Three best tents

Kailey Fralick

If you plan to store gear in your tent, choose one that fits more people than will actually be sleeping inside. For example, if four people will be staying in the tent, opt for a five- or six-person tent.

Unless you plan to sleep out under the stars, a tent is essential for camping. A good tent keeps you warm and comfortable, but a bad one makes for a rough night with little sleep. If you've never bought a tent before, you may not know where to begin. The right tent for you depends on several factors, including when and how often you plan to camp and how many people you'll be camping with. Here's a short guide to walk you through the most important considerations when choosing a tent.

Considerations when choosing tents

The first thing you need to figure out is how often you plan to camp and the conditions you're likely to encounter. A simple single-wall tent would probably suffice for the occasional summer weekend camping trip. These tents tend to be lightweight and affordable, but they're not as good at keeping out water and cold air.

If you plan to camp often and want to be prepared for any inclement weather situation, look for a sturdy double-wall tent. These are insulated well, but they're also bulkier, and they cost more money.


Here are some other factors to consider when choosing a tent.

Material: The majority of tents are made of lightweight polyester that resists water and folds for compact storage. This is ideal for most people, but some may prefer a tent made from more natural materials.

Water resistance: The tent should have a waterproof rating in millimeters. This indicates the amount of water per square inch that the tent can keep out. If you plan to camp in rainy conditions, look for a tent with a high water resistance rating.

Size: If you're going to camp alone or with a friend, you probably don't need more than a three-person tent. But if you have a larger group, be sure to choose a tent that can accommodate everyone ...  and their gear.

Ease of Use: Look for a tent that's easy to put up and take down. You may also want to pay attention to details like how easy it is to zip and unzip, as this can make a difference in your overall experience with it.


Q. How should I clean my tent?

A. Sweep out debris when you're done using the tent. Use a hose to rinse off any remaining dirt or debris. Leave the tent out in the sun to dry before putting it back in its storage bag.

Q. What is a three-season tent?

A. A three-season tent is a tent that can be comfortably used in spring, summer, and fall. If you plan on camping in winter, you will need something that's thicker than a three-season tent to withstand heavy snow.

Tents we recommend

Best of the best: CORE Equipment 9-Person Extended Dome Tent

Our take: This is a great tent for family camping and large-group outings, and it's sturdy enough to last for many years to come.

What we like: This durable tent holds up well, even in strong wind and rain, and it can sleep up to nine people. It contains a gear loft and multiple pockets for you to organize your supplies, and there's plenty of headroom for most adults to stand comfortably inside.

What we dislike: Its large size makes it a little more difficult to put up and to pack away in its storage bag.

Best bang for your buck: Coleman Sundome 3-Person Tent

Our take: This is a good choice if you're looking for a summer camping tent and don't want to spend a lot of money, but it probably wouldn't be enough for serious campers.

What we like: This affordable tent can comfortably sleep two to three people, and it's lightweight enough to be taken on backpacking trips. It's simple to set up; even novices should be able to do it in less than 10 minutes.

What we dislike: It doesn't fare well in extreme weather conditions, so you may want something a little sturdier if you plan to camp in rain or wind.

Choice 3: Wenzel Alpine 3-Person Tent

Our take: This is a good three-season tent for an individual or small group, and the price isn't bad, either.

What we like: This tent has two mesh windows that provide excellent ventilation and an integrated mud mat to keep dirt and debris out. It's easy to set up and take down, and it holds up well, even in rainy and windy conditions.

What we dislike: There isn't a lot of headroom, so be prepared to crouch down when you enter.

Kailey Fralick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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