The Best Camping Tents for Your Next Adventure
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.
Backpacking long distances? Ultralight is the way to go. Whether you’re gearing up for a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail or just want to lighten your load to save your knees from inevitable post-hike swelling, these feather-light tents will feel like nothing at all in your pack while still providing shelter.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent
Sierra Designs Flashlight 2 Tent
The Flashlight 2 features a hybrid design that combines single-walled and double-walled sections, giving you two doors and two vestibules to make both getting in and storing gear simple. This tent can also use your trekking poles instead of the provided aluminum poles to make it even lighter.
Weight: 2 lbs., 14 oz.
Big Agnes Scout UL2 Tent
At just two pounds, this hyper-light tent requires trekking poles for support. With proper ventilation to limit condensation, the single-walled Big Agnes Scout UL2 is a throwback to the A-frame tents of the past.
Weight: 2 lbs.
These tents are roomy enough for everyone and everything you want to fit into them—kids, friends, pets—you name it. You won’t have to worry about weight on a weekend car camping adventure, so there’s no shame in going all out.
Olympic Dome 4-Person Tent
With spreader poles creating vertical sidewalls for extra headroom inside, the Olympic Dome will give everyone enough room to breathe. Plus, a seemingly infinite number of storage pockets might just be enough to actually keep your family organized.
Weight: 9 lbs., 10 oz.
Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8 Tent
This behemoth of a tent sleeps eight campers, and at 72 inches peak height, those of you who aren’t in the NBA can take turns standing up without hunching over! A zippered internal door even lets you separate the Flying Diamond 8 into two rooms.
Weight: 27 lbs., 12 oz.
Six-person tent also available.
Kelty Airlift 6 Tent
Do you hate trying to wrestle tent poles into the right sleeves? Well, the Kelty Airlift 6 completely does away with poles, instead relying on inflatable AirPoles. All you have to do is pump the AirPoles to inflation and voila, it’s ready for use. A massive vestibule gives you additional space to store gear or hang out.
Weight: 23 lbs., 4 oz.
Four-person tent also available.
These tents designed for mountaineering will keep you sheltered from just about any storm. They’re engineered to stand up to gusty winds and snow so deep you’ll have to dig your way out in the morning. Multiple crisscrossing poles, reinforced nylon, and dozens of tie-down points will keep you safe through the night.
Eddie Bauer Katabatic 3-Person Tent
The Katabatic 3-person tent is from Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent line, which is both designed and used by world-class mountaineering guides. With six poles—plus one for the fly, this tent will hold against the strongest winds without buckling.
Weight: 10 lbs., 5 oz.
The North Face Mountain 25 Tent
A base camp staple of mountaineering expeditions everywhere, the Mountain 25 features a combination of sleeves and clips to hold its poles in place. The compact design sleeps two, with a smaller footprint than you’d expect from the inside and some extra space to store gear in the large front and small rear vestibules.
Weight: 8 lbs., 8 oz.
Ferrino Snowbound 2 Tent
This Italian tent uniquely features guy-out points—loops for attaching added support ropes called guy lines—on the main tent structure itself as opposed to just the rainfly. This seemingly small feature gives the Snowbound 2 extra anchoring power and strength against strong gusts.
Weight: 10 lbs., 9 oz.
Three-person tent also available
These tents are light enough to be taken backpacking, roomy enough to keep you from feeling claustrophobic, and sturdy enough to hold up against your average rainstorm.
Hilleberg Anjan 2 Tent
Boasting a tunnel design more common in Europe than the United States, this top-of-the-line Swedish tent is made with high quality tear-resistant Kerlon 1000 fabric. The Anjan 2 can be set up entirely from the outside, so the inside never gets wet, even during a downpour. Provided you set it up correctly, with the entrance facing away from the wind direction, this tent will stand up to significant wind speeds.
Weight: 3 lbs., 9 oz.
Three-person tent also available.
EMS® Refugio 2 Tent
North Face Talus 3 Tent
Traditional tents aren’t the only type of portable walls you can put between you and the wilderness. Tarps, hammocks, tree tents, and bivy sacks all offer alternative sleeping arrangements.
Kelty Upslope Tarp
Sleeping under a tarp can be unnerving the first few times, but it will bring you closer to the nature you set out to see. The Upslope Tarp will keep you out of the rain, shield you from the wind, and is quick to set up.
Weight: 1lb., 12 oz.
ENO Singlenest Hammock
Forget about sleeping on the hard ground; hang from the trees instead. With a few accessories like a bug netting and tarp—both available from ENO, the ENO Singlenest can completely replace your tent.
Weight: 1 lb.
Tentsile Vista 3-person Tree Tent
Tree tents are a new addition to the tenting world, combining the hanging abilities of a hammock with the security of a tent. The Tentsile Vista consists of three parts: a floor, a mesh middle, and a nylon roof, all suspended from nearby trees with heavy duty straps. It’s like a portable tree house for you and your two closest friends.
Weight: 19 lbs.
Outdoor Research Helium Bivy
Claustrophobic? Feel free to skip this one. Bivy sacks are little more than tents the size of your sleeping bag, so don’t expect much room to move around. These extremely lightweight, wind resistant, and waterproof shelters have been favored by alpinists for many years as they tackle the world toughest climbs, and the Outdoor Research Helium is a classic.
Weight: 1lb., 2 oz.