No matter how old we get or how wrapped up we are in the perpetual ongoings of our daily lives, there are few things that bring us back down to reality other than unplugging and dashing towards the forest for an extended stay. Be it with the entire family, old friends, a special someone, or just yourself, camping helps you get back in touch with the world we left behind so long ago in favor of LED screens and high-rises. It’s time to reacquaint yourself with an old friend, time to ditch the cell phone and the email notifications. It’s time to embrace the wilderness.
No matter what your experience level in the outdoors, odds are you understand the need for shelter. And in this particular instance, the need for a tent. But not just any tent. Because in this world, you truly get what you pay for. Now, that budget tent might have felt like a great purchase while it sat cozily on the store shelf or stored away in the garage, but what happens when the weather turns, poles start bending, and the zipper to your mosquito net starts to snag?
Don’t fall victim to those “best deals” out there for tents. There’s nothing worse than having what was supposed to be a weekend of rest and relaxation descend into rage and regret. If you’re worried about what’s out there, don’t be, we’re here to help. In fact, we’ve assembled a list of the top ten best camping tents around to ensure that remaining comfortable at night is the least of your worries while unwinding in the wild.
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1
Capacity: 1 Person
Sometimes it’s best to go at it alone. Or at least sleep at it alone. Because really, who want to listen to someone snore all night long? So for these lone wolves, the ALPS Lynx 1 is the tent to pick up. It’s free-standing, two-pole design with 7000 Series aluminum poles ensure quality and durability, a factory sealed fly and floor seams boast the best in weather protection, and its vestibule for gear storage and extra weather protection makes this home away from home your right-hand-man in outdoor protection. The tent also features 20 square feet of floor space.
Coleman Red Canyon
Capacity: 8 Person
If you’re looking to bring your entire house with you on a weekend camping trip then the Coleman Red Canyon is calling your name. Measuring 17-by-10 feet, the tent is spacious enough to sleep eight campers and also features removable privacy walls allowing dwellers to create up to three separate rooms within the tent. Its Weathertec System is guaranteed to keep campers dry if the sky happens to open up during the trip and, despite the size, setup is easy thanks to shock-corded poles and easy-to-follow instructions. There’s also a Cool-Air port and Variflo adjustable venting system that enables you to adjust airflow and access all your gear when needed.
Black Diamond HiLight
Capacity: 1-2 Person
Just because the weather gets a little colder doesn’t mean that the desire to camp should head into hibernation as well. Winter camping can be a great time to get away without the worry of crowded campsites. All you need is the proper gear. And as far as tents are concerned, the Black Diamond is the real deal. Its two-and-a-half-pole design provides twice the strength and features a drip-free awning. There is also a mesh window on the door and back wall for ventilation, a 2000mm floor for warmth and optional ground cloth for additional comfort. The canopy fabric is made up of ToddTex3L and the Easton Aluminum tent poles reassure us that this tent is built for life-long use. Total interior floor space measures 27 square feet as well.
Nemo Equipment Losi Tent
Capacity: 2 Person
Type: 3-Season Backpacker
Here’s a spacious two person tent build for those who like their space at night. It’s fully seam taped and waterproof and built from lightweight materials because, of course, the Losi is the backpacker’s best friend. The unique pole structure contributes additional sturdiness and space and thanks to the tent’s two doors, two vestibules, and a mesh canopy, you and your camping partner will have independent access to a well-ventilated tent for three-quarters of the year. Interior floor space total 32 square feet and, here’s the kicker, the whole thing weighs in at just under 5 pounds when packed up.
Sierra Designs Flash 2 Ultralight
Capacity: 2 Person
For those couples looking hit the hills for a hike or extended excursion through the wilderness, they’d be hard-pressed to find a more sturdy and reliable 3-season tent for this price point. Featuring an awning design that surpasses the vestibule at the tent entrance, you’ll keep dry when the weather turns and won’t feel claustrophobic thanks to Sierra’s new design that reduces redundant material inside the dwelling. Also, for those warmer days, the mesh hybrid walls provide additional airflow through all sides of the tent. The front door is wide enough for two to sit side-by-side and interior floor space totals 29.9 square feet.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX
Capacity: 2 Person
Introducing one of the only tents that’s name actually depicts the emotions we feel toward the item. The “hubba hubba” packs down next to nothing (just over three pounds) and the 30D nylon ripstop bathtub floor protects you from the cold-hard reality you’re sleeping upon. A combination of DWR and 3000 Durashield PU coatings keep the water outside when it rains and vents on all four sides of the tent create a nice cross breeze to help air out the Hubba Hubba during those warmer days and nights. What’s unique here is the rainfly-vestibule interaction where the zipper lies along the side of the fly, tucked underneath the rain gutter, protecting the entrance to your tent. The tent is also made up of a 20D ripstop nylon and 15D nylon micromesh body, a 20D ripstop nylon rainfly, and features 29 square feet of floor space.
REI Base Camp 6
Capacity: 6 Person
Be the provider that you are and bring the whole family or group of friends outdoors. Contribute shelter and food. Show them you mean business when it comes to outdoor excursions. Just as long as they bring the beer. This REI camping tent comfortably sleeps 6 people and features a mountaineering-inspired geodesic dome structure to make everything as roomy as possible. Sleepers have access to two doors and each door is made up of solid fabric for privacy and mesh for ventilation. There are also two vents on the roofs, a large pole-supported vestibule, and smaller stake out vestibule to provide additional covered storage as well. It also features a full coverage polyester rainfly and coated 150D polyester oxford floor that is abrasion and puncture resistant. Total floor space measures 86.8 square feet.
Marmot Limestone 6
Capacity: 6 Person
Despite its three-season categorization, this tent manages quite well in cold and stormy weather. It features a door mat and hanging organizer for any and all gear, a full coverage fly, heavyweight Oxford 150D floor, and two D-shaped doors with two vestibules for coverage. Assembly is simple; the tent sets up in minutes and the roomy interior offers an inviting space to rest after a long day out and about. The rainfly is made from 68D polyester ripstop and total floor space measures 83 square feet. If you’re looking for a light and easy tent, made for those spontaneous camping trips this summer and fall, then this tent is an obvious choice.
Eureka K-2 XT
Capacity: 3 Person
For those alpine ascenders, there’s little out there that will provide better security and warmth than the XT. Its four-pole geodesic dome is strong, lightweight and offers substantial living space. There’s also a 14-pocket organizer wall, four gear loft loops, and one flashlight loop offering storage and organizational perks for extended stays on the mountain, or while you wait out the storm with your buddies. The poles are made from 7000-Series aluminum, the fly is made from 75D StormShield polyester ripstop with a PU coating of 1800mm, the body boasts 70D nylon-taffeta composition and 40D “no-see-um” mesh, and the floor is comprised of 70D nylon-taffeta with a PU coating of 3,000mm. Interior dimensions total 52 square feet as well.
Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8
Capacity: 8 Person
Head out year-round with up to seven others thanks to the construction of this sturdy shelter. The dome design and pole structure make it ideal for windy conditions and the huge rain fly and vestibule make whatever rain or snow falls a laughing matter. There’s also a zippered internal door to extra protection, and the whole thing can set up in minutes. The floor is made from polyester with a 1500mm waterproof polyurethane coating, and the main tent is breathable polyester ripstop with nylon mesh windows. For the rainfly, Big Agnes provides campers with a 1500mm waterproof polyester coated offering. Total floor space also measures 112 square feet. It’s a fantastic family tent that’ll withstand the elements. And for the price, it’s hard to beat.
The North Face Summit Series VE 25 Summit Gold
Capacity: 3 Person
The North Face doesn’t mess around. Used on K2 expeditions and cold-crack tested to -60 degrees F, this four season tent is made for whatever nature plans to throw its way. Featuring a polyester ripstop fly with 1500mm PU coating and water-resistant finish, a canopy made from nylon ripstop, and water resistant finish, “no-see-um” mesh, and a durable nylon taffeta floor with 10,000mm PU coating, you will be the only one who doesn’t need a heated tent this winter. It’s also spacious to boot with 48 square feet of room. Use it year round too thanks to Summit Gold’s adjustable flaps that prevent heat from building up on the inside.
Hilleberg Keron 4 GT
Capacity: 4 Person
Some campers don’t mess around. For them, the elements are minor speed bumps in their way as they pursue the ultimate outdoor adventure, whatever the cost. Hilleberg identifies with these diehards and their flagship tent, the Keron 4 GT is an outstanding hard use, all-around wilderness tent. Featuring extremely strong Kerlon 1800 outer tent fabric and 10 mm poles, this is one of their strongest models around. A two door two vestibule configuration and exceptional strength to weight ratios allow these tents to excel in year-round use, especially above tree line or exposed terrain. The floor is made up of 70D nylon triple coated 10,000mm PU material, the rainfly is Kerlon 1800 40D ripstop nylon and the total floor space measures 47.3 square feet.
Check out last year’s picks on the next page.