Today I’ve got something extremely helpful to share…
A Complete Guide To Finding The Best Camping Tent For You
Because nowadays, there are so many categories of tents to choose from, such as:
And within each category, there are hundreds of brands and models.
So how do you sift through all the overwhelming options?
It’s NOT easy, and it can be very frustrating…
TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE… ↓(click to jump)
- Best Camping Tents Today
- Choosing The Right Type Matters
- Best Camping Tent Features
- Find The Best Option For You
Let’s get this out of the way – there is no such thing as the “BEST” camping tent.
Why? Because what’s best for me might not be best for you.
So let’s go over the main types and we’ll share a few of the best ones within each category.
Dome tents are the most traditional you’ll see across most campgrounds.
And most of us have spent at least a few nights in this tent style.
They’re simple to set up, stable in winds, and provide lots of floor space for a given weight.
The Coleman Steel Creek Fast Pitch Dome has a 10ft by 9ft floor plan.
It also has a screened front porch (10ft by 5ft) to keep the bugs away while you're lounging in camp chairs.
If you grew up anywhere with black flies and mosquitoes, you know how important that feature can be!
If it happens to rain, the option from Steel Creek has you covered with its rain protection fly.
It also has awnings over the side windows for better ventilation when the rain fly is on.
The "Fast Pitch" system features pre-attached, color-coded poles making it very easy to set up. That way, there's no confusion over which pole goes where during setup.
As with all dome-shaped options, the listed peak height of 70" is only at the very center and slopes down quickly at the sides.
↓ Coleman Fast Pitch Overview
This CORE Extended Dome Tent fits up to 9 people. So it can fit three queen-sized mattresses!
Plus, there's a center height of 6 feet so that most people can stand up straight in the middle.
The CORE is lightweight but durable due to the use of fiberglass poles.
And you'll stay dry even in torrential downpours with its H20 Block Technology.
All CORE tents are equipped with water-resistant PU-coated fabric and taped seams to help keep moisture out.
This large family dome option features a gear loft with a lantern hook to keep your gear organized and an electrical cord access port.
This allows you to run a tent ac unit cord outside or any other electrical device.
↓ CORE 9 Person Extended Dome Review
The Colman Sundome is sturdy and comes with factory-sealed seams.
Plus, it uses only a heavy-duty fabric (1000D polyethylene), which helps to prevent rips and tears.
On top of all this, the Colman Sundome also comes with a coated polyester fly.
Finally, access is a breeze with the massive 'D' style front entry door.
You can pick the size you need but the 4-person tent is best for most.
↓ Coleman Sundom 4 Person Setup & Review
These days, the cabin tent is the king of the campground. And for a good reason, they feature nearly vertical walls.
This means having high ceilings across the entire footprint. A feeling of extra space no dome option can rival.
The Eureka Copper Canyon Cabin Tent uses a 6-pole design to provide an 8ft by 8ft floor and almost 7ft of headroom.
The full mesh roof, protected by a rainfly, allows excellent air circulation.
Plus, it also reduces the clammy feeling you can get overnight.
It also features a large door and windows all around to let the breeze through.
↓ Eureka Copper Canyon 4-Person Review
The Coleman Tenaya Lake Cabin Tent comes with even more family-friendly features.
This one measures 13ft by 9ft. It has almost 7ft of headroom!
Plus, it includes a built-in closet with shelves and a hanger bar to help keep your clothes and camping gear organized.
I know how my duffel bag looks after a couple of days in camp, and this would be a welcome addition!
If you're camping where there's electricity, Tenaya Lake has a unique electrical port.
This allows you to route a cord inside without allowing bugs or leaving a door partly open.
When it's time for bed, the 8-person layout has an interior space divider that splits it into two separate rooms for privacy.
↓ Coleman Tenaya Lake 8-Person Setup
The CORE Instant Cabin Tent claims to have a 60-second setup! So, if you need speed, this might be the right for you!
It can sleep up to 9 people and fit two queen air mattresses.
The center peak height is an incredible 6 1/2 feet - so even the tallest campers can change clothes standing up!
The CORE Instant Cabin also features H20 Block Technology for superior drying even in high winds and heavy rains.
It also features a room divider and many wall storage pockets to keep items neat and off the floor.
↓ CORE 9-Person Instant Cabin Setup & Review
Big Agnes Big House Deluxe is a sturdy option with great modern features.
With an 8ft by 9.5ft (or 76 square feet) footprint. And 6.5ft of headroom, it's not an enormous option on the market, but it's well laid out for up to 6 people.
There are a dozen side pockets, including some large enough for electronics like a solar phone charger or small tablet.
The other pockets include a pair of "bedside tables." These stash pockets keep the unzipped door from flapping in the breeze.
The front door also features a welcome mat. This is a perfect landing zone for all those muddy or sandy shoes before coming inside.
↓ Big Agnes Big House Deluxe 3 Season
If you want longevity with your tent, look no further than Kodiak's FlexBow.
Their cabin-style tents are one of the best on the market.
Sure, they cost a bit more than nylon ones, and they also weigh more as well.
However, they are made to last you a lifetime.
They also help dampen campground noise and stay cooler in the sun and warmer in the cold due to the insulating nature of canvas.
The Kodiak "flex bow" design comes in 4-person, 6-person, or 8-person size options.
↓ Kodiak Canvas Flex Bows
Vehicle / Car Tents
Sometimes it’s easier to turn your vehicle into a shelter.
It’s nice to access the items in your vehicle without getting up, getting dressed, and walking across your campsite.
So let’s go over a few of the best modern camping tents:
The Napier Outdoor Sportz SUV is a roomy car tent.
It adds a massive 10 ft by 10 ft cabin style and 7 ft by 6ft screen porch to your vehicle's tailgate.
The universal sleeve helps keep the packed size compact and will easily fit in the back of most small SUVs.
And makes reaching the cooler for a midnight snack or packing up during a storm that much easier.
Also, it allows you to use the cargo area of your SUV as a sleeping space.
You can quickly detach it if you plan to camp without a vehicle or drive during the day.
Just remove it from the back and close the opening. This leaves the shelter protected from all kinds of adverse weather conditions.
It's a vehicle camping solution that adds a lot of flexibility. These setups are an ideal solution for music festivals or remote camping areas.
↓ Napier Outdoors Sportz SUV Review
Of course, we can't talk about car tents without touching on the modern craze I see in the Pacific Northwest - car-top shelters like The Tepui Kukenam Sky.
Now, it doesn't boast the same size or sleep as many people as a cabin style.
Instead, this is a 3-person, 4-season tent design, unfolds from your car's roof rack.
I wouldn't call this style a "camping essential", but it's a new modern option that might be the perfect solution.
But if you're in an area where sleeping on the ground isn't a good option, this allows you to sleep on a stable, flat surface.
↓ Tepui Kukenam Sky 3 RooftopClick here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.
One thing I know about camping is that your tent choice can “make or break” your trip.
Pick a high-quality, well-designed one, and you’ll sleep well and thoroughly enjoy your camping trip.
Choose a leaky, discount tent, and you’re asking for a nightmare camping experience.
Plus, there are too many many design options on the market today.
So how can you find the right one with so many good options on the market today?
For example, earlier this summer, I was able to get off work a little early for a last-minute weekend camping getaway.
Luckily, our camping gear is well organized, so packing the car was fast – until I had to choose which tent to take along!
You can call me a camping enthusiast because I have way too many tents!
I own the following:
- ultralight survival tent for backpacking trips – a.k.a backpacking tent
- sturdy, 4-season inclement weather camping tent for mountaineering
- canvas wall tent that could sleep 6-8 people
- and a tarp tent that covers my hammock in lousy weather (also known as a hammock tent)
Name any activity where having a shelter is crucial, and I’ve got a tent for it!
But for this quick trip, we weren’t doing anything special.
We were heading to a mountain campground for two nights, setting up a few feet from our car.
All I needed was something dependable and comfortable.
Something with enough space for two adults and the dog.
A place to sleep soundly and headroom to make changing in and out of clothes hassle-free.
So which category of affordable tents would work best for this sort of relaxed camping?
↓ 8 Insane Tents That You Should See For Yourself!
When it comes to camping in a typical campground, I like to think of my tent as a bedroom.
So look for a design and features that are like what you’d find at home.
Space for a comfortable bed, air mattress, or sleeping pad. Enough room to change clothes. A bedside table and lamp. A spot for the dog to curl up at your feet.
If you think I’m kidding, let’s look at some of the best features common to look for!
Floorplan | Size
Camping tents come in lots of shapes and sizes.
There are 2-person tents, 4-person tents, and even 8-person tents.
With a large enough floor plan you have extra space for camping cots, luxury air mattresses, or even inflatable beds.
Since you’re not carrying weight very far, you can afford to have several rooms for more privacy.
This is an essential luxury if you have the whole family along.
Kids in one bedroom, parents in the other? Easy.
Put the baby down for a nap while you relax in a camping hammock. Sure thing.
While we’re on the topic of space, another feature a quality camping tent has is a tall ceiling.
Changing clothes is so much easier when you DON’T have to squirm into your pants while lying down on your back.
Many have a dome shape. This means the highest point is in the center.
Others have vertical walls providing extra headroom from edge to edge.
Vertical wall options are the best if you want to easily stand up.
Sadly, we’re all familiar with the annoyance of losing something in the corner or under the sleeping bag.
All those everyday carry items end up on a nightstand at home.
The best manufacturers know this, so they include many pockets.
The best ones have many along the walls sized just right for these smaller items.
In the middle of the night, these pockets can save you from rummaging around in the dark.
Most tents come with a label of the number of seasons they can handle.
There are 2-season, 3-season, and 4-season tents available.
So to choose the “right” option, you must be honest about how early or late you plan to camp. As well as, how high in altitude and how far north…
- If you want to camp all year round and at any elevation – invest in a 4-season.
- If you want to camp a bit earlier or later than summer (a.k.a “shoulder seasons”) then go with a 3 season.
- And if you only camp in the dog days of summer, get a lightweight 2-season option.
In general, the more seasons you opt for, the higher the price.
So if you don’t plan to camp all year round, a 4 season tent is a waste of money.
↓ Everything You Need To Know About Tents 2, 3 4 Season
Ease Of Setup
Listen, you don’t want a tent that requires a degree in Engineering to assemble.
Why? Because while setting up a tent can be an enjoyable process it can also be extremely frustrating.
So make sure you know what you’re signing up for before making your purchase.
Read the reviews to get others’ perspectives on setup.
If it’s complicated and time-consuming, most reviewers are quick to share that with everyone.
Quality & Warranty
Of course, we’re talking about – a portable shelter to protect you from the elements.
Who cares if it has the latest fancy survival gadgets if it leaks or can’t withstand high winds?
So buy one built with clean stitches, durable zippers, strong tent poles, and high-quality materials.
And it’s also smart if you can find one with a long-term warranty.Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.
When it comes down to it, the best option depends on how you use it, where you’ll camp, and who’s coming along.
Searching for “best tents” online will provide thousands of results.
So to help narrow down the results, you need a way to filter down the results and narrow your search.
First, start with a headcount of everyone who will be sleeping.
Don’t forget to add the family dog to the tally if you take your pet camping – as I do.
Once you have your headcount, you must decide on the type that makes the most sense for you – dome/cabin/vehicle.
Finally, move on to narrowing it down to just a few reputable brands and a price range you can afford.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll be down to only a few to choose from, and then you can focus on the unique features.
The key features that help set one apart from another.
Note: If you’ve got a large family camping with you, investing in more than one option may make sense. Or get one that has multiple rooms.
I love each tent style we covered today, and that’s why I own several.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I went with the dome one for my trip.
But I’m looking to add a modern vehicle tent soon – I guess you can never have too many choices…
Why Trust Skilled Survival...
Go here now to review a full breakdown of:
- Who We Are
- Our Credentials
- Our Mission
- & Product Recommendations...
Here are a few highlights of our teams credentials & certifications:
- Certified Member of a Mountain Search & Rescue Organization
- Plant Emergency & Safety Leader for a Major Food Manufacturer
- Member of the 10TH Mountain Division Hut Association
- Certifications: Avalanche 1, WFR, CPR
- Official Gear Tester for Numerous Outdoor Gear Companies
- Countless Multiday Backpacking trips into Remote Wilderness
- Bachelor's Degree In Mechanical Engineering
- Bachelor's Degree In Civil Engineering
- Bachelor's Degree In Biomedical Engineering
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it." - Warren Buffett
We're fully aware that TRUST is NOT something you GET but is EARNED.
And we'll continue to earn YOUR trust through our forthright and honest approach with each new Blog Post, Guide & Product we create...
P.s. Do You Live In A 'Danger Zone' County?
Find out now using my Danger Zone County List & Special Report it’s absolutely FREE. In minutes you’ll know EXACTLY where you stand and if you should be worried or not..
Minimalist Camping: How To Avoid The Most Costly Mistakes
Minimalist camping is a great way to practice wilderness survival. Here's a short list of the limited items to take on your next camping trip
22 Creative Ways On How To Make Money With Land
The best 22 ways I know of on how to make money with land. Pick and choose the ones that will work best for you property and situation.
Best Cold Weather Tents To Survive Below Freezing Temps
Not all tents are created equal, and most are NOT good enough for winter camping. Here are the best cold weather tents for sale today.
21 Camping Essentials: WHAT You Should Take & WHY
Use this list of 21 camping essentials to ensure you never forget the most important gear on your next trip. 1. Tent 2. Water 3. Food 4. Knife...
Best Canvas Tents For Epic Camping, Hunting & Survival
The best canvas tents are durable, waterproof, mold resistant and 100% worth owning! In this guide, we review the best ones on the market to make your search easy.
Best Portable Solar Chargers: Power For Off Grid Adventures
The best portable solar chargers are innovative, durable, waterproof and 100% worth owning! In this guide, we review the best ones to make your search easy.