Best Camping Tents: Enjoy a Night Under the Stars
Relax in nature with these high-quality camping tents
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON October 12, 2019
Camping is a great way to get away, but you need the best gear for the job. One of the most important pieces of equipment you need is a tent, especially if you’re accommodating a lot of people. As your home away from home, a tent must be durable, well-insulated, and capable of comfortably holding everyone in your party. Here are some of the best camping tents to consider before you head off into the wilderness.
- Best OverallCore Instant Cabin TentSummarySummaryThis 14 x 9-foot large all-season tent has room to fit two queen air mattresses and sleeps nine people. It is made out of a durable 68D polyester.ProsProsIt features a room divider, wall storage pockets, an electrical cord access port, rainfly, tent stakes, and a carrying bag. The seams are heat-sealed to fight against leaks, and it can be assembled in under a minute.ConsConsThe air intakes cannot be closed. It’s nicely ventilated, but it can get chilly in colder weather. Users report the zippers can be a hassle.
- Best ValueColeman Evanston Dome Tent with Screen RoomSummarySummaryA spacious 15 x 12-foot eight-person tent with a 6-foot tall center height made from strong polyester.ProsProsThe tent features a screen door separator, welded floors and inverted seams that protect against rain and the elements, and durable poles that can withstand powerful wind gusts.ConsConsThe entire backside of the tent is a screen, so you will need a tarp to protect against rain pouring inside. Packing it may be difficult.
- Honorable MentionWenzel Klondike TentSummarySummaryThe tent features 6.5 feet of headroom and covers a 16 x 11-foot space. It can fit up to eight people at a time.ProsProsIt’s designed with double-stitched, lap felled seams and features polyester fabric with a polyurethane water-resistant coating. It has hi-low ventilation to keep you cool, accessory pockets, and a mesh screen door to protect against bugs.ConsConsIt can be a pain to set up without help, the zippers can get snagged, the entrance is not as high as the interior, and the poles may not be very durable.
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Benefits of Camping Tents
- Safety. It is essential to carry a tent when going out camping. A tent is a safe haven that protects you from rain, snow, wind, and blizzards. Apart from protection from the elements, a tent also acts as a refuge that keeps away insects and other uninvited animals.
- Comfort. A sleeping bag alone doesn't cut it when you're camping in cold weather. A tent provides solace by offering extra warmth and protection from the cold. It also keeps you comfortable when you’re away from home.
- Privacy. A tent gives you privacy, especially when camping in groups. It separates you from others on the campsite and creates a smaller area for yourself where you can relax and unwind without worrying about prying eyes.
Types of Camping Tents
A-Shaped or Ridge Tents
A-shaped, or ridge, tents have two poles at either end, with a cross pole holding them up. These don’t have much space due to the sloping sides and are best suited for sleeping. Since they are easy to pitch, these tents are best for picnics and short trips. If you’re buying a ridge tent, be sure to check the material it is made of, as thick material can make it quite heavy.
Tunnel tents, as the name suggests, mimic the shape of a tunnel and have a number of tubes running across their length. Depending on their size, they are quite spacious but aren’t very suitable for extremely windy conditions. Therefore, be sure to pitch the tent end on to oncoming winds for the least resistance and more stability.
Dome tents are the most popular tents among campers, thanks to their simplicity and ease of use. These tents are mostly free-standing and have two or three center tube supports. They generally offer better head and ground space and are easy to move around.
Cabin tents, as the name suggests, are made up of several metal poles that, when set up, create a frame that looks like a cabin. These tents are spacious and have lots of headroom. They’re also usually equipped with full-coverage rainfliers. Most cabin tents are divided into rooms using internal dividers, so they are best suitable for family camping.
Semi-Geodesic and Geodesic Tents
In geodesic tents, the supporting tubes are arranged in a criss-cross manner to form triangles and therefore, these tents are highly robust. They are often used in Alps mountaineering and Himalayan expeditions, as they provide excellent stability in high winds. Semi-geodesic tents have fewer poles for support and are designed for less harsh conditions but still can take quite a beating.
Tepees are those good old, traditional bell-shaped tents we see in cowboy movies. These tents are not as robust as other tents and only offer limited space and portability. They sure look great and invoke nostalgia, but you should consider a tepee only if you’re camping in ideal weather.
Core Equipment is a company founded by a team of artists, designers and business gurus who are all camping enthusiasts at heart. The company is based in the scenic Midwest, and produces high-quality camping gear with a mission to "enhance all your outdoor adventures, whether they are in the backyard or in the mountains." The Core Instant Cabin Tent is one of its bestselling products.
Coleman Company, Inc. is one of the oldest and most popular brands that manufactures sports and outdoor equipment. Founded as early as 1900, Coleman tents, including the Evanston, are trusted by campers and backpackers from all over the world. The company also produces camp stoves, sleeping bags, backpacks, and other outdoor gear.
Based out of the foothills of the Colorado Rockies in Boulder, Wenzel is an American brand that manufactures camping gear for beginners as well as expert outdoorsmen. Spanning over a hundred years of rich heritage, the company strives to improve campers' outdoors experience to this day, through its range of camping tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and other camping accessories. If you’re looking for a tent with a mesh roof, the Wenzel Klondike is definitely worth considering.
Camping Tents Pricing
- $40-$100: The tents in this price range offer basic amenities and features for the casual camper. They are easy to set up, offer good ventilation, and keep you dry in case it rains or snows. These tents are best suited for backpacking trips or a night under the stars in your backyard.
- Over $100: The camping tents in this price range offer more amenities, and are made of better components and heat-welded for added durability and strength. They often provide features like UV protection, better waterproofing, and easy setup. Designed to be rough and tough, these tents can be used for multi-day hikes and hardcore camping.
Camping tents are made of natural as well as man-made fabrics. Canvas is the traditional tent fabric, and it insulates extremely well compared to man-made fabrics like nylon and polyester. Canvas tents, although highly durable, are quite heavy, bulky and large and hence difficult to transport. Backpacking tents are made from nylon or polyester as they are much lighter and easy to carry. If you have kids, canvas tents are the best option due to their insulating properties.
It is important to think about the number of doors you need when choosing a tent. It is also important to consider their shape, size, and orientation. Large tents often have more than one door. Multiple doors allow occupants to move in and out easily without disturbing other occupants. Large doors positioned at the extremes make for easy and convenient in and out traffic.
Most camping tents feature a separate waterproof cover over their roofs, called a rainfly. This can be detachable or fixed and can be used whenever rain is expected or whenever you want a little extra warmth. There are roof-only rain flies and full-coverage rain flies. Roof-only rain flies are best suited in areas with drizzles and light rains, while full-coverage rain flies offer maximum protection, but less light and views.
- Footprint. Camping tents that get a lot of in and out foot traffic can get damaged due to the rocks, twigs, and dirt underneath the floor. Although tent floors are tough, a ground cloth can help minimize the damage to your tent’s floor. A ground cloth is made from heavy-duty fabric custom-fitted for your specific tent and is placed under the tent floor. These are usually sold separately, so check with your seller or check the manufacturer’s website for options compatible with your tent.
- Tent Repair Kit. It is always better to be prepared for unforeseen accidents that may damage your tent. Having a tent repair kit at hand makes it very convenient to deal with a tear or damage in your tent’s fabric when you’re out camping. Besides, it is much more economical to invest in a cheap tent repairing kit than spending hundreds of dollars on a brand-new tent. Tent repair kits are usually sold separately.
Best Camping Tents Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Best Overall: Core Instant Cabin Tent
The Core Instant Cabin Tent is made out of durable 68D polyester and is sufficiently large at 14 x 9 feet. It has enough room to fit two queen size mattresses and sleeps nine people.
The tent comes well-packaged in a big travel bag. It is very easy to set up, even by a single person. You also get a large rainfly to cover the roof, and it’s easy to set up. There are plenty of windows for ventilation, and there’s a second door if you don’t want to open the huge T-style door every time. The air intakes, however, cannot be closed, and it can get chilly in colder weather. Users report the zippers can be a hassle. Apart from this, the Core Instant Cabin Tent does not have any glaring cons.
However, at 25 pounds, it’s not the lightest tent and it’s not very suitable for backpacking. However, thanks to additional features like a room divider, wall storage pockets, and an electrical cord access port, this is one of the best tents to carry on a family camping trip.
Best Value: Coleman Evanston Dome Tent with Screen Room
The Coleman Evanston is a dome-shaped camping tent made from high-quality polyester. Measuring 15 x 12 feet, it has plenty of space and fits up to eight people.
The tent has extended window awnings to provide ventilation even when it rains. The mesh pockets sewn into the side of the tent’s wall offer ample storage space and prevent the floor from being littered up with your belongings. The most notable feature, however, is the screened-in room that allows hassle-free lounging and can also be used as an additional sleeping area on warmer nights. The entire backside of the tent is a screen, so you will need a tarp to protect against rain pouring inside. Packing the tent can be a bit difficult.
In addition to the patented WeatherTec system, Coleman also includes a rainfly for complete protection from the rain. Overall, the Coleman Evanston is an affordable tent with the excellent build quality and is strong enough to stay put during the breeziest of nights.
Honorable Mention: Wenzel Klondike Tent
The Wenzel Klondike is an 8-person family tent with a large 16 x 11 feet living space. Unlike many other tents, this one boasts 6.5 feet of peak height that makes you feel at home.
The Klondike is designed to be tough and waterproof, with its double-stitched, lap felled seams and polyester fabric with a polyurethane water-resistant coating. It has all the good stuff like storage pouches, hi-low ventilation, and a screened-in room. The highlight is the full mesh roof, which allows for stargazing and enhances your overall camping experience. It can difficult to set up without help. The zippers can get snagged. The entrance is not as high as the interior, and the poles may not be very durable.
In spite of its few weak points, the Wenzel Klondike is an excellent camping tent for the money. The mesh roof and screen room allow for an enjoyable social camping experience and therefore make it a great option for camping with friends.
- Buy extra tent stakes and bring them with you on your campout. They can come in handy in holding down the tent more securely.
- Set up the tent well before heading out on a camping trip to make sure it is in good shape and working condition.
- Bring a hammer with you to hammer the stake posts into the ground.
- Spray the tent with a water-repellent spray to prevent rain from leaking through the material.
Q: How do I set up a tent?
A: Each tent will come with poles to hold the fabric in place. Fit the poles through certain notches in the material, and then stake the ends down into the ground. All tents should come with directions for set up. It’s also helpful to have a second set of hands for assistance.
Q: Do I need a tarp to place beneath the tent?
A: You don’t necessarily need a tarp to lay underneath the tent, but it will help protect it and you. If there are any hidden rocks or sharp objects, the tarp will cushion the floor and help make sure the actual tent fabric doesn’t rip. It’s also designed to soak up moisture, so it doesn’t leak through the bottom of the tent.
Q: Do all tents have an electrical port?
A: No. You may have to run the line through the front door or a zippered window. If you need to blow up an air mattress and do not have a port, you can either do it manually or air it up outside and carry it through the opening. Bring a portable air pump, and blow up the mattress or sleeping pad inside the tent.
For one of the best and most convenient to set up camping tents, consider the Core Instant Cabin Tent.
Or check out the less expensive and roomy Coleman Evanston Dome Tent with Screen Room.