How do you pick the best tent for your backpacking, hiking and camping adventures? We understand it can be overwhelming to find the perfect tent — but does it have to be?
Backpacking and camping tents should be lightweight, small, spacious, able to withstand the weather, and pack down easily. Of course, a tent should also have an excellent cost-to-value ratio and be easy to use.
As cheap tents bought from a department store usually break down after using them for a few times, the challenge is to find the best high-quality tent at a low price. Luckily, in recent times, technology has come a long way in making tents smaller, lighter, and overall better.
While camping tents are usually all about family and size, backpacking tents should be light, compact and durable. Regardless of their size and weight, all tents should be waterproof and able to fend off heavy winds.
Hopefully, our guide will help you make an informed decision whether this is your first time setting up a tent, or the hundredth time trekking into the wild. Here are the best backpacking tents, the best camping tents, and the best family tents according to Amazon reviewers.
The Best 2 Person Tent for Starters (Under $200)
Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent
“My husband and I were new to the whole camping thing and bought this after hearing about it from a friend. First of all, the tent is water resistant, is build with quality materials including the stitching, the walls, the floor material and the rain fly material. Then, the airflow is good which helped during the warm nights we’ve used it. We also bought a footprint to put under the tent to get rain security and protect the bottom part of the tent from any sharp stuff. When it started to rain heavily, I was pleasantly surprised that not a single drop made its way into the tent. Although I don’t have something to compare it with, the train is quite light and I have found the guidelines quite handy. This tent is quite possibly the best 2 person tent for starters because it’s easy to set up, has plenty of space and height and allows you to do everything you could want in a tent.”
The Best 2 Person Tent (Midrange)
Marmot Limelight 2 Person Camping Tent w/Footprint
“This tent is so spacious and has many storage areas. After taking it on my latest trip, I have found that it is easy to set up and fairly light for its size. Although I’m 6’4’’, I could still comfortably sit up near the sides and very well in the center area. I have also found that the two doors are great and that the tent is fairly lightweight considering how roomy it is. There are two zippered pockets inside and also a lantern or lamp holder, which is nice. When it rained, the tent stayed dry without any issues and the fabric is breathable during hot weather. Over the years, I have bought a lot of other tents that were twice as big and heavy as this one, but I usually felt miserable inside them after hiking. With this tent, although it costs a little more, it seems like it’s money well spent!”
The Best Lightweight 2 Person Tent
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Tent
“After initially ordering the UL1, I saw it’s a little snog, so I sent it back and ordered the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. This tent can fit me and my 75l pack with no problems so if you want to keep your gear inside, go for a tent rated for 1 person more than you have. The UL2 is probably the best lightweight camping tent out there and perfect for backpacking trips. Setting it up is easy and I like that there are doors on both sides, which I find it’s extremely convenient. I absolutely love the gear pockets inside and also the reflective guylines which come in handy when you’re searching for something at night. Obviously, the best things about this tent (and the whole reason why I bought it in the first place) is that it’s small and easy to pack down and put into your backpack. I also got the footprint to protect the tent. Overall, I’m very impressed and this tent it’s well worth the money.”
Best Backpacking Tent (2 Person)
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Backpacking Tent
“I’m a serious backpacker and I was in the market for a lightweight and compact tent. This model is extremely light compared to other backpacking tents, but I have decided to splurge and buy it before going on the Appalachian trail. After receiving my order, I have found that the tent sets up easily and provides a surprisingly decent amount of space. It takes less than 5 minutes to set-up or take down once you get into the routine. It accommodates 2 people and their gear without any issues thanks to the two vestibules. Some friends have said this model is durable… I’ve only had it for 2 months, but judging by the high quality materials, I don’t see why it won’t last for years to come. The MSR Hubba is water resistant and it will keep you dry through multiple days of rain. P.S.: The rain fly is color coded so it’s easy to put it right. Also, there was zero condensation inside the tent and that’s because the air flow is really good inside. The MSR feels solid in the wind I know that some have bought the footprint to protect the tent’s floor but you can skip it. As far as I know, there’s no other tent that provides so much interior room with such little weight at such low a cost. This is probably the best camping tent for 2 persons right now!”
The Best Top-of-the-Line 2 Person Tent
Hilleberg Nallo GT 2 Person Tent
“I love this tent! It’s lightweight, watertight, windproof thanks to its special fabric that’s coated with three layers of silicone. While I admit it’s pricey, this is not for your average recreational camper bc it’s good for all types of terrain. If you want a tent that’s specifically made to endure the harsh elements of all 4 seasons, Hilleberg is a trusted tents manufacturer. The tent is so easy to carry and perfect even for solo hikers. However, if you’re planning longer trips, I would recommend you order the footprint to avoid condensation issues. This is now my go-to tent for any weather and season, including when it’s hot outside bc it’s breathable. After sleeping in so many tents, I am confident in saying this is the best 2 person camping tent on Amazon. Worth every penny!”
The Best Affordable, All Purpose 4 Person Tent
Eureka! Timberline SQ 4XT Tent
“I have had an older Timberline version for more than 15 years and it was time to replace it so I have bought the new Eureka Timberline SQ 4XT 4 person tent. The design is beautiful, the poles are sturdier and it seems that this new tent is even easier to set up than the old one. It takes about 10 minutes to do it all by myself. The new Timberline is also well made but with better materials and colors. This tent has more room overall and more headroom and I love the built-in vestibule, which makes the whole thing more efficient for its footprint. I have found that the tent is very well ventilated with the tarp on and I like the bathtub style floor as it keeps the moisture out. The A-frame gives it more stability and although it’s not the best windproof design, it will get you through significant storms and winds. This is an excellent tent!”
Best Cheap Family Tent
Coleman Sundome 6-Person Dome Tent (Green)
“We have bought this family tent for quick weekend getaways. I was pleasantly surprised that the Coleman is easy to set up and teardown. With 2 adults, you can probably have it up within 10 minutes. Despite the fact that this is a cheap family tent, the materials seem very high quality. We went through storms and rains and had no issues with leaks and the tent held up remarkably well during strong winds. As with all tents, 6 person really means 4 person tent, but you will have enough room for 2 adults and 2 kids. Depending on how much gear you have, you may have to keep some of it outside… or in the car, like we did. We somehow managed to squeeze in two queen sized air mattress inside and another single one and there was still some room left. I especially like the mesh pockets as they allow you to easily locate your cell phone or glasses. The ventilation part is nice and we had zero condensation inside. There’s also a little zipper closure for an electrical cord if you want to use power inside the tent.”
Best Family Tent (Midrange)
Coleman WeatherMaster 10-Person Tent
“My family of six have taken this tent out a few times so far. We like the outdoors and have used many types of tents in the past. I believe this is a great tent because it’s well designed, easy to put up and the same goes for taking it down. What’s special about this tent is that it has a door, which is always good if you have kids (and a dog) because they can easily open and close it without catching the material in the zipper. Plus, the swinging door is much more fun for everyone. Take your time when getting the poles zipped into the door perimeter because it can be tricky the first few times. We liked the power cord inlet and the small pockets in each corner for putting your small stuff — although it could have had more than four. There’s also a room divider that won’t give you complete privacy, but it’s useful enough when changing clothes. We went through rain and snow with this tent and it always stayed nice and dry inside. I suppose this is because the design includes this waterproof bottom that comes up partially at the sides instead of a seam that lays on the ground. There’s plenty of head space inside and everyone can walk upright without bending over. This is a very well made affordable tent and my family and I love it!”
Best 6 Person Tent (also Good as a Family Tent)
Coleman Instant Cabin
“This instant cabin from Coleman is really easy to set up and literally takes 2 min to put it together even if you’re alone. Due to the fact that this is a 6 person tent, don’t think of it as a backpacking tent, but it’s ideal for car camping. This Coleman has windows on 3 sides and if you want to keep them open when it’s raining, I recommend you purchase a rain fly separately if you want to stay dry when it rains. It was roomy enough for myself, my husband and our young one and we were able to put a queen size air mattress without any issues. I would have liked a vestibule, but you can’t have it all when you pay less than $100. The 6 person part may be an exaggeration, but it does hold 3-4 adults without any issues. The tent seems pretty well made and I’d recommend it for your family and friends. Overall, this might be the best camping tent for families.”
The Best 6 Person Tent Under $400
Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Person Tent With Footprint
“This tent is ideal for a family of 4 and comfortably fits 2 queen-sized blow up beds. Thanks to its 3 pole design, it sets up quickly and is quite roomy on the inside. The tent itself is well ventilated and holds its ground during storms. In our last camping trip, the storm took out 2 other tents in the camp, but there wasn’t a drop of water to come through ours. While the Kelty Trail Ridge is fully rainproof, you have to stake the fly and add a couple of extra guy lines and stakes. This is the best camping tent I’ve used so far and I’ve had my fair share. If you want to ditch the inexpensive Walmart tents for a family tent that’s sturdy and weatherproof, then this is the best option in my opinion. You’ll be amazed by the footprint, large headroom (you can stand up in the middle), the visibility, and overall high quality. Having said all of this, it’s not really a backpacking tent due to its weight but rather perfect as a car camping tent.”
The Best All-Season 6 Person Canvas Tent
Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow 6 Person Canvas Tent, Deluxe
“This tent is amazing! It’s roomy, tall, well ventilated, and so sturdy that it will probably last a lifetime. The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow is robust and well-built from seams to zippers and has super heavy duty poles and stakes. Even though it endured 50-60mph winds, it flexed and shook, but never blew over. Setting up the tent is easy even by yourself and taking it down is even faster. I am so happy that I stopped buying plastic tents every few years or so and got the Kodiak. I’ve been through heavy rains that lasted for hours and not a drop got inside. My wife said this tent reminds her of her father’s tent from when she was a kid. The floor is strong enough to hold the legs of three sleeping cots without any damage. I also like the extra features such as the vents near the top of the tent, the hanging pockets which are useful to store your flashlights and so on, and the front flap which feels like a porch. All in all, this is a beastly tent that’s comfortable and in it for the long haul. Great quality, spacious, easy to set up and durable. For us, this is the best camping tent.”
Best Car Camping Tent for Mountaineers
Tepui Ayer Sky Tent: 2 Person, 4 Season
“Besides the fact that it’s kind of hard to place it atop your SUV if you’re alone, the Tepui Ayer Sky Tent is an outstanding tent! Setting it up or taking it down takes less than 10 minutes, so I think the design is good and very well thought out. Even though I was exposed to strong winds and excessive rain, the inside stayed dry and hardly moved. When you’re 5ft off the ground you feel safer and more secure, so it does feel nice to have a higher vantage point. It’s nice to enjoy the sky model of roof tents because it allows you to lay inside and watch the stars in the sky at night. If it gets too hot in the campsite, open up the windows to get a cross breeze. The mattress is thick and comfortable so sometimes it doesn’t feel like camping at all. I don’t know if this is the best sky tent, but it sure is outstanding!”