The 8 Best Three-Person Tents of 2021

Upgrade your camping experience—and sleeping space—with any of these tents

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Best Three Person Tents

Tripsavvy / Chloe Jeong

The Rundown

Best Overall: Marmot Tungsten 3-Person Tent at Marmot

"This tent is well-suited for virtually all of your overnight adventures."

Best for Backpacking: NEMO Dagger 3 Tent at Nemo

"It's spacious and sturdy to withstand heavy rainstorms but it's also lightweight and packable."

Best Waterproof: MoKo Waterproof 3-Person Tent at Amazon

"The MoKo Waterproof 3-Person Tent is a leader among rainproof tents."

Best Four Season: Hilleberg Nallo 3-Person Tent at Hilleberg

"This tent is as sturdy as they come, with all-season construction that balances weight and weatherproofing nicely."

Best for Camping: Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3-Person Tent at Mountain Hardwear

"It’s all about comfort and space with this tent."

Best Budget: Winterial Three-Person Tent at Amazon

"Less than $100? And less than 5 pounds? Yes, please. "

Best Lightweight: MSR Mutha Hubba NX 3-Person Tent at Amazon

"This rugged, three-season tent was designed to withstand the elements."

Best for Warm Weather: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Solution Dye Tent at REI

"The airflow with this tent is fantastic, thanks to the low vent feature."

Choosing the right three-person tent isn’t quite as simple as strolling into your local gear store and selecting the first tent you like. There are all kinds of designs, styles, features, and weights to consider. According to Stephanie Vidergar of Adventures in Good Company, it's best to consider a few key factors. "How are you going to use it? Car camping? Backpacking? Bikepacking? What kind of weather conditions do you expect to encounter? How big are the people who will be using it?” 

For example, a good backpacking tent should be ultralight whereas you have more wiggle room (potentially literally) if you’ll be car camping when weight doesn't matter as much. A backpacking or bikepacking tent also needs to be highly portable and weatherproof, striking the right balance between comfort, durability, and weight. Another factor is the ease of use. “An agreed-upon ‘must’ is that a tent be easy to set up and breakdown, so that no matter the time of day or what the weather conditions are, you can get it up and get in—or out—as fast as you need to,” Vidergar says. 

To help you select the best possible tent for your needs, consider the following factors and tents.

Best Overall: Marmot Tungsten 3-Person Tent

Marmot Tungsten 3-Person Tent. Amazon image
Marmot Tungsten 3-Person Tent. Amazon image.

When it comes to performance and durability, the Marmot Tungsten 3-Person Tent wins out. It’s made from rugged materials, with a vented full fabric canopy and two half-mesh zippered D doors to lock out the cold temps, along with a seam-taped, catenary-cut floor and full-coverage vented fly to keep out the rain. Unlike some other backpacking tents, this tent’s zone pre-bend construction creates vertical walls that allow for plenty of headroom and sleeping space. And, the color-coded “easy pitch” poles make for an easy, quick setup. In short, this tent is well-suited for virtually all of your overnight adventures.

Best for Backpacking: NEMO Dagger 3 Tent

NEMO Dagger 3 Tent

Courtesy of REI

The NEMO Dagger 3-Person Tent is the best of both worlds: It’s spacious and sturdy enough to withstand heavy rainstorms when you’re camping in inclement weather, but it’s also lightweight and packable enough for backpacking. You’ll be able to keep your weight to an absolute minimum, as this tent has a packed weight of just over 4 pounds. Even so, the Unique Divvy dual-stage stuff sack allows you to split the weight evenly with a partner. Thanks to the color-coded DAC Featherlite poles, setup is easy and you get as much headroom as possible. And, the mesh sidewalls provide great airflow and temperature control.  

Best Waterproof: MoKo Waterproof 3-Person Tent

Double layer-designed, with a polyethylene floor and flysheet that are both made from premium water-resistant fabric, the MoKo Waterproof 3-Person Tent is a leader among rainproof tents. Other than being built to reliably resist water, this tent has a spacious, 3-foot vestibule, is easy to set up (with just three fiberglass poles), and packs down to a compact, portable size, so you can easily take it with you on your next camping adventure.

Best Four Season: Hilleberg Nallo 3-Person Tent

Hilleberg Nallo 3-Person Tent

Courtesy of Hilleberg

Need a structure that’s heavily weatherproofed? The Hilleberg Nallo 3-Person Tent is as sturdy as they come, with all-season construction that balances weight and weatherproofing nicely. Made from ultra-resilient Kerlon 1200 fabric, the outer tent walls extend to the ground and the mesh areas are double-backed with adjustable fabric panels (in other words, this tent isn’t going anywhere). There’s adequate storage for three people and their gear, while keeping the weight low—this tent weighs just under 5 pounds, so it’s great for backpacking.

Best for Camping: Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3-Person Tent

Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3-Person Tent

Courtesy of Mountain Hardwear

If you know you’ll be camping and not backpacking, the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3-Person Tent is ideal. It’s all about comfort and space with this tent, which features a symmetrical, rectangular design that easily allows for head-to-toe sleeping configurations for three people. The full-mesh upper canopy helps to optimize ventilation and provide clear views of the night sky, while two large doors provide easy entry and exit. Plus, there’s plenty of storage with two full-size vestibules and five interior pockets.  

Best Budget: Winterial Three-Person Tent

These days, it's nearly impossible to find a tent of any sort for less than $100. It's also tough to find a three-person tent weighing less than five pounds. But the Winterial Three-Person Tent checks both of those boxes. This tent is spacious and rated to withstand three seasons of weather. For all you budget-minded campers, look no further.

Best Lightweight: MSR Mutha Hubba NX 3-Person Tent

If you’re backpacking, dealing with a bulky tent can create some packing conundrums. Enter the feather-weight MSR Mutha Hubba NX 3-Person Tent, which weighs just over 4 pounds but doesn’t skimp on any must-have features. This rugged, three-season tent was designed to withstand the elements, with durable Xtreme Shield waterproof coating and (basically indestructible) Easton Syclone poles. It’s also plenty roomy for three people but still manages to have two vestibules to store all your gear.

Best for Warm Weather: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Solution Dye Tent

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Solution Dye Tent

Courtesy of Big Agnes

Camping in balmy weather? Get the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL3 Solution Dye Tent, which is made with specialized solution-dye fabric that’s highly resistant to UV fade over time. (Not to mention, this fabric is more eco-friendly than most since it doesn’t use as much energy or water during the manufacturing process.) The airflow with this tent is fantastic as well, thanks to the low vent feature on the vestibule doors and the double sliders on the vestibule zippers, which allow for venting from top to bottom. 

Final Verdict

The Marmot Tungsten 3-Person Tent (view at Marmot) has all the right features and then some—it’s lightweight but with plenty of sleeping space, is made from durable fabric, and has full-coverage rain construction and “easy pitch” poles (just to name a few). After a long day of hitting the trail, this tent is great to come home to.

What to Look For in a Three-Person Tent

Use

What will you be using your tent for? Do you actually need an ultralight tent for backpacking or do you mostly car camp? How you plan to use your tent will determine what type of tent you buy. If you’re getting a backpacking tent, then things like weight, durability, and seasonality (how well your tent holds up relative to extreme weather) are all important factors to think about. Car campers have the freedom to pick tents that have extra space, though they may be heavier and bulkier.

Materials


Durability is especially important if you’ll be primarily using your tent in the backcountry. In this case, you’ll want to make sure your tent is engineered to withstand heavy rain or snow. Keep in mind that higher-denier fabric canopies and rain flies are more rugged than lower-denier ones. Also, while fiberglass poles are okay for car camping, you should go with aluminum or carbon fiber poles for backpacking—they’re lighter, more durable, and easier to replace.  

Weight 

If you’re car camping, you can get away with using a tent that has more capacity and is a little heavier. But if backpacking, you’ll want a tent that’s made from super lightweight materials. 

“At Adventures in Good Company, our focus is most often on finding the best lightweight tents for our backpacking trips. A few good options we can suggest are the Marmot Tungsten or the Big Agnes Blacktail which are both just under 6 pounds—so, pretty lightweight but also durable—freestanding, and easy to set up. The Hubba Elixir 3-person has a trail weight of under 5.5 pounds—every half-pound counts. If you want to go super lightweight, the Zpack Triplex weighs in at less than 2 pounds—but it requires you to use your trekking poles for the setup,” Vidergar recommends. 

Weather

Most three-person tents come with either three- or two-season capability. Think about where you’ll be using your tent. Do you live in a super rainy climate like the Pacific Northwest? You’ll need a (waterproof) three-season tent, with a rainfly (a separate waterproof cover that fits over the roof of your tent) and a vestibule to store all your rain gear. Going camping in West Texas? A two-season tent that has plenty of ventilation (in the form of mesh panels) and protection from the sun will do nicely. (There are four-season tents, but unless you’re planning on doing some serious mountaineering in extreme weather, a two- or three-season tent is okay.)  

FAQs

What is the difference between car camping and backpacking tents? 

The biggest difference is weight and design—generally, backpacking tents are more cramped, with no room to stand. Backpacking tents are designed to be lightweight, durable, and more weatherproof. Car camping tents are built to be more comfortable.

What are some ventilation features to look for?

Ventilation is key. To help increase airflow (thereby preventing condensation buildup), your tent should have mesh panels or windows, along with adjustable rainfly vents. When the rain fly is off, you should be able to see through the tent to the other side.

How can I increase the lifespan of my tent?

One of the best things you can do to increase your tent’s lifespan is to never leave your tent in direct sunlight for long periods of time (UV light will degrade the fabric over time). Be careful using your zippers (never forcefully tug on a zipper) and always leave your shoes outside to prevent dirt from building up. If your tent is wet when you break camp (either from rain or morning dew), make sure you unpack it and let it dry once you get home before storing it for your next trip.

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