The Ultimate Guide To The Best Camping Tent

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Camping Tent

Living on Vancouver Island, in the Pacific Northwest, I am surrounded by scenery that I can not describe in words. This scenery can’t be accessed by resort hotels and major cities, they can only be seen through the eyes of a camper.

I have lived on Vancouver Island for the past six years, and have explored this great island and have taken in the amazing views via car, bike, and hiking. But when I travel to these nature destinations, I don’t stay at a five-star resort like the Fairmont in Victoria, I stay as close as I can to nature by camping.

I wouldn’t say I am an experienced camper, but I know what I like when it comes to comfort when staying at a camping retreat.

Camping tents
Vancouver Island Coastline

Why you should go camping

There is nothing like packing up the car or rv and getting away from it all. The idea of leaving behind the stale air and constant craziness from routine lives and heading to a camping site or wilderness is heaven.

When it comes to camping, the most important thing to have a relaxing and successful break from it all is a great tent.

I want to share with you what the best tents for camping and backpacking that will satisfy the needs of any camper looking for either rest and relax vacation or adventure backpacking.

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The Ultimate Guide To The Best Camping Tent


Camping should be a extremely fun activity, whether youre with a sizeable group at the local campground or on a backpacking vacation with your spouse.

However, a quality tent is an absolute necessity for you to make full use of your camping and backpacking experience. To choose the best tent for you, decide a tent type, size, and shape that address your specific needs.

Make sure it includes the features you require and is produced with quality materials.

Deciding On The Size Of Tent


For versatility, the safe choice it to go for a three-season tent. It fits most basic camping needs and is equipped to handle weather in the spring, summer, and fall.

This three-season tent is relatively lightweight, provides good ventilation in the summer heat, and includes a roof canopy that successfully keeps out rain.

What kind of tent to buy for a family

If you are planning on driving to your campsite and doing some car camping then get a family tent.

While family camping tents tend to be quite a bit heavier, they also have tall walls and sometimes even multiple rooms that provide a lot of space and comfort.

Will a tent keep you warm

Thinking about camping in the cold? Then a four-season tent is for you. A four-season tent is made specifically for winter weather that are typically made of strong materials that can handle extreme wind and snow. 

Want a small tent for a long backpacking trek? You should look at a backpacking tent which is made for one person that prioritizes weight and packability. A good backpacking tent should weight about two pounds, and make sure you find a tent that can fit in a backpack.

Which Tent To Buy For Camping


Choose an easy tent to set up. At the end of a long, hard work week or an exhausting day of hiking, the last thing you’ll want to do is take time to set up shelter.

You’ll be especially grateful for a collapsible shelter that can be set up quickly when the rain starts pouring or the sun starts setting.

Look for words and phrases like “pop-up, “easy up,” “instant,” and “quick-opening” in the tent’s name and description.

Will a tent protect me against the weather?

Make sure the tent provides adequate weather protection.

Whether you only camp in the hot summer or you camp every month of the year, you’ll need a tent that can provide the right weather protection.

The kind of protection you need depends greatly on the climate of the areas you camp in. Just remember rain is one form of weather that nearly every camper needs protection from.

Be sure to buy a tarp to go with your tent. A tarp is a cloth that goes underneath your tent. This will not only protect the tent floor from rocks and debris, but can also prevent ground condensation inside the tent due to a cold damp site.

Many affordable camping tents are available with a matching tarp that can be snapped or clipped to the bottom of the tent.

Tent Construction

Most camping tents either fall under the category of single-wall or double-wall. There are good aspects and not-so-good aspects of each one, so consider both to see which one is worth it for you.

Single-wall camping tents are lighter and easier to set up, but provide less protection and storage space.

Double-wall camping tents provide more space and protection, but are significantly heavier.

Buy a tent made of tightly woven, rip-resistant material.

Which tent material is best?

Tents are typically made of nylon, polyester, cotton canvas, or polycotton. Any of these should work fine, but consider getting a tent made of high-dernier ripstop-nylon fabric. This is one of the better all-around fabric options because it’s strong, lightweight and water resistant.

Stay away from fabrics that feel thinner.

Choose aluminum poles. Tent poles can be made of many different materials, including carbon composite or fibreglass.  Aluminum poles are the strongest and most durable option, so go for a tent that has them.

The downside to getting aluminum poles is they’re a bit heavier, and get a tent with durable zippers. 

Also, make sure that the tent has ventilation with mesh paneling. A tent that has mesh panels on the ceiling, doors, and/or windows ensure good airflow and prevent condensation.

Top Tents To Fit All Your Camping Needs

Where to buy a tent? There are several retailers that sell the top tent brands for camping. Amazon, REI, Cabela’s, and Basspro are just a few examples of where to buy a tent from great tent brands like Kelty, Coleman, and Ozark. Below are the Amazon tents that are available today for your camping tomorrow. Give or take two day shipping.

How I chose these tents

I have been looking throughout the winter season reading camping tent reviews on Amazon, Reddit and Tumblr to come up with a consensus of what the most popular tents are out there.

I read through many reviews to make sure that my polling was based on real people reviews as I watched the snow fall outside.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent is the quintessential 3-season backpacking tent. The freestanding design features pole geometry and a non-tapered floor that maximizes space with 29 square feet of floor area, and a peak interior height of 39 inches.

Amazon Review: ” Awesome tent! Very light compared other backpacking tents. It isn’t “ultralight” (2-3lbs) but it is light (4-6lbs). But for the price it is perfect.

Did not feel like paying 50% more for the ultralight gear which is usually only for serious long term backpackers (months at a time) that need to compact their bags to under 20lbs.

The material is light and yet strong. Easy to put up! I have got it down to 2.5 minutes up and about 5 minutes down (folding and what not). The alternate configurations really help when raining. Wind resistant and rain resistant. Always dry inside except for some condensation but opening a slight opening at top of door helps that issue.

The fly and tent have good separation and the tent has awesome ventilation, especially without the fly!

Couldn’t be happier and would argue this might be the best tent as far as quality vs price goes on the market.”

Kelty Grand Mesa Tent – 2 to 4 Person Camping and Backpacking Tents

Create the comfort and shelter you need on your next camping or hiking trip with this freestanding tent from Kelty. The Kelty Grand Mesa 4 Tent is made from durable polyester fabric and features an easy-to-assemble freestanding design with DAC Pressfit, color coded clip construction, no-see-um mesh wall panels, and a fly vent.

Amazon Review: “Great for backpacking. I took this on a two day hike up in the San Gabriel mountains. It performed beautifully! With the vent closed at night it was warm with just a very slight breeze since I didnt put the guylines on.

The second night it rained and the wind was blowing pretty hard.the tent flexed only slightly with strong wind but popped right back into shape. The tent stayed warm and dry through the whole thing.

The tent was easy to break down and pack in my Osprey pack. Its easier for storage If you don’t store it in the provided stuff sack.”

Eureka Copper Canyon 8 Tent - 8 Person, 3 2601308

9-pole Cabin style tent. 6 Windows. Gear Loft. 2 Doors. Vertical walls offer maximum use of interior space, making the tents ideal for use with cots

Amazon Review:” First time camping with this tent and we are very happy we got it. It set up easy and within minutes. It was a one person job. All the poles are of a good and sturdy quality.

I like that the windows zip up or down in a straught line. No more half circle windows. Because it isn’t a dome tent, you can actually walk around in it and have more the one person standing.

My husband is 6’2″ and had no problems walkin in and standing in the tent. Second night we got a very heavy rain for almost an hour. Not! One! Drop! Inside! The only water that came in was from our shoes. No leaks or drips at all.”

Coleman 4-Person Dome Tent for Camping | Sundome Tent with Easy Setup

The Coleman Sundome 6, 10'x10', dome tent is part of the classic Sundome series of tents from Coleman. The Sundome 6 sleeps 6 happy campers and includes a large door for easy entry/exit with a hooded fly to provide ventilation even in rain. A large rear hooded window also provides airflow for cross ventilation.

Amazon Review: “My girlfriend and I just got back from Electric Forest. It was my first time using this tent. It was super windy and was raining buckets to the point where there were inches of standing water outside the tent.

Without even treating it with campdry or any sealant, we were bone dry and cozy in this tent for five days, and we only had the rain fly on and a tarp that covered about half the tent. It is a freaking TANK!

Been camping my whole life and never had a tent this waterproof. It’s also super breathable even with the rain fly and a tarp; the little vent near the bottom is a great feature.

Do yourself a favor and get this tent and a big tarp to go over it, and maybe a drop cloth to protect the bottom, and I promise you’ll be dry in any storm.

Plus, bonus points for being super easy to set up, and tall enough to stand in! Can’t wait to use this tent again, it’s better than any of the more expensive tents I’ve ever used.”

Other Great Tents Available On Amazon


CORE 9 Person Extended Dome Tent

Sleeps 9 People A 16’ X 9’ floor plan can sleep 9 adults in sleeping bags not counting additional gear. It can also sleep fewer campers with lots of luggage. Removable Rainfly You'll love the views through the mesh ceiling panels and if it starts to rain, we've got you covered. With extra wide, thick tape that is heat sealed to the rainfly fabric, wind and rain don't stand a chance.

Amazon Review: “So the tent is huge. Way bigger than the pictures make it look. Very easy to set up. I was drunk, barefoot and it was in the middle of the night with only one flashlight the first time I set it up and it only took five mins.

Also, the takedown is extremely easy. With a major hangover, minimal sleep and still no shoes it only took 10 mins to get it back in the bag. Highly recommended for family outings or if you need a small apartment sized tent for yourself. It didn’t rain on it yet so more review to follow when I get caught in a rainstorm.

Year later update: tent still rules”


Coleman 8-Person Tent for Camping | Elite Montana Tent with Easy Setup

Set up a home base with some extra sleeping space with the Coleman Montana 8-Person Tent. An extended door awning creates a dry space to store gear and enter the tent. If it rains, the included rainfly and the WeatherTec system with its patented welded floors and inverted seams will help you stay dry.

Amazon Review:” Good Tent. Used it 3 weeks ago. I slept 5. Me, my wife and my 3 boys during a cub scout campout. I had a Queen size air bed and a full size airbed on either end of the tent and still had what seemed like 6 feet of space in between, which I used to set up a 3’x3′ roll table and store my gear.

The door is very convenient. It can be tricky to get the velcro to lineup, but not a big deal at all. What I really like about the door is the design. I had zipper issues with a previous tent, because of the tension put on the door. This tent zips very easily, and I can see it lasting much longer!! I got a lot of compliments from the other dads too, which is always a plus ;)”

Coleman Dome Tent with Screen Room | Evanston Camping Tent with Screened-In Porch

Enjoy the great outdoors without the bugs inside the Coleman Evanston 8-Person Tent with Screen Room. Great for car camping and extended camping trips, this spacious tent offers enough room for 2 queen-size airbeds and is designed to set up in under 15 minutes thanks to snag-free, continuous pole sleeves and Insta-Clip pole attachments.

Amazon Review:” The best tent… EVER!! It goes up quick & easy. Looks great. I bought it for just my husband & I so it‘s wonderfully roomy. Love the ‘ porch ‘. I put up a queen air mattress and used a rubber maid tote as an ‘ end table’ in the tent proper. Battery candles – cute & safe. 

I put a little camp table & two chairs on the porch – tho we had good weather and never really needed to sit in there. But, it would have been perfectly comfortable to hang out and play cards, drink wine, whatever – if we had. I can’t say enough good things. Bought it on Prime and received it within two days. I love my tent. And so does my dog, Sugar !!”

Wenzel Klondike Tent - 8 Person

Set a new standard for family camping! Featuring Weather Armor- fabrics to protect you from rain and wind, room for 2 Queen airbeds, and 6.5 feet of head room, the Klondike family camping tent can house your whole party. A large front screen awning provides you a “camping porch” with sun and weather protection to make your camping experience feel like home. The tent includes convenience pockets and vents in the roof and back for nice hi-low air circulation on warmer days.

Amazon Review:” Great, spacious. easy to assemble. I’m 6’1 and could stand comfortably in the main bedroom. We had working full Coleman cots with side tables on them and still a wide space on either side. The front room was lower, but a great feature for storing all our stuff/mud room, etc. 

We loved all the open window options and the roof for star gazing etc. Well made tent. We used it for the first time camping at Red Top Mountain state park in GA. 

The second night, had a very heavy thunderstorm with excessive rain. The tent stayed dry! (The roof cover worked very well) It was a good test. We really loved this tent. 

Not necessarily an 8 person size….you’d have to get really creative. Lol”

NTK INDY GT 4 to 5 Person 12.2 by 8 Foot Outdoor Dome Family Camping Tent

It’s simple to set up NTK tents with very little time and effort. Each camping tent from NTK features an innovative pin-and-ring system for enhanced, easy assembly letting you spend more time enjoying the outdoors and less time setting up your camping gear. NTK camping tents feature high-quality and extra-thick Nano-Flex technology, which keeps the tent poles interconnected with high-performance bungee and durable galvanized steel parts. These materials come together to create a safe and stable outdoor sleeping space for you and your family.

We checked so many options on amazon to update our camping gear and found this nice new brand. This tent got home and everyone came over to check it out, it is very different of what we are used to, first we set it up at our backyard. During the weekend we took off with it and while setting it up some folks came over asking were had we got it, the space solution is very impressive, looks like it was designed by an architect or something. Very smart, eary to set up and to fold away into the carry bag. The ventilation at first looked poor, but at night we kept the front are with both doors opened and the door of the inner tent with the mosquito mesh panel only and it was just great breeze. This brand is surprising us, many friends will buy!

Browning Camping Big Horn Family/Hunting Tent

The Big Horn Tent Series from Browning Camping gives a whole new meaning to home away from home! Using fiberglass poles and steel uprights, the Big Horn Tents boasts a free-standing cabin tent design that is sure to withstand all the elements and conditions that it's put up against. Forget kneeling and crawling -- its extra-tall center height makes changing clothes or getting ready for bed as easy as if you were in your bedroom.

Amazon Review: ” This tent is AMAZING. We were staying at a campground in NC. It rained so hard all three nights, flash floods and everything! We woke to ankle deep water and even water running under the tent. Felt like we were on a water bed. But, we were dry! BONE DRY. Not a single leak. And it poured for about 5 hours each night!

Also slept our family of 6 comfortably. I liked the divider for when someone needed to change. The zippers didn’t get caught like other tents we have slept in. I would highly recommend this tent. Great price and my husband said it wasn’t too hard to set up. You definitely need 2 people to set it up though. The tent itself is a little heavy but to be expected with that size.”

Ozark Trail 10-Person 3-Room XL Family Cabin Tent

Experience camping the way it was meant to be with the Ozark Trail fAMILYTent. This tent provides enough sleeping room for up to ten people, and it can fit three queen-sized air mattresses with extra room to spare. It features two removable room dividers that can create up to three separate rooms. One center door and two side doors offer separate entrances for added privacy. There are six windows for increased ventilation and panoramic views of your camping area.

Amazon Review:” We have used this tent for 3 years (2 vacations per summer) twice so far on vacation it has rained non stop for a week straight and this tent held up perfect. The room inside is very large we only use 1 divider for my Granddaughter and her Queen size mattress the middle we put our stuff (luggage) and Our Queen mattress.

We love this tent so much! We like the little pouches over the mattress where we keep our cell phones, keys, we like the hook in the center of the tent we hang a plastic name brand lantern from. Very easy to assemble one person can do it, but its faster with 2.

We bought a tarp as long and wide as the tent to put on the ground to assemble the tent on, it just keeps the bottom of the tent clean, especially when it rains. This is a GREAT TENT and you will not be disappointed if and when you buy it.”


Coleman Elite WeatherMaster 6 Screened Tent

This roomy tent has enough space to fit 2 queen-size airbeds and lets you stretch out thanks to its 6-foot 8-inch center height. Inverted seams increase weather resistance by hiding needle holes inside the tent. Engineered to be a stronger, more wind-responsive frame with redesigned poles and guy-out triangles. A zipper cuff made of weather-resistant fabric adds protection from the elements to the door.

Amazon Review:” Good Tent. Used it 3 weeks ago. I slept 5. Me, my wife and my 3 boys during a cub scout campout. I had a Queen size air bed and a full size airbed on either end of the tent and still had what seemed like 6 feet of space in between, which I used to set up a 3’x3′ roll table and store my gear.

The door is very convenient. It can be tricky to get the velcro to lineup, but not a big deal at all. What I really like about the door is the design. I had zipper issues with a previous tent, because of the tension put on the door. This tent zips very easily, and I can see it lasting much longer!! I got a lot of compliments from the other dads too, which is always a plus ;):

Napier Backroadz Truck Tent - Full Size Short Bed (5'5" - 5'8")

The Backroadz Truck Tent was created with every truck owner in mind while being easy on the wallet. A quick and easy assembly creates the ultimate camp site in the back of your open-bed pickup. Napier’s exclusive full floor design protects you from the elements while making the tent easy to set-up and secure to your truck. It’s perfect to keep behind the seat for any unexpected adventures such as: camping, tailgating, fishing or even lounging at the beach.

Amazon Review: “The experience of using the tent was great. We camped in Colorado with weather down to 40F and up to 85F. It rained multiple times during our trip. The tent never leaked. It did have condensate, but it did not leak.

The tent has a net at the top. We used this to hold our iPad and watch movies at night which was fun. The interesting part of our trip was we had to use our truck every day during the trip. I built a platform for a bed in the truck which had to be removed before removing the tent.

We didn’t want to disassemble the entire setup each day so I simply removed the poles, unhooked the straps and folded the tent into the back of the truck then rolled the bed cover over it all.

This worked great. It also allowed me to take down and put up the tent several times in this one trip. I became pretty quick at putting it up. With help it could pop right up in 10 minutes. All of the clips and straps held strong through all of this up and down with the tent. As mentioned before, the only issue with any hardware was the string on the green pole.

Even with that one issue I think this tent is of very good quality and worthy of a high ranking. It handled the weather nicely, was simple to set up and take down and had as much room as one could possibly expect in a tent for a short bed truck. I’m happy with the purchase.”

Tips For Your Tent

  • Looking for a tent with lights? To provide light inside your accommodations at night, suspend a headlamp light or flashlight from the ceiling.
  • Make sure to buy some seam sealer for your tent. Spraying your seams annually or keeping them taped will keep them stronger and more effective.
  • Prep the tent site before pitching the tent. “Sweep” the area for any sharp rocks, sticks, glass or other debris.
  • Before you take your new tent out for your first trip, set it up in your backyard. This way, you will be familiar with how to pitch the tent and you will know that you have all the parts.
  • Always fully zip up your tent door to keep spiders, mosquitos, and other bugs out.
  • Never have an open flame inside the tent. This is a fire hazard.
  • If all else fails, there is Airbnb. ( Click here to receive credit towards your first booking.)


I hope that this guide will help guide you toward the best camping tent for all your needs.

There are so many choices that are out there, everything from dome tents, cabin tents, and small tents you should be able to find one that will get you out there and start camping.

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