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From luxury canopies and moments when you want to feel most at home in the great outdoors, to tents that give you the most space possible between you and your family members at the end of a long getaway, we found several top-rated options that offer a pop of color and provide quality shelter.
REI Co-op expert Mike Kries also offered a few essential tips for first-time tent buyers and veterans on how to choose the right tent for future camping trips, as well as tips for how to maintain it for years to come.
What kind of tent is best for camping?
Whether you're buying a tent for the first time or looking for something new for the summer, Kries has a few things to keep in mind when perusing your options.
First, think about how large you want your tent to be, since you'll want ample room for everyone in your party to relax comfortably. (You'll typically want to have at least 20 square feet for each person in a tent, according to Eastern Mountain Sports.)
Kries encourages you to think ahead of the conditions you're going to be staying in beforehand. Are you braving rougher terrain, colder climate or basking in non-stop sunshine? You'll want a tent that will be able to withstand at least three or four seasons. In colder weather, you might want to opt for a tent with a canvas exterior to trap warmth in. Tents primarily used during winter months also typically have a fabric exterior to combat snow, ice or water. For warmer months, tents may be outfitted with nylon in order to promote air circulation. Plus, nylon is a strong, stretchy material, meaning it can defend off of summer wind speeds and morning dew.
Additionally, keep in mind the height of you and fellow campers, as this will help with the comfort aspect while camping. "It can be a game changer to be able to stand up completely in the tent," Kries said. REI acknowledges that there are no set dimensions that a tent has to be constructed at, but they advise that if you are taller than six feet, you may want to consider a tent with a floor length greater than 90 inches and with a tall peak height, which varies from tent to tent and is typically listed in the product description. However, it is always a smart decision to check the dimensions of a tent before buying it to ensure you will be comfortable standing, kneeling, laying down or sitting in it.
Finally, Kries advises those who are backpacking to double check if the tent includes a vestibule or not. "It will allow them somewhere to put their pack that is protected from the elements and not take up the limited space inside the tent," Kries said. This is important for backpacking because you will have everything on your person, and the lighter your pack, the happier your back.
How do you take care of a tent?
Two words: Zipper. Etiquette. It may seem like insignificant advice, but Kries notes that zippers — and tents as a whole — are "one of the most expensive things to send out somewhere to repair."
Apart from not yanking too hard or further jamming a zipper, Kries also recommends that your tent be a shoe-free, food-free zone.
"When you wear your shoes in the tent, you are just bringing in debris that is just going to rub into the tent and potentially puncture or rip the tent," Kries said. For food, he advises leaving it outside, otherwise "our furry friends in nature will get to it and won't use the door."
In the off-season, taking the time to store and clean your tent properly also contributes to its longevity. If it rained on your trip or you experienced some morning dew while sleeping, Kries heavily recommends leaving it out to dry on a sunnier day.
"The cleaning I do at home is all dependent on how dirty the trip got things," he added. "It can be everything from sweeping the tent out to getting out the supplies needed to do a deep clean."
But the basic storing of your tent is as simple as this: "You want to make sure it isn't super compressed and [is] somewhere that is cool and dry."
Best small two-person tents, according to shoppers
Relive summer camp days from your childhood with this nostalgic A-frame tent, which looks like it came straight from Camp Walden in "The Parent Trap". Weighing less than four pounds, this tent is perfect for backpacking, however reviewers do warn that it is not waterproof.
For a budget-friendly pick, this bestselling Coleman Sundown tent with 31,000+ verified five-star Amazon ratings serves as the perfect solution. One reviewer loves this tent for how waterproof it is and another for how roomy it is for two people.
"My favorite part is that it fits two people with plenty of room for backpacks and gear," one reviewer said as a testament to the size of this tent.
Opt for a pop of color with this clementine tent from Poler, complete with a rain flap and the equipment needed for set-up, take down and storing in the off-season such as stakes and a 'stuff sack.'
“We truly love this tent,” one reviewer said, adding that it’s “roomy and comfortable for two,” meaning you won’t be fighting for space with the rest of your family.
Beat the heat with this tent, which includes a cover that encompasses the entire top of the tent, meaning no early wake up calls with the sunrise or its beating rays. Reviewers rave about how easy it is to store this tent, especially with the bag that is included. Simply roll the tent into the bag and buckle for an easier commute home.
With size options such as “full size short,” “mid size long” and “compact,” get the tent that will fit perfectly in your truck bed for nights spent stargazing. Reviewers describe it as “comfortable” and easy to pack and store when traveling. Think ahead for longer trips and pack a mattress topper, as sleeping directly on the truck bed might not be the most comfortable option.
Best camping tents for larger groups, according to shoppers
With a separate room perfect for separating parents and kids, reviewers claim that this is the “best family tent,” with one noting that it has ample room for everyone and their air mattresses. Take out the air mattresses and there’s room for even more!
For those who cannot be without their favorite electronics or require a lantern at night, this tent comes with a power slip next to the door for easier electrical cord access if needed. Built-in floor vents also provide air flow for when you need to cover the roof. “We can’t wait to do another camping trip,” one reviewer said after having used this tent.
Set a timer and put the description of this Ozark tent to the test — the brand claims that with pre-attached poles, this tent can be set up in two minutes or less, taking less work out of camping. Reviewers have gotten the best bang for their buck with this tent, noting that it’s “amazing in every way.”
Invite the whole family or combine friend groups to fill this “very well made” tent, according to one reviewer. With enough space for everyone to spread out, even groups less than 20 people will enjoy this durable, high-ceilinged and waterproof tent. Multiple reviewers raved about how this tent is worth the cost.
With space for a stove for easier outdoor cooking without worries of bad weather, this tent also comes with a fire-resistant fabric opening in the exterior for a stove hole to release smoke. “It’s like a motel room in the trees,” one reviewer said, also noting how well the tent blocks outside noise, optimal for falling asleep.
Best tents for kids, according to shoppers
Keep this tent in the yard for the entire summer with weighted sandbags that work to keep it in place, no matter the weather. Reviewers rave about how this tent works wonders in keeping the bugs out, so kids can sit in and enjoy the outdoors comfortably.
Seek shade after a long day in the sun or opt for an escape from the heat while at the shore with this pop-up beach tent. One reviewer packed this “lightweight” tent on a recent trip to Hawaii and added that it “worked great for sand” in addition to being “comfortable.”
For their first camping trip, opt for a tent with a little more protection from the elements with this smaller REI tent. Perfect for siblings, cousins or sleepovers, this tent protects from the rain and is “the sweet spot in pricing, weight and size” according to one reviewer.