Top 9 Best Tents for Backpacking and Camping – Reviews + Buying Guide

Choosing a low-quality tent can affect your backpacking adventure. But with lots of options available, finding the best tent is not easy. So, we have written this buying guide to help you out in deciding which among the best tents for backpacking and camping you should buy. We have reviewed 9 popular and high-quality tents in the market today.

Our review includes the different tent features, their specifications with pros and cons. By the end of the article, you will be able to choose the right tent for your next camping. However, if you would like to skip straight to the final verdict, here is a quick recap of our top picks.

  • Great for entry-level backpackers
  • Roomy enough to accommodate 4 persons
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comes in 2 doors
  • Durable material
  • Easily setup in 30 seconds
  • H2O block feature offers great water resistant
  • Zipper panels on doors & windows
  • Adjustable advanced venting system
  • Space saving gear loft organizer
  • Fits 6 persons and 2 queen-sized airbeds
  • Fast Pitch setup, easy to assemble
  • Dark room technology, blocks 90% of sunlight
  • Check Circle
    Built in screen room for bugs-free lounging experience

One of the most enjoyable outdoor activity is camping. It is done in a place where no proper accommodation is present. It can be done in an uninhabited island, mountain or forested areas.

Camping is not only for those who are willing to move out of their comfort zone. For those who are into camping, they don’t just go on in this activity without preparing. It is important that they are equipped with the right equipment and one of the things they would not forget to take with them is a tent.

Tents are portable shelter and are made of sheets of canvas and are supported by a framework of poles. There are different types of tents that you can choose from. The most common type of tents is the one that is made of fabric and is stretched out using ropes.

Not giving importance to tents could ruin your camping adventure. Who would want to sleep out in the open for the rest of the night? You could freeze out in the cold weather and will not be able to sleep comfortably.

Therefore, it is a must to bring your best tent for camping in an isolated place. Make sure that it is big and comfortable enough to accommodate as many people as possible. It is also important that the tents are made of high-quality material to keep you protected from any problem.


Lists of 9 Backpacking & Camping Tents

We have designed a comparison table below for your easy reference. However, it is important to note that the positions are in no particular order of importance.

ProductFittingFeaturesPricing & Rating


Big Agnes Blacktail 4
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
4 Persons
1 Queen Airbed
Dimension: 90 x 105 inches
Floor Area: 66 sq-ft
Center Height: 55 inches
Weight: 8 lbs 2 oz
No of Doors: 2
No of Vestibules: 2
Design Type: Freestanding
Season: 3-season
4.3/5.0

Price: $

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Core Equipment 4-Person Instant Dome Tent
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
4 Persons
1 Queen Airbed
Floor Dimension: 9 x 7 ft
Center Height: 54 inches
Weight: 12.1 lbs
No of Doors: 1 front D-style
4.4/5.0

Price: $$

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Nemo Hornet 2P
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
2 Persons
Floor Dimension: 85 x 51 X 43 inches
Center Height: 40 inches
Weight: 2 lbs
No of Doors: 2
No of Vestibules: 2
Design Type: Semi-Freestanding
Season: 3-season
4.8/5.0

Price: $$$$

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Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6-Person Dark Room Tent with Screen Room
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
6 Persons
2 Queen Airbeds
Floor Dimension: 10 x 9 ft
Screen Room: 10 x 5 ft
Center Height: 68 inches
Weight: 5.45 lbs
Other Features: Dark Room technology blocks 98.4% sunlight
Reduce up to 11.4% of heat
Illumiline reflective guy lines
4.4/5.0

Price: $$

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Ozark Trail 10-Person Family Cabin Tent
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
10 Persons
2 Queen Airbeds
: 2 with removable divider
Floor Dimension: 14 x 10 ft
Center Height: 86 inches
No of Doors: 2
No of Windows: 6
Type of Tent: Cabin
Season: 4-season
4.5/5.0

Price: $$

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Hyke & Byke Yosemite 2-Person Tent
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
2 Persons
Floor Dimension: 90.55 x 55.12 x 43.31 inches
Center Height: 45 inches
Weight: 41 lbs (exclude footprint)
Stakes Material: 7000 series aluminum alloy stakes
No of Doors: 2
No of Vestibules: 2
No of Season: 3
4.4/5.0

Price: $$

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NTK Arizona GT 10-Person Tent
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
10 Persons
3 Queen Airbeds
Floor Dimension: 6.73 x 8.04 x 17.39 inches
Center Height: 74.4 inches
Weight: 26.45 lbs
No of Doors: 2
No of Windows: 2
No of Season: 3
Design Type: Freestanding
4.2/5.0

Price: $$$$

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ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian 3-Person Tent
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
3 Persons
Floor Dimension: 79 x 92 inches
Floor Area: 43.5 square-feet
Center Height: 54 inches
Weight: 9 lbs 14 oz
No of Doors: 2
No of Vestibules: 2
No of Season: 4
Design Type: Freestanding
4.2/5.0

Price: $$$$

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Marmot Crane Creek
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
2 Persons
Floor Space: 32 square-foot
Dimension: 50 x 88 inches
Weight: 4 lbs
Pole: 7000 series aluminum
Dual D-shaped doors + Dual overhead vestibule
4.1/5.0

Price: $$$

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Product Reviews: 9 of the Best Tents in the Market Today

1. Big Agnes Blacktail 4 - Best 4 Person Tents for Camping 

Best tents for backpacking

Big Agnes Blacktail 4 is one of the best camping tents used by many backpackers because of its lightweight. Keeping their backpack lightweight is the main priority of almost all campers. Aside from being light, it has some great features that users would surely love.

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2. CORE Equipment 4 Person Tent - Best Tents for the Money

This 4-person instant dome tent can be set up in as short as 30 seconds. The Core poles are already connected to the tent, all you need to do is to take it out, unfold and spread.

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3. Nemo Hornet Ultralight - Best One Person Tent

This is one of the ultralight two-person tents with two doors and weighs only 1 lb. 14.3 oz., excluding the tent stakes or stuff sacks. With Nemo Hornet Ultralight, you can enjoy the advantages of a double-walled tent without adding weight on it. It is the best 1 person backpacking tent in the market.

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4. Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch Dark Room Tent with Screen Room - The Best 6 Person Tents 

This 6 person tent can block 90% of sunlight to put the kids early to bed and those who still want to sleep at daytime.

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5. OZARK Trail Family Cabin Tent - Best Tent for Family Camping 

This family cabin tent is sturdy and spacious. The Ozark Trail Family Cabin can accommodate 10-person, and it has 3 room XL family cabin tent. If you are looking for a comfortable tent for your family, this will surely provide the best.

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6. Hyke & Byke Yosemite - The Best 2 Person Tents for Backpacking  

If you are looking for a 2 person tent that can provide comfort, reliability, and convenience, the Hyke & Byke is the best choice. This tent is very light, and it weighs only around 3 lbs.

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7. NTK Arizona GT- Best Tent for Rain  

This tent is recommended if you are going to a place where it is most likely to rain. The NTK Arizona GT Tent is designed to last long. It is chosen in 2016 in the USA as one of the best family tents for bad weather. The recognition was given because of its impressive construction and ergonomic design.

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8. ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian - Best Tent for Winter  

This is a 4 season tent with lots of features you will surely enjoy. It uses 7000 series aluminum poles. The tent has a full-coverage fly having two vestibules to keep your gear organized. Because of its additional pole on the fly, it makes a large vestibule on the front for additional storage.

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9. Marmot Crane Creek 2-Person 

This tent is built in two sizes for two and three people, and it is in-between the camping and back camping tents which makes it very versatile.

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Buying Guides of Backpacking & Camping Tents

Buying the first product you find online is not a good idea. It does not mean that if you see a tent on top of the search results, it’s the best. There are some essential factors you need to look out first before choosing.

Price

For those who are on a tight budget, the price is important to them. There are tents that you can buy for less than $100 and some with over $1000. The price comes with different features. Tents that you can purchase at $100 may not last long, but it can provide what you need.

Some tents are durable enough to withstand the winter and have the features that you need that cost only $500. You will also find some tents that are made of durable and lightweight materials that cost more.

No of People

When buying a tent, you need to know first are you going backpacking with your family, friends or you will camp alone. You would not want to ruin the adventure because you have bought the wrong tent. Backpacking tents are usually designed to accommodate one to three people. But there are some that can house up to 10 persons.

It is best if you buy the bigger group tents to get a higher number of smaller tents. There are instances where the tent locations are small and can accommodate only one or two people. If you don’t mind carrying a heavy load and you want a bigger space for you to move around, you can opt for two to three person tent.

Size

After determining how many people would join you, you can decide now how much room you will need inside. A small tent can be a bit smaller for two individuals but very comfortable if you are alone. Also, if you add your things inside like sleeping pads and how close you would like to get with your companion, these will affect the space you need inside.

For taller campers, you need larger tents. Anticipating bad weather or you need to bring a lot of gears, you need more room for them. For the single camper, you need around 14 to 24 square-feet tent and for two people, you need 26 to 35 square-feet tent.

Season Rating

The tents are rated according to the season to specify the features included. Those with thicker fabric and having more poles are more resistant to weather and stronger. They are also a bit heavier and bulkier. The ideal backpacking tent is the one that can withstand any weather. Some of the season ratings are as follows:

  • 3 Season: Tents recommended for spring, fall and summer. These tents usually have lots of mesh and some lightweight poles to hold the rainfly. The 3 season tents tend to be lightweight and packable. They are not reliable during heavy snow and harsh weather. The 3 season tents are the most popular camping tent.
  • 3.5 Season: As compared to 3 seasons this type of tent has longer poles and less mesh. The tent has solid panels that cover the mesh in the winter and zip out in the summer
  • 4 Season: This is the most durable and most weatherproof of all tents. It has strong poles that can withstand snow loading on top that can flatten a 3 season. To keeps the heat in, it has reduced mesh. This tent has small vents to reduce condensation. As compared to other tents, the 4 seasons are heavier than others.

Before buying consider the weather in the area you will be backpacking and choose a tent appropriate for that. You can choose a 3-season tent in the winter but keep in mind that it might collapse during rough storms or snow.

Single or Double Wall

You can also choose between a single or double wall. The most popular is the double wall as it has an inner layer with fabric sections and mesh and waterproof outer layer and bottom known as the rainfly. The single wall tents have one waterproof layer. Most of the single wall is made of breathable fabric and have vents to reduce condensation.

Majority of the backpacking tents are double walled because it is easy to use and are less expensive. You have the option to set it up without rainfly or only the rainfly and poles to lessen the weight.

Weight

One of the most important factors when buying tents is weight. Make sure that you choose a tent that can fit on your back. Keep in mind that you might need to carry them for several miles.

It is important that you balance weight and comfort. Most of the time, lighter tents are smaller inside. You can check the tent before buying by spending some time inside the tent to see how tall and wide it is. Some tent can be very lightweight but too small for you.

Shape

Tents are shaped differently to suit the needs of every user.

1. Dome Tent

The most popular type is the dome tent. It has a simple design, easy to assemble and lots of room inside. Poles are positioned on the sides, and the tent is hung on the poles with the rainfly outside.

You will find some of the dome tent freestanding and others do not require stakes to hold it in position. Because of its round shape, it is ideal in higher winds as long as they are staked down. In case, the wind change direction, you don't have to worry because it is aerodynamic from all sides.

2. Geodesic Tent

The bigger version of dome tents is the geodesic tents. This type of tent uses more poles that crisscross to produce a robust structure. You usually see them in winter expeditions because of their wind resistance and strength.

3. Tunnel Tent

This is the most popular shape of backpacking tent. It is easy to set up; the tunnel is made up of 2-3 u-shape poles. It requires to be tied down at both ends to stand up.

You might encounter some problems when the wind hit the side of the tent because of its vertical surface. To solve this, you need to look for the cover of a pitch or hill with one end pointing into the wind.

4. A-Frame Tent

You seldom see this type of tent. Some tarp tents are referred to as A-frame tents. Easy to assemble, it only requires a pole at both ends and a tarp over the top to create A-shape or triangle. This type of tent can shed snow well but can be pushed by wind from the side.

Freestanding or Staked

To make tents even lighter, creators have removed everything that makes them heavy. It includes the poles and straps which make the tent stand on its own. The freestanding or staked tent is recommended if you are looking for a lighter tent.

Footprints

The tent flooring is waterproof and durable but may wear down after several uses. If it starts to tear or leak it means it’s time to replace it. Use a footprint to make the floor last longer.

Footprints are a piece of fabric added and placed on the ground before setting up the tent down. Some may use a light piece of plastic as protection at the bottom, but footprints have the same size as the tent bottom and connect to the poles similar to the fly and body.

Fast & Light

The rainfly, footprint and the body of a tent can occupy a lot of space in your pack. You can lighten your load by bringing only the rainfly and footprint using the Fast and Light configuration method. Other companies call it Fast and Light pitching.

To do this, place the footprint on the ground, then pitch the poles like normal and put the rainfly over the top, skip the body part which leaves out the mesh of the body and the bathtub bottom. This means you carry less and you don't get the water and insect proofing it provides.

Bathtub Floor

The waterproof lining on the bottom of the tent is referred to as the bathtub floors. This makes the bathtub or bucket for you to sleep in. Water will not enter the tent if you pitch the tent in a water-collecting low spot or if it is raining so hard it will seep in underneath the rainfly. With the use of a footprint, you will be able to extend the bathtub life.

Weather Resistance

During bad weather, some tents will not keep you dry. When it's going sideways, the rainfly keep the rain out. A properly waterproofed floor will keep the water out even if you have pitched the tent. Most of the tents are not sealed, so you have to do it on your own. Make sure that your tent is sealed before buying. It is best to buy a waterproofed tent.

No of Doors

Most of the backpacking tents have one or two doors. The one door tent is lightweight, but you may have difficulty going in and out particularly at night when another person is lying near the door. Those with a single door at the end of the tent is more convenient. Each door has a vestibule with rainfly to store gear under.

Vestibules

The vestibules are the parts covered by the rainfly outside the doors of the tent for getting boots, cooking during bad weather and storing gear. Big vestibules cover bigger space, but it will make the tent a bit heavier. Their square footage measures the vestibules. It ranges from 6 sq. Ft. up to 10 sq. Ft. for each vestibule.


The Proper Way of Taking Care of Your Tent

Backpacking tents can be costly. You want them to last longer. If you apply the proper care to your tent, it will surely last for many years. Here are tips on how to take care of your tent:

Tips on Washing

Your tent may become dirty after camping. Mud, dust, and salt can damage the fabrics, poles, and coating over time. You can use a garden hose to clean the tent. In case you need more than just light cleaning, you can use a mild soap and a soft sponge. Machine washing is not recommended. They can be too rough for the fabrics. Before storing, dry the fabric completely.

Tips on Storing

Mildew may start to grow on wet tent thus it is very important that you store the tent when it is dry. The moisture can damage the fabrics, and waterproof coatings can make your tent peel. Hang your tent to dry it completely. Do not leave in the sun for long as the sun rays can break down the rainfly.

After drying, roll or stuff it on a loose bag or mesh duffel and keep it in a cool, dry place. Avoid folding the tent on the same fold lines again and again. It will increase the tear and wear on those areas.

Tips on Sealing

The floors and rainfly of tents will be waterproof. As time goes by, you will notice the coatings to wear out and may create some leaks. You can use spray or paint-on sealers to seal the leaks. Some tents are waterproofed with silicone and polyurethane, so make sure the patches or sealant work with your tent's fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the ideal weight of a tent for backpacking?

If you want a lighter tent, don’t expect that it will last longer. Most lightweight tents are made of low-quality material, while the heavier tent is more durable. Generally, a tent should weigh around 2.5 lbs. per person. If you are not alone, you can divide the tent, poles and rain fly.

 

2. What is the meaning of a 3-season tent?

A 3-season tent means you can use it in spring, fall and summer. These tents are lightweight and are designed to protect you from wind and rain. The structure is designed to provide better ventilation as possible.


3. What is the purpose of a tent footprint?

Footprints are used to provide additional protection against elements from entering the tent. They are used as ground clothes at the bottom of camping tents. Footprints can extend the life of a tent by preventing the wear and tear against the ground.


4. How frequent can I use my tent before it breaks down due to the friction between the tent and the ground?

Some people use their tents several times a year, and it still could last several years with proper maintenance and cleaning. But some do not use their tents that much. So it pretty much depends on how frequent you use it, and also under which kind of condition.


5. What is the meaning of freestanding tent?

The freestanding tent is perfect because they stand up on their own without the need for tent stakes. Assembling them is easy and are spacious because it has a dome-shape interior that maximizes interior space.

 

6. Can you use an electric heater inside the tent?

You can use a small electric fan heater to keep you warm, but it should be something that will work using the power supply you have in the campsite. It means much lesser as compared to the one you use at home.


However, you can always bring a portable heater which runs on disposable liquid propane cylinder or battery-powered to combat the chills.

FINAL VERDICT

For our top pick, the Big Agnes Blacktail 4P although comes in a high price, we could say that this tent is of top-notch quality. It is spacious enough to fit in 4 persons with a queen-sized airbed.

If you are looking to accommodate around 4 up to 6 pople, then you should not miss out the Core Equipment 4P and Coleman Carlsbad 6P. Both are easy and quick to assemble.

For 1 to 2 persons tent, we recommend the Nemo Hornet, Hyke & Byke Yosemite, and Marmot Crane Creek. These 3 tents will be able to fit in up to 2 persons and offers a spacious space even if you are solo camping. ALPS Mountaineering Tasmanian on the other hand is a great tent for up to 3 person.

For larger quantities, for instance if you wish to accommodate up to 10 person in one huge tent, Ozark Trail family cabin tent and NTK Arizona GT are definitely your perfect go-to-tent.

Last but not the least, our best tents for backpacking and camping review features 9 of the best in the market today. Each tent has their unique qualities, and you should choose based on the number of campers.

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