- REI Co-opPassage 2 Tent with Footprint$159.00
- REI Co-opTrail Hut 4 Tent with Footprint$299.00
- REI Co-opBackpacking Bundle$295.00
- REI Co-opGroundbreaker 2 Tent$79.95
- NEMOAurora 2P Tent with Footprint$249.95
- REI Co-opKingdom 6 Tent$499.00
- REI Co-opHalf Dome SL 3+ Tent with Footprint$329.00
- REI Co-opGrand Hut 6 Tent$349.00
- REI Co-opPassage 1 Tent with Footprint$139.00
- KeltyDiscovery 4 Tent$149.95
- KeltyTowpath 3 Tent$126.93 Compared to$170.00You save 25%
- Big AgnesTiger Wall UL 2 Solution-Dyed Tent$399.95
- KeltyDiscovery Dome 4 Tent$99.95
- The North FaceStormbreak 3 Tent$199.00
- NEMOWagontop 8 Tent$749.95
- MSRZoic 3 Tent$299.93 Compared to$399.95You save 25%
- REI Co-opKingdom 8 Tent$579.00
- REI Co-opFlash Air 2 Tent$299.00
- MarmotOrbit 6P Tent$552.93 Compared to$738.00You save 25%
- NEMOAurora 3P Tent with Footprint$299.95
- Mountain HardwearMineral King 3 Tent with Footprint$300.00
- Mountain HardwearMineral King 2 Tent with Footprint$250.00
- The North FaceKaiju 4 Tent$299.00
- REI Co-opKingdom 4 Tent$429.00
- KeltySequoia 4 Tent$244.73 Compared to$329.95You save 25%
- The North FaceWawona 4 Tent$350.00
- NEMOWagontop 6 Tent$649.95
- Rightline GearSUV Tent$299.95
- CaddisRapid 6 Tent$299.95
- MarmotTungsten 4P Tent with Footprint$366.00
Perhaps the most important gear choice for an outdoor getaway is the family camping tent. It's your home away from home when you venture outside. Families and friends come in every size, shape and color—as do tents. That's a beautiful thing, but with literally hundreds of options, it's hard to know where to start.
Types of Tents
We'll focus on tents for car camping here, but it also helps to understand the full range of tent categories:
- Camping tents: When choosing a car camping tent, weight isn't an issue since your vehicle carries the weight. Focus on roominess and other features.
- Roof-top tents: Kind of treehouse/tent combo, it lets you stack sleeping and parking in one spot. When picking a rooftop tent, make sure it fits on your roof rack.
- Backpacking tents: Balance weight, capacity, weather and comfort when choosing a backpacking tent to carry into the backcountry. These backpacking tents are some of our favorites.
- Shelters: Covers everything from sun canopies and bug refuges to tarps and minimalist shelters for ultralight backpacking.
- Hammock tents: Combine a hammock with weather and/or bug protection and you get another type of ultralight shelter.
For quick picks, read Best Camping Tents of 2020. Below are some additional factors to think about.
Tent Sleeping Capacity
Seems simple: Going with one friend? Get a 2-person tent. If you're a family of 4, then get a 4-person model. Keep in mind, though, that these designations don't allow much elbow room. So a lot of people upsize, getting, say, a 6-person tent for their group of four. If you're between group sizes, go bigger.
Tent Living Capacity
- Roominess: If spaciousness matters to you, compare the floor area and floor dimensions between tents you're considering. This information helps you visualize how you might set up sleeping bags and other gear inside.
- Headroom: If you want to stand up inside the tent, then make sure the peak height is taller than you.
- Shape: Rectangular floor plans offer more usable space than circular floors (such as in dome tents). Cabin-shaped tents also offer more wall-to-wall headroom than a dome.
Tent Season Ratings
When a tent is designated as 2-, 3- or 4-season, that simply hints at how sturdy it is and how sealed up it can be. A 3-season (spring/summer/fall) tent is designed for milder weather than a 4-season (spring/summer/fall and winter) tent.
You can find a wide variety of products to help make your tent a little homier and keep it in good shape.