Outdoors Gear The 10 Best Camping Tents of 2021 The best outdoor shelters from car camping to backpacking to overlanding. By Nathan Borchelt Nathan Borchelt LinkedIn American University Nathan Borchelt has been working in the travel industry for more than 15 years as a writer, photographer, editor, and product manager. He covers everything from trail cameras to ski equipment. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Published on 09/13/21 Share Pin Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. Our Top Picks Best Overall: Sea to Summit Telos TR2 at REI "It provides loads of internal space and higher doors by raising the tent’s shape." Best Buy: REI Co-op Grand Hut 6 at REI "Makes for a worthy car camping tent without over-committing on the cost." Most Breathable: ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-Person Tent at Amazon "Utilizes a bunch of features to assure that things stay cool, dry, and breezy inside." Best for Backpackers: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 at Backcountry "Provides ample space for two backpackers without over-burdening their load." Best Four-Season: The North Face Assault 3 Futurelight Tent at The North Face "Built to handle the harshest alpine environments." Best for Big Parties: Coleman Skylodge 12-Person Camping Tent with Screen Room at Coleman "Allows up to 12 campers to sleep in relative comfort." Best One-Person: Marmot Tungsten at Backcountry "Solo adventurers are sure to appreciate all the details that Marmot has packed into their one-person Tungsten tent." Best Rooftop: Yakima Skyrise HD Small at REI "It comes with everything you need to transform your vehicle into a domicile." Best Hammock: Kammok Mantis All-in-One Hammock Tent at REI "It includes a breathable hammock body, as well as an integrated insect net." Best Combo: Kelty Discovery 2-Person Camp Bundle at REI "Offers a low-cost tent as well as two three-season sleeping bags." Camping is having a moment—and it’s easy to understand its allures. In the modern, plugged-in world, it’s a welcome escape to hit the backcountry—or even a pull-up camping spot at a local park to cook by campfire, gaze at the stars, fall asleep in the comforts of nature, and recharge. And the new crop of tents can handle all types of adventure-seekers, from ultralight minimalist backpackers to expedition-style outings to massive shelters for you and an army of friends. These are the best camping tents. Best Overall: Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Courtesy of Sea to Summit Buy on REI Buy on Seatosummitusa.com What We Like Backpacker-friendly It comes in three stuff sacks so you can distribute the carrying responsibilities What We Don't Like Pricey Capacity: 2 | Pack Weight: 3 pounds, 10.7 ounces | Doors: 2 | Pack Size: 5.1 x 18.9 inches A long-time favorite of backpackers and campers, Sea to Summit took a while before introducing its first line of tents in 2021—and that patience has paid off in spades. The free-standing Telos TR2 uses a new approach to creating the tent frame. Dubbed Tension Ridge, it provides loads of internal space and higher doors by raising the tent’s shape, making it easy to maneuver, with a peak height of 43.5 inches. Pitching the tent is a breeze thanks to the use of machined aluminum quick-connect pole “feet” that clip the rain fly into place. Wide venting at the top partners with Baseline Vents at the lower portion of the door to fend off humidity and condensation without sacrificing weather protection. You can also pitch the rainfly solo, using it as a semi-open, spacious shelter, or roll it back for stargazing. Sea to Summit also baked in loads of add-on features like additional guylines, internal storage, and the Lightbar—add a headlamp to the tent pole storage sack and the interior is cast in a mellow ambient light. Best Buy: REI Co-op Grand Hut 6 Courtesy of REI Buy on REI What We Like Solid price Loads of space What We Don't Like A bit heavy Capacity: 6 | Pack Weight: 16 pounds | Doors: 2 | Pack Size: 24 x 10 x 10 inches With a peak height of 78 inches and 83.3 square feet of shelter before factoring in the 38-square-foot vestibule, the Grand Hut 6 from REI Co-op makes for a worthy car camping tent without over-committing on the cost. Two wide D-shaped doors make entry and exit a breeze, and the near-vertical walls maximize the living space. In clear weather, you can take in the views via the mesh wall panels that line the ceiling and upper half of the tent, and toss on the fly if rain starts to fall or if you want to add some privacy. The three-season tent comes with multiple pockets for quick storage, gear loops to attach lanterns, and a low-vent design that helps circulate the air upwards to the adjustable higher vents. The 8 Best Camping Tarps of 2021 Most Breathable: ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-Person Tent Buy on Amazon What We Like Two mesh doors and entirely mesh walls Relatively inexpensive What We Don't Like A bit heavy for backpacking Capacity: 2 | Pack Weight: 5 pounds, 11 ounces | Doors: 2 | Pack Size: 6.5 x 19 inches At $200, the ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2-Person Tent is relatively inexpensive and ideal for catching a breeze. Most tents have mesh doors. The Zephyr matches that and ups the breathability ante with entirely mesh sides. We dig the dual vestibules with the dual doors. If weather does come in, slide on the water- and UV-resistant fly. With a 38-inch max height, there are other tents on the list with more headroom. And a pack weight of almost six pounds won't get the gram-counters drooling. But if you're looking for a highly-breathable tent that won't break the bank, the Zephyr is for you. Best for Backpackers: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Courtesy of Big Agnes Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Moosejaw.com Buy on REI What We Like Easy set up Durable fabrics What We Don't Like Taller backpackers may want more ceiling height, and if you don’t use hiking poles, you can’t easily pitch the awning Capacity: 2 | Pack Weight: 3 pounds, 4 ounces | Doors: 2 | Pack Size: 18 x 6 inches Modest in both weight and pack size, the Copper Spur HV UL2 from Big Agnes provides ample space for two backpackers without over-burdening their load. The redesigned model uses proprietary materials to cut down on weight and improve durability. It also features newly designed hardware like TipLock Tent buckles that secures the tent pole, marries to the rainfly, and includes an integrated stake loop to make set-up a breeze. If you hike with trekking poles, you can also unzip the rain fly at both doors and mount them to create generous awnings. Condensation is kept to a minimum via two low-vent vestibule doors and a high fly vent to encourage active airflow. You also get a bevy of internal loops to attach gear lofts along with storage pockets. Its 40-inch max height is typical for backpacking tents, and two 28-inch vestibules provide a place to stash your pack and footwear. Best Four-Season: The North Face Assault 3 Futurelight Tent Courtesy of The North Face Buy on Thenorthface.com What We Like Bomber protection Lifetime warranty What We Don't Like Pricey May be overkill for fair-weather campers Capacity: 3 | Pack Weight: 7 pounds, 8 ounces | Doors: 1.5 | Pack Size: 8x23 inches Built to handle the harshest alpine environments, the expedition-style Assault 3 Futurelight tent from The North Face hurdles the trappings of lesser-quality single-wall tents by using a three-layer laminate material that’s ultra-breathable and waterproof to reduce internal humidity while standing up to heavy winds, snow, and rain. A 27.5-square-foot vestibule at the front provides additional gear storage and protection, while an “escape hatch” back door improves ventilation and provides quick access to the outdoors. Pitching the stand-alone tent is quick, and the inclusion of DAC stakes helps lock everything down. The 9 Best Four-Season Tents of 2021 Best for Big Parties: Coleman Skylodge 12-Person Camping Tent with Screen Room Courtesy of Coleman Buy on Walmart Buy on Basspro.com Buy on Cabelas.com What We Like Reasonably priced Tested to handle winds of up to 35 miles per hour What We Don't Like Not a lot of guylines or other bells and whistles Only a one-year warranty Capacity: 12 | Pack Weight: 44.2 pounds | Doors: 1 | Pack Size: N/A Think of the Skylodge Tent from Coleman as your outdoor palace. The tent’s massive 19 x 10-foot footprint allows up to 12 campers to sleep in relative comfort—and that’s before you factor in the equally large 5 x 10-foot weatherproof “multifunctioning” screen room extending beyond the wide door. Inside you’ll find mesh storage bags to keep things organized, as well as an E-port so you can thread an extension cord and use your choice electronic devices. Set-up is a snap thanks to color-coding on the poles and rain fly, and the ample 7.4-foot ceiling height will accommodate campers of all stripes. Three queen-size air mattresses can fit inside the tent. Best One-Person: Marmot Tungsten Buy on Amazon Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Marmot.com What We Like Footprint comes included What We Don't Like Though light, the Tungsten is heavier than some ultra-light two-person backpacking tents Capacity: 1 | Pack Weight: 3 pounds, 12 ounces | Doors: 1 | Pack Size: 18 x 6 inches Solo adventurers are sure to appreciate all the details that Marmot has packed into their one-person Tungsten tent. The frame is designed to provide more vertical walls, which improves the headroom and creates a roomier overall living space. The 8.75-square-foot front vestibule is ample for storing a solo kit, which complements the 19.1-square-foot internal floor. The seams at the fly and the catenary-cut floor have all been taped to lock out the elements, while the rain fly employs strategic vents to cut down on internal condensation. Color-coded clips, poles, and fly make set-up simple and quick, and little details like a lampshade pocket for your headlamp keeps things organized. Best Rooftop: Yakima Skyrise HD Small Courtesy of REI Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on REI What We Like Easy to set up thanks to the light aluminum tent frame What We Don't Like Pricey Requires roof racks May not fit all vehicles Capacity: 2 | Pack Weight: 101.41 pounds | Doors: 2 | Pack Size: N/A Overlanding—self-reliant travel to remote locales where the vehicle becomes part of your shelter—is only gaining traction. And it’s easy to see why when you look at the Skyrise HD Small rooftop tent from Yakima. It comes with everything you need to transform your vehicle into a domicile, including a 2.5-inch-thick mattress with a removable foam sleeping pad, mesh panels that let the air circulate, and large doors, windows, and skylights to take in the vistas or to stargaze. The four-season tent is quick to set up, and the included ladder has both mid-height adjustments and an auto-close function. Mounting it to a roof rack requires no tools, and can be locked into place. The 210D ripstop polyester rainfly boasts a 3,000-mm PU waterproof coating to fend off the elements. And—perhaps best of all—you’re positioned high off the ground, providing the optimal perch to enjoy the outdoors without swallowing up any additional storage space in your vehicle. This Is the Ideal Tent for Serious Campers Best Hammock: Kammok Mantis All-in-One Hammock Tent Courtesy of REI Buy on REI What We Like Inexpensive Very breathable What We Don't Like You have to be able to sleep in a hammock, nominal storage space unless you accessorize Capacity: 1 | Pack Weight: 2 pounds, 12 ounces | Doors: N/A | Pack Size: 10 x 6 inches It might not fit every camper’s ideal notion of a tent, but if you want to seriously cut down on the ounces and benefit from sleeping off the ground, the one-person Mantis All-in-one Hammock Tent from Kammok may be the optimal backcountry hack. It includes a breathable hammock body, as well as an integrated (and removable) insect net. The featherlight rain fly can be configured in a variety of positions to provide complete weatherproof protection or merely add a bit of shade. Once you get some practice, set-up should take about 60 seconds; you don’t have to hassle with knots thanks to a simple-to-use slap straps (which anchor the hammock in place). It also comes with six strong stakes and loads of guy-outs and guy-out points to afford a variety of set-ups. The hammock itself measures out into a 120 x 56-inch rectangle and is compatible with other Kammok accessories like its Ridgeline Organizer. Best Combo: Kelty Discovery 2-Person Camp Bundle Courtesy of REI Buy on REI Capacity: 4 | Pack Weight: 20 pounds, 10 ounces | Doors: 1 | Pack Size: 23 x 6 inches Getting kitted out for your first camping trip can be expensive—and confusing. Kelty’s Discovery 2-Person Camp Bundle levels the playing field considerably, offering a low-cost tent as well as two three-season sleeping bags and 1.5-inch-thick self-inflating sleeping pads to make it easy to organize your first foray into the wild. The internal floor dimensions measure out to 97 x 81 inches—ample space for up to four campers. And the two sleeping bags can be zipped together to convert them into a two-person bed. Mesh lines the door to aid in circulation; when things get wet, simply zip the door’s outer panel to block out wind and rain. The three-season stand-alone tent pitches quickly, and the included stakes and pre-attached guylines make it easy to set up pretty much anywhere. Final Verdict The versatile Sea to Summit Telos TR2 (view at REI) is just at home on backcountry kits as it is for a quick car-camping excursion. This new tent provides loads of internal space thanks to the near-vertical wall architecture, pitches quickly, and breathes better than most other three-season tents. But if you want more space, consider the REI Co-op Grand Hut 6 (view at REI). This six-person tent comes with two doors, plenty of space, and at a very reasonable price. What to Look For in a Camping Tent Size “When I was hiking the Appalachian Trail, all I wanted was a light tent that was big enough for me and my kit, with a bit of extra headspace and a vestibule,” says Toby Gohn, an avid camper and backpacker. “But when I started camping with my kids, minimalism went out the window.” Tents are usually broken out by the number of people that can “fit” while sleeping—one-, two-, three-person measurements, et cetera. Most three-season tents also have one or more vestibules, the area outside of the inner tent but still covered by the rain fly, which lets you store gear outside of the main tent but still get weather protection. If weight isn’t a consideration, it’s always a good idea to go larger to gain some extra space. “Campgrounds have large pitch areas, and we have an Outback, so space is available getting there and setting up,” says Gohn, outlining why he went with a larger car-camping tent when outfitting things for his four-person family. “If we're stuck inside on a crap day, we can still play games and have a bit of room to spread out.” Also, take into account the internal height of the tent. You at least want to be able to sit up straight. Ease of Set-Up Free-standing tents (typically dome-shaped) are relatively easy to set up and don’t require roping anything off to trees, though staking down the tent does add to the overall support. Most of these types of tents can be set up in 15 minutes—or less (with practice). More complicated set-ups, sometimes utilizing trekking poles as part of the tent’s structure, may require more time and effort. “Those tents are very much angled to those who already know their way around a tent, know what they want out of a tent, and know how to pitch with hiking poles,” Toby says. “That mentality is more about smart details and peak function, rather than roomy and posh bells and whistles.” Weather Resistance Most camping tents are categorized as a “three-season” model, referring to spring, summer, and fall. These typically have a waterproof rainfly that sits over the mesh elements of the tent itself, which adds some breathability to fight condensation. Four-season tents come with additional features that make the tent ready for the harsher winter months, with features like single-wall structures and ways to keep out snow. Gohn also advises looking for car camping tents that have a “bathtub” type floor with reinforced corners. “It gives a peace of mind in a deluge, and prevents splatter from coming in,” he notes. Weight How much your tent should weigh isn’t an exact science. If you’re backpacking, you naturally want a lighter tent, though you may also want a bit more internal space than something like an ultralight one-person tent may provide. A two-person tent in the thee- to four-pound range should offer a decent shelter without adding too much to your pack. And if you’re car camping, you’re likely only limited by the size of your trunk. Durability Lighter-weight, backpacker-friendly tents tend to be a bit less durable than their car camping counterparts. But even backpacking tents are pretty durable these days, thanks to evolutions in materials. Car camping options, however, tend to be more bomber. Either way, utilizing a footprint—a stretch of fabric that sits under the tent—is a good way to lengthen the life of your tent. Tent-makers typically offer ones that marry directly with the tent, sometimes even attaching to the rain fly. But third-party tarps could also work. Gohn advises you should also have a reliable, weatherproof door zipper. “With a family going in and out all day, it takes a beating and isn't handled with great care," Gohn says, "so when I was shopping for family tents, I omitted any that had bad zipper reviews.” FAQs How do you clean a tent after your trip? At a minimum, be sure your tent is dry before putting it into storage. The best plan is to pitch the tent in a backyard to let it air dry, and to also hang any other tarps or footprints to dry as well. If you don’t have an outdoor space, you can hang the tent and rain fly in the shower, or configure it to air dry in some other fashion. This will avoid the introduction of mold and mildew. You should also brush off any dirt, rocks, sand, or other debris before packing the tent. But most times a thorough cleaning isn’t necessary unless your tent has a lot of caked-on mud and dirt. Can you rent a tent instead of buying one? Most local outdoor retailers rent camping tents for all types of outings, including backpacking tents, car camping shelters, sun shades, and expedition-style tents. The price varies from $25 to $75 on average, depending on the tent size and its applications. If you’re looking to dip your big toe into what it’s like to camp before committing, it’s a viable option. But keep in mind that if you use a rental tent for up to three nights, that’s money you could’ve invested in a tent that could last for years. How do you set up a tent? Set-ups vary by tent style, but most modern tents utilize a frame structure of collapsible aluminum poles that supports the tent (either via clips, Velcro, or by sliding the poles into sleeves, typically anchored to the four corners of the tent’s floor). Three-season tents will then have a rain fly that envelopes the tent, and is attached to the same lash points at the ends, and typically requires staking out the rain fly’s guylines to add a tent vestibule and allow for better water protection and breathability. Four-season tents, meanwhile, are usually single-wall. Other tents might require additional staking, or will utilize things like hiking poles to create the framework, a common approach for ultra-light backpacking. What other supplies should you bring? If you’re backpacking, Gohn says the “big three” gear considerations are your tent, your backpack, and your sleeping pad. The must-have list should also include a camping stove, a way to purify water (either with a water filter, by boiling it, or using some other method), and a headlamp. Nice-to-haves include a small camp chair, lanterns, and other “comfort” features. Car camping lets you widen the list to include loads of additional nice-to-haves like comfy bedding, camping chairs, stoves with multiple burners, portable speakers, and other add-ons. Naturally car campers don’t need a multi-day backpack, but will find that a day pack is great for hiking. Why Trust TripSavvy Nathan Borchelt has been camping his entire life, whether it’s backpacking in West Virginia and Yosemite or escaping to a regional park for a quick weekend retreat. He’s tested, evaluated, and reviewed all types of tents for decades, has visited tent-maker HQs to see how they’re made, interviewed tent designers, and polled friends of all stripes to assure that any type of camper will find what they’re looking for in a camping tent. 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