Now that summer is creeping up on us, we all want to head outside, right? Before you head out though, make sure you check your local park’s COVID-19 status. There may be closures or regulations set in place to prevent overnight stays or have a cap on sites used. Do your research before heading out and always have a backup plan, especially if the camping area is overcrowded or unregulated.
However, once you figure out exactly where you can safely camp, you’re going to need a camping tent.
When it comes to the best camping tents, there are many options and variables at play when choosing the right fit. The first can be size or cost and others that follow are weather, material and weight. If you’re car camping, an 18-pound tent is no big deal to haul down a short trail. However, if you’re backpacking, 18 pounds is a serious nonstarter. Based on where you’re going, be it the mountains, a river or a beach, we have some options for you.
Tents are important. Whatever you bring along will be the main shield against mother nature, so pick wisely. Find something that you’ll feel comfortable in. These are the best camping tents to get right now.
1. REI Co-op Kingdom 4
This roomy four-person tent is our top choice for many reasons and the biggest one is the nearly 70 square feet of floor space. Having a lot of people squeezing in? Then this is a great option because four people will fit comfortably and you may be able to easily squeeze in a fifth. The Kingdom 4 weighs 18 pounds which makes it great for car camping but not backpacking. It has an amazing rain flap that covers the entire tent, which is an unusual feature for most tents and makes it almost completely weatherproof. It has a tall circular door which means you don’t have to stoop upon entering and the rain flap creates a small room for your shoes or other gear.
One of the best features is the amount of storage: 20 mesh pockets line the inside of the tent and there is also plenty of room for gear to be tucked alongside your sleeping bags. In larger versions of the Kingdom, there is even a wall divider that can be placed to separate the tent into two rooms, handy if you have kids or pets.
2. Half Dome 2 Plus
This cozy two-person tent is our favorite option for a smaller, lighter tent because it is easily tucked into a backpack for a longer hike to the campsite. At 5.6 pounds, it is extra light and easy to carry around but is a little too heavy for a backpacking trip; the extra room means extra weight. With 34 feet of floor space and reaching to almost four feet in height, this is a very comfortable tent to spend your time in if you aren’t going too far or if you’re willing to carry the weight.
One of the best features, aside from all the space and storage pockets, is the zipper opening from the inside instead of the outside. This comes in handy when its raining and offers easier access to the entryway where you stored your shoes. An overall top pick for a two-person tent, the Half Dome 2 Plus is great for cozy camping.
3. Eureka Copper Canyon LX 4
This is in our top three because of price and space; at a hefty 17 pounds, this is the ideal tent for car camping. With 64 square feet of space, it’s roomy enough for friends or a family with small kids. One of the best features is the port cord that sneaks into the tent for easy charging of all your devices. Spacious, tall and comfortable, the 2020 version of the Copper Canyon has all of its old features and some new ones. It is easy to assemble with larger, stronger poles which make putting up the tent an easy enough one-person job which will come as a relief to many campers. Taking out the stress of assembly can be a deciding factor. Another new feature is the awning door which is slightly taller than older versions.
If you’re car camping with the grill, the kids and plenty of other stuff, this is the tent for you. Besides, you can’t beat the price.
4. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2
At just over three pounds, Big Agnes is the ideal backpacking tent and the new 2020 version comes with more storage, ultralight nylon double ripstop fabric, and a new vented, waterproof fly. Although it’s the smallest tent on our list — and the most expensive — it comes with ideal features for a two-person backpacking tent. It is light, comfortable, and has two doors to make it feel even bigger if you’re feeling crowded. Even though it doesn’t come with enough stakes to create tension on the rain fly and you should pack a few extra to prepare for this, the lightweight tent is our top pick for backpackers.
With the new venting system, this makes it a clear winner for thru-hikers intent on airing out their tent. If you’re more into car camping, the price on this cozy two-person tent may be enough to make you pause and with good reason: it’s the perfect backpacker’s tent.
5. Sundome 4 Coleman
The Sundome Coleman is an essential dome tent; it holds up to basic camping needs with an easy setup and space for a charging port to run through. It is the most affordable option on our list and succeeds in being as roomy as the more expensive, lighter options. If you aren’t going backpacking and are looking for something to fit your basic camping needs, this is a great option based on price and setup. The only downside is that it’s not rainproof; water seeps into the bottom of the tent during a heavy storm so be sure to seal up the bottom or check the weather before you head out. Overall, the Coleman dome tent is a fantastic option for anyone looking for an average tent.
6. Skydome 2 Coleman
Campers eager to make it to the site before sunset will appreciate the easy set up of this tent. Although it is on the heavier side, this is still a great option for quick weekend getaways and boasts enough room for a queen-size air mattress. It has ample storage room overhead for gear or lanterns but doesn’t vent as well as it should, which may leave you hot and stuffy in the morning. Water may creep in so be sure to keep your valuables tucked away from the windows if the weather turns. Overall, a great option for those seeking an easy setup at an affordable price.
7. Core 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
If you’re looking for the biggest option possible, the Core 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent is the winner. An optimal tent with enough room for all of your closest friends, this tent is sturdy, reliable and easy to assemble. It boasts a shocking 60-second setup and enough room for two queen air mattresses, although reviewers say it’s more like a three to five-minute setup for one person, which is still great.
Coming in under $250, it’s also a killer deal for the amount of room you get. Be cautious of the material and how long it’ll last though, tents rip easily with that many people around and it may not be worth it to get it fixed. At a staggering 27 pounds, this is the ultimate car camping tent. But if you’re in for a party at a reasonable price, this is a great option.
8. Hikergarden 8 Person Tent
This remarkably large tent is great for a big family or an outing with friends at a festival, rave or just a night together in the woods. At 17 pounds, this tent can be carried up a trail to a campsite or brought in with the car. Carrying it will be easy because it comes with a bag that you can stash inside of a backpack for the hike. It has five mesh windows for ventilation and a divider wall to separate everyone or to be used as a screen for movie projections. This is the ultimate party tent and is also a great deal.
9. Ezone Waterproof Instant Pop-Up Tent
This tent is made for three to four people and has a two-door system which makes for great ventilation and easy access, making it look and feel roomier. It has an easy setup design and is made from waterproof polyester fabric which will keep you dry all night. As a traditional dome tent, it has a spacious design and comfortably houses four sleeping bags. This is an excellent, easy option for those not looking for a serious backpacking tent.