Best 4 Person Tent for Camping and Backpacking in 2020

best 4 person tent

My picks for the best 4 person tent on the market, whether you’re going on a multi-day backpacking adventure or car camping with friends or the whole family. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the years of spending a lot of time in nature, it’s worth it to be prepared and to have the right gear.

This is especially the case with camping.

Having the right camping set-up can be the difference between a great trip and a very uncomfortable trip full of cold, restless nights that leave you sleep deprived. 

I used to think I wasn’t a fan of camping before I had the right gear.

I saw it as a means to an end to be able to spend a weekend in nature or to tackle a multi-day hike. 

I mostly saw camping as uncomfortable and a guaranteed way to wake up with sore muscles from sleeping on the hard ground and not enough sleep. 

I’ve tried out numerous types of camping throughout the years, including hammock camping around the US for the summer (which I also highly recommend!). 

But it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I really started to understand how important it is to invest in the right gear.   

Because I was especially clueless about camping tents for the longest time, I wanted to write a post on how to find the best 4 person tent to help anyone else who is searching for their perfect tent. 

Whether you’re planning a camping trip with the family soon or you simply want a roomier tent for you and a friend or significant other, these are my picks for the best 4 man tents on the market in 2020. 

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

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 or with an air mattress or camping cots?

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 very cramped with four full-grown adults.

Others have a ton of space, extra vestibule areas, and plenty of headroom.

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

It’s good to check reviews ahead of time (or read posts 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 set up with air mattresses or you 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 it to go for a cabin-style tent that tends to have 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 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 backpacking tent, you’d want to keep the weight under 10 lbs, and even less if possible. 

If you’re looking for a versatile 4 person tent that can be used for both backpacking and car camping, stick to below that weight. 

best 4 person tent in 2020

How Weatherproof it is

Are you mostly a summer camper or do you like to camp at all times of the year? 

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 be made with lower quality materials that aren’t very durable. 

And although a lot of tents are marketed as 3-season, it’s always good to read plenty of reviews to make sure they’re actually weatherproof.

For the average camper, a 3-season tent does the job just fine.

If you want to be prepared for most weather, however, it’s good to look for a waterproof and windproof tent. 

If you want to try your hand at winter camping or mountaineering, you’ll need to look for a tent that can withstand high winds and winter storms.

These are always going to be more expensive, but they’ll also last forever and will 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 having to rush 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. 

With how many choices there are for tents these days, you should be able to find a solid option that takes less than 10 minutes to set up.

The only exception to this rule is for super large tents that sometimes take more effort to set up.

But otherwise, it’s good to look for a tent that takes 10 minutes or less to set up for a smoother camping experience. 

Looking for a larger tent? Check out my post on the best large camping tents here

Short on time? Here’s a Quick Look at My Recommendations

Best 4 Person Tent for Camping and Backpacking 

Best 4 Person Tents for Camping and Backpacking

#1 REI Co-op Half Dome Plus

Best All-Around 4 Person Tent

best 4 person tent - REI Half Dome Co-op 4 Plus

Floor area: 58.7 ft²
Weight: 7.1 lbs
Height: 48 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes (22.5 ft²)
Best for: Camping or backpacking  

If you’re looking for a versatile tent that could be used for both car camping and backpacking, the REI Co-op Half Dome 4 Plus is a great choice. 

This freestanding tent has a good amount of ventilation with its mesh panels at the top. 

The size of the tent is a bit of a squeeze if you’re camping with four full-sized humans, but for a family with a small child or two, it’s just the right amount of cozy. 

The other thing to note is because it’s a half-dome style, you won’t be able to stand up inside the tent. 

But this also means a much lighter tent at 7.1 lbs.

This tent is good for anyone who wants a versatile tent that could be used for both car camping and longer backcountry jaunts.

And also someone who values a lightweight tent over one that you can stand up inside.

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

PROS 

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

CONS

  • Expensive 
  • Some issues with the durability of the poles 
  • Warranty only good for one year
  • Not always the most waterproof, it’s good to use seam sealer just in case

#2 Marmot Limestone

Best 4 Person Tent for Family Camping 

best family tent - Marmot Limestone

Floor area: 59.7 ft²
Weight: 10.1 lbs
Height: 63 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes (28 ft²)
Best for: Camping   

If you’re looking for a more durable and roomier tent than the REI Co-op Half Dome Plus, the Marmot Limestone 4p is an ideal alternative. 

This is one of the best family camping tents right now that provides enough space for the whole family plus a furry friend.

Its Zone construction means vertical walls, plenty of storage space, and more headroom. 

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

Add on to this the fact that it’s super straight forward to set up, and it’s easy to see why this tent is one of the best family tents on the market.  

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

It’s slightly heavier for a backpacking tent at 10.1 lbs, so it’s probably best used for car camping or an easy 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 of weight.

It’s also a good option if you’re looking for a quality 4 man waterproof tent.

If you’re looking for a less expensive family camping tent option, I’d recommend the Kazoo Family Camping Tent

PROS 

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

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Slightly heavy for a backpacking tent
  • Flimsy stakes (might need to replace if camping in rough terrain)

#3 REI Co-op Base Camp

Best 4 Person Car Camping Tent

best car camping tent - REI Co-op Base Camp

Floor area: 59.7 ft²
Weight: 16.14 lbs
Height: 60 inches 
Seasons: 3 – 4-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes (44 ft²)
Best for: Camping 

One of the best REI tents out there, the REI Co-op Base Camp is the more rugged and heavier version of the Co-op Half Dome Plus.

This tent is perfect for adventurous travelers who prefer car camping.

Although the Base Camp has the same floor area as the Half Dome Plus, it has a much larger dual tent vestibule area and it has more height at 60 inches. 

And with its dome design, it’s still a very stable tent even with its taller height. 

This 3 – 4-season tent is also designed to withstand more weather than the Half Dome.

If you plan to camp in places where there might be more wind, rain, or low temperatures, the Base Camp is a better option. 

Really, it’s one of the best family tents that can withstand bad weather.

The two roof vents and one side vent on this tent also help with condensation so you don’t wake up to soaked belongings. 

This REI Co-op Base Camp is the perfect tent for anyone looking for a solid and durable car camping tent that is slightly roomier than the average dome tent.  

It’s easily one of the best car camping tents on the market right now. 

PROS 

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

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Heavy, but fine for a car camping tent
  • Quality control 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

4 man waterproof tent - Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 4 

Floor dimensions: 98 x 83 x 59 in.
Weight: 7.7 lbs
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes
Best for: Camping or backpacking

The lightweight Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 4 has a lot going for it. 

It’s just light enough to take with you on a backcountry adventure or for car camping at 7.7 lbs. 

It’s waterproof and durable for summer storms, wind, and it’s one of the best tents for heavy rain.

It’s also a steal as one of the least expensive tents on this list, priced at around $200.

One of the coolest features of the Teton Sports Mountain Ultra is that the walls are entirely mesh (it becomes waterproof once you put the rain fly on). 

This means on nice evenings it’s great for stargazing.  

The one thing to note about this tent is that it 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. 

This is an ideal tent for anyone who is looking for an inexpensive waterproof tent that is versatile enough for backpacking or camping.  

PROS 

  • Not too expensive
  • Waterproof 
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up (takes about 5 minutes)

CONS

  • A little small for four people.
  • Only waterproof when the rain fly is attached properly, so it’s not great to set up when it’s already raining

#5 Coleman Sundome

Best 4 Person Tent Under $100

Floor dimensions: 9 x 7
Weight: 10.5 lbs
Height: 59 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 1
Vestibule: No
Best for: Camping

If you’re looking for cheap family tents, Coleman is one of the best brands out there for inexpensive tents.

Their tents don’t have quite the same quality as what you might find with slightly more expensive tents, nor will they have as many bells and whistles, but they get the job done.  

The Coleman Sundome is by far one of the most popular tents under $100 right now. 

And it’s actually surprising how well this tent holds up with how cheap it is. 

It’s pretty durable and waterproof, even with the cheaper materials used.

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

If you’re looking for a cheap 4 man tent that’s simple, easy to set up, and doesn’t have much extra to it, the Coleman Sundome 4 Person Tent is a good option.

Just note that this tent is best used in warm weather, so mostly just for summer camping. 

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 and waterproof (although it’s still probably good to use seam sealer before using it the first time)

CONS

  • Flimsy stakes 
  • Simple design, no extra features
  • No vestibule
  • Although it’s technically a 3-season tent, it’s best used for summer camping and mostly warm weather
  • 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

Floor area: 61 ft²
Weight: 30 lbs
Height: 78 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: No
Best for: Camping

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

This is an instant pop up tent, so it takes less than five minutes to set up.

If you’re camping by yourself, it’s also easy to set up solo. 

It has a roomy interior with a good amount of headspace (over 6 ft!).

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

The main downsides to the Gazelle are its weight and bulkiness, but if you’re car camping 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 you 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 WeatherMaster

Best 4 Person Tent With Porch 

4 man tent with porch - Coleman WeatherMaster

Floor dimensions: 11 x 9 (plus additional screen room is 9 x 6)
Weight: 32 lbs
Height: 80 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes
Best for: Camping

The Colman WeatherMaster is one of the best 4 man tents with a porch attached.

This is one of the larger Coleman tents and also one of the roomiest with an 11 x 9 floor space, plus a 9 x 6 screen room.

It’s also about 6’6 in height, so even most tall people can stand up inside of it.  

You can fit two queen-sized air mattresses inside and up to about six people. 

The screen porch is nice for when you want to hang out outside but don’t want the bugs. 

This is an ideal tent for a bit more luxury and room on a group camping trip.

The main downside with the WeatherMaster is its weight, but that’s to be expected with such a huge tent.

It’s also one of the more complicated tents to set up, although it really just takes some getting used to. 

The biggest downside to this tent is that’s it’s sometimes known to leak in heavy rain, so make sure to use seam sealer before you use it to fully waterproof it. 

If you’re looking for a large camping tent because you have a large family or you enjoy camping with friends, the Coleman WeatherMaster is a good option. 

PROS 

  • Roomy interior and height
  • Fits up to 6 people 
  • Screened porch for relaxing without the bugs 
  • Hinged velcro door for easy entry and exit without having to constantly zip and unzip 
  • Easy to make into a two-room tent with a room divider

CONS

  • Heavy
  • Slightly more complicated to set up (don’t be surprised if it takes you about 30 minutes the first time you set it up)
  • Sometimes leaks (good to use seam sealer before using)
  • Only has a one-year warranty

#8 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 

Best 4 Person Backpacking Tent 

best 4 person backpacking tent - Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 tent

Floor area: 57 ft²
Weight: 5.8 lbs
Height: 50 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes
Best for: Camping or backpacking

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 ultralight tent at only 5.8 lbs, which is impressive for a 4 person tent. 

Secondly, there’s a good amount of headspace for a dome tent due to the height and angle of the poles.

Add on to this the number of storage spaces and a decent sized vestibule area, and the Big Agnes Copper Spur offers up much more space than the average backpacking tent. 

Although it’s only recommended to use for 3-seasons, it’s also a waterproof tent and very durable.

Big Agnes is based in the Colorado Rockies, so I would expect no less in terms of its rugged durability. 

This isn’t a cheap tent, but if you’re looking for a well designed 4 person backpacking tent that will last, this is an ideal choice.

If this tent is out of your price range, a good alternative 4 person backpacking tent is the Marmot Tungsten UL4 (mentioned below).  

PROS 

  • Durable and waterproof
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • 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 Marmot Tungsten UL4 

Best Lightweight 4 Person Tent

best 3 season four person tent - Marmot Tungsten

Floor area: 51 ft²
Weight: 5.1 lbs
Height: 54 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes
Best for: Camping or backpacking

The Marmot Tungsten 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 lightest tent on this list at 5.1 lbs, the Marmot Tungsten is light enough for long hikes into the backcountry and durable enough for spring, summer, and fall camping. 

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

There are also two large vents on the rainfly that prevent condensation from building up.

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

The one downside with the Marmot Tungsten is that its rainfly is weather-resistant instead of waterproof, which means it won’t be quite as good at keeping water out at the Big Agnes Copper Spur. 

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

PROS 

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Durable and weather-resistant
  • Easy to set up 
  • Great ventilation

CONS

  • Rainfly can be difficult to tension properly
  • Not fully waterproof
  • Expensive (but less so compared to the Big Agnes Copper Spur)

#10 MSR Papa Hubba NX

Best 3-Season 4 Person tent 

best lightweight 4 person tent - MSR Papa Hubba NX

Floor area: 53 ft²
Weight: 6.7 lbs
Height: 44 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes (11 x 11)
Best for: Camping or backpacking

If you’re looking for a lightweight 3-season 4 man dome tent that’s versatile enough for backpacking or camping, look no further than the MSR Papa Hubba NX

This compact tent packs up as small and as lightweight as a 2p tent, but offers enough room for four people.

Although a little on the shorter side, at only 3’6 feet at its peak height, the MSR Papa Hubba NX offers a decent amount of floor space and two large vestibule areas to stash gear. 

The biggest draw to this tent is probably its extreme waterproof coating that lasts 3x longer than regular waterproof coating. 

The two doors on the tent even have rain gutters to keep all water out. 

In fact, the MSR Papa Hubba NX is one of the most durable tents on this list, which justifies its steep price tag.

Although it’s recommended as a 3-season tent, it’s durable enough to withstand fairly high winds and low temperatures.

With that said, it’s not a full winter tent and shouldn’t be used in heavy snow.  

The main downsides to the MSR Papa Hubba NX are its expensive price and some ventilation problems. 

This is especially the case where the rainfly goes over the roof of the tent and there’s not much airflow, which means condensation buildup. 

This is one of the best four person tents for anyone who is looking for a versatile 3-season tent that’s durable, lightweight, and ready for any kind of outdoor adventure. 

PROS 

  • Lightweight
  • Extreme waterproof protection and good in high winds
  • Easy to set up
  • Two large vestibule areas to keep dirty gear
  • Durable and made of high quality materials

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Ventilation could be better, condensation tends to build up on the roof when it’s humid or too hot

#11 The North Face Bastion

Best All-Season 4 Person Tent

best durable 4 season tent - The North Face Bastion 4 Tent

Floor area: 61.5 ft²
Weight: 12.4 lbs
Height: 54.5 inches 
Seasons: 4-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes
Best for: Camping, mountaineering

If you’re looking for a solid heavy duty tent, it doesn’t get much better than The North Face Bastion

Most mountaineering tents are for 1-2 people, but The North Face Bastion is one of the best 4 season tents on the market for four people. 

This tent isn’t cheap, but it’s durable, waterproof, windproof, and can withstand extreme weather.

If you plan to camp in some serious weather, the Bastion will keep you warm and dry. 

And even though it’s great for the mountains, it’s also a good tent for warmer weather with its decent ventilation that prevents moisture build-up, two doors, and large vestibule areas. 

Other features of this tent include glow-in-the-dark zippers, 10 interior pockets and internal hanger loops for extra storage, and the fact that it comes with snow stakes for easy set up in the winter. 

The North Face Bastion is on the heavier side for a backpacking tent at 12.4 lbs. 

But for a winter tent and for how much it protects you from the elements, it’s well worth the extra weight. 

This 4-season tent is perfect for anyone who is looking for a larger mountaineering tent or a quality 4 person winter tent that will protect you from any kind of weather. 

PROS 

  • Waterproof, windproof, weatherproof
  • Durable
  • Plenty of extra storage 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 a backpacking tent

#12 Eureka Desert Canyon

Best 4 Person Cabin Tent 

best 4 man pop up tent - Eureka Desert Canyon

Floor area: 64 ft²
Weight: 19.1 lbs
Height: 86 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 1
Vestibule: No
Best for: Camping

If you’re car camping, a cabin tent can be a great option for those who like a good amount of headroom and the feel of a room with four walls. 

The Eureka Desert Canyon is a cabin-style four man tent that’s ideal for car camping, festivals, and camping trips with friends or family.

The vertical walls on this freestanding tent make the interior feel all kinds of roomy and spacious.

There are also multiple mesh windows to keep the tent cool and well ventilated. 

Although this is touted as a 3-season tent, it’s probably best used for summer camping.

Especially due to its height, it’s not the best tent for high winds. 

A cool feature of the Eureka Desert Canyon is that it can be turned into an open-air sunshade if you set up the fly and the frame by itself without the full tent. 

This is an ideal tent for anyone looking for an easy-to-set-up cabin-style tent that’s big enough for four people and has good ventilation.  

And if you’re looking for even more room, I’d recommend sizing up to the Eureka Desert Canyon 6.

PROS 

  • Spacious interior and a good amount of floor space
  • Very tall tent with the ability to stand up inside of it (7’2 height)
  • Easy to set up 
  • Can be converted to a sunshade for outdoor picnics or barbecues

CONS

  • Not too expensive
  • 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 Core Instant Cabin Tent

Best 4 Person Multi-Room Tent

multi room tent large family tents - Core Instant Cabin Tent

Floor dimensions: 14 x 9 
Weight: 37 lbs
Height: 78 inches 
Seasons: 3-Season
Doors: 2
Vestibule: No 
Best for: Camping

If you’re looking for large family tents for car camping, it can be a nice luxury to have multiple rooms for more space. 

One of the best 4 person multi-room tents right now is the Core Instant Cabin Tent, which allows you to have two rooms that fit up to nine people.  

The main highlight of this tent besides its large size is that it’s so easy to set up.

It takes no more than a few minutes to set up, which is a nice feature for such a big tent. 

Other good features about this tent include decent ventilation and large doors for easy entry and exit. 

The main downside to the Core Instant Cabin is how heavy it is and its durability.

Although it’s marketed as a 3-season tent, I don’t see this tent being able to withstand harsh weather.

Because of this, it’s probably best to mostly use it for summer adventures.  

The Core Instant Cabin is perfect for anyone who is looking for a big camping tent with multiple rooms and who values spaciousness over weight. 

PROS 

  • Spacious interior and good headroom
  • Room divider to make it into a multi-room tent
  • Good ventilation
  • Easy to set up 

CONS

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Expensive, although not horrible for a multi-room 9-person tent
  • Not super durable, best for summer camping

More Questions and Tips for Buying the Best 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 it to invest in a quality tent that will last for years and keep you protected from the elements.

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 you do annual or quarterly camping trips, it’s worth it to invest in a higher end tent that is durable.

This becomes even more true if you plan to camp outside the summer season.

If you’re looking for a 3-season or all-season tent, plan to spend a little extra money to make sure it’ll withstand the weather no matter when you go camping throughout the year.

What is the Best Tent for a Family of 4?

It depends on the style of camping your family likes to do.

If you’re looking for the best all-around tent for a family of 4, I’d recommend going with the Marmot Limestone

What is the Best Brand of Tents?

There are various good tent brands on the market today and a lot of 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 if not fully waterproof gear, just in case you get caught in a rainstorm or unexpected weather.

But it really depends on how often you camp and where you tend to camp.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, a weatherproof tent is very important.

If you only camp in Southern California, it’s maybe less so.

best cheap four person tent - coleman tents

How do you Waterproof a Tent?

There are a few ways to waterproof or re-waterproof a tent if it starts leaking.

The first thing you can do is apply a seam sealer around the seams of the tent to prevent moisture from getting through.

The most important thing is to make sure you get the right seam sealer for your tent.

Most tents are polyurethane-coated, but some are silicone-treated.

Double check which type of fabric your tent has and get the correct seam sealer for that fabric.

You’ll want to prep the seams with rubbing alcohol first and then apply the seam sealer with a paintbrush and let it dry completely.

The second way to waterproof your tent if you notice your tent getting flaky is to refresh the urethane coating.

The urethane coating is generally found on the floor of the tent and the rainfly, which is where most moisture seeps through.

To refresh the coating, you’ll need to prep the area with rubbing alcohol and then use tent sealant (again make sure you get the right kind).

To prep the tent, you’ll use a sponge and rubbing alcohol to get rid of as many of the flakes as possible.

Then, apply a thin coat of the tent sealant on the whole area that has urethane coating.

Let this dry for at least 24 hours before you put your tent away.

Lastly, if you notice moisture isn’t beading properly on the rainfly anymore, you might need to refresh the durable water repellant (DWR).

To do this, you’ll need to spray a water-repellant spray on the exterior of the rainfly.

Let this dry completely before putting your tent away.

If none of these ways work to waterproof your tent, then you probably need to get a new tent that has a solid waterproof coating.

Should I Care About Tent Ventilation?

Unless you don’t mind a stinky tent that will probably make you sweat copious amount, YES, tent ventilation is very important.

If you can purchase a tent that gives you cross ventilation, even better.

The reason for this is ventilation helps move water vapor and warm air outside and lets cooler air inside.

Believe me, it makes a difference to be able 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.

Mimi McFadden
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