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Top 7 worthy camping tents that make 'roughing it' outdoors enjoyable

Rest easy in the great outdoors in one of 2019's best new camping tents.



​Sierra Designs

Warmer days are here, so campfires and s'mores are calling your name! And nothing says summer like a camping trip with your friends, family, or even just yourself. To maximize comfort, safety, and fun, you'll need to start with the right equipment, and a solid tent is the foundation of your gear.

Today's market is jam-packed with affordable and premium options, all of them emphasizing different traits, features, and materials, and each with their own benefits. A mansion-sized car camping tent is great for trips with large groups, as they offer tons of space and comfort, but with a tradeoff — they take up lots of room in your trunk and are typically more affected by wind and rain. Smaller tents with a dome shape don't provide the same amount of floorspace and headroom, but they are easier to set up, pack easily in your car, and stand up better in storms. Whatever your preference, knowing the basics of tent construction will help you make an educated decision.

Important considerations when purchasing a tent for traditional car-camping (not backpacking):

Size: Floor area is an important consideration for everyone. A two-person tent is great for a couple who packs lightly. But for two friends who overpack, or if you bring a furry friend along, having extra floor space can make all the difference. If you have the cargo space, it's smart to buy one size bigger than what you need (a couple might choose a three-person tent to have space for gear inside). And don’t forget about the ceiling height. Some tents have a lower profile, where you can sit upright and possibly kneel inside. Others are tall enough for a 6-foot human to stand.

Capacity: Tent capacities range from one-person to 14-person and beyond, and it’s all about personal preference. For this review, we included mostly two- and four-person tents, with a few larger options for families. Most tent models are offered in multiple sizes — in which case we will discuss one specific size, and include links for the additional options.

Doors: One door is suitable for a single or couple. But if you plan on sharing the tent with a friend or a few children, it’s wise to have a few doors so you don’t wake up to someone stumbling over you in the middle of the night.

Weight: When you can unload your trunk and setup camp right by the car, weight isn’t a huge deal (like it is with backpacking). Beware, though, that heavier tents typically don’t pack down very small, which means it will take up quite a bit of trunk space — this can be important when you're stuffing four people into a car for a weekend getaway.

Weather/Style: If you only camp a few times a year in warm, dry climates, an affordable tent with good ventilation and water resistance can be enough. But if you’re a weekly camper, or you frequent areas with high winds or frequent thunderstorms, it’s worth it to spend the extra coin on a tent that is built to handle some nasty nights.

Note: The number in each product title refers to the number of people each tent will comfortably sleep.

How We Chose Our Picks



To compile this list of the best camping tents, our editors thoroughly examined a wide variety. We carefully considered size, capacity, weight, weather resistance, price, extra features, and overall value. Some tents were chosen based on positive firsthand testing experiences, and others were chosen based on hours of research on current technology, trends, and surveys of user reviews.

We have combined our obsession for the outdoors with our knowledge of the industry to help you make the most educated decision, so you, too, can fall in love with the outdoors.

BEST OVERALL

Big Agnes Rabbit Ears 4P Tent




Big Agnes

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amazon.com

$249.95

Big Agnes is know for their badass, lightweight, and typically pricey backpacking gear. But with the new Rabbit Ears tent, you can get the same Big Agnes quality, with more emphasis on value than weight-savings.


The Rabbit Ears is a four-person tent with 60 square feet of floor space, a 60-inch head height, one large door, and a weight of about 9 pounds. With only one door, it could be tough to squeeze in four adults, but there is plenty of space for mom, dad, a child and a pup. Its rainfly and floor are a waterproof-coated polyurethane, all seams are taped for waterproofing, and the body is a breathable polyester and mesh blend. There's ample ventilation, too, in case you're a hot body in the night.


While it's definitely not the most affordable tent in this roundup, we're pretty darn confident that you'll be thrilled with the easy setup, solid construction, and overall value of the Rabbit Ears 4. It's also available in a six-person version, the Rabbit Ears 6.


Solid overall value
Good waterproofing
Packs down to a reasonable size
Simple setup

Only one door


MOST STAND-OUT


Mountainsmith Mountain Tipi 2-Person Tent





Mountainsmith


$249.95


$199.96 (20% off)


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amazon.com


Haven't you always wanted to sleep in a teepee? We have, too — and now you're in luck! Mountainsmith just reinvented their original Mountain Tipi from 1980, and it's everything you've ever dreamt of!


With such a unique design, it's tricky to get a feel for sizing based on floor space — especially since the tent is held up by a pole in the center (just like a tipi!). Its maximum center height is 5-foot-8-inches, and there's a single entry door. We have stuffed two people and gear inside the Tipi comfortably, and have even used it as a common space for a group of five to sit while taking cover from a downpour.


Take this baby camping in sketchy weather and you won't be disappointed. It's designed to stand up to strong storms, with a bathtub floor construction, taped floor seams, top-notch waterproofing on the full coverage rainfly, and guy lines that tie the Tipi down surprisingly well, considering its height and funky shape.


Set-up can be done in a multitude of ways, too, depending what the weather calls for and how much space you have in the trunk – standalone teepee, teepee with bug nest, bug nest only, and our favorite option, the whole kit! We are pretty stoked about this tent, and think you will be too.


Good waterproofing
Unique
Versatile setup options
Center pole can be awkward


BEST FOR SLEEPING IN

Coleman Sundome Dark Room 4-Person Tent





Coleman


$89.99


SHOP NOW


amazon.com


We absolutely love camping. But on the (rare) occasion that we stay up too late around the campfire, a 6 a.m. sunrise can be quite the buzzkill. Thankfully, Coleman knows that not everyone wakes up cheerily at sunrise, and have delivered us their new Dark Room tent. It's a welcome upgrade to their time-tested Sundome, with a new technology that is designed to block out 90% of sunlight so you can sleep past sunrise without your tent becoming a hot sauna.


This four-person model has only 63 square feet of floor space and a single front entry door, so you probably won't want to cram it wall-to-wall with four adults.


You'll appreciate the bathtub-style floor and waterproof rainfly that keep you dry if the weather turns. We love the E-port feature, too, which makes it simple to bring electricity into the tent.


Economical and practical, this tent is a great entry-level tent for someone who wants to get outside with their nature-loving friends, but can't go a day without their beauty rest. It's also available in a six-person version, the Sundome Dark Room 6.


Dark Room technology keeps you cooler
Setup is fast
Affordable
Good waterproofing
Single door


BEST CABIN-SIZED TENT


CORE Instant Cabin 9P Tent





CORE


$249.99


$199.99 (20% off)


SHOP NOW


amazon.com


Tired of forking over the dough to rent a cabin every year? This monster is essentially a cabin in a bag! It does weigh 30 pounds, so make sure everyone packs a little bit less to save some space in your trunk.


With a 14-by-9-foot floorplan, you could technically house nine people in sleeping bags on the floor (though we wouldn't recommend it). The better option, though, is to set up two queen air mattresses, pull the privacy divider shut, and voila — you have two separate rooms, and can forget about the mess your kids have made on the other side!


The 78-inch center height is enough space for a 6-foot-plus human to stand tall. Three separate doors provide easy access, while the large T-shaped door and ample windows provide top-notch ventilation for the whole crew.


Perhaps our favorite part of this tent is the lightning-fast setup! The poles are pre-attached to the tent body, which means you can take it out of the bag, lay it upright, and have it erect in just 60 seconds!


With an average of 4.5 stars on more than 500 Amazon reviews, users praise this simple 60-second setup, the large amount of space for the whole family, and the surprisingly sturdy, water-resistant construction (given the size and price).


Check out CORE's six-person and 12-person Instant Tents, too!


Tons of space
Great ventilation

Might be too big for some campsites
Could get top-heavy





BEST POP-UP TENT

Coleman Instant Pop-Up 2-Person Tent





Coleman


$71.95


$48.49 (33% off)


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amazon.com


Festival season is quickly approaching, which means you've probably drained your bank account on three-day passes. But don't fret — this option from Coleman is easy on the wallet.


This tent's standout feature is the pre-assembled pole system, which means one person can set this tent up in a mere 10 seconds! Yes, really!


The floor is made of the same nylon material as the sidewalls, so it's not as puncture-resistant as others in this review, and it works best when paired with a tarp or tent footprint underneath. But when music is life and you'd rather spend more time catching vibes than fumbling with poles, this tent is more than enough shelter for a few days of boogying. It's available as a four-person tent, too!


Sets up in 10 seconds
Not the most durable


HONORABLE MENTION

ALPS Mountaineering Taurus 6-Person Tent





ALPS Mountaineering


$279.99


$179.99 (36% off)


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amazon.com


ALPS is known for making solid outdoor equipment at a fraction of the cost of some other brands (see above). Their Taurus is a pretty darn good value for the price, with ample space for a few adults and some kids or puppies.


Similar to REI's Kingdom 4, the Taurus boasts 100 square feet of floorspace, with two large doors and two large vestibules for dry gear storage. There won't be enough space to stand up, but the rounded shape and lower profile make this option pretty versatile for nasty climates.


Waterproofing in the Taurus 6 is no joke, too. This tent has the coveted bathtub-style floor and full-coverage rainfly that is typical in more serious backpacking setups and high-dollar options, so you can rest easy knowing that rainfall don't stand a chance of ruining your night.


Not convinced yet? You must have missed the price.


Great value
Two large doors and vestibules
Bathtub-style floor & full-coverage rainfly
Sturdy and durable


HONORABLE MENTION

Sierra Designs Clearwing 2-Person Tent





Sierra Designs


$229.95


SHOP NOW


amazon.com


Sierra Designs made this tent to deliver a ton of space for you and your gear at a weight so light that it could even be used for backpacking (less than 5 pounds)!


The Clearwing 2 Tent has vertical sidewalls, so there's a surprisingly large amount of headroom for two people to be getting dressed at the same time.


With two doors and two side vestibules, friends could share it in a pinch, and couples will be happy to have their own entrance. Its smart pole design allows you to set up in a jiffy, while the "burrito bag" storage sack simplifies take-down and helps this tent compress to fit under your passenger seat or in your overnight backpack. It's available in a three-person Clearwing, too!


If you're searching for a well-priced tent that works for both car camping and backpacking, give the Clearwing a deeper dive.


Light enough for backpacking
Extra headroom for a small tent
Two doors and two vestibules for gear storage
Burrito bag makes packing up simple
Small for two people when car camping
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About Minh Hiếu

Le Minh Hieu is a national-level weightlifter and a Singapore Weightlifting sports performance coach. Hieu's biggest passion is helping everyone find confidence, happiness, and health through fitness.

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