If you are looking to go camping with the kids, or you are going camping for a laugh with your mates, you are going to need a tent. There are loads of different options out there when it comes to purchasing a tent, which it can be hard to know what to look for.
When you are buying a tent, you will see 2 man tents, 4 man tents… even 8 man tents! You will all of a sudden be looking at deluxe cabin tents that you never even knew existed.
Along with all the other bits and bobs, you need to help you take a successful camping trip, you would have thought the tent would be the easy bit. This guide is here to help you make the right decision on the right tent for you.
We have looked at camping tent reviews for you, so you didn’t have to and selected the best tents out there to suit different criteria. As long as you know what you are looking for in a tent, you will find one on this list for you.
What do I need from a tent?
If you don’t know what you are looking for from a tent, then how can you ever choose the right tent for you? There are a few things you need to consider before you select a tent, so here’s a list of questions you should be asking yourself before you buy.
- What do I need from a tent?
- What am I using it for?
- How many people do I need to accommodate?
- How long will I be using it for?
- What makes the best camping tents
- The Best Tents for the Money: Our Top Buys
- Big Agnes Flying Diamond 4 Deluxe Car Camping/Base Camp Tent
- Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin
- Coleman 2000018295 8-Person Instant Tent
- EUREKA Copper Canyon 4 – 4 Person Tent
- Eureka Copper Canyon 6 Tent – 6 Person
- Kelty Grand Mesa Tent
- Kelty Acadia 6 Tent
- Marmot Halo 6P – 6 Person Tent
- Coleman Sundome 4 Person Tent
- Coleman Sundome 2 Person Tent
- Ozark Trail 10-Person 3-Room XL Family Cabin Tent
What am I using it for?
Camping is the obvious answer, but are you just using it for a camping expedition with the kids in the garden, or are you trekking out to the wilderness to camp on the edge of a cliff in high winds?
They are the two extremes, but you need to think about the real purpose you are using it for. If you are just using it to muck about with your kids or your mates, then you will be looking at an entirely different tent from someone who is going to be doing some serious camping in all weather tents.
If you are just after having a laugh with the kids and getting them used to the idea of camping, there are some really cool tents, which are instant tents for camping. They simply pop up, and you are ready to go with minimal fuss! Have a think about your skill level, because if you have never put up a tent before, you are going to struggle with erecting a high tech tent.
How many people do I need to accommodate?
The number of people your tent needs to sleep will determine the size of tent you are looking at and will reduce the number of options you have available to you. If you want one to fit the whole family in, you might be looking at a four, six or even an eight-man tent. Remember, tents aren’t the most spacious of places, so if there is six of you in a six-man tent, it can still be a bit of a squeeze.
How long will I be using it for?
If you are just going to be using it once or twice, then you will probably be opting for one of the lower priced and more affordable ultralight tents. If you are going to be using it frequently, then your criteria are going to change.
You will be wanting something which is durable and long-lasting. If you are a serious camper, then you won’t be looking at a cheap tent, a beginner’s camping guide and a tin of beans kind of trip. You will be after something much more versatile than that.
What makes the best camping tents
Now we have an idea of the kind of tent we are looking for, let’s have a think about what makes the best camping tents.
What separates the best and worst tents? What keeps you warm and dry and what makes a night in a tent feel like you are sleeping on a block of ice?
The ideal tent is going to be one which is cheap, easy to set up, waterproof and appropriate for your situation. But how can you know if you are getting that from your tent?
If you are purchasing a smaller tent, there might not be enough room to stand. If you are after a tent where you can stand up, you will probably need to look at large family tents or multi-room tents, as they tend to be larger and more flexible on space.
The bigger your tent is, the more it is going to weigh. If you are going on an expedition where weight is a key factor, the smaller your tent it, the better.
Most tents will have an inner and outer layer, which work together to keep you warm and dry. If the inner and outer layer is too close together or are touching, then that is a sure-fire recipe for leaking.
In smaller tents, you often pitch the inner layer first, then add the flysheet as the outer layer for protection. In larger tents, you often pitch the outer layer first and then fit the internal layers in a series of rooms.
There are some different fabrics that your tent could be made out of. They can be made from polyester, cotton canvas, polycotton, and nylon. The fabric your tent is made out of will have an effect on the price you are paying for your tent.
Some fabrics will be more expensive than others, depending on how they behave in different situations. Cheap camping tents are often made from different materials then your more expensive tents.
You will also notice that the weight of your tent is dependent on the fabric it is made out of, with some being distinctly heavier than others.
Ease of setup
Some tents can be a nightmare to setup, and even the most expensive of tents can prove to be difficult to master.
If you are looking for an easy to set up tent, the only real way to know this is to see what other people have said, and then have a go yourself. When you have purchased a tent, it is a good idea to have a go at setting it up before you go on your trip.
This enables you to learn how to put it up, and you can check that you have all of the poles and pegs you need.
The Best Tents for the Money: Our Top Buys
Big Agnes Flying Diamond 4 Deluxe Car Camping/Base Camp Tent
This tent gets great reviews online but has a price tag which reflects that. As one of the most expensive on this list and with some of the best 4 person tent reviews, this tent has a lot to live up to. It has two doors and two vestibules, and the doors have two closure options.
There is a zip up mesh door for ventilation only, and you can zip up the polyester layer for full protection from the elements. You can separate this tent into two rooms using the fabric wall. If there are a few of you using this tent, this can be a great privacy option.
You can stow the fabric wall away when not in use, allowing you to use the tent as one big area, or to save space and weight if needs are. The vestibule zippers are equipped with storm flaps to keep any water out.
The guylines are reflective for safety, and the poles are color coded to help you erect this tent easily. This tent can withstand the elements and will be a great investment. This is, without doubt, one of the best tents for camping.
Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin
The Coleman 6-person instant cabin tent is a great option if you don’t want the hassle of setting up a complicated tent. If you just want to pop-up and go, then this tent will suit you down to the grand. Tents can be time-consuming to get set up, so if you don’t have the time or don’t want to spend it on setup, this is brilliant.
The poles come pre-attached – so set up is really simple. All you need to do it unfold the tent, extend and secure it. Your cabin and rainfly can be ready to use in one minute. This tent uses a WeatherTec system and welded floors, and inverted seams help you to stay dry when using this.
This tent sleeps 6 people, but if you want extra room to move about, it will sleep four people on two queen-size airbeds.
There are two storage pockets inside the tent so you can keep small items and valuables off the floor and visible in one place. The tent is as easy to pack up as it is to put up. It is simple to pack up into the carry bag and will be ready to use the next time you make a camping trip.
This tent receives excellent reviews when it comes up against other 6 person tents reviews.
Coleman 2000018295 8-Person Instant Tent
If you need a bit more room, or you have more than six people to accommodate, then the Coleman instant cabin 8 is great. There is no need to faff about with setting up poles and struggling to get your tent set up properly in the middle of a downpour.
This tent can be set up in less than a minute, which is a lifesaver when you are getting rained on. The poles are already attached, so all you need to do is open it up, extend it and secure it. This is an excellent option for anyone who struggles with erecting traditional tents, or if you just don’t have the time to mess about with them.
As this is a big family tent, there is more vertical room so you won’t have to crouch uncomfortably while you are in your tent. There is plenty of space if you are in a bigger group. As the tent is larger, it isn’t anywhere as light as the smaller options, but you don’t by an eight-person tent with the weight of it as your top concern.
You can fit multiple air beds in this tent, so if you are after something which has the option for comfort – this is it.
EUREKA Copper Canyon 4 – 4 Person Tent
If you are after a great four-person tent and you see a Eureka tent for sale, then you shouldn’t hesitate to purchase it. This tent is in a cabin style and is straightly walled. It will sleep a family of four with ease, but as with any tent, they aren’t the roomiest of spaces.
There is one “D” shaped door which makes entering and exiting easy. There are also four large windows and a vent to allow for airflow inside the tent. The sealed floor and fly seams help to keep you dry in the event of some bad weather.
The tent is made from polyester fabric, making it durable and long-lasting. It is relatively easy to set up, and the poles attach to the body of the tent using a pin and ring system.
There is also a neat power port zipper flap which allows you to run an extension cord into the tent. This tent gets great reviews online, and it is very reasonably priced too.
Eureka Copper Canyon 6 Tent – 6 Person
This 6-person tent has plenty of floor space and gives you enough room to stand in the middle. The vertical walls make for plenty of space, and it will sleep six people comfortably. As with the four-person option, it is easy to set up due to the ring and pin assembly.
The large door is “D” shaped, making entry and exit easy. The door is also a half window, allowing extra light in and additional visibility. There are windows on each side of the tent, giving you, even more, visibility and ventilation.
The full mesh roof increases the circulation of air and reduces the amount of condensation you may experience. This tent will keep you protected from any rain and will make sure you stay warm and dry.
Kelty Grand Mesa Tent
As a four-person tent, this is one of the smaller options on this list. It gets brilliant reviews online; so good in fact, that there is hardly a bad word to be read about it. It’s very light, so if weight is a consideration for you, this is a great option.
A smaller tent is always snug; don’t be expecting loads of room between you and your tent companions. It’s easy enough to set up, with only two poles and some color-coded clips to help you out.
The Kelty 4 person tent gets brilliant reviews online and comes in reasonably priced. Entry is accessible by way of a “D” shaped door. There are a couple of handy storage pockets inside for you to use to keep all your bits and pieces together. The taped seams work to keep you warm and dry in all weathers.
Kelty Acadia 6 Tent
If you are looking for a comfortable camp, then the Kelty Acadia 6 Tent is your new best friend. It is spacious and sleeps, six people. There are large double doors, making entering and exiting as easy as it gets in a tent.
There are two vestibules, maximizing the space available to you. There are only three poles needed to set up this tent so you will be up and running in no time. There is plenty of room to stand in this tent so you won’t be bent over awkwardly. There are also vents for better airflow and ventilation.
Marmot Halo 6P – 6 Person Tent
The Marmot halo 6 sleeps six people with relative ease. It is spacious inside, and there is plenty of room in the center of the tent to allow you to stand. There are four poles, so it is a very sturdy tent once it has been put up.
The color-coded clips and poles keep it simple to put up. It also sports reflective light points for safety. The double-door design makes it easy to get in and out of. There is also a double-vestibule, allowing you plenty of space to store your kit out of the rain. This tent will keep you warm and dry in the rain.
There are pockets inside to keep all of your small gear stored together in a safe place. As a larger tent, it is relatively heavy. It is made from polyester so it will keep the rain off if there are any downpours during your trip.
It is an expensive option to go for, there are similar tents on this list which will cost you less. It also isn’t as high up regarding rating as some of the other six-person tents on this list.
Coleman Sundome 4 Person Tent
The Coleman 4-person traditional camping tent gives you a lot of money. This tent is cheap, and it doesn’t let you down, despite the low price. The Coleman 2 room tent will sleep four people with ease, and you can enter and exit the tent through a large door. There is a big hooded window at the rear which helps keep your tent ventilated.
The seams are welded to protect you from the elements, and it is made from polyester – keeping you warm and dry whatever the weather. It is simple and easy to put up and take down, the poles are easily connected with a pin and ring system.
It also has a handy electrical access port so you can run an extension cable in and out of the tent. There is a mesh pocket inside so you can store all your small items together safely. There is also a handy flashlight loop on the ceiling so you can see what you are doing when it’s dark outside.
Coleman camping tents get excellent reviews, and this one is no exception. On top of this, it is very reasonably priced so your camping trip won’t break the bank.
Coleman Sundome 2 Person Tent
This little tent is a good option if you are looking to take camping trips where you aren’t going to be battling the elements. The price tag is a fraction of other tents on this list, but this is reflected in the quality of this little tent.
As a two-person tent, it is very snug and pretty heavy. If weight is a consideration for you, there are much lighter small tents out there. This tent is quickly set up with two poles forming a cross.
There are windows on all sides of the tent, meaning there is plenty of ventilation and plenty of light. The rain fly only covers the top portion of the vent so it will not stand up to very heavy rain.
There isn’t much of a vestibule, so if you need space to store your gear outside the tent, this isn’t the tent for you. The floor is welded, and the seams are inverted to help keep you dry. The pole sleeves are snag-free and continuous, so you don’t need to keep feeding the poles through endlessly.
Ozark Trail 10-Person 3-Room XL Family Cabin Tent
This tent is by far the biggest and most spacious tent on our list. It can sleep up to 10 people in the three rooms it has.
You can fit three queen-size air mattresses in this tent and still have some room to spare. You can also remove the room dividers to create more space if you don’t want three separate rooms.
There are two side doors and one center door, making it easy to get in and out. This is super handy, mainly if you are using the tent at full capacity!
There are plenty of windows, letting loads of light in and ventilating the tent well. You shouldn’t have any issues with leaks as the fly seams are taped; helping keep water out.
Whichever tent you go for, you will have made an excellent choice. Whether you are looking for the cheapest tent you get or the tent which is the easiest to put up, the right one is here for you on this list. Looking for the best tent for the beach? Read our guide.
Once you know what you are looking for from your tent, the selection should be easy.