Car Camping Tents
Tents for people who like walk-in closets.
Best All-Around Tent: The TN2 provides a large sleeping and living area at 28.8 square feet of space and at 3.5 feet tall; space is definitely worth the trouble when car camping (i.e. not much trouble at all). With its rectangular shape, mesh walls, and stargazing fly (which extends into an entry awning), the tent delivers the homey qualities you want in a casual car-side shelter.
MSR Papa Hubba NX
Best Summer Basecamp Tent: The Papa Hubba builds on previous Hubba backpacking tents with extra space and some added comfort features. Stay-dry doors are especially nice if you’ll be camping with forgetful friends: even when left open they’ll channel water away from the interior and your precious gear. Both the tent clips and poles are color coded, so set-up is a breeze. Our favorite feature, though, is the layout of doors and vestibules, ensuring good ventilation, even in summer heat or at a crowded summer festival campground.
MSR Back Country Barn
Best Tent for Gear Addicts: Steep walls and 74 inches of headroom means the MSR Back Country Barn can fit you, a friend and as much gear as you dare to carry. The 346-square-foot interior volume lends itself to being stuffed with your fishing gear, climbing rack, and a cooler or two of
provisions beer. A detachable floor makes it easy to convert from sleeping quarters to shared gear storehouse, to picnic table shelter to remote race aid station and back again.
REI Kingdom 6
Best Family Tent: With a peak height over six feet, REI’s Kingdom tent feels more like a mobile cabin than a tent. An internal divider can separate the tent into two private rooms — a helpful feature if you need to put kids down for a nap or to bed early. At seventeen pounds, it requires its own backpack to carry, but the huge footprint lends itself perfectly to large groups, or those just seeking a little extra space and privacy. You can add on extra vestibules with the Connect-Tech zipper, expanding your Kingdom as far as you need.
Tents for people who like summits.
Best Luxury Expedition Tent: None of Heimplanet’s tents come with poles. That may seem strange, but the inflatable, geometric support system actually proves more stable than many pole layouts. Rather than multiple layers of mesh, rainfly and poles, the entire three-layer system of inner tent, weather guard and supports is integrated, so you can just unpack and pump it up. Both layers feature best-in-class waterproofing and breathability, so you’ll stay comfortable wherever you decide to bed down.
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 mtnGLO
Best Mountaineering Tent: Colorado-based Big Agnes is synonymous with serious above-treeline pursuits, and, featuring burly Cordura fabrics, the new Copper Spur Ul2 mtnGLO tent is perfectly at home getting buried in blizzard conditions. The fully seam-sealed fly and floor are complemented by a silicone and polyurethane waterproof treatment. And then Big Agnes said “let there be light!” (probably). The new mtnGLO collection features integrated overhead LED lights that illuminate the tent’s interior. The compact and convenient lighting negates the need for another lantern, saving you weight and space.
The North Face Bastion 4
Best Tent for Extreme Weather: You’re mostly likely to find the new Bastion 4 in its natural habitat: 17,000 feet up Denali. With fabric, poles and stake lines tested to -60 degrees Fahrenheit (we don’t recommend trying to recreate that), it’s built to withstand Mother Nature’s very worst. Oversized pole guides and guy lines are glove friendly so you don’t have worry about frostbite when getting camp up and running in a blizzard. This isn’t your average weekend warrior tent, and is probably overkill for most campers.
The one tent that’ll get it all done.
Nemo Losi 3P
Best Do-It-All Tent:If you need one do-it-all tent, the Losi 3-person tent from Nemo as near to perfection as you’ll get. Ball-and-socket poles and feet aid in easy set-up; as an added bonus, you can set up just the fly and footprint, making a convenient sunshade. At almost five pounds, it isn’t a featherweight, but the roll-up stuff sack makes it easy to divide the weight among a few friends for extended trips. The best part? Nemo’s machine washable Pawprint ($50) snaps in on top of the floor, protecting it from muddy boots or wet dogs.
Additional contribution by Bryan Campbell.