With a fully connected foldable-poll system, the Hornet has immense ease of setup, and since it’s freestanding, you can pitch it on virtually any flat area. Once up, the tent provides enough space for one person to snuggle up on their own, and the side door makes it easy to get in and out. Markel says the side door “makes the tent feel larger when I have the fly open to the side as opposed to one end.”
Experts like REI Co-Op’s Passage line of tents for beginners, and the one-person model has a pleasantly straightforward (yet high-quality) design that’ll appeal to newcomers and experienced campers alike. Setup and breakdown are easy thanks to its x-pole configuration, and its rectangular floor space comfortably accommodates a sleeping pad.
2-Person Camping Tents
For people camping in pairs, Reed highly recommends REI Co-op’s Half Dome tent line because it has extra wiggle room. While this tent is also light enough for backpacking, Reed has found it really shines in “scenarios where weight isn’t a priority.”
“It’s larger than traditional two-person tents to allow space for your pup or additional gear,” she says. The tent also features two doors so you don’t have to climb over your partner to get out, mesh side pockets for storage, and ripstop nylon fabric for durability, which Reed notes is a must for any tent. “I’ve had this tent for almost five years, and it’s my go-to for car camping.”
Meanwhile, REI’s Passage 2 tent is only slightly heavier than the Half Dome and comes highly recommended by Andrea Dumais, a park ranger at Staunton State Park in Pine, Colorado (this model has been discontinued but is still available to order, so act fast if it piques your interest). And, for those camping with three people, REI also makes a three-person version of the Half Dome.
3-Person Camping Tents
When the owner of Adios Adventure Travel, Jacquie Whitt, buys tents for her adventure travel company, she loves Marmot three-person tents, like the Tungsten 3-Season tent. Whitt recommends the tent for two people so they have extra room for gear and packs. “Marmots have been one of the best investments we’ve made in tents,” says Whitt. “We have several matching tents that we have been using at least 25 times per year, for more than five years.”
The tent has two doors and two vestibules to keep shoes and wet gear out of the tent and make it easy to get in and out. It isn’t ridiculously light, at just over four pounds, but for the extra room of a three-person tent, it’s not a bad weight-to-space ratio.
Another excellent three-person tent pick is the Big Agnes Copper Spur tent, a lightweight, breathable model that comes with generous vestibule awnings and color-coded poles for easy assembly. Reviewers were particularly pleased with its waterproof fly and interior storage pockets.
Best Family Camping Tents
When camping with your whole family, Reed says “space and durability are going to be priorities.” If you’re backpacking with kids, you’ll want to think about the weight as well, but for this situation, we’ll assume the car is close by and you can focus on comfort and durability. Gabi Rosenbrien, the product development manager for NEMO, also recommends using a standing-height shelter for extra comfort. The standing height makes it easier to hang out in if it’s rainy or buggy outside and means you have the height to use a cot, air mattress, or even hammock if you want. Bradford also recommends tents with room dividers to give families and large groups more privacy if needed.
4-Person Camping Tents
The Eureka Copper Canyon LX 4-Person Tent is a three-season option and another excellent tent for larger groups, especially from a price perspective. Jenny Martindale, experienced canoe-tripping guide and partnerships manager at Wild Women Expeditions, recommends seeking out a three-season tent for the sake of cutting down on costs—and a more versatile tent means using it for a wider variety of camping trips.