Whether a rookie or a seasoned veteran, a camper has to have confidence in their tent. It’s your home away from home, and more so than any other piece of camping gear, it dictates how comfortable you’ll be. After all, no one wants to wake up wet or perhaps worse: covered in mosquito bites. Fortunately, tents, which were once mostly made of heavy canvas and pretty rudimentary, have gotten a lot more lightweight and technical in the past few decades. From Amazon to Ebay (although you may want to think twice about buying a secondhand tent), there’s never been a bigger selection to choose from starting at just $50. Whether you’re planning to backpack the PCT in the dead of winter or simply spend a summer weekend at a KOA with a pool and putt putt golf, here are 11 top-rated camping tents for every budget.
1. Coleman Sundome 2-Person Camping Tent, from $50, Amazon
With nearly 35,000 five-star ratings, the Coleman Sundome Camping Tent is ranked #1 on Amazon’s list of Best Sellers in Camping Tents. It’s the perfect entry level three-season tent for car campers looking for an affordable weatherproof tent. Despite how cheap it is, the frame is designed to withstand winds of 35+mph, and welded corners and inverted seams keep water out. “Last night, I had the opportunity to put my tent to the test during a heavy rainstorm, and I must say, I am incredibly impressed. Despite the non-stop downpour for nearly 5 hours, not a single drop of water made its way inside the tent,” writes one Amazon shopper whose review is titled “Passed the test.” The two-person model weighs 7.5 lbs., and it’s also available in three-person, four-person and six-person (all of which are under $100) models. Note: while it is the cheapest tent on this list, it also takes the longest time (10-15 minutes) to set up.
2. Clostnature Lightweight Backpacking Tent, from $67, Amazon
If you’re willing to spend a little more to shave off a couple of pounds, consider the Clostnature Lightweight Backpacking Tent which has more than 1,700 five star ratings and an impressive 4.6-star average rating. This two-person, three-season tent weighs 5.7 lbs and is designed to be pitched in a pinch, even by just one person. “I came across it during a solo camping trip in Yosemite, and it blew me away with its superior construction and weatherproofing,” says Mal Hellyer, a travel blogger who has camped everywhere from the Alps to the Australian Outback. “It stood strong during an unexpected thunderstorm and kept me dry, a crucial factor when you’re miles away from civilization.”
3. CORE 9-Person Tent, $100, Amazon
Whether you have a big family or your kids are begging to bring their friends, you’ll have plenty of room for everyone in this three-season, nine-person tent with nearly 4,000 five-star ratings on Amazon (where it’s currently 33% off). With a whopping 144 square feet of space, the CORE 9-Person Tent easily fits three queen air mattresses. Although it’s an entry-level tent, it is water-resistant and it features a handy gear loft with plenty of pockets and a hook for your flashlight or lantern. It also weighs just 18.5 pounds which is remarkable given how big it is, and if it’s not big enough, don’t worry. There’s an 11-Person model (for $130) with 162 square feet of space!
4. Eddie Bauer Carbon River 4, $126 (originally $179), Eddie Bauer
If you’re looking for a bargain, consider the Eddie Bauer Carbon River 4 which is currently 30% off. This popular four-person, three-season tent weighs 10 pounds and offers 64 square feet of interior space. Like all Eddie Bauer gear, it’s designed to last for years, and it’s also very user-friendly. Pieces are even color-coded for easy setup. The double-wall construction is durable, and thanks to Eddie Bauer’s signature WeatherEdge technology, it’s fully waterproof. In addition to featuring a polyurethane coating that keeps water out, the tent is also treated with a flame retardant.
5. Kelty Wireless 4-Person Tent, $150 (originally $200), Amazon
One step up from entry level, the Kelty Wireless 4-Person Tent is a great option for car campers who want something reliable. It’s not called wireless because it doesn’t feature wires. It’s called wireless because cell phone reception and WiFi aren’t included. Still, this four-person, three-season tent does boast doors on either side and two vestibules for maximum dry storage. It has a 4.6-star average rating on Amazon where it’s currently 25% off. “The four person model is large and spacious due to the spreader bar at the top. Easy to set up for one person,” writes one shopper who opted for Kelty because her last tent, which she bought in 1977, lasted so long. It weighs just under 12 pounds and offers 59 square feet of interior space.
6. Quechua Two-Second Waterproof Pop-Up Tent, $229, Decathlon
It’s hard to find a tent that you can set up faster than the aptly-named Quechua Two-Second Waterproof Pop-Up Tent. This three-season, two-person tent doesn’t discriminate against tall campers, it’s ideal for people up to 6’8, and it’s great for people who run hot. The tent’s “Fresh Technology” feature reflects the sun’s rays to keep you cool even in the hottest temperatures. But what really sets this bestseller (it has a 4.5-star rating from more than 1,100 reviews) apart is its patented Black Out technology promising 99% darkness at any time of the day. It weighs 10.4 pounds and is built to withstand wind gusts of up to 30 mph.
7. Outdoor Vitals One-Person Trekking Pole Backpacking Tent, $290, Outdoor Vitals
Weighing about as much as a pair of shoes, the Outdoor Vitals One-Person Trekking Pole Backpacking Tent is perhaps the lightest tent money can buy. Despite weighing less than two pounds, this one-person, four-season tent is made of an uber durable nylon and has multiple “storm points” and extra-long stake lines that give you serious peace of mind even in the harshest of conditions. “I had it out in a pretty big thunderstorm, and had no issues with the rain and wind,” writes one reviewer. “The tent sets up quickly, it has plenty of room for one person, and the material seems like it is very durable. I think this is going to become my go-to tent for ultralight backpacking!” The inside has a mesh pocket and two hanging loops, but with just 17 square feet of space it may not be the tent for you if you’re claustrophobic.
8. NEMO Aurora 2-Person Backpacking Tent and Footprint, $299, NEMO
If you’re looking for a lightweight two-person backpacking tent, look no further than the Nemo Aurora. This three-season tent, which comes with NEMO’s lifetime warranty, weighs just over five pounds and has 31.8 square feet of space. And because it comes with NEMO’s signature Pawprints, which protects the footprint of the tent and provides insulation, it’s perhaps the most dog-friendly tent on this list. Another fun feature is the overhead light pockets which utilize a “light-diffusing fabric to cast an even glow.”
9. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2, $413 (originally $550), Moosejaw
Thousands of campers swear by the three-season best-seller that is the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2. On Moosejaw alone it has an impressive 4.7-star average rating from 750 reviews. At just over three pounds and 29 square feet, it’s a nice compromise between an ultralight backpacking tent and a lightweight tent. Features include two doors, two awning-style vestibules, a new TipLock Tent Buckle (which makes setting it up a breeze) and 100% waterproof seams. “I took it out for a two-week backpacking trip in the mountains of Peru, and it handled the wind, rain and even snow with no issues,” says Charles Breitbart, a travel blogger and avid camper.
10. Mountain Hardwear Bridger 6 Tent, $950, Mountain Hardwear
In terms of storage, it’s hard to beat the Mountain Hardwear Bridger 6 Tent. This six-person, three-season tent has eight interior pockets, a removable gear loft and two full-size vestibules where you can stash your gear so it doesn’t get covered in dew, or worse. Designed to function as your base camp for outdoor pursuits, the Bridger 6, which weighs about 24 pounds, has handy features including two saloon-style doors, a built-in doormat and a full coverage fly. With 89 square feet of interior space and another 94 square feet of vestibule space, it can comfortably fit six.
11. Thule Approach, $2,300, Thule
While it’s easily the most expensive and heaviest (110 pounds) tent on this list, the Thule Approach is also the most comfortable and it can be used in all four seasons. This rooftop abode even comes with a dual layer mattress. It’s available in three sizes, and all of them boast a panoramic roof with skylights, lockable mounting brackets and a removable rain cover with three different modes. While it looks complex, after all it involves a ladder, it can be unpacked and set up in just three minutes.
Katie Jackson is a writer and media specialist based in Montana’s Big Sky Country. Living and working everywhere from New York to Nicaragua, Katie is no stranger to adventure. When she’s not traveling the world (or writing about it!) she’s busy chasing after a Leonberger named Zeus. Follow Katie’s travels on Instagram @katietalkstravel.