Best Camping Tents | Expert Reviews by Mountain IQ
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Best Camping Tents 2018 – Expert Review (With Comparison Table)

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Best Camping Tent - Mount IQ Reviews

Looking for the best camping tent for your next outdoor expedition?

This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know before purchasing a tent. Whether you are looking for the best value tent for camping, the best for backpacking, or best budget tent, you are in the right place!

Start with our comparison table and if you want more detail then dive into our full tent reviews. 

Best Camping Tent
(Mountain IQ #1 Choice)

The Nemo Dagger 2 is the tent you want to take on your next backpacking trip. It’s amazingly lightweight and weather resistant design will give you the peaceful nights rest you need.

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Best Camping Tents - Comparison Table

Tent

Rating

Weight

Floor Area

Sleeping Capacity

Price

#1

Nemo Dagger

(Best Camping Tent for 2)

3lbs 12 oz

31 sqft

2

#2

North Face Wawona

(Best Family Camping Tent)

1lb 5oz

28.12 sqft

6

#3

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

(Best Backpacking Tent)

3lbs 14oz

29 sqft

2

#4

REI Kingdom

(Silver Family Camping Tent)

Best Camping Tent - REI Kingdom 6

19lb 12 oz

83.2 sqft

6

#5

Mountainsmith Morrison

(Best Value Tent)

4lbs 11oz

35 sqft

2

​​​1. Best Overall Camping Tent For 2

Nemo Dagger 2

5/5 Overall Rating

Scoring 5 out of 5 stars, the Nemo Dagger 2 rightfully deserves the best backpacking tent award. The Dagger 2 offers comfort, weather resistance, easy set up, portability, and at 3.75lbs, it is lightweight. 

The Nemo Dagger 2 is a premium-backpacking tent with durable and lightweight fabrics.

It comes with fantastic poles that remain featherweight yet strong at all connection points. The Dagger 2 is a star at keeping the wind at bay with its high sidewalls.

There are two large doors that open to vestibules, interior mesh pockets, and overhead light pockets.

While the tent it has an open mesh top, the fabric is carefully designed to provide you fresh air without the morning condensation. The Dagger 2 also comes with a fly to keep you dry in rainy conditions.

The Dagger 2 comes with a simple pole design, making set up a breeze. All exterior connection points are reflective, making this tent easy to set up late at night too.

The Dagger 2 is lightweight and its packed size is 19”x5” making it comfortable to carry for longer expeditions. 

The Dagger 2 costs $399 and includes a stuff sack, guy-out cord, repair kit, and stakes.

For $59 you could add a washable fabric interior liner or for $49 you could purchase a footprint. The Dagger 2 is expertly designed for backcountry travel or a car camp close by. 

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Main Features
  • Excellent weather resistance
  • Strong and lightweight fabrics
  • Easy to set up with one main pole
What we like
  • Packed with features such as vestibule, pockets, and fly
  • Top scorer for performance and comfort
What we dislike
  • Pricey for a 2-person tent
Key Takeaway

The Nemo Dagger 2 is the tent you want to take on your next backpacking trip. It’s amazingly lightweight and weather resistant design will give you the peaceful nights rest you need.

2. Best Family Camping Tent

The North Face Wawona

5/5 Overall Rating

The North Face Wawona takes the crown for best overall family camping tent due to its high-quality materials, comfort, and special features.    

The Wawona is the best of the best when it comes to comfort, ease of set up, weather resistance, and portability.

The Wawona has 86.1sqft of floor area and a peak height of 6’8”. Your whole family will have no problems hanging out and sleeping in this tent.

With a spacious built-in vestibule, there is no chance you will ever feel claustrophobic. There are 2 windows to enjoy views and two vents at the top to keep condensation under control. 

With a total of three doors with the vestibule, people will be able to exit and enter freely. Wawona has no shortage of pockets, there are 10 of them inside the tent for all your things. There is also a line inside the tent to dry your clothing.

The Wawona is super easy to set up and you could do it solo. It is easier to set up that the REI Kingdom 6, which requires a few extra steps and two people. 

The Wawona provides excellent weather resistance. It does not bend or shift in wind and remains waterproof in heavy rain.

If you would like additional protection against sideways rain, you could purchase the Kingdom 6 Garage from REI and attach it to the Wawona.

You are even able to cook and sit in the vestibule area during intense storms.

The Wawona weighs 20lbs and 15oz, and compacts down to the size of a standard camping sleeping bag. The duffle-style carrying bag allows you to stuff the tent in easily.

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Main Features
  • Spacious floor area and very tall tent hight
  • Quick and easy set up
  • Premium design and materials
What we like
  • Built-in vestibule
  • Fair price for a luxury tent perfect for families
What we dislike
  • Can feel tight for 6 people
Key Takeaway

The North Face Wawona is a brilliant tent for group camping. It requires a no hassle set up and offers superior weather resistance and ventilation.

3. Best Backpacking Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

5/5 Overall Rating

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 deserves a 5-star rating as another brilliant backpacking tent. It is excellent for its above-average space to weight ratio, lightweight, portability, easy set up, and weather resistance. 

With a weight of 3lbs 1oz, 29sqft floor area, and two vestibules. The Copper Spur offers an excellent balance between weight and size. With the use of premium ultralight fabrics, this tent can remain lightweight. The Copper Spur is very packable. 

The Copper Spur is freestanding and is simple to set up. The poles and fly connectors are color coded while the guy lines are reflective, making set up super easy.

The design of the Copper Spur is ideal for intense winds. The tent is secured in strategic areas to prevent bending from the wind.

There is also additional ventilation above the head area to prevent condensation. The Copper Spur blocks out the rain perfectly as well.

The Copper Spur is a great option for a 2-person backpacking tent. It does everything you need it and protects from the elements.

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Main Features
  • Fantastic space to weight ratio
  • Superb materials
  • High weather resistance
What we like
  • Lightweight
  • Floor area and two vestibules are very generous 
What we dislike
  • Pricey
Key Takeaway

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is a truly wonderful backpacking tent overall that is comfortable and provides great weather resistance. 

4. Silver Family Camping Tent

REI Kingdom 6

Best Camping Tent - REI Kingdom 6

5/5 Overall Rating

Spend the night in your own personal 5-star kingdom. This REI Kingdom 6 is one of the best family camping tents at a sensible price. This 5-star tent fits 6 people comfortably.

The Kingdom is exceptionally durable and well designed. It comes with strong, high-quality stakes.

The main room in the tent can be divided into two rooms with a privacy curtain. The Kingdom is easily compacted into a bag with straps, making it easy to carry from camp to camp.

The Kingdom is known for its comfort. The tent is tall and spacious, big enough for a family of 6. It weighs 19lbs 12oz and has 83.3 sqft of floor area. There are two doors making this tent ideal for multiple people.

The tent contains several pockets that are low to the ground allowing you to store your belongings. There are even pockets above each door to put the mesh into when the door is open.

There are several loops on top of the tent to hang lights or laundry. With an option of creating two rooms, one with tent fabric, the other with mesh, you are able to customize your needs for privacy and ventilation. 

The Kingdom comes with a fly but not with a vestibule. You can purchase the “Kingdom Garage” for $100 and add it to your tent.

Designed for 3 seasons, the Kingdom has great weather resistance and can handle most conditions. This tent is relatively easy to set up, but it is a good idea to practice once at home beforehand. 

The REI Kingdom 6 is a camping tent that does it all. It is designed with a true camper in mind.

The room dividing feature, internal pockets, tall ceilings, backpack style pack, and weather resistance is tough to beat.

 This is a tent that is well worth the money and will last you for years of camping trips. 

Main Features
  • Premium materials for weather resistance
  • High ceilings with a peak height of 6.25ft
  • Room divider, pockets, backpack style bag
  • Room divider, pockets, backpack style bag
What we like
  • Fair price
  • Durable
  • Spacious
What we dislike
  • The vestibule included is fairly small
Key Takeaway

If you are in the market for a thoughtfully designed, no fuss, durable camping tent, the Kingdom is for you. It will comfortably house your family with its tall ceilings and provide privacy as the tent can divide into two rooms. 

5. Best Value Camping Tent

Mountainsmith Morrison 2

4/5 Overall Rating

The Mountainsmith Morrison 2
 is a great value for a money tent. It is best for camping, paddling, and occasional backpacking.

At $190 ($100 on sale on Amazon) the Morrison is comfortable, easy to set up, and offers various features. 

The Morrison is spacious and livable. There are two doors that can almost completely zip off for an open feel including a vestibule. The peak height of the tent is 43”, which provides substantial headroom.

There is less mesh on the inner tent allowing for it to be warm and offers more protection from rain. The Morrison has a handy gear loft and pockets.

The tent is simple to set up due to its color-coded pole design. It does a good job protecting from wet conditions but not strong winds.

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Main Features
  • Spacious interior with tall ceilings
  • Two doors with vestibule
  • Storage for gear and additional pockets
What we like
  • Great value tent and excellent for staying in it
  • Net windows for ventilation and protection from the bugs
  • Very spacious
What we dislike
  • Heavy
Key Takeaway

The Mountainsmith Morrison 2 is a brilliant value for money tent that is easy to set up and super comfortable and practical.

6. Best Budget Camping Tent

Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6

4/5 Overall Rating

The Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6 lives up to its claims and earns 4 out of 5 stars. The affordable camping tent is designed to handle warmer climates for its sun blocking abilities. It is best known for its ease of set up, cooling feature, and quality materials. 

The Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6 is so easy to set up you could do it in the dark, with some kind of flashlight of course. There is a simple X shape in the poles making it easy to do alone. There is a convenient “front porch” where you will need to stake out the front corners. 

When it comes to hot summer days, this tent does a fantastic job of keeping you cool. It is not designed for super wet and windy conditions but rather for milder climates.

The Carlsbad Fast Pitch is user-friendly and durable enough to withstand basic wear and tear. The front porch includes a mesh gutter to prevent rain from getting into the entryway. 

When it comes to putting the tent away in its carrying case, things can get tricky. The bag is not the best of quality and can be too small to fit the tent into.

Main Features
  • Blocks UV rays, keeps you cool
  • Exceptionally easy set up
  • Bug proof front porch
  • plus
    Good ventilation
What we like
  • Affordable
  • Suitable for warmer weather
What we dislike
  • Not ideal for wet or windy conditions
Key Takeaway

The Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6 is a terrific budget camping tent. It is exceptional for UV protection and keeping you cool.  

7. Best 4 Season Tent

Hilleberg Jannu

5/5 Overall Rating

One of the most expensive tents tested for good reason. The Hilleberg Jannu runs you at $975 to keep you protected from some of the worst conditions while mountaineering and alpine climbing.

Jannu is extraordinarily weather resistant, easy to set up, durable, and versatile. 

At 6.87lbs, you will be carrying a tent that will protect you from all that Mother Nature can do.

The Jannu is exceedingly strong but doesn’t weigh a crazy amount. The Jannu’s intersecting poles are designed to handle intense snow loading and winds from all directions.

It’s important that the Jannu can withstand intense winds due to unpredictable wind patterns at high elevations.

The low profile of the tent allows wind to pass over. If you do not expect four season conditions, the Jannu may be unnecessary. 

The Jannu is easy to set up. In fact, it only requires 4 steps. What’s unique about Jannu’s set up is that you must pitch the outside first to prevent the inner tent from getting wet in snowy or rainy conditions. This is the best way to set up a tent in extreme conditions. 

The durability of the Jannu is crucial as a 4-season tent and for its price. The poles are strong and the fabrics are top-tier.

This fabric is Silnylon and will never chemically break up like Polyurethane used on other 4 season tents. The Jannu is versatile as you are able to remove the inner tent for quicker trips. 

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Main Features
  • Extraordinarily weather resistant
  • Easy to set up, pitch the tent from the outside in
  • Reasonably light and packable
What we like
  • Heavy duty
  • Protects you from extreme weather
What we dislike
  • Pricey
  • Not built for interior comfort
Key Takeaway

An out of this world 4-season tent, Hilleberg Jannu is designed for high altitude alpine climbing, winter mountaineering, or summertime mountaineering.

8. Best Weather Resistant Camping Tent

Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6

4/5 Overall Rating

The Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6 tent offers expert protection against wind and storms. This tent is a great option for families who want a spacious tent with room division.

Flying Diamond is best known for its weather resistance, quality, and portability. 

The Flying Diamond is a 4-season tent, fitting 6 people, at 19lb 13oz. It protects fully against stormy weather: rain and wind.

This tent is a fun kids camping tent, specifically for its cubby/storage compartment. The side room is a great addition for kids to play in or for the adults to hang out in. This tent has exceptional design and durability.

The carrying bag is decent although not as good as the REI Kingdom 6 as it turns into a backpack. 

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Main Features
  • Awesome design for families and children
  • Room division
  • Cubby/storage area
What we like
  • Fantastic weather resistance 
  • 4 season tent
  • Spacious
What we dislike
  • Rather expensive
Key Takeaway

The Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6
 is an awesome tent for families and is made of high-grade materials for weather resistance.

9. Best Budget Backpacking Tent

REI Half Dome Plus 2

Best Camping Tent - REI Half Dome Plus 2

4/5 Overall Rating

The REI Half Dome Plus is the best option for backpackers on a budget. Earning 4 out of 5 stars, the Half Dome is known for its comfort, weather resistance, and other features. 

The Half Dome offers a generous amount of space, about 32sqft. This is plenty of space for two people and their gear. It has a lot of pockets including a place to store a water bottle.

There are two doors and a medium sized vestibule. The Half Dome is designed to handle 3 seasons. With the rainfly and bathtub floor, you will be protected against the rain.

The Half Dome comes with ventilation openings, keeping condensation and mugginess at bay. 

 At $199 the Half Dome is mostly for camping with occasional backpacking. At 5lbs 7oz it tends to be quite heavy. Nonetheless, the Half Dome is a well-designed affordable tent. 

Main Features
  • Generous sized interior
  • Several pockets
  • 3 season
What we like
  • Two doors and vestibule
  • Budget-friendly and comfortable tent 
What we dislike
  • Heavy, poor quality materials
Key Takeaway

If you are new to backpacking and looking for a cost-effective tent, the Half Dome is a wonderful option. It has a spacious interior, vestibule, and several pockets. 

10. Ultralight Backpacking Tent

Zpacks Duplex 2

Best Camping Tent - Zpacks Duplex 2

3.5/5 Overall Rating

The Zpacks Duplex 2 will make you feel as though you are carrying a tent made of air. This is a fully enclosed tarp style shelter offering bug protection and floor for only 21 ounces making it very light.

The Zpacks duplex is brilliant for its ultra lightweight, weather resistance, and livability. 

This A-frame tent is remarkable for its weight, considering it has features that would typically make a tent heavier. The Duplex includes a sewn-in mesh bug netting and tear-proof and waterproof floor without adding too much weight and bulk.

The tent also comes with a stuff sack and 8 guy-lines. You will need to purchase 6 stakes at a minimum to set up the tent and potentially use trekking poles as well. 

The Duplex 2 has brilliant weather resistance as the main protective overhead sheet is made of Dyneema Composite Fiber. This is something that will never wear off and remain completely waterproof.  

This sheet will also never stretch or sag when wet. The cat-cut tarp and interior bathtub floor will protect you from wind and rain. There are two openings and vestibules on both sides allowing for easy entry and ventilation. 

The Duplex is more spacious than other two person tents. It is reasonable tall to sit up in and has no obstructions. With bug protection included, this eliminates your need to buy one and add additional weight to your pack. 

It is important that there will need to be some time and thought put into setting up the Duplex. It requires stakes and guy out cords in 6 different directions. 

Main Features
  • Super ultralight at 1lb 5.2oz
  • DCF tarp that is naturally waterproof
  • Spacious two-person tent
What we like
  • Includes bug protection and bathtub floor
  • Ultralight fully enclosed tent
  • With additional protective features
What we dislike
  • Pricey
Key Takeaway

The Zpacks Duplex 2 is ideal for a backpacker who wants an ultralight shelter. For its weight, it is the top of the line for weather protection, bug protection, and livability. 

Tent Buyer's Guide (Key Features)

A tent is your home away from home. You want it to be spacious, weather resistant, durable, and easy to set up. Read this guide and you will purchase the best tent for your needs.

If you are an avid camper or backpacker, it is advised that you splurge and invest into a quality tent that will last for years. If you are an occasional backyard camper, there are some fantastic budget tents.

Tents range drastically in price, weight, size, weather resistance, and ease of set up. The options are endless and you will be overwhelmed. Not to fear, we have carefully curated the top 10 best camping tents for a variety of needs. 

As one of the four items that will weigh down your pack (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and backpack) it’s important you are carrying a shelter that will protect you against the elements. A 3 season tent is designed for spring, summer, fall, and 4 season tent includes winter. 

There are numerous types of tents available on the market today. There are three main types of tents: double-walled, tarp, and ultralight. Tents are available in many different fabrics and materials. The quality of poles included with the tent matter, but the design of where they are placed is more important.

Most tents come with low quality guyline and not enough stakes, causing your tent to not be properly secured. You will always be able to purchase stakes and guyline if you are not satisfied with the ones your tent comes with.

A good rule of thumb is that a tent should weigh about 2.5lbs per person. Most double-wall tents are 3lbs per person. If comfort is what you are after, this type of tent is usually the best choice.

They are more effective at protecting you from weather and easier to set up. Double-wall tents are not as durable as ultralight shelters and they must be configured the same way every time.

Ultralight tents and tarp tents are single walled, light and highly compactable. If you don’t want excessive weight in your pack, go with the ultralight or tarp tent. Tarp style tents are the most adaptable as you are able to configure them in multiple ways. 

Weight and Packed Size

Choosing a tent that is lightweight is an advantage. Considering you still have a sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and other essentials to carry, the last thing you want is to carry a heavy tent too.

The A-Frame tarp is one of the lightest and most versatile kinds of tent. It is ideal for backpackers for its lightweight and adaptability. It can be pitched in so many different ways and offers a real outdoor experience because of its open design.

An ultralight or tarp tent will in most cases always be lighter and more compactable than a double wall tent. 

Comfort

Double wall tents take the prize for comfort. This does make them heavier but they are more weather resistant. A double wall tent is described in its name. There is an outer and inner tent, double the protection.

The outer tent is completely waterproof and also called the rain fly. The inner tent has a waterproof floor but a non-waterproof roof. In this tent, you are completely enclosed in a shelter without any exposure. 

Before putting up your tent, ensure you are choosing a flat surface with no rocks or twigs. For ultimate comfort, bring a layer of foam or use an air mattress. For regular campers and backpackers, a sleeping pad will do. 

Weather Resistance

When it comes to weather, a double wall tent is best. The rainfly keeps you dry from weather, while the inner mesh tent prevents condensation from forming on the inside. For strong winds, it is crucial to align the tent with guy lines and stakes.

The materials a tent is made of plays a huge role in weather resistance. Polyurethane is coating found on inexpensive tents but is prone to chemically breaking.

SilNylon is coating found on high-end tents and is more durable than Polyurethane. Cuben Fiber, the most expensive, is one of the best materials used in the outdoor industry. It is light, long lasting, and waterproof. 

Durability and Versatility

A tent must protect you against the elements. If it doesn’t, it could be dangerous. A tent that cannot adapt to various locations can also make your life more difficult.

In this aspect, the tarp or ultralight tents are the best for versatility. You can shape and set them up any way you need. The double wall requires similar placement every time, limiting where you can use it. 

A tarp or ultralight tent may have quality materials but the fabrics will be thinner to remain lighter. This could potentially result a stick or rock puncturing it. The double wall tent does have two layers of fabric, increasing durability. 

Ease of Setting Up

Double wall tents are freestanding tents with poles and are easier to set up than a tarp or ultralight tent. Tarps and ultralight tents require time and effort as guy lines, stakes, and trekking poles are all used for pitching.

A double wall tent can be set up on most flat ground, while a tarp or ultralight requires strategic placement and practice. Double wall tents require the same pitch configuration. Unlike the tarp or ultralight that can morph to any position. 

 Tip: If you are able to carry an additional item in your pack, a tarp is a great addition. Put down a tarp aka “footprint” underneath your tent to protect the tent floor from getting damaged or wet.

Other Features

  • User manual
  • Compartments
  • Lock / Zipper

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