand the elements best. From our experience and side-by-side testing, we crowned our winners.

REI Skyward 4 Camping Tent Interior
When weight is no issue, there’s nothing more we enjoy than the space to sprawl out in a camping tent; (photo/Erika Courtney)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Camping Tent

To help you decide what tent is best for you, we considered five categories: weather resistance, comfort, ease of setup, extra features, and value. Each of these bears more importance to certain campers than others. Consider when, where, and who you plan to use your tent with.

We have another guide for the best backpacking tents that focuses on lighter and less bulky tents for your backcountry adventures, as well as a primer article on the basics of camping and backpacking tents. Here, we focus more on car and family camping tents for the kinds of adventures where the car is within reach and the weight of a tent is less important. If you like the appeal of leaving your tent pre-rigged wherever you may roam, the ease of a rooftop tent might be up your alley.

Camping Tent Types

Just as backpacking tents can be broken down into smaller use-profile groups such as ultralight or weekend-warrior tents, camping tents too are generally aimed at a specific camping style or user group, and broadly can be placed in a High-End, Budget, or Crossover category.

High-End Camping

MSR Habiscape Tent Front
While a little cheaper than the Habitude, the MSR Habiscape still serves up high-end camping luxuries; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

High-End Camping Tents are just that — high-end, and prioritize a comfort-over-all-else ethos that will have you enjoying the outdoors, no matter the weather or group size. These shelters also command the higher end of the price spectrum, but for the dollars deliver on the niceties we’re looking for when camping outdoors. Often pricing out north of $500, tents like the REI Co-op Base Camp 6, MSR Habitude 6, and Mountain Hardwear Bridger 4 serve up hardened designs that jam in the features.

Their construction often aims to fully capitalize on the floor space provided, and sport vertical or close-to-vertical walls and a taller overall height that makes for less stooping once inside. Walls in this category will also use a good amount of mesh in order to increase built-in ventilation, and can be enhanced by using vents that are often built into the rainfly to keep moisture moving from layer to layer.

The rainflies themselves will almost always be full coverage, meaning that they extend from the peak all the way to the ground and help to seal out wind-driven rain. The design of these high-end tents also bulks up on security, sometimes borrowing from mountaineering-styled designs to form tunnel or dome-style tents. Poles will be made from sturdy aluminum and often attach to the tent body using clips or hooks, unlike traditional sleeves.

Budget Camping

Kelty Discovery Basecamp tent in Joshua Tree National Park
For $120, the Kelty Discovery Basecamp 4 is quite approachable and gets the job done; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

If front country or car camping is something you only do occasionally, then there’s not much reason to drop the big bucks on a tent that will only see occasional use. Your budget-style tents typically slide in under $300, and while they give up some in the overall durability and livability metrics, many are still great shelters for tossing up at the campground. Look to the $120 Kelty Discovery Basecamp 4 and the even cheaper $100 Coleman Sundome Tent 4P for real savings.

One of the biggest differences you’ll notice here is in material construction, and the overall weight that comes along with it. Budget-style tents are often made with thicker fabrics, and may be treated with cheaper waterproof coatings laid on thick to help resist moisture. This can aid in overall longevity, but at a good ding to overall packability. These style tents also may take shortcuts in their design that create large broadsides of walls that won’t be the most weather-worthy should a storm blow in. For most car camping, however, fair weather is the goal, and this won’t make much of a difference.

Crossover Camping

For those who simply can’t decide what the weekend might hold, or who are at gear closet capacity, the crossover realm offers a solution that both makes your tent decision easier, and limits the impact on your wallet. These tents will often skew closer to backpacking tents in terms of design, but provide a bit more living space like traditional camping tents do. In our line-up today, we’ve narrowed in on the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 as being the perfect crossover option, but have also had good luck with the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 3+ Tent in the past.

Keep in mind that these tents make concessions on overall livable space in trade for packability, and you’ll likely want to purchase a tent with one more camper capacity in order to have adequate space for camping. These tents will, however, be light enough to carry out to more remote camping spots, and can add a lot of comfort over going with a more purebred backpacking model.

Mountain Hardwear Mineral King Crossover Style
When used as a 2-person shelter backpacking, the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 provides plenty of extra space; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Weather Resistance

This is one of the biggest reasons to invest more in a tent. Basic tents handle pleasant weather like a champ and can even manage light rain and wind.

If you plan to camp during storms, it’s worth it to save up and buy a sturdier tent. Premium tents have stronger poles, full rain covers, and sealed seams. It’s things like this that seem less important — until you find yourself riding out an epic storm from the confines of your tent.

While testing, we experienced a major thunderstorm complete with high winds and heavy rain. Each of the tents had been properly staked out, but many of them experienced damage. The Marmot Limestone 4P performed incredibly well, with no leaking or broken poles. The REI Co-op Base Camp 6 is also well equipped for inclement weather thanks to its rainfly and many tiedown points, as is the Mountain Hardwear Bridger 4.

When it comes to camping tents, some may opt to limit the coverage of the rainflies in an effort to limit the overall weight. Unless this is done smartly, it can often lead to water ingress during sideways driving rain. The NEMO Aurora Highrise is an example of a tent with such a fly, and while the overhang between the fly edge and window is substantial, there still is a possibility that a strong sideways rain could leak inside.

REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Tent Rain Fly Detail
The REI Co-op Base Camp 6 has an excellent rainfly that provides great weather protection and creates a large vestibule in the front; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Seasonality Ratings

Often, manufacturers will refer to their tents with a season rating, which helps convey the types of conditions that it’s been designed for. While not a hard and fast rule, knowing where you are planning on camping, as well as the weather you may encounter, and what your tent is rated for, can greatly hedge your bets against spending a night in a flattened tent.

  • 3-Season Tents: 3-season tents (meaning, spring, summer, and fall) are your lightest-duty tents, and will employ lightweight materials in order to keep overall bulk down, as well as improve ventilation. Typically, the tent body will be nearly or entirely mesh, and mated to a bathtub floor. These tents also tend to be more suited to family use, and will often be taller and sport near-vertical walls. These designs are less aerodynamic, and more prone to bending under gusts of wind. Finally, most 3-season tents will use a rainfly that isn’t full coverage, and may only extend over windows and doors, instead of all the way to the ground. In fair weather, this is no issue, but it is something to keep in mind for less-appealing weather conditions.
  • 3/4-Season Tents: Bulking up on weather resistance, 3/4 or 3.5-season tents are similar to 3-season tents material-wise, but in design, they often are more weather-ready, usually employing dome shapes. Rain flies will also go all the way to the ground, forming vestibules where you might store your backpacks during an overnight rain.
  • 4-Season Tents: This is the realm of winter, mountaineering, and hunting tents, where weather resistance is in high demand and a tough structure is needed. Four-season tents are almost exclusively double-wall designs, and often shaped in domes or tunnels to better survive the wind. They will also sport many guylines to adequately support the tent, and thicker tent poles and materials to resist wind-driven rain and snow.
Camping Tent Seasonality
A tent like the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 lands squarely in the 3-season category; (photo/Scott Wilson)

Capacity and Floor Area

Every tent worth its salt today will provide a capacity number for the number of campers that it was designed to sleep. Many tent models are also available in multiple versions, with 4, 6, and 8-person capacities being the most common for camping tents. This number is drummed up from the number of regular sleeping mattresses that can be laid side-by-side in the sleeping area, though it is important to note two things when settling on a camping tent: this number very often only accommodates average 20-inch wide sleeping pads, and maxing out the capacity may leave you with scant little room to move around.

That’s why we always suggest bumping up a bit in capacity over the total number you plan on sleeping in the tent. For example, a crew of 4 campers would likely appreciate the extra space afforded by a 6-person camping tent — providing enough space for extra gear or just a bit more breathing room.

The floor area number will also give you a good idea of the sleeping area space in any one tent, and is generally given in square footage. For 4-person tents, this typically comes in at around 60 sq. ft. For example, the Marmot Limestone 4-Person Tent slides in squarely at 60, while the more comfort-minded Mountain Hardwear Bridger 4 squeezes in a bit more at 62.5.

When it comes to 6-person models the number jumps up to around 85 sq. ft., with the REI Co-op Base Camp 6 being the standard-bearer at 84 sq. ft., and the budget Kelty Discovery Element 6 surprisingly besting it at 89! It’s important to note here that the Kelty tent has less steep walls, and thus floor area isn’t the end-all when it comes to understanding overall livability.

REI Co-op Skyward Tent Floor Area
While the REI Co-op Skyward is specced out as a 4-person tent, using equipment like wide sleeping pads or cots can eat into that sleeping capacity; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Construction Materials

The weather resistance of a tent depends largely on the materials from which it is constructed. Nylon and polyester are very common materials used in car camping tents.

Nylon is stronger, more resistant to abrasion, and can stretch considerably. Unfortunately, it absorbs water that causes your tent to sag in storms or high humidity.

Polyester has less stretch than nylon and so it is more likely to tear. This rigidity is a benefit in wet conditions because it will sag less and absorb less water, but also makes it more fragile than nylon.

Kelty Discovery Element Tent
The Kelty Discovery Element comes at a great price, but sacrifices durability by using inexpensive fiberglass poles; (photo/Eric Phillips)


Manufacturers will usually coat these fabrics in one or a combination of silicone (Sil), polyester urethane (PU), and polyether urethane (PE). Each of these coatings has benefits and drawbacks.

Most brands use PU because it has been the industry standard for decades. It does absorb water after prolonged exposure and causes fabrics to tear more easily. It also degrades over time (usually about a decade or longer in a chemical process called hydrolysis) and can promote mold growth if put away wet.

PE repels water very well and doesn’t fall victim to hydrolysis. It does reduce tear strength and it is less common than PU.

Silicone is the most water-resistant of these three but does not bond well to other materials — not even itself — and it is expensive. Unlike PU and PE, silicone adds tear strength to the base fabric. Sometimes these materials are used in combination (on opposite sides of a rainfly, for example, labeled Sil:PU).

For waterproofing, all of these coatings are measured in hydrostatic head (HH). This is a measurement of water that can be placed over the fabric before it starts to saturate and allow moisture intrusion.

Imagine a tube of water placed over the fabric that is so many millimeters long. The gravitational pressure of the water exerts force over time to saturate the fibers.

Over 1,000 to 1,500 mm of HH is considered waterproof by industry standards. The benefit of PU is that multiple coats can be applied to achieve an HH rating of 10,000 mm or more.

NEMO Aurora Highrise Tent in Snow in Joshua Tree National Park
Waterproof coatings applied to the canopies of tents like the NEMO Aurora Highrise keep them dry — even in unexpected snow; (photo/Chris Anders)

Fabrics Are Also Measured in Grams Over a Square Meter

This measurement can be helpful, but remember that some fabrics are inherently stronger than others whether through stretch capability (nylon) or coatings applied. More weight of a given fabric does not always translate to strength. Denier is the measurement of the diameter of the specific fibers.

Again, this can add strength, but different fibers have different innate strengths at the same denier rating. Generally, car camping tents are built pretty burly without much of a worry for weight or packed size, as these will not be hiked very far. These measurements and ratings are a good place to start when selecting a tent but are not the final word on strength.


The comfort of a tent depends on personal taste and priorities. To evaluate comfort, we looked at ventilation, door and windows, floor space, and peak height. While a waterproof tent is a must, remaining breathable is a major concern.

REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Vestibule View
A comfortable tent will have plenty of room to move about and multiple entry points; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Not only does a poorly ventilated tent get too hot and stuffy, but interior condensation can also become a problem. This is another area where investing more in a tent pays off.

Higher-end tents have more mesh and an outer rainfly that is completely separate. The REI Co-op Wonderland X has an exoskeleton of poles and unique hanging interior mesh walls. The Kelty Discovery Basecamp 4 features a fully separate rainfly and plenty of mesh at an affordable price. Budget models, such as the Coleman Sundome, lack the extensive use of no-see-um mesh but are more affordable for occasional campers.

Most larger tents have two doors. We were disappointed to see the Eureka Copper Canyon LX 4 Tent and the Kelty Discovery Element have just one exit. Two doors make it much easier for multiple people to share the space without having to crawl over sleeping bags.

In general, it keeps the interior space cleaner and is convenient for midnight bathroom breaks. The MSR Habiscape has two large zip-down doors that make entry and exit convenient.

Pay attention to the direction of the door flaps. Most doors zip to the side like a regular door, but the Wawona 4 from The North Face rolls away to the top. Preference reigns here, but it is an attribute worth consideration.

Inside the REI Co-op Wonderland Tent
A huge tent with room to stand and sprawl can equal the ultimate comfort, but you’ll also need a big campsite; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Floor space in a tent equals comfort. Tents have a stated number of people they can sleep, but how roomy or cramped they will be at capacity varies by body size, bed size, and the amount of gear you need to store inside.

Pay attention to floor dimensions and you can get a better idea of how many sleeping pads will fit. The average-sized person can sleep fairly comfortably with 24 by 76 inches of room, but the more space the merrier.

Car campers will find maximum comfort by subtracting a person or two from the stated capacity. It is a joy to be able to stand up and stretch out in taller and larger family tents like the Big Agnes Big House 6 or Eureka Copper Canyon 4, but they can be a challenge to set up.

Taller tents give more headspace, but they can be more challenging to set up solo if the height of the clips or joints is hard to reach.

MSR Habiscape Camping Tent Interior View
Wide sleeping pads can take up extra space inside tents, and should be a consideration when planning out where everyone will sleep; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Ease of Use

Given their large size, it’s no surprise that some camping tents can be a challenge to set up. Over the years, we’ve wasted a lot of time fighting gear, and we’ve learned that it’s not worth dealing with poorly designed gear. It can quickly take the fun out of your time outdoors.

Whether you camp every weekend or once a year, ease of use is a major concern. Every tent on this list can be set up by one person (although some are easier than others). Our 5’5″ editor set up and took down each tent solo.

The Eureka! Copper Canyon didn’t give us much trouble during setup thanks to its pole design, while the Big Agnes Big House 6 was more difficult to set up alone.

A tent like the Decathlon Quechua 2 Second sets up in seconds, thanks to integrated poles that fold out already seated in the tent material. These tents unfold like a giant jack in the box and then pack away just as easily. While this is very convenient, storage and care are paramount, as there are many hinges and moving parts to accomplish this time-saving task.

REI Base Camp 6 Pole Configuration
Color-coded poles and attachment points like the ones found on the REI Co-op Base Camp 6 can make setup much easier; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Extra Features

One of the most important extra features of a camping tent is storage. Not all tents offer pockets and pouches for stashing gear, but they can make a big difference when deciding between two products.

There’s nothing more annoying than having to rifle through all of your belongings to find your headlamp. Luckily, most family camping tents come with a bevy of pockets to help things stay tidy.

The Eureka Copper Canyon has walls lined with convenient storage pockets to keep the whole family organized and the tent free of clutter. Conversely, backpacking crossover tents such as the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 only have a couple of corner pockets to save weight.

Other extra features we like had to do with stuff sacks and storage. The Eureka Copper Canyon packed down considerably well.

Another example of a thoughtful extra is the REI Co-op Base Camp 6 instructions sewn into the stuff sack. Extra features are just that, but they display a level of integrated convenience that can elevate one product over another for the benefit of the user.

Camping Tent Interior Storage Options
Features like the storage pockets found on the Kelty Discovery Element go a long way to improving tent life; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Price and Value

The price of your camping tent will be tied closely to the materials used in its construction, as well as to the overall capacity, which determines how much material is needed to produce the tent. As the old saying goes, you certainly get what you pay for when it comes to camping tents.

Budget camping tents are generally offered beginning at the $100 mark, and head up to around $200 from there. A tent like the Kelty Discovery Element 6 ($210) is a fine example, and it’s not uncommon for tents in this realm to offer rainflies with less coverage over the body of the tent, and often only incorporate a single door as an entrance into the tent. 

Understanding the limitations of budget tents will safeguard against overextending them in harsh conditions, but for fair-weather campground camping, many do an admirable job. Beyond the $200 to about $500 mark, camping tents begin to gain hardier materials, full-coverage rainflies and vestibules, and added niceties like internal storage options and windows. 

You’ll also notice a difference in price when looking at tents of different occupancies. For example, the REI Co-op Basecamp 4 is $449, while the 6-person version will run you $549. This $100 difference between a 4-person and a 6-person tent isn’t uncommon, and many other manufacturers replicate this.

Beyond about $600 are high-end tents, which jam in the features to offer true frontcountry luxury. The Mountain Hardwear Bridger 4 ($700) exemplifies this, with a burly mountaineering-inspired build, spacious and livable vestibule area, and an incredible amount of pockets and functionality. The asking price is a pretty penny, but the overall durability of tents like these means they’ll last a good bit longer than other lesser tents.

Campers Inside the NEMO Aurora Highrise Camping Tent
The NEMO Aurora Highrise is on the higher end of the price range, but its tough construction should last many seasons of camping; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Other Considerations and Taking Care of Your Tent

We have talked about materials extensively. Coatings, base fabrics, and pole construction all contribute to the strength and longevity of your tent, but the single most important factor in the life of your tent is you.

First and foremost, never put your tent away wet. Remember when we mentioned hydrolysis earlier in regard to PU coatings? Water is a major culprit in speeding up that process. The fungus, molds, and mildews love to grow in your dark closet on your wet tent at room temperature. These organisms destroy the fibers of your tent and make it smell terrible.

Set your tent back up when you get home and let it air out. This simple chore will pay off later when you are still able to use your tent down the road. If you have no yard or nowhere dry to set it up, your living room makes a great space for this. Check all the seams, and especially the floor and fly, before packing it away.

Camping Tent Interior Window Flaps
It’s a good idea to open all doors and vents in your tent so that it can dry out completely before going into storage; (photo/Eric Phillips)


Poles tend to break when they are not properly seated. When you are setting up your tent, never throw your poles. Some poles have an elastic cord in the center to keep them together. These are not meant to snap the pole into alignment, and tossing them around will crack and break fiberglass or aluminum.

Ensure that each joint is seated before installing the poles into the tent. When putting them away, treat them with the same care in reverse. Even though they seem strong, they are not meant to be thrown or hit against themselves or the ground.

REI Co-op Wonderland X Aluminum Tent Pole
While typically more expensive, tents with aluminum poles are the way to go due to their durability; (photo/Eric Phillips)


Zippers are best left zipped to protect the teeth from wear. Simply zip them up before you roll the tent up to put it away. You can stuff your tent into the sack or roll it up neatly.

Some outdoor enthusiasts argue that rolling and folding in the same areas can create crease lines that put stress on the same area if the folds are always done in the same place. (Think about when you fold a piece of paper back on itself in the same spot to tear it easier.)

We have never had an issue with this, and it would take very specific creasing to accomplish that sort of wear, so pick whatever works better for you.

Most tents come with a stuff sack large enough to fit all the pieces. Cinch that sack tight before you store it so no pieces wander off. Now your tent is put away properly for its next adventure. Keep it away from harmful UV rays and temperature extremes, and your tent will give you optimum performance.


When it comes to protecting your new tent, one important consideration is a footprint. This is a ground cloth to set the tent upon. It provides an extra layer to protect the tent floor from punctures.

Some brands sell a footprint with the tent, such as the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3. Manufacturer-paired footprints usually pack down small and perfectly fit the size of the tent. On the downside, they add an extra $50 or so to the cost of the tent.

Some people prefer to use a basic tarp instead, which can be picked up for less than $20. A tarp doesn’t pack up as easily and doesn’t match the size of the tent.

You’ll either need to tuck the extra under the tent or trim the tarp to fit. You don’t want any of the footprint material sticking out from under the tent, as this can lead to water pooling underneath.

Weight and Packed Size

These are more important when choosing a backpacking tent and less important when car camping. They are still something to consider. Some tents function as backpacking tents as well as car camping tents.

Most of the tents in our test come with a useful storage sack that contains the tent, fly, poles, and stakes, though some models are easier to pack away than others.

The Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 packs down small enough to carry into the backcountry but is by no means a “lightweight” tent. Most of the tents on our list are too heavy to be practical for backcountry travel.

Camping Tents Stuff Sacks Arranged on Ground
Comparing the packed size of various camping tents; (photo/Mallory Paige)

Camping Gear: What Else Do You Need?

Depending on the outing and your style, camping can range from minimalism to a bring-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink adventure. In addition to a tent, you’ll need a sleeping pad and sleeping bag. That has your sleeping arrangements mostly covered, although you could certainly opt for a camping pillow or camp cot.

Next, think about your camp kitchen setup. A good camp stove allows you to make everything from scrambled eggs to multicourse meals. If you’re just looking to boil water, a backpacking stove is all you need to quickly make coffee or cook up a dehydrated meal.

For camp lounging, you may want a camp chair or hammock. And don’t forget the camping lantern. If it sounds like a lot to remember, don’t worry. We’ve made this handy camping checklist that will help you pack the essentials.

The North Face Wawona 4 Camping Tent Interior With Campers and Dog
Don’t forget the card games on your next camping trip; (photo/Nick Belcaster)


What are the best tents for family camping?

The best family camping tent depends on your outdoor goals. In general, most families appreciate having more room and the ability to stand comfortably.

The MSR Habiscape 4 Tent has earned high marks from our family camping testers. If you regularly camp in adverse weather (hello, spring in Colorado), it’s worth considering a slightly smaller and more durable tent.

What is the best camping tent brand?

The best camping tent brand depends largely on your personal needs and budget.

For a premium tent that can withstand the weather, MSR consistently delivers. If you’re looking for maximum space and flexibility, the Eureka Copper Canyon is a favorite with families. And for a budget-friendly option that is built to last, check out Kelty.

Are expensive tents worth it?

If you plan to camp regularly, it is worth it to invest in a higher-quality tent. The extra expense means sturdier poles, waterproof seams, and generally an easier setup. If budget is a major concern, don’t let that stop you from getting outside.

We’ve consistently been impressed with the budget-friendly options from Kelty. The Kelty Discovery Basecamp 4 costs just $120 and offers plenty of room.

Should you put a tarp over your tent?

Quality tents are waterproof. But if you find yourself camping in an absolute downpour, hanging a tarp can provide extra protection and comfort.

It’s important to tie it up well so the wind isn’t a concern and to be sure that it isn’t touching the tent. In addition to creating an extra tent porch, a tarp is great for protecting your camp kitchen.

The rainflys of most tents are adequately waterproof, but a tarp could boost weather resistance in a pinch; (photo/Scott Wilson)
Where should you not put a tent?

While there are millions of places to take your camping tent, there are certainly some that aren’t going to be ideal for both yourself and the environment. First, always consult local information as to where you might legally pitch your tent without running into issues of land closures or private property.

Once you’ve located your camp zone, then consider where you might like to set up camp for the night. While campgrounds take the guesswork out of the equation, public-use land such as BLM land leaves the choice up to you. Micro-landscape features will have a big impact on your overall enjoyment, so be mindful of the following:

Ridgelines tend to catch more wind overnight, and setting up camp here can be asking for a windy evening. And while setting up your tent right next to a lake may appeal to many, these thoroughfares to water are important to local wildlife, and should be left free to not impede their access. Take a look at the landscape above your potential campsite as well, as nobody wants to set up underneath a rock-fall area. Camping on durable surfaces is the second Leave No Trace principle, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

And finally, consider your space from others enjoying the wilderness. You likely came out here to enjoy some quiet, and they probably did as well!

What shape of tent is most popular?

While there are many different styles of tent available today, each has a better use profile and ideal adventure to use them on. When it comes to camping tents, the most popular shape will be a dome-style tent. This is because of ease of use, as well as the trade-off in canopy headroom to the overall complexity.

Some tents, like the REI Co-op Wonderland X, make use of a tunnel-style structure. These tents often boast more headroom overall, but will suffer some during high winds. For this reason, it’s important to properly guyline out a tunnel-style tent. Other tents still, like the Eureka Copper Canyon 4 Tent or Decathlon Quechua 2 Second Tent, employ a collapsible style of integrated poles that forms a rigid structure once assembled. These tents are often among the easiest to use, but also the weakest overall, as any strong force against their poles could collapse them.

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!