Ask the most outdoorsy person you know about tents and you’ll hear story after story of busted zippers, pounding wind, deluging rain, and the frustration of trying to get all those poles into the right sleeves so the thing will stay up. Tents don’t have to be this hard.
While we can’t promise perfect weather, these high-quality tents will help make your next backcountry excursion more bearable. Whether you’re road-tripping America’s National Parks or packing up the van for the annual family Memorial Day camping trip, the trick is picking the right tent for your adventure. By taking destination, amount of people, and type of trip into account, you’re already well on your way.
However, if you’re new to camping—a beginner’s guide for you here—you’ll also need to know a little bit of tent terminology before reading on. A tent footprint is a large, tarp-like piece of fabric you place under the tent to protect it from abrasive ground textures like gravel. Double-walled tents include a main tent and a rain fly, which is a separate cover. Single-wall tents don’t have that separate rain fly; they’re just one piece. And finally, a tent vestibule is kind of like a porch; it’s outside of the main tent, usually above a door, and it provides coverage from the elements.