The 12 Best Camping Tents

Apr 13, 2020

Category: Gear

It’s that time of year again — the sun’s shining, temperatures are rising, and everything is starting to feel a bit more “spring-like.” Naturally, this also means that you’ll have to set aside some time to pull your old tent out of storage, dust it off, and ensure that it’s ready for the upcoming camping season. More often than not, you’ll be happy with the way things turn out; but for those of us who want the latest and greatest, it doesn’t take much to convince us that it’s time for a brand-new outdoor enclosure.

Heading to a brick and mortar location or online store can be a bit overwhelming when you’re looking for a brand new tent. After all, there are more than enough lauded manufacturers, designers, and styles out there to choose from. Throw that in with a less-than-thorough understanding of all the new abbreviations, iterations, and technical breakthroughs since the last time you shopped for a trail-faring shelter, and you’re in for a wild ride that you might not be ready for. Luckily, we’ve most of the hard work for you, aggregating a handful of new, up-to-date offerings from the industry’s most lauded companies, and revisiting a few old favorites to give you the “what’s what” of the camping tent world.

Backcountry x NEMO Nachi

Backcountry is one of the outdoor market’s finest proprietors, which means that whenever they decide to buckle down and collaborate with another of the industry’s most lauded companies, it’s time to take note. The Backcountry x NEMO Nachi tent is a great example of experience and time-tested knowledge, calling upon a spacious two-person capacity, a removable rain fly, and mesh canopy to keep things aerated during any outdoor excursion. The three-season offering boasts a dual-door vestibule layout, allowing campers to store their gear and packs without having to worry about external interference. Pair that with a menagerie of pockets for small gear storage and safety, and you’ve got one of the most formidable enclosures on the market.

Size: 2-Person
Weight: 4 pounds, 14 ounces
Construction: 30D Polyester

Purchase: $214

Sierra Designs Meteor

Sierra Designs’ Meteor tent is a bit bigger than the first offering on our list, and that’s no simple achievement. Since the Backcountry x NEMO Nachi was catered toward spacious livability, you can bet that this three-person offering is a bit more well-rounded when it comes to internal volume, integrating steep wall angles for enhanced space, an easy-access, dual-door setup, and an intuitive two-pole architecture that makes set up (and tear down) a breeze. If you’re one to get a little rough with your outdoor enclosures, don’t fret — the Meteor’s 68D polyester taffeta/15D nylon mesh construction is sure to keep you comfortable and protected regardless of the tough terrain.

Size: 3-Person
Weight: 5 pounds, 6 ounces
Construction: 68D Polyester Taffeta

Purchase: $225

REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus Tent

Any great outdoor gear guide wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of REI Co-op, and the fact that the company’s two-person, three-season Half Dome 2 Plus tent is as performance-focused as they come certainly helps its case when compared to the rest of the genre’s top offerings. Sticking to the subdued, minimalist nature of the company’s other products, the Half Dome 2 doesn’t ask for any favors when it comes to aesthetics. Instead, it focuses purely on performance, introducing a number of mesh panels, tension-truss architecture, vertical sidewalls, and a multitude of storage options to keep all of your gear, as well as yourself, safe from harm. It also features two extra-large doors and vestibules, allowing for easy access and covered storage, and complementing the off-grid abode’s ventilated design, which has been implemented to reduce and prevent condensation buildup. It’s even made with a solution-dyed mesh to reduce water and energy consumption during the manufacturing process. What more could you ask for?

Size: 2-Person
Weight: 5 pounds, 5 ounces
Construction: 40D Ripstop Nylon

Purchase: $230

Marmot Tungsten

Marmot continues to innovate on the best aspects and properties of the outdoor gear industry, especially when it comes to off-grid enclosures. The company’s Tungsten tent is a perfect example of its commitment to the betterment of your next excursion, thanks to an ultra-spacious four-person capacity, zoned construction to provide “roomlike” sleeping areas and a waterproof fly/floor area that helps campers to fend off unwanted moisture. The company’s interesting inclusion of no-see-um mesh promotes adequate airflow and protection from pests, while a fast-pitch footprint and ambient light pocket join forces to provide a cozy atmosphere for the entire family, at a moment’s notice. While the Tungsten doesn’t boast a large vestibule area like the other offerings on our list, it more than makes up for it with lavish interior space and amenities, making it one of the most lauded three-season tents around.

Size: 4-Person
Weight: 7 pounds, 15 ounces
Construction: 68D Polyester Taffeta

Purchase: $255

ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3

ALPS Mountaineering’s Tasmanian 3 tent is an interesting offering that looks undeniably unique. It features a handful of interesting design and architectural traits that help it to stand apart from its brethren, including durable polyester taffeta walls, no-see-um mesh windows, a ruggedized taffeta floor, and PU coatings for additional reinforcement. It also comes with a weatherproof shock cord and 7000-series aluminum poles to keep things lightweight, intuitive, and ultra-durable when faced with inclement weather, including heavy winds. Pair that with over four feet of headspace and a spacious three-person layout, and you’ll be hitting the mountainside in style within one of the only four-season offerings on our list.

Size: 3-Person
Weight: 9 pounds, 4 ounces
Construction: 75D 185T Polyester Taffeta

Purchase: $260

Snow Peak Amenity

Snow Peak’s Amenity tent is truly a testament to its name, thanks to its three-season person and a layout adjusted to cater to the car campers of the world. If you’re not a fan of sleeping on the ground, this spacious offering might be the perfect recommendation for your next big road trip, especially if you’re in the market for a luxurious waterproof enclosure for avid family outings. It’s constructed with a high-quality 75D polyester taffeta, 210D polyester OX, and a 68D polyester taffeta body to ensure that it can stand up to the most nefarious climates you can throw at it. Extra privacy has been afforded due to the Amenity’s unique vestibule side doors and zips, allowing you to stow away for the night, or create an awning during the daylight hours. Like most of the offerings on our list, you’ll find a selection of interior storage areas, pockets, and stashes to keep your important items safe and sound as you trounce your most visited trailheads.

Size: 3 To 6-Person
Weight: 10 To 23 Pounds
Construction: 68D Polyester Taffeta

Purchase: $330

MSR Papa Hubba NX

MSR’s Papa Hubba NX has made its way onto a number of our lists over the years, and today, it still stands as one of the genre’s most versatile, and popular tents. The enclosure’s compact, but pleasant two-person interior capacity offers livable accommodation to trail-fairing campers, without all of the additional quality-of-life aspects that turn traditional outdoorsmen off from contemporary products. Instead, the Papa Hubba NX focuses on a lightweight freestanding design that’s easy to set up, easy to tear down, and durable enough to take on the outdoors’ complexities, thanks to its 30D ripstop nylon construction, Xtreme Shield polyurethane, and Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment. At just over 3.5 pounds, the Hubba NX is a perfect enclosure to take with you when weight might be an issue, making it a preferable option for thru-hikes and other long-winded endeavors that call for a more compact offering.

Size: 2-Person
Weight: 3 pounds, 8 ounces
Construction: 20D Ripstop Nylon & DWR

Purchase: $338

NEMO Dragonfly 1 Tent

NEMO is a household name when it comes to outdoor gear, and the Dragonfly 1 Tent is a perfect example of why that is. After spending years on the trails and in the backcountry of the world’s most beautiful locations, this glorious example was conceptualized by the company’s design team to provide campers with a quintessential enclosure for three-season outings, focusing primarily on use by a single individual. As a result, the Dragonfly 1 boasts one of the lightest personas on the market at a mere one pound, five ounces, while still incorporating industry-leading airflow, ventilation, and a 15D ripstop nylon construction. The tent even boasts a durable silicone repellent, giving it reliable reinforcement against rain and moisture, a black no-see-um mesh sidewall, a waterproof floor, and a dual-stage Divvy sack for optimal storage of your gear while on the trail.

Size: 2-Person
Weight: 3 pounds, 2 ounces
Construction: 15D Nylon Ripstop

Purchase: $360

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Bikepack

Big Agnes’ Copper Spur HV UL2 Bikepack tent is an interesting variant that’s been created for use alongside the cyclist’s traditional outfit. It can pack down for storage on handlebars, panniers, and saddlebags, while still offering advantages to traditional hikers through its ultra-conscious bag footprint, saving spacing for other items that you might need to take along for the ride. A Shortstik pole set and high-volume, 4-way hub design make setup and teardown a breeze while promoting increased strength and interior volume in-line with many of the genre’s larger offerings. Inside, 3D shelving, quick stash pockets, and media holders ensure that you’ll always have a place to store your valuable electronics, joining forces with the Copper Spur’s waterproof polyurethane-taped seams to provide adequate protection against moisture and wind. But if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, there’s also a suite of dual easy-grip zippers that will allow you to open up the top of the tent for increased airflow and some great views of the night sky.

Size: 2-Person
Weight: 3 pounds, 7 ounces
Construction: Silicone-Treated Ripstop Nylon

Purchase: $470

The North Face Assault 2 Futurelight

The North Face didn’t become a trusted name in the realm of outdoor gear overnight. It took years of tried-and-tested use in the farthest reaches of nature to garner the industry’s respect, and now, the Assault 2 Futurelight tent has once again sent ripples through the ultralight realm. Calling upon the company’s innovative FUTURELIGHT fabric, the Assault 2 boasts a waterproof, but breathable demeanor that can be expanded and augmented through the use of a removable vestibule system. A single door and “escape hatch” back exit provide quick-witted campers with a means of egress should things get slippery, while a dual-vent top and ample interior space provide the creature comforts that we’ve all come to expect while living on the trail. To make setup and teardown as easy as possible, The North Face has fashioned the Assault 2 around its Easy-Pitch X-tent architecture, utilizing DAC Featherlite NSL poles and DAC stakes to keep weight to a minimum. It surely doesn’t hurt that the FUTURELIGHT is also a four-season, two-person offering, making it a go-to variant for outdoorsmen looking to take on their favorite areas throughout the year.

Size: 2-Person
Weight: 4 pounds, 15 ounces
Construction: 30D Durable Nylon Ripstop

Purchase: $495

Black Diamond Fitzroy

Black Diamond’s Fitzroy tent is a freestanding, single-wall offering that innovates on the traditional construction principles set forth by alternative manufacturers. To save weight, it eliminates the use of a separate canopy and fly, making it an ideal offering for campers who are taking advantage of the trailhead throughout the year, and staying mobile for extended periods of time. For the mountaineers out there, its waterproof design calls upon a unique Todd-Tex fabric to shed droplets of moisture, while still remaining relatively breathable, reducing condensation and fending off the morning dew. Taped seams and a single-wall canopy provide additional reinforcement against the elements, while an elaborate internal mesh pocket system provides ample storage space for your gear during those quiet nights outdoors.

Size: 2-Person
Weight: 7 pounds, 1 ounce
Construction: ToddTex Single-wall Fabric

Purchase: $675

Hilleberg Jannu

Hilleberg’s Jannu tent rounds out our list as a high-profile offering built primarily for mountaineering and alpine climbing. Its sleek, compact footprint lends itself to use in the world’s most formidable areas, including knife-edge ridges, ledges, and diverse climates where cutting wind and rain might be a factor. Where it really shines, however, is the snow, where its unparalleled snow-loading resistances and lightweight architecture have made it a hit among the alpine camping crowd. Inside, a spacious area presents itself for both solo hikers and small-stature duos who are looking to take on the outdoors, thanks to a self-supporting dome design, a separable inner and outer tent area, and ultra-durable Kerlon 1200 outer tent fabric.

Size: 2-Person
Weight: 7 pounds, 1 ounce
Construction: Kerlon 1200

Purchase: $1040

The 20 Best Camping Gadgets

Enclosures aren’t the only thing you’re going to need when you head out for that next big weekend adventure. Now that you’ve found the right tent for the job, head over to our guide on the best camping gadgets to give your off-grid abode a more homely feel.

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