Last updated: June 8th, 2023
Short on time? Our pick for the best tent for four people is the Marmot Limestone.
The best 4-person tents–whether you’re car camping with friends or the whole family.
I used to think I wasn’t a fan of camping before I had the right gear.
I saw camping as a guaranteed way to wake up with sore muscles from sleeping on the hard ground.
It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I really started to understand how important it is to invest in the right gear.
Now, I know the secret to a good night’s sleep goes beyond good sleeping pads–it also depends on having a fantastic tent for optimal comfort.
The proper camping set-up can be the difference between a great trip and a very uncomfortable one full of cold, restless nights that leave you sleep-deprived.
I’ve tried numerous types of camping throughout the years, including hammock camping around the US for a summer (which I also highly recommend!) and even sleeping in my car at campsites.
However, tent camping is still my go-to when I want to get out in nature for the weekend, and a four-person tent is my ideal size for a variety of different trips.
This is all to say that I love camping and I’ve learned first-hand over the years what to look for when investing in a good tent, which is why I wanted to write this article.
Whether you’re planning a family trip or simply want a roomier tent for you and a friend, these are my picks for the best four-person tents on the market right now.
Note: this article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Here’s a quick look at our recommendations
- Best Tent for Tall People – REI Co-op Wonderland 4 Tent
- Best Family Camping Tent – Marmot Limestone
- Best Car Camping Tent – REI Co-op Base Camp
- Best Waterproof Tent – Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 4
- Best Under $100 Tent – Coleman Sundome
- Best Pop-Up Tent – Coleman Camping Tent with Instant Setup
- Best Tent With a Porch – Coleman Carlsbad
- Best Backpacking Tent – Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4
- Best Lightweight 4-Person Tent – Kelty Grand Mesa Backpacking Tent
- Best 3-Season Tent – Marmot Tungsten
- Best for Wind and Rain – Mountain Hardware Tango Tent
- Best Cabin Tent – Eureka Copper Canyon LX
- Best Multi-Room Tent – S’More 4-Season Camping Tent
- Best Canvas Tent – Kodiak Flex Bow Canvas Tent Deluxe
- Best Tunnel Tent – Coleman Oak Canyon Tent
Table of Contents
#1 REI Co-op Wonderland 4 Tent
Best for Tall People
Weight: 21 lbs 11 oz
Floor area: 69.4 sq ft
Height: 75 inches
If you’re looking for a great tent for camping with the whole family, the REI Co-op Wonderland 4 Tent is one of the best REI 4-person tents.
This freestanding tent has good ventilation thanks to an advanced venting system that strategically places vents on the sides and door to create a chimney effect.
I always feel at home thanks to the spaciousness of the Wonderland.
Near-vertical walls offer extra room with a generous 6’3” center height and nearly 70 sq ft floor.
The REI Wonderland tent also has a super easy color-coded pole system to simplify the setting-up process.
This tent is suitable for frequent car campers who like having room to stretch out, but it’s a bit too heavy to fit in with backpacking tents, which are less than half the weight.
The Wonderland is a good choice for someone who wants a durable tent with quality materials that you can stand up inside of.
It also comes with a decent rain fly, but it’s not heavy-duty enough to stand up to stronger storms.
- Good ventilation
- Large floor space and tall
- Durable enough to use for spring, summer, or fall
- Quick set-up
- Versatile–suitable for backpacking and car camping
- Not the most waterproof option; I recommend adding a coat of waterproofing spray just in case.
#2 Marmot Limestone
Best 4-Person Family Tent
Weight: 11 lbs 13.6 oz
Floor area: 59.2 sq ft
Height: 63 inches
Vestibule: Yes (28 sq ft)
If you’re looking for a solid tent that’s more durable and lightweight than the REI Co-op Wonderland, the Marmot Limestone is an ideal alternative.
The Marmot Limestone provides enough space for the whole family, plus a furry friend.
Its Zone construction means vertical walls, plenty of gear storage, and more headroom than many other tents that have a dome shape.
Add to this the fact that it’s super straightforward to set up, and it’s easy to see why this Marmot tent is one of the best family tents out there.
Plus, it’s the best tent with a vestibule–or rather, two vestibules!
The Marmot Limestone also has good ventilation and protection from the elements, with a fully waterproof floor and rain fly.
It’s slightly too heavy for backpacking at 11.75 lbs, so it’s more optimal for camping at a traditional campground or an accessible hike-in campsite.
This tent is a good option for anyone looking for a quality four-person tent that’s easy to set up and on the roomier side without adding too much extra weight.
- Waterproof features
- Roomy design with decent headspace
- Supersized doors for easy entry and exit
- Easy to set up (only about 10 minutes)
- Too heavy to be a backpacking tent
- Flimsy stakes (might need to replace if camping in rough terrain)
#3 REI Co-op Base Camp
Best Tent for Car Camping
Weight: 16 lbs 14 oz
Floor area: 59.7 sq ft
Height: 60 inches
Vestibule: Yes (44 sq ft)
Another one of the best REI tents on the market right now is the REI Co-op Base Camp.
This tent is perfect for adventurous travelers who prefer a comfortable camping experience.
The Base Camp has a decently sized footprint, a large vestibule area, and a height of five feet.
This 3-season tent is also one of the best family tents that can handle wind and withstand bad weather.
If you plan to camp in places where there might be more wind, rain, or low temperatures, the Base Camp is a good option.
The two roof vents and one side vent on this tent also help with condensation, so you don’t wake up with soaked belongings. The polyester rain fly is stretch proof and UV-resistant.
This REI Co-op Base Camp Tent is the perfect tent for anyone looking for a solid and durable tent that’s slightly roomier than the average dome tent.
Although it’s a little heavy thanks to its roomy size, the Base Camp has lightweight aluminum poles that help keep its weight down.
It has a solid design and is decently weatherproof, making it a dependable tent for intrepid and fair-weather campers alike.
Otherwise, if you’re looking for something slightly roomier, they have a 6-person version that’s just as good.
- Durable and stable
- Decent amount of gear storage space and vestibule space
- Roomy interior
- Easy to set up
- On the heavier side
- Check the zippers and stitching as soon as it arrives to make sure they’re up to par (customer service is excellent if needed)
#4 Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 4
Best 4-Person Waterproof Tent
Weight: 10 lbs 2 oz
Floor dimensions: 52.7 sq ft
Height: 58 inches
The lightweight Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 4 Tent has a lot going for it.
At 10.1 lbs, it’s just light enough to take with you on a backcountry adventure.
When it comes to weather protection, the Teton Sports Mountain Ultra has a waterproof rain fly, uses durable materials that stand up to wind, and is one of the best tents for heavy rain.
It’s also a steal as one of the most inexpensive tents on this list.
One of the coolest features of the Teton Sports Mountain Ultra is that the walls are all mesh (it becomes waterproof once you put the rain fly on), which means it’s great for stargazing on nice evenings.
The one thing to note about this tent is that, like many dome-shaped tents, the interior space can be a tight squeeze for four people.
But if you don’t mind a less roomy tent, this is one of the best waterproof tents on the market right now.
The Mountain Ultra 4 is an ideal tent for anyone looking for an inexpensive waterproof tent that’s versatile enough for backpacking or camping.
- Not too expensive
- Easy to set up (takes about five minutes)
- A little small for four people
- Only waterproof when the rain fly is attached correctly, so it’s not great to set up when it’s already raining
#5 Coleman Sundome
Best Tent Under $100
Weight: 9 lbs
Floor dimensions: 63 sq ft
Height: 59 inches
If you’re looking for cheap family tents, Coleman is one of the best brands for decent-quality gear at a reasonable price.
The first Coleman tent that I bought was actually a Coleman Sundome, which is now one of the most popular tents under $100.
I was camping on a college student budget and grateful when it turned out to be extremely durable.
Despite cheaper materials, it’s reasonably lightweight, thanks to fiberglass poles. And at less than 10 pounds, it’s comparable to most backpacking tents too.
Just note that this tent does better in warm weather than in cold weather. I also recoated it with waterproofing spray every year, and it protected me in some pretty nasty summer storms.
Also, because there’s no vestibule, I’d recommend sizing up to the Sundome 6 if you actually want to fit four people in your tent and you’re camping with gear.
If you’re looking for a cheap four-person tent that’s simple, easy to set up, and you don’t need the bells and whistles of expensive camping tents, the Coleman Sundome tent is a good option.
- Easy to set up (about 10-15 minutes)
- Surprisingly durable
- Welded floor with inverted seams
- Flimsy stakes
- No vestibule or special features
- Water resistant, but can be made waterproof with a spray
#6 Coleman Camping Tent with Instant Setup
Best 4-Person Pop-Up Tent
Weight: 19.1 lbs
Floor area: 56 sq ft
Height: 71 inches
The Coleman Camping Tent with Instant Setup is another of my favorites if you’re looking for the best 4-person car camping tents on the market.
That’s because it’s an instant pop-up tent, so it takes less than five minutes to set up. If you’re camping alone, it’s easy to set up solo. . . which is not something that can be said about all four-person tents.
At 5 feet, 11 inches, it doesn’t have the tallest peak height, but you won’t be hunched over like in dome tents.
Now, to get a good perspective on how this tent performs, I like to compare it to one of my all-time favorites. The Gazelle 4-Person Pop-Up Tent is another cabin-style tent that sets up in the blink of an eye.
Coleman’s 4-person instant cabin doesn’t have the unique features of Gazelle. I’m a sucker for that Gazelle removable floor that makes cleaning out dirt easy and the extremely roomy interior with vertical walls.
But Coleman has the essentials at half the price.
The main downsides to either of these 4-person tents are the weight and bulkiness. But if you’re not backpacking, that’s probably not a dealbreaker.
Besides car camping, this Coleman 4-person tent would also be an ideal music festival tent with how easy it is to set up and the low-maintenance integrated rainfly.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-set-up tent and value convenience above weight, this 4-man pop-up tent is a good option.
- Two minute easy setup
- Roomy interior thanks to near-vertical walls
- High-quality materials with patented Coleman Weathertech treatment
- Ceiling vent to help manage condensation
- The integrated rainfly might not be adequate in stormy downpours
- Heavy and bulky to carry
#7 Coleman Carlsbad Dome Tent
Best Tent With a Porch
Weight: 7 lbs 9.6 oz
Floor dimensions: 63 sq ft (plus additional screen room is 36 sq ft)
Height: 59 inches
The Coleman Carlsbad is one of the best 4 man tents with a porch attached.
It’s not quite as big as the larger Coleman tents on this list (e.g. the Oak Canyon), but it’s still roomy with a 9 x 7-foot floor space, plus a 9 x 4-foot screen room.
This is ideally a car camping tent for a family camping trip.
It fits four sleeping bags or one full-sized air mattress or camping cot inside the bedroom, plus the screen room has plenty of space to stash belongings.
The screen porch is nice when you all want to hang out outside but don’t want the bugs.
There’s also an e-port where you can run an electrical cord into the tent if you want to bring a power strip to keep everyone’s electronics charged.
And it’s not a very complicated tent to set up, with an assembly that takes about 10 minutes.
Weighing just under eight pounds, the Carlsbad Dome Tent could even work for backpacking.
It’s extremely lightweight for the price and probably the best tent for under $200 if you and your friends want to try backpacking without going full in.
Another cool aspect of this tent is that it has dark room technology that blocks 90% of sunlight. So, if you’re a light-sensitive sleeper, this could be the tent for you!
If you’re looking for a comfortable tent with room to stretch out in front, the Coleman Carlsbad Dome Tent is a good option.
Looking for more screened space while camping? Read our guide to the best screen houses for camping.
- Dark room tech that blocks sunlight
- Screened porch for relaxing without the bugs
- E-port for electrical port
- Easy set-up
- Not tall enough to stand inside
- Material can be a little flimsy
#8 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4
Best 4-Person Backpacking Tent
Weight: 5.9 lbs
Floor area: 57 sq ft
Height: 50 inches
There are a lot of quality lightweight tents for backpacking these days, but it’s hard to beat the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4.
There are a boatload of reasons why I think this is the best 4-man tent for backpacking.
Firstly, and most importantly, this Big Agnes tent is an ultra-lightweight tent at only 5.9 lbs, which is impressive for a 4-person tent.
It has aluminum poles, which aren’t usually lighter than fiberglass, but these are DAC aluminum, the thinnest and most lightweight type available.
Secondly, despite its featherlight weight, it’s a fairly spacious tent (at least for a backpacking tent, so take that as you will).
There’s a good amount of headspace for a dome tent due to the height and angle of the poles and tent walls.
Add to this the number of spaces to stash gear in the tent body, plus a decent-sized vestibule area, and the Big Agnes Copper Spur offers up much more space than other tents for backpacking.
Although it’s only recommended for three seasons, it’s also a very waterproof and durable tent.
Big Agnes is based in the Colorado Rockies, so I would expect no less in terms of its rugged durability.
The Big Agnes Copper Spur isn’t a cheap tent, but if you’re looking for well-designed four-person tents that will last, this is an ideal choice.
- Durable and waterproof
- Ultra-lightweight DAC aluminum poles
- Decent amount of headspace and room for a small dome tent
- Easy to set up
- Made from high-quality materials that last
- Zippers aren’t as smooth as they could be
#9 Kelty Grand Mesa Backpacking Tent
Best Lightweight 4-Person Tent
Weight: 7 lbs 7 oz
Floor area: 54 sq ft
Height: 56 inches
The Kelty Grand Mesa Backpacking Tent doesn’t have as many features or quite as much room as the Big Agnes Copper Spur, but it’s still one of the best lightweight backpacking tents.
The third lightest tent on this list at 7 lbs 7 oz, it’s light enough for long hikes into the backcountry and durable enough for spring, summer, and fall camping.
This Kelty Grand Mesa tent includes one large vestibule, a plus for backpacking tents when you don’t have room for all of your sweaty gear inside.
The biggest draw to this tent, though, is its easy setup.
There are only two poles, which clip into place. And you’ll notice ample space between the tent walls and rainfly, which helps reduce condensation build-up.
Also, most of the walls and ceiling are mesh, which means plenty of ventilation and good stargazing opportunities when there’s nice weather.
The one downside with this tent is that while it’s rated for four people, it comfortably fits a max of two to three people with gear.
Before heading out, I recommend treating it with SolarProof spray to protect the fabric from degrading in the sun and to make it more waterproof.
Overall, this tent is a big step up from the previously popular REI Co-op Trail Hut, which wasn’t waterproof or as tall.
And at a third of the price of the Big Agnes, the Kelty Grand Mesa tent is the best budget 4-person tent for backpacking.
- Aluminum poles
- Easy to set up
- Great ventilation
- Rainfly fades in the sun
- A bit pricey for a mid-range tent
#10 Marmot Tungsten
3-season 4-Person Tent
Weight: 9 lbs 3.8 oz
Floor area: 52.7 sq ft
Height: 52.8 inches
If you’re looking for lightweight 3-season 4-man dome-style tents versatile enough for backpacking or camping, look no further than the Marmot Tungsten.
This compact tent packs up as small and lightweight as a two-person tent but offers enough room for four people.
Although a little on the short side for taller campers at only 4.5 feet at its peak height, the Tungsten offers a decent floor size and two large vestibule areas to stash gear, which frees up space inside the tent.
Plus, the two doors on the tent make it easy to exit without having to climb all over your fellow campers.
Other design features that set the Tungsten apart include color-coded poles for quick and easy setup and a lampshade pocket that turns a headlamp into an ambient overhead light.
Multiple storage pockets offer extra space to organize your belongings, keeping the 52.7 square feet of floor space clear.
Tungsten 4-person tents also have taped seams for excellent water resistance, so you’ll stay dry in inclement weather.
As a three-season tent, it’s durable enough to offer strong wind resistance and withstand low temperatures.
Another bonus is that the fabric is solution-dyed. Not only does this process use less water for enhanced eco-friendliness, but it also resists UV fading.
Marmot is a leading brand that’s worth spending a little extra on. These tents are built to last, which raises the overall value in the long term.
All of these features make this the best overall tent, especially if you’re looking for a versatile three-season tent that’s lightweight and ready for any outdoor adventure.
- Waterproof protection and good in high winds
- Easy to set up
- Two large vestibule areas to keep dirty gear
- Great ventilation
- Color-coded tent poles
- Low peak height
#11 Mountain Hardware Tango 4 Tent
Best Tent for Wind and Rain
Weight: 11 lbs. 7.5 oz.
Floor area: 57 sq ft
Height: 50 inches
Vestibule: Yes (16 sq ft)
If you’re looking for a solid heavy-duty tent, it doesn’t get much better than the Mountain Hardware Tango Tent.
This tent isn’t cheap, but it’s durable, waterproof, windproof, and durable enough for mountaineering. It’s seriously the best tent for cold-weather camping.
If you plan to camp in some serious windy or rainy weather, the Mountain Hardware Tango will keep you warm and dry.
While it’s great for blustery camping weekends, it’s not the best tent for warmer weather with its solid walls.
That being said, there’s a mesh star-viewing window in the ceiling and wide doors on opposite ends for a cross breeze.
Other features of this tent include a reflective logo and guylines, and a large vestibule area.
At just under 12 lbs, the Mountain Hardware Tango is a bit too heavy to be a great everyday backpacking tent.
But for a weatherproof tent that protects you from the elements, it’s well worth the extra weight.
This tent is perfect for anyone looking for high-quality, durable 4-person tents that will protect you from most weather.
- Waterproof, windproof, and weatherproof
- Plenty of extra storage space in the vestibule for keeping gear dry
- Mesh doors on opposite sides create a cross breeze in hot weather
- Easy to set up
- On the heavier side for backpacking
- Might get hot inside if there’s not a breeze in warm weather
#12 Eureka Copper Canyon LX
Best 4-Person Cabin Tent
Weight: 20.3 lbs
Floor area: 64 sq ft
Height: 84 inches
The Eureka Copper Canyon LX is a cabin-style four-person tent ideal for family camping trips and festivals.
The vertical walls on this freestanding tent make the interior space feel all kinds of roomy and spacious.
There are also multiple mesh windows to keep the tent cool and well-ventilated.
Thanks to mesh pockets, there’s storage space and a port to run an extension cord for extra modern conveniences.
Although this is touted as a three-season tent, it’s probably best used for summer camping and warm weather.
Especially due to its height, this 4-person tent isn’t the greatest tent for high winds since its poles are fiberglass instead of aluminum (aluminum poles are more durable).
The Eureka Copper Canyon LX is an ideal choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-set-up cabin tent big enough for four people with good ventilation.
- Spacious interior and a good amount of floor space
- Very tall tent with the ability to stand up inside of it
- Easy to set up
- On the heavier side
- Not as great in high winds with how tall it is
- No floor vents, although the huge windows make up for that somewhat
#13 S’More 4 Season Camping Tent
Best 4-Person Multi-Room Tent
Weight: 24.3 lbs
Floor dimensions: 112 sq ft
Height: 5 ft 10 in
If you’re looking for large family tents for car camping, having multiple rooms for more space can be a nice luxury.
One of the best 4-person multi-room tents is the S’More 4 Season Camping Tent.
This tent allows you to have two rooms that each fit two people, making it an excellent family tent.
The unique design offers extra privacy, thanks to a covered vestibule in the middle that separates the two sides.
It’s essentially two two-person tents with a ‘courtyard’ in the middle.
Because it has such a complex design, the set-up can be a little complex; this is by no means an instant tent.
It’s also much heavier than your standard single room 4-person tent.
That being said, this is probably the best tent for cold-weather camping.
It has a snow skirt to keep snow and rain away from floor seams and a 3,000mm waterproof rating. This is handy in summer when surprise thunderstorms roll in.
The aluminum poles are also lighter than steel poles and they’ll bend instead of snapping like fiberglass poles.
You’ll be grateful for this when the kids get a little too wild and someone falls into the side of the tent.
The S’more 4 Season tent is perfect for anyone looking for a tent with multiple rooms and who values having their own private space.
- Middle vestibule with awning
- Two private separated sleeping areas
- Good ventilation
- Very waterproof (3000mm)
- Snow skirt prevents rain & snow from entering at the bottom
- Heavy and bulky
- The bedrooms have short ceilings due to the sloping walls
#14 Kodiak Flex Bow Canvas Tent Deluxe
Best 4-Person Canvas Tent
Weight: 57 lbs 12 oz
Floor dimensions: 72 sq ft
Height: 6 ft
Vestibule: No (but front awning)
A lot of canvas tents are enormous–like me, you’re probably familiar with the safari-style canvas bell tents popular for glamping.
But as a smaller version, the Kodiak Flex Bow Canvas Tent Deluxe is an excellent choice.
Although it’s smaller than a cavernous glamping tent, the Kodiak Flex Bow is still a very roomy tent.
It has a six-foot ceiling height, so shorter adults will be able to stand comfortably.
And since it departs from that traditional dome design, it offers even more standing room.
Thick hydra-shield canvas walls and polyester-reinforced vinyl floor with welded seams work together to provide rugged protection from bad weather.
Plus, a generous awning over the front door leaves ample space to store muddy boots while still protecting them from rain or heavy morning mist.
And even though the canvas is ultra-thick, there are four large mesh windows that allow plenty of airflow.
There’s also an interior gear organizer to keep your belongings from getting jumbled on the tent floor.
- Awning over font door
- Lots of interior space
- Good ventilation
- Excellent waterproofing
- Strong steel tube poles
- Heavy and bulky
- Difficult to assemble
#15 Coleman Oak Canyon Tent
Best 4-Person Tunnel Tent
Weight: 37 lbs 11 oz
Floor dimensions: 141.7 sq ft
Height: 6.2 ft
Vestibule: No (but has a front screen room and awning)
A tunnel tent is similar to a dome or cabin tent, except the u-shaped poles are parallel instead of crossing in the middle. This type of design creates a long and spacious interior.
And the Coleman Oak Canyon Tent is no exception–it doesn’t skimp on interior space.
This four-person family tent has an impressive 141 square feet of space, with a 6.2-foot center height.
What’s more, this is a multi-room tent, so it can be more than just a place to sleep.
And over the wide, D-shaped front door, there’s a small awning to protect your shoes.
The back bedroom is a blackout room, repelling sunlight and allowing light-sensitive sleepers to snooze late into the morning.
It’s also really nice to have blackout fabric on hot summer days because it helps regulate the interior temperature inside the tent.
This tent is sturdy, durable, and a perfect 4-person tent for families who enjoy creature comforts just as much as they love to rough it in nature.
There’s even a bedroom divider to give families added privacy.
- Spacious interior with multiple rooms
- Front screen room
- Awning over font door
- Blackout bedroom
- Complicated assembly
Buying Guide: What to Look for in a 4-Person Tent
Size, Shape, Weight & Organization
Some four-person tents have a lot of space, extra vestibule areas, a gear loft, and plenty of headroom. Others feel like a sardine can.
It depends on the tent design and what the manufacturers were going for.
Below are a few features to check when deciding whether or not you can realistically fit four people in your future four-person tent.
Is spaciousness important to you? Do you plan to sleep on the ground, with an air mattress, or use a camping cot?
These are questions you’ll want to ask yourself before deciding on the size of your tent.
If you want a more luxe camping setup with air mattresses or you simply like more room, 4-person tents might not cut it.
I recommend sizing up to at least a six-person tent when car camping with four adults.
Cabin or Dome Style
If you’re tall, it might be worth going for a cabin-style tent with more headroom than dome tents.
The tent poles are relatively vertical in a cabin tent, making for a roomier tent body than dome tents.
With that said, cabin tents tend to be larger and heavier, so they’re not the best for backpacking.
However, many car camping tents are cabin-style because of the extra interior space they offer.
Just know that usually the larger the tent, the more it will weigh, so you’ll probably trade space for weight.
Depending on if you’re planning to backpack or car camp, weight can make all the difference.
If you’re car camping, weight isn’t a huge deal because you’re probably only carrying it a few feet.
But weight is super important if you plan to backpack or hike into any campsites. Four-person tents can get heavy, so watch out.
The general rule of thumb for a backpacking tent is 2.5 lbs per person.
So, for 4-person tents, you’d want to keep the weight under 10 lbs for backpacking and even less if possible.
If you’re looking for a versatile 4-person tent for backpacking and family car camping, look for brands that specialize in backcountry equipment, like Marmot, REI, and Mountain Hardware.
Vestibules, gear lofts, and pockets are all things you should look for if organization is important to you.
Buying tents with good organization brings me the same joy as finding women’s clothing with giant pockets (or any pockets).
Gear lofts and other accessories that keep your small items off the floor make for a more organized camping experience.
The organization of a tent is especially important now that we’re talking about four-person tents because no one will be happy when their sunglasses are stepped on or when mom can’t find her flashlight for a midnight pee.
Vestibules are nice to have to store muddy gear in a protected area, away from your sleeping bag.
How Weatherproof it is
Are you primarily a summer camper, or do you like to camp all year, even in cold weather?
For the average camper, a three-season tent does the job just fine.
However, if you want to prepare for more challenging weather, it’s good to look for a waterproof and windproof tent.
If you want to try your hand at winter camping or mountaineering and backpacking trips, you’ll need to look for a tent with durable materials and heavy weather resistance that can withstand high winds and winter storms.
These premium tents will always be more expensive than a budget tent, but the best camping tents also last forever and protect you from pretty much anything (minus a hurricane).
A lot of us in California didn’t use to have to take our tent’s waterproofing seriously. But after the extreme snowfall that we had this year, I no longer trust the weather.
If you know that you will really only be camping in dry weather, it’s okay to choose a tent that’s only water-resistant. I like being prepared though.
That’s why most of the 4-person tents on this list are waterproof.
A good waterproof 3-season tent will have a rating of at least 1,500 mm HH. This indicates how much water it could handle in the Hydrostatic Head (HH) test.
For dedicated all-weather campers, I recommend waterproofing more in the 3,000 mm to 5,000 mm range.
The highest rating is 10,000mm, but that’s probably overkill if your tent has properly sealed seams and good stitching.
Durability and Materials
And now it’s time to nerd out about the materials that 4-person tents are made of.
Choosing pole materials is a balancing act between strength and weight.
Aluminum is the lightest weight, but more likely to bend and more expensive.
Steel poles are your strongest option, but also your heaviest. And fiberglass offers an in-between option and is used for cheaper tents.
At freezing temperatures, fiberglass is known to snap, making steel and aluminum your best option in snow or extreme weather. Fiberglass will be just fine for summer camping though.
As far as tent fabrics, most of your standard 4-person tents are made of polyester while top-tier backpacking tents venture into the world of nylon.
Polyester is generally more durable, but nylon is significantly lighter in weight.
Meanwhile, cotton canvas tents are a whole other tent style with a lot to offer.
Although they tend to be far heavier and more expensive than a typical camping tent, they’re also way more durable and naturally waterproof.
We’ve all woken up to the smell of stinky socks and sweaty gear. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a crime to make 4-person tents that don’t have plenty of ventilation.
At the bare minimum, your camping tent should have mesh windows or doors that you can open up for fresh air.
If you’re looking for 4-person tents to take the family on a weekend trip, look for mesh ceilings and walls, big windows, and especially pop-out vents.
How Easy it is to Set Up
There’s nothing worse than getting to your campsite late and rushing to set up a complicated tent before the sun goes down.
Or having to spend more than 30 minutes setting up a tent after a long and hot drive with the whole family.
Generally, you should expect a camping tent to take about 10 minutes to set up.
The only exceptions to this rule are super large tents, which sometimes take more effort to set up, and instant tents, which have a quick and easy setup that takes just a few minutes.
But otherwise, you should look for a tent that takes 10 minutes or less to set up for a smoother camping experience.
Looking for more tent options? Check out our guides to the best one-person tents, 2-person tents, 6-person tents, 8-person tents, 10-person tents, 12-person tents, family tents, large camping tents, 3-room tents, instant tents, pop-up tents, inflatable tents, tunnel tents, canvas tents, waterproof tents, insulated tents, winter tents, tents with stove jacks, glamping tents, SUV tents, motorcycle tents, tents for wind, tents with an AC port, tents with a screen room, and cabin tents.
FAQs About Buying a 4-Person Tent
Are Expensive Tents Worth it?
You don’t have to invest in the most expensive tent on the market, but it’s worth investing in a quality tent that will last for years and provide good weather protection.
If you’re just looking for a standard family camping tent for a one-off summer vacation, you can usually get away with purchasing a lower-end tent.
However, if you’re a regular camper and make annual or quarterly trips, it’s worth investing in a durable higher-end tent with weather resistance.
If you’re looking for a three-season or all-season tent, plan to spend extra money to ensure it’ll withstand the weather when you go camping throughout the year.
What is the Best Size Tent for a Family of Four?
Remember that tent sizes don’t usually take your belongings into account. A standard four-person tent will fit four people lying down without extra room for gear or walking.
A gear loft or vestibule can help free up floor space.
However, if you want a family of four to fit comfortably with their belongings, it’s probably wise to size up to a tent for six people (even if there’s a gear loft) or to opt for one of the multi-room tents on this list.
What is the Best Brand of Tents? Who Makes the Best Quality Camping Tents?
There are various good tent brands on the market today and many options to choose from.
My personal favorites are currently Big Agnes and Marmot, which are always reliable options.
When’s the Best Time to Buy a Tent?
Usually, late fall to early winter is the best time to buy a tent.
Think of it like Halloween. The day after Halloween, candy prices drop by 50% or more because there’s a sudden drop in demand.
Once summer ends, you’ll usually be able to find quality tents at discounted prices because companies are trying to move the previous season’s inventory to make room for new gear.
Should I get a Waterproof or Water-Resistant Tent?
In general, I always prefer to have at least water-resistant gear, if not fully waterproof, just in case I get caught in a rainstorm or unexpected weather.
But how much weather protection you need depends on how often you camp and where you tend to camp.
A weatherproof tent is essential if you live in the Pacific Northwest. Weather resistance is perhaps less crucial if you only camp in Southern California.
Should I Care About Tent Ventilation?
Unless you don’t mind a stinky tent that will probably make you sweat a copious amount, YES, great ventilation is crucial.
If you can purchase a tent that gives you cross ventilation, even better. Ventilation helps move water vapor and warm air outside and lets cooler air inside.
Believe me, it makes a difference to have a cool breeze come through your tent on hot mornings in the summer.
Should My Tent Have a Vestibule?
To keep your tent clean and tidy, it helps to have a vestibule.
A tent vestibule is a separate area, usually in the front or along the side of a tent, where you can keep your extra gear or dirty shoes separate from your sleeping area.
Besides the cleanliness aspect, it’s also good to have a tent vestibule to give yourself more room to move around in the tent.
Without one, it’s easy to feel cramped.
Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best 4-Person Tent
Although the competition was fierce, our pick for the best four-person tent is the Marmot Limestone.
This top-notch, sturdy, and high-quality tent has everything you need for a comfortable camping trip with the family.
It has taped seams and a full-coverage rain fly to protect you on wet nights.
Plus, its two doors make it easy to enter and exit, and that full-coverage rain fly extends into two large vestibules that offer lots of exterior storage.
This tent is also reasonably roomy but still lightweight.
And it has some handy features like a lampshade pocket where you can stash a headlamp to give you overhead ambient light.
The Limestone is the ultimate tent for three-season car camping thanks to high-quality materials, a low-packed weight, and an extremely durable design.
While it isn’t the cheapest tent on the list, the price isn’t astronomical, and it’s reasonable for a high-end tent you can depend on for years to come.
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