Best 4-Person Tent for Car Camping and Backpacking

best 4 person tent

Last updated: November 14th, 2022

Short on time? Our pick for the best tent is the Marmot Tungsten.

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!).

I wrote this article to help anyone else on the hunt for the perfect tent.

Whether you’re planning a family trip or simply want a roomier tent for you and a friend or significant other, these are my picks for the best four-person tents on the market right now.

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

big camping tents for four people

Here’s a quick look at our recommendations

#1 REI Co-op Wonderland 4 Tent

Best for Tall People

rei co-op wonderland 4 tent

Weight: 21.9 lbs
Floor area: 69.4 sq ft
Height: 75 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: No

If you’re looking for a great tent for camping with the whole family, the REI Co-op Wonderland 4 Tent is a great choice.

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.

This tent is relatively spacious, and the near-vertical walls offer extra room in addition to the 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 for longer backcountry excursions.

The Wonderland is a good choice for someone who values a durable tent with quality materials where you can stand up inside.

It also comes with a decent rain fly, but it’s not likely heavy-duty enough to stand up to stronger storms.

If you’re looking for another good all-around, less expensive tent, I’d recommend going for the Coleman Sundome (which you can find below).

PROS

  • Good ventilation
  • Durable enough to use for spring, summer, or fall
  • Quick set-up
  • Versatile–suitable for backpacking and car camping

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Not always the most waterproof; it’s good to use seam sealer just in case.

#2 Marmot Limestone

Best 4-Person Family Tent

marmot limestone

Weight: 11.75 lbs
Floor area: 59.6 sq ft
Height: 63 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
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.

The Marmot tent offers just enough space to not step on each other’s toes.

Add to this the fact that it’s super straightforward to set up, and it’s easy to see why this tent is one of the best family tents out there.

The Marmot Limestone also has good ventilation and protection from the elements, with a fully waterproof floor and rain fly.

It’s slightly heavier for backpacking at 11.75 lbs, so it’s probably best used for camping at a traditional campground or an accessible hike-in campsite.

This tent is a good option for those who value a tent that’s easy to set up and on the roomier side in exchange for a few more pounds.

It’s also a solid choice if you’re looking for a quality four-person tent that has good waterproofing features.

PROS

  • Waterproof features
  • Roomy design with decent headspace
  • Durable
  • Supersized doors for easy entry and exit
  • Easy to set up (only about 10 minutes)

CONS

  • Expensive
  • 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 4-Person Tent for Car Camping

REI Co-op Base Camp 4 Person Tent

Weight: 16.14 lbs
Floor area: 59.7 sq ft
Height: 60 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes (44 sq ft)

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 to 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 is 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.

PROS

  • Weatherproof
  • Durable and stable
  • Decent amount of gear storage space and vestibule space
  • Roomy interior
  • Easy to set up

CONS

  • Expensive
  • On the heavier side
  • Quality control is sometimes hit-or-miss (check the zippers and stitching as soon as it arrives to make sure they’re up to par)

#4 Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 4

Best 4-Person Waterproof Tent

teton sports mountain ultra 4

Weight: 10.1 lbs
Floor dimensions: 52.7 sq ft
Height: 58 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes

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.

PROS

  • Not too expensive
  • Waterproof 
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up (takes about five minutes)

CONS

  • 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: 9.8 lbs
Floor dimensions: 63 sq ft
Height: 59 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 1
Vestibule: No

If you’re looking for cheap family tents, Coleman is one of the best brands for decent-quality gear at a reasonable price.

Of course, the average Coleman tent doesn’t have quite the same level of high-quality materials as you find with more expensive tents, nor will they have as many bells and whistles, but they get the job done and are often extremely durable.

The Coleman Sundome is one of the most popular tents under $100 right now. And it’s actually surprising how well this tent holds up, compared to other cheap tents.

It’s durable, even with its cheaper materials, and it’s also reasonably lightweight, thanks to fiberglass poles. At less than ten pounds, it’s comparable to most backpacking tents.

In terms of setup, it’s not quite an instant tent, but it only takes around 10-15 minutes to put up.

If you’re looking for a cheap four-person tent that’s simple, easy to set up, and doesn’t have much extra, the Coleman Sundome Tent is a good option.

Just note that this tent does better in warm weather than in cold weather.

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.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to set up (about 10-15 minutes)
  • Surprisingly durable

CONS

  • Flimsy stakes
  • Simple design, no extra features
  • No vestibule
  • Although it’s technically a three-season tent, it’s best used for summer camping and mostly warm weather
  • The warranty only lasts for one year

#6 Gazelle 4 Person Pop Up

Best 4-Person Pop-Up Tent

4 man pop up tent - Gazelle 4 person pop up

Weight: 30 lbs
Floor area: 61 sq ft
Height: 78 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: No

Although far too heavy for backpacking, the Gazelle 4-Person Pop-Up Tent is a great option if you’re looking for one of the best 4-person car camping tents on the market.

This is 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.

It also has an extremely roomy interior compared to most tents, with vertical walls and a good amount of headspace, thanks to a peak height of 6.5 ft!

One of the unique features of this tent is its removable floor, which allows you to remove dirt easily.

The main downsides to the Gazelle are its weight and bulkiness, but if you’re not backpacking, that’s probably not a dealbreaker.

Besides car camping, the Gazelle would also be an ideal music festival tent with how easy it is to set up and how much space there is inside.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-set-up tent and value space over weight, this 4-man pop-up tent is a good option.

PROS

  • Roomy interior and ability to stand up inside of it (if you’re under 6’5)
  • Removable floor (makes it easy to shake off dirt)
  • Easy to set up (literally takes about two minutes)

CONS

  • Flimsy stakes
  • Heavy and bulky to carry
  • Only has a one-year limited warranty

#7 Coleman Carlsbad Dome Tent

Best Tent With a Porch

4 man tent with porch - coleman carlsbad dome tent

Weight: 7.96 pounds
Floor dimensions: 63 sq ft (plus additional screen room is 36 sq ft)
Height: 59 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes

The Coleman Carlsbad is one of the best 4 man tents with a porch attached.

This tent isn’t 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.

It’s about 4’11” in height, so most people can’t stand up inside of it.

However, you can fit two full-sized air mattresses inside and use the screen room to stash belongings.

This tent is especially ideal for a cozy family camping trip.

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.

Additionally, the Carlsbad Dome Tent could work for backpacking as its extremely lightweight, weighing just under eight pounds. And it’s not a very complicated tent to set up, with assembly in under 10 minutes.

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.

PROS

  • Dark room tech that blocks sunlight
  • Screened porch for relaxing without the bugs 
  • E-port for electrical port
  • Easy set-up and lightweight

CONS

  • Not tall enough to stand inside
  • Material can be a little flimsy
  • It only has a one-year warranty

#8 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4

Best 4-Person Backpacking Tent

big agnes copper spur hv ul4

Weight: 5.9 lbs
Floor area: 57 sq ft
Height: 50 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes

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 spaces 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 isn’t a cheap tent, but if you’re looking for well-designed four-person tents that will last, this is an ideal choice.

PROS

  • 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

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Zippers aren’t as smooth as they could be

#9 REI Trail Hut 4 Tent

Best Lightweight 4-Person Tent

rei trail hut 4 tent

Weight: 8.1 lbs
Floor area: 55 sq ft
Height: 48 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes

The REI Trail Hut 4 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 8.1 lbs, it’s light enough for long hikes into the backcountry and durable enough for spring, summer, and fall camping.

The tent includes two large vestibules, a plus for backpacking tents when you’re carrying a lot more and don’t want to have your sweaty gear inside.

The biggest draw to this tent though is the excellent venting. The two large vents on the rainfly prevent condensation from building up.

Also, most of the walls and ceiling of the tent are mesh, which means plenty of ventilation and good stargazing opportunities when there’s nice weather.

The one downside with this tent is that its rainfly tends to tear and is weather-resistant instead of waterproof. This means it won’t be quite as good at keeping water out, and it’s not the best tent for cold-weather camping.

With that said, this is still a great tent for backpacking and a slightly cheaper alternative to the Big Agnes tent.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Weather-resistant
  • Easy to set up 
  • Great ventilation

CONS

  • Rainfly can tear easily
  • Not fully waterproof
  • A bit pricey for a mid-range tent

#10 Marmot Tungsten

Best 3-season 4-Person tent

marmot tungsten

Weight: 9.2 lbs
Floor area: 52.7 sq ft
Height: 52 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes

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 2-person tent but offers enough room for four people.

Although a little on the shorter 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.

The Tungsten also has taped seams for excellent water resistance, so it holds up well and helps you stay dry in inclement weather like wind and rain. 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.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • 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

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Low peak height

#11 Coleman Peak Dome Tent

Best Tent for Wind

coleman peak dome tent

Weight: 12.9 lbs
Floor area: 61.3 sq ft
Height: 70 inches
Seasons: 3-4-Season
Doors: 1
Vestibule: Yes

If you’re looking for a solid heavy-duty tent, it doesn’t get much better than the Coleman Peak Dome Tent.

This tent isn’t cheap, but it’s durable, waterproof, and windproof, with the ability to withstand wind up to 45 mph.

If you plan to camp in some serious windy or rainy weather, the Coleman Peak will keep you warm and dry.

And even though it’s great for blustery camping weekends, it’s also a good tent for warmer weather with its decent ventilation that prevents moisture build-up, wide door, and large vestibule area.

Other features of this tent include a reflective logo and guylines, and a star-viewing window that unzips from the inside.

At 12.9 lbs, the Coleman Peak 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.

PROS

  • Waterproof, windproof, and weatherproof
  • Durable
  • Plenty of extra storage space in the vestibule for keeping gear dry
  • Good ventilation to prevent moisture from accumulating in warmer weather
  • Easy to set up

CONS

  • Expensive
  • On the heavier side for backpacking

#12 Eureka Copper Canyon

Best 4-Person Cabin Tent

eureka copper canyon

Weight: 20.3 lbs
Floor area: 64 sq ft
Height: 84 inches
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 1
Vestibule: No

Cabin-style tents can be a great option for those who like a good amount of headroom and the feel of a room with four walls.

The tent poles are relatively vertical in a cabin tent, making for a roomier tent body than dome tents.

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.

The Eureka Copper Canyon is one such tent. It’s 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 Copper Canyon is an ideal choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-set-up cabin tent big enough for four people with good ventilation.

PROS

  • 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

CONS

  • 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 Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 4 Tent

Best 4-Person Multi-Room Tent

multi room tent large family tents - big agnes wyoming trail 4 tent

Weight: 20.7 pounds
Floor dimensions: Each side is 34 sq ft, plus 40 sq ft vestibule
Height: 57” (tent), 70” (vestibule)
Seasons: 3-seasons
Doors: 4
Vestibule: Yes

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 Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 4 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, set-up can be a little complex as well; this is by no means an instant tent. 

Other good features of this tent include a backpack-style carry bag and aluminum poles, which are more lightweight compared with steel or fiberglass poles. 

The main downside to the Big Agnes Wyoming is how heavy it is compared to its interior space.

The entire structure is very large, but each compartment is very compact, so sleeping spaces are limited despite its overall size.

With that said, the Big Agnes Wyoming is perfect for anyone looking for a tent with multiple rooms who values having their own private space.

PROS

  • Middle vestibule with awning 
  • Two private separated sleeping areas
  • Good ventilation
  • Backpack-style carrying case

CONS

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Expensive
  • Not the most spacious interior spaces

#14 Kodiak Flex Bow Canvas Tent Deluxe

Best 4-Person Canvas Tent

Kodiak Flex Bow Canvas Tent Deluxe

Weight: 54.5 pounds
Floor dimensions: 72 sq ft
Height: 6 ft
Seasons: 4-season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: No (but front awning)

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 tent, they’re also way more durable and naturally waterproof.

A lot of canvas tents are enormous–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 a 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 air flow.

There’s also an interior gear organizer to keep your belongings from getting jumbled on the tent floor.

PROS

  • Awning over font door
  • Lots of interior space
  • Good ventilation
  • Excellent waterproofing

CONS

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to assemble

#15 Coleman Oak Canyon Tent

Best 4-Person Tunnel Tent

Coleman Oak Canyon Tent

Weight: 37.7 pounds
Floor dimensions: 141.7 sq ft
Height: 6.2 ft
Seasons: 3-season
Doors: 1
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.

The front screen room provides a living space where you can set up camping chairs while staying shielded from bugs or condensation. 

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-sensative sleepers to snooze late into the morning.

The blackout fabric also helps regulate the interior temperature inside the tent, especially on hot summer days. 

This tent is sturdy and durable, perfect for a family that enjoys creature comforts just as much as they love to rough it out in nature. There’s even a bedroom divider to give families added privacy.

PROS

  • Awning over font door
  • Spacious interior with multiple rooms
  • Front screen room
  • Blackout bedroom

CONS

  • Heavy 
  • Pricey
  • Compicated assembly

Buying Guide: What to Look for in a 4-Person Tent

looking out to the wilderness from a tent--what to look for in a 4 person tent

Size

Are spaciousness and headroom important to you? Do you plan to sleep on the ground with an air mattress or camping cot?

These are questions you’ll want to ask yourself before deciding on the size of your tent.

Some four-person tents can technically fit four people but can also be cramped with four full-grown adults.

Others have a lot of space, extra vestibule areas, a gear loft, and plenty of headroom.

It depends on the tent design and what the manufacturers were going for. 

It’s good to check reviews ahead of time (or read articles like this!) to know whether you can realistically fit four people in a four-person tent.

If you plan to have a more luxe camping setup with air mattresses or simply like more room, it’s usually good to size up to a six-person tent if you’re camping with four full-sized humans.

If you’re tall, it might be worth going for a cabin-style tent with more headroom than dome tents.

Just know that the larger the tent, the more it will usually weigh, so you’ll probably be trading space for the weight.

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 if you only plan to carry your tent a few feet.

But weight is super important if you plan to backpack or hike into any campsites.

The general rule of thumb for a backpacking tent is 2.5 lbs per person.

So for a four-person tent, 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, stick below that weight.

How Weatherproof it is

Are you primarily a summer camper or do you like to camp all year, even in cold weather? 

It’s good to think about the type of weather you’ll probably be camping in and how prepared you like to be.

Most cheaper tents are best used for summer weather only because they tend to use lower-quality materials that aren’t very durable.

And although a lot of tents are marketed as three-season, it’s always good to read plenty of reviews to ensure they really do have good weather protection.

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 maybe a hurricane).

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 exception to this rule is for super large tents, which sometimes take more effort to set up, or 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 6-person tents, 8-person tents, 10-person tents, 12-person 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, and cabin tents.

FAQs About Buying the a 4-Person Tent

Tent set up in the woods with two chairs--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.

A high-end, sturdy tent is even more crucial if you plan to camp outside the summer season.

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.

For tents, it’s the same deal. The vast majority of people go camping in the summer.

So 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.

Looking for tent waterproofing products or how to waterproof your gear? Check out our articles on the best waterproofing sprays for tents and how to waterproof a tent.

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.

The only time I’d say it’s not that important to have a vestibule is if you’re car camping and you plan to keep your extra gear in the car.

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 Tungsten

This top-notch, sturdy, high-quality tent has everything you need for a comfortable camping trip. 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 impressively lightweight. And it has some handy features like a lampshade pocket where you can stash a headlamp to give you overhead ambient light.

The Tungsten 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’ll be able to depend on for years to come.


Looking for more recommendations on outdoor gear? Check out these related articles below!

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Best Tent Air Conditioners

Best Heated Gloves for Cold Weather

Best GPS Devices for Hikers

Best Outdoor Watches for Active People

Best Camping Mess Kits

Best Reclining Camp Chairs with a Footrest

Best Coolers for Camping

Best Camping Canopies

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Mimi McFadden
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Best 4-Person Tent for Car Camping and Backpacking

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