With so many options on the market, choosing the best tent for your camping or backpacking needs can be a minefield, right?
But having an idea about which brands produce reliable, top quality tents can be a really helpful place to start.
I’ve put together this guide to 10 of the best tent brands of 2020 and provided a couple of examples of their best-selling tents to give you a head start.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, there are a few more pointers on what to look for when making your decision at the end.
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The following brands are divided into 2 categories: backpacking tents and family/group camping tents.
TOP 5 Best Backpacking Tent Brands of 2020
Also known as The Mother of Comfort, Big Agnes is a relatively young brand that started out by developing a new sleeping pad and sleeping bag system.
Based in Colorado, it now has a wide range of outdoor products that includes some of the best lightweight backpacking tents available.
Their tents are known for having the best ratio of livable space to weight, often designed with steeper walls that provide more head room and let you utilize the full floor area of the tent.
According to the guys at Big Agnes, their own drive to sleep under the stars and breathe fresh mountain air is what continues to motivate them in making the best gear possible.
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL Backpacking Tent
Review: The Copper Spur UL is an ultralight backpacking tent that is a popular choice for thru-hikers and backpackers alike.
It is available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 person models and all manage to be impressively lightweight given the living area they provide.
Despite weighing marginally over 3 lbs., the 2 person model still offers maximum living space and 2 doors and vestibules. And, with its super strong poles and durable fly, can be used reliably in all weather conditions.
- 19 sq. ft. floor area.
- Offers enough headroom for sitting upright or getting changed easily.
- Ultralight – 3 lbs. 2 oz. packed weight or 2 lbs. 11 oz. trail weight.
- Excellent ventilation.
- Made of high-quality materials for maximum durability.
- Expensive but arguably worth it.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL Tent
Review: The Fly Creek is another of Big Agnes’s best-selling backpacking tents. It comes in 1, 2 or 3 person models and all provide maximum livability at an ultralight weight.
This tent is designed with an almost vertical door and steep side walls with a good sized vestibule for gear storage. The 1 person model weighs just 2 lbs. 1 oz. but can get down to a 1 lb. 11 oz. trail weight if you use just the fly and footprint.
It has reflective guy lines and webbing on the tent corners to help with visibility at night, and 11 super light aluminum J stakes.
- Very spacious interior.
- Ultralight set up.
- Interior mesh pockets for organization.
- High quality waterproof rainfly comes with fully taped seams.
- Some durability is compromised in order to be ultralight.
- Footprint is sold separately.
MSR (Mountain Safety Research) is easily one of the best overall outdoor brands. Its roots go back to 1969 when its founder, Larry Penberthy, recognized a need for more reliable outdoor equipment in order to further open up the possibilities of mountain exploration.
MSR is also an industry leader in sustainability, being one of the first companies to voluntarily use the Higg Index to track things like chemical traceability, social responsibility and chemical management.
Their tents are designed to be lightweight and capable of handling the most extreme environments while still providing a spacious living area inside. MSR tents are known for their high quality and durability.
MSR Elixir 1 Person Tent
Review: The MSR Elixir is a freestanding 1 person backpacking tent that provides maximum livability in a lightweight package that can be made even lighter by taking the footprint and rain fly route.
It’s easy to set up, has a decent sized vestibule for your pack and boots and a gear loft inside for small items.
It also has a good amount of mesh for ventilation and is one of the few tents on the market that actually comes with a footprint making this tent a pretty reasonable deal price-wise.
- 4 lbs. 12 oz. packed weight, 3 lbs. 15 oz. trail weight.
- High bathtub floor.
- Easy set up.
- Footprint included.
- Not ultralight – if you’re doing a thru-hike you’ll likely want something lighter than this.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent
Review: The Hubba Hubba is perhaps MSR’s best known tent. It ticks so many boxes that it makes practically every list of tent recommendations out there.
At just 3.5 lbs. it is very lightweight for a 2 person tent, and like the Elixir, it can be made even lighter by using just the footprint, poles and rain fly.
It can handle heavy rains and strong winds, while remaining nicely ventilated and providing a good amount of gear storage with 2 vestibules.
- Very lightweight.
- Completely weatherproof with high bathtub floors and durable rain fly.
- Easy to set up.
- Can be set up with just the footprint (sold separately) and rain fly.
- Spacious interior with 2 vestibules.
- The poles do have a limit to what they can handle before snapping.
Marmot was born in the college dorm room of 2 Californian students in the 1970s. They started out making clothing, in particular down jackets, and then down sleeping bags.
These days, they specialize in rugged camping and skiing equipment that is capable of handling the extremes of alpine environments.
They make some of the best 1, 2, 3 and 4 person tents available for backpacking and alpine expeditions while also being committed to their sustainability journey.
Among their innovative solutions to some of the environmental and social issues that stem from outdoor gear manufacturing are PFC-free waterproofing, synthetic down and the use of upcycled materials.
Marmot Crane Creek Backpacking Tent
Review: This extremely spacious and rugged 2 person tent is a reliable choice for just about any environment.
It’s not the lightest option out there (5 lbs. 5 oz.) but split between 2 people, it’s manageable and arguably preferable to an ultralight option if you’re going to be facing serious weather.
The Crane Creek strikes the perfect balance between a heavy car camping tent and an ultralight backpacking tent, making it a versatile and durable option.
- Lightweight set up option available with fly and foot print (4 lbs. 13 oz.).
- 2 D-shaped doors and vestibules.
- Very weatherproof and durable.
- Large 32 sq. ft. floor area.
- Affordable for the quality.
- Footprint is sold separately.
- Doesn’t come with enough stakes.
Marmot Tungsten UL 2 Person Camping Tent
Review: The Marmot Tungsten UL is another excellent backpacking tent but for the more weight conscious out there.
The original Tungsten is actually a similar weight and price point to the Crane Creek above, but this ultralight version is almost 2 lbs. lighter (and more expensive).
It provides an impressive 32 sq. ft. of floor area while maximizing livable space with steep walls.
- Spacious considering its light weight.
- Lightweight – just 3.5 lbs.
- 2 Large D-shaped doors provide really easy access.
- 2 vestibules provide somewhere to store boots and packs.
- Still reasonably priced when compared to other ultralight tents of similar quality.
- Not a true bathtub floor.
Founded in 1952 and based in Colorado, Kelty produces a range of mid-level outdoor gear.
Their tents are perfect for entry level backpackers looking for an affordable and good quality tent but who don’t want to spend the amount needed for one of the bomb-proof shelters from the above brands.
Kelty tents are a little heavier and not quite as suited to the more extreme environments compared to the likes of Big Agnes, MSR or Marmot, but, they are still plenty capable of meeting the expectation of the majority of weekend hikers.
Kelty Salida 4 Person Backpacking Tent
Review: The Salida 4 person tent is a popular option for young backpacking families or car camping couples looking for a little extra room.
Weighing in at 7 lbs. 5 oz. it’s reasonably lightweight for a 4 person tent with a spacious 55 sq. ft. of floor area.
Its freestanding design is super easy to set up, has a reliable bathtub floor and full-coverage rain fly.
- Exceptional value for money.
- Easy set up.
- Reliable weatherproofing.
- Lightweight for its size.
- Only 1 door and vestibule.
- Stakes could do with being upgraded.
Kelty Late Start 2 Person Backpacking Tent
Review: The main drawcard of this tent is in its name. The Late Start backpacking tent is designed for people who don’t necessarily want to get up with the sun and want something super fast and easy to set up, even in the dark.
This 2 person model weighs in at 4 lbs. 8 oz. for the complete set up but can be shaved back to 4 lbs.
It has 29.5 sq. ft. of floor area, 1 door and a small vestibule. The vestibule is a little small to be really useful so things could get cramped if you actually use this tent for 2 people plus gear. But for the price, you can’t really go wrong.
- Very affordable for what you get.
- Really easy to set up.
- Reasonably lightweight.
- No see um mesh is effective at keeping insects out.
- Lacking a little in ventilation when the fly is on.
- Only 1 door and vestibule.
Founded in 1993 and based in Missouri, USA, ALPS Mountaineering make solid mid-range tents in 1 – 7 person sizes.
Their 1-2 person sizes are an affordable option for backpacking, being reasonably lightweight, durable and well-priced. Their larger tents are excellent for car camping.
ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 2 Person Tent
Review: The Alps Mountaineering Lynx is a very well-priced, lightweight, 2 person backpacking tent.
It follows the standard 2 pole dome design with a full coverage rain fly, bathtub floors and 2 large D-shaped doors and vestibules.
5lbs. 12 oz. is on the heavier side for a backpacking tent, but at this price and the quality you get, it’s a still a great option.
- Very affordable.
- 37 sq. ft. floor area is very spacious for 2 people.
- 2 large D-shaped doors and 2 vestibules for gear storage.
- Strong aluminum poles.
- Coated bathtub floor and factory sealed seams.
- A little heavy for backpacking.
ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2 Person Tent
Review: The Meramac 2 is an excellent 2 person car camping tent. It utilizes a two-pole design, and the poles are made of sturdy shock-corded fiberglass. The inside boasts 38 sq. ft. of space and a fully coated floor.
The fly is only a partial coverage design which means you don’t get vestibules to store your gear, but it’s suitably weatherproof.
Being over 7 lbs. it’s a little heavy for backpacking, but it’s perfectly suited for short overnight hikes if you don’t have too much other gear.
- Two large doors.
- Rain fly can easily be detached for better ventilation in hot weather.
- Very affordable.
- Quick and easy to set up.
- Spacious interior.
- You might want to purchase a footprint to use with this tent.
- No vestibules.
- A little heavy for backpacking.
TOP 5 Best Family Camping Tent Brands of 2020
Eureka has been around for over 100 years. Formerly known as Eureka Tent and Awning Company, their first products were canvas such as the wagon covers, horse blankets, store awnings, American flags and camping tents.
Today, they are a popular American tent manufacturer, designing mid-level tents that are easy to set up, lightweight and durable, and still deliver great value for money.
Eureka do make some smaller tents as well, but they’re not typically suited for backpacking, hence the reason I’ve put this brand in the family tent category.
Eureka Tetragon HD 3 Person Tent
Review: This is a super affordable 3 person car camping tent that is a nice size for 1 or 2 people looking for a good amount of living space, although this design comes in 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 person sizes.
It weighs in at 6 lbs. 7 oz. so you’re unlikely to want to take this backpacking unless it’s just a short walk, but it’s a reliable quality camping tent for its price.
It has less mesh than most dome style tents, with a partial coverage rain fly so while it will stand up to a lot of weather, horizontal rain will not be ideal.
- Very affordable.
- Two storage pockets and gear loft.
- Bathtub floor and taped seams.
- Footprint included.
- A little warm in hot weather with the fly on.
- Just one doorway.
Eureka Apex 4 Person Tent
Review: This is a new tent from Eureka and has already gained popularity among camping enthusiasts. Despite being marketed as a backpacking tent, it’s really not suitable for that.
Weighing in at nearly 10 lbs. this is not something you want to be carrying on your back as well as the rest of your gear. But, it makes for a great 4 person car camping tent.
It’s a pretty classic design with 2 shock corded fiberglass poles and a full coverage rain fly. But it includes a gear loft, a couple of mesh pockets, and a footprint which are all nice bonuses.
- 2 internal mesh storage pockets, a clothesline, and a flashlight loop.
- Quick and easy to set up.
- It has 2 doors for convenient entry/exit.
- Good ventilation with plenty of no-see-um mesh.
- Durable bottom and bathtub floor.
- Footprint included.
- Despite claiming to be a backpacking tent, is it definitely not light enough for that.
Wenzel is an outdoor gear brand that appeals just as much to campers as to tailgaters. They make everything you would need to hold an outdoor event – even side carts you can use to run a camp-style kitchen.
The Wenzel brand has existed for well over 100 years. In that time, they’ve grown to offer several dozen kinds of tents, among their other popular offerings. They make single person tents all the way up to 10 man palace tents.
Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent
Review: This tent is basically a house. If you’re looking to set up in the woods with your family or friends and not leave for a while, you’re going to need a tent that you can call home.
The Klondike can sleep 8 people, and it comes with some bonus features that make it feel a little more like a classy outdoor living space.
The front portion of the tent serves as a screened in porch, so you’ll have a sheltered place to cook, eat and relax, there is a divider between the two rooms providing privacy, and mesh pockets for gear organization.
- Good air circulation for warm weather.
- Screen room provides somewhere to shelter from insects.
- 90 sq. ft. of floor space.
- 6’ 6” peak height is tall enough to comfortably stand inside.
- Relatively quick and easy to set up with 2 people.
- Not great in very wet weather.
Wenzel Kodiak 9 Person Tent
Review: This large cabin-style tent is another great family camping option. It has 162 sq. ft. of floor space, which is huge, especially combined with the straight walls and high ceiling.
It uses a steel and ring assembly system that makes it easy to set up – which is very important when it comes to tents this size, and the rain fly can be taken on and off easily enough so if it’s a clear night and you’d like a view of the stars and extra ventilation, you can have that!
- Windows can be open and closed to improve airflow within the tent.
- Comes with a rain fly and a fully lined floor for weather protection.
- The frame is made of steel, so it won’t buckle or bow from the weight of the shell like a less durable aluminum fame might.
- 2 gear lofts and hanging pockets.
- Heavy and bulky when packed up.
Ozark trail is one of the leaders in family camping. They make some of the most reliable large tents for group outings.
Their tents are just as perfect for families as they are for groups of friends – many of them have multiple compartments that offer room for privacy.
Ozark is also known for great quality at affordable prices, so planning a large trip on a slim budget doesn’t need to be hard.
Ozark Trail 3-Room Family Cabin Tent
Review: This is exactly what the name states it is – a portable cabin that can comfortably sleep 10 campers.
It’s massive, and the dividers between the room give everyone a little bit of privacy.
If you need some space to change your clothes, you can close the windows and zip yourself in a side room. This tent has an entry door to each room, so campers can come and go without a hassle.
- Has an electricity port.
- Room dividers can be added or removed.
- Taped and reinforced seams are great at keeping light rain out.
- Easy to set up with 2 people, considering its size.
- Not designed for severe weather.
Ozark Trail 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
Review: If setting up tents is your nemesis, this instant cabin tent could be your new best friend. It comes with the poles already attached to the tent body so that all you have to do is open it up.
It has good sized main room which fits 2 queen sized inflatable mattresses, and also a screen room which is a great place to store gear or sit in the evenings with a nice breeze but still be protected from insects.
- Has a screen room.
- Very easy to set up and take down.
- Good weatherproofing, especially if you add a little DIY seam sealing.
- Large windows provide a nice amount of ventilation.
- Electricity port.
- Plenty of mesh pockets for storage.
- Screen room doesn’t have a floor.
CORE Equipment produces well-priced, mid-range car camping tents ranging from 3 person to 12 person options.
Their smaller tents are too heavy for backpacking, but for family and group car camping trips they’re ideal.
CORE 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent
Review: This 6 person instant cabin tent is a really popular option from Core.
With its integrated frame system, the tent sets up within seconds. This is done in very simple steps; unpack the tent, unfold its legs and extend it until the poles click into their ideal positions.
It provides plenty of living space with large mesh windows that provide plenty of ventilation, a large T style door that makes entry and exit easy, and plenty of standing room.
- Large wall organizer and a gear loft with lantern hook.
- Very fast, easy set up.
- Spacious interior.
- Reliable weather-proofing.
- Electricity port.
- Would benefit from a footprint/tarp.
- Tent stakes could do with replacing.
Core 6 Person Dome Tent
Review: This dome tent doesn’t quite provide the livable space of a larger cabin style tent, but it comfortably sleeps 6 people if you have somewhere else to put your stuff, or 3-4 people plus bags.
It uses Core’s H20 Block technology for extra waterproofing so it should stand up to wet weather pretty well provided there isn’t too much wind, and it’s still really easy to set up even though it’s not an instant tent.
- Mesh pockets and gear loft with lantern hook.
- Electrical port.
- Ground level vents for air circulation.
- Fly can easily be removed for a view of the stars.
- No bathtub floor.
- Partial coverage rain fly won’t be enough in more severe weather.
Coleman is a really well known camping gear brand, providing affordable products for 3 season camping. Their tents aren’t known for being super waterproof, but for fine weather camping in larger groups, their tents are a great choice.
Based out of Golden, Colorado in the United States. They’ve been around since the early 1900’s, originally manufacturing gasoline lanterns and expanding their product range to include a full host of outdoor equipment.
Almost every major retailer carries some of their products, even if that retailer doesn’t sell tents. Coleman makes everything that any camper, hiker, fisherman, or backpacker would need to run an entire campsite.
Coleman Sundome 4 Person Tent
Review: The Sundome is Coleman’s standout model. It’s one of their most popular options, being great value for money and a simple, no-fuss design.
It comfortably sleeps 4 people, but bear in mind this leaves no room for your gear as the partial coverage fly doesn’t offer vestibules.
But, this doesn’t need to be an issue if you’re car camping and can leave most of your stuff in the car at night.
- Excellent value for money.
- Large entryway makes it easy to get in and out.
- Electrical access ports.
- Poles are made of a lightweight fiberglass.
- Rain fly can be removed for stargazing and better ventilation on nights when the sky is clear.
- Lightweight poles can be damaged.
Coleman Montana 8 Person Tent
Review: This spacious tent is ideal for fine weather weekend trips with the family. It doesn’t hold up well in wet weather so you’ll want to check the weather forecast carefully. But aside from that, it’s a solid tent.
It provides a really spacious interior with plenty of standing room, the main entrance consists of a large D-shaped door which is well designed for easy access, and the rain fly extends over this slightly to provide a small porch.
- Includes an electrical access port.
- Relatively easy set up and take down.
- Spacious interior with plenty of standing room.
- Very well-priced for such a large tent.
- Not ideal in wet weather.
- Limited ventilation in hot weather.
Choosing Between the Brands
As you can see from the tents above, each brand varies in affordability, durability, weather-proofing, size and weight.
If lightweight and durability are a priorities but you’re not so fussed about price, you’re going to head more towards Big Agnes, MSR and Marmot for some of the best 2 person backpacking tents.
If you still want the convenience of a good quality backpacking tent but you’re on a bit more of a budget, then Kelty and Alps Mountaineering are reliable choices and have some of the best backpacking tents for under $200.
Family and group camping tents come with different considerations to backpacking tents.
Weight isn’t such an issue so they can afford to use cheaper, heavier materials, meaning an 8 person tent could end up costing less than top rated 2 person tent.
But the quality can still vary hugely.
The most popular family camping tent brands are Eureka, Wenzel, Ozark Trail, Core and Coleman. All offer a range of tent sizes and styles for relatively similar prices. But they do vary a little in durability and weather-proofing.
For example, unfortunately, while Coleman are almost unbeatable in terms of value for money with their larger sized tents, they are known for being a little leaky.
This doesn’t bother some people and many are very happy with a Coleman tent after adding a bit of their own waterproofing treatment and re-sealing the seams.
If weatherproofing is a major factor for you, for instance, if you know you’re going to be camping in places with unpredictable weather, have a read of my list of the best waterproof tents.
It might also be worth seriously considering a canvas tent. I haven’t included any canvas tent brands on this list as they can be pretty heavy and awkward, but in terms of weatherproofing, you can’t really beat a good canvas tent.
On the other hand, some climates just don’t require a really waterproof tent and ventilation and a cool place to hide from the sun might be more what you’re after.
If you’re a hot weather camper, look for a tent designed for hot weather.
A Few More Things to Look Out For
Regardless of which brand you end up going with, there are things to look out for with all tents.
For example, some tents come with a footprint. It’s a massive bonus getting a footprint included in the price, but using one comes with an increase in overall packed weight, and makes you wonder about the durability of the tent floor.
Generally speaking, you ideally don’t want to be using a footprint with a good backpacking tent due to the extra weight, unless you’re going the ultralight route and planning to set it up with just the poles and the fly.
For larger family tents when weight isn’t an issue, using a footprint or a tarp underneath the tent is only a good thing. It will help with weatherproofing while also extending the life of the tent.
Similarly, adding a canopy to your camp set up may add a layer of weatherproofing that makes a budget tent capable of surviving a downpour,
Broadly speaking, rain flies come in two categories, partial coverage that reach half way down the tent and full coverage that reach the ground.
Both come with their own pros and cons but depending on the design of the tent, weatherproofing and ventilation can vary a lot between them.
How easy the fly is to take on and off and how much mesh is in the roof will also be a deciding factor in whether your tent can double as a star gazing shelter.
Some tents are actually designed specifically with stargazing in mind. If this is important to you, I have an article dedicated to stargazing tents.
It’s worth remembering that when it comes to the size of the tent, the number of people it’s rated for means literally the number of people that could squeeze into the tent sleeping side by side.
If you account for bags and general living space, you can safely halve the rating of the tent and get a more accurate number of how many people it’s suited for.
At the absolute most you’d be looking at a 3 person backpacking tent and this, in my opinion, would only be for young families when the kids are too small to go in their own tent.
Last but not least, the number of doors, standing room, storage pockets and gear lofts can make a big difference to the livability of your tent.
That rounds up this guide to the best tent brands of 2020.
As you can see, there’s a huge range of tent styles, sizes and prices so there’ll definitely be something for everyone here, whether you’re a budget backpacker or more of a car camping enthusiast.
Please feel free to share your thoughts below on any of the brands and tents I’ve included.