Best 6 Person Tent For Three-Season Camping

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No more stooping down low, crawling in and out, or sleeping head to toe for you. The best 6 person tents are your ticket to standing tall, sleeping good, and beating whatever mother nature throws your way with extra room to spare.
The North Face - Wawona 6
Our Best Choice Overall: The North Face Wawona 6

Look, we love the versatility of small camping tents as much as the next person. They’re fairly small, fairly lightweight, and some even manage to pack in a few luxury features to boot. But if you’re actually going to try to fit four people in your tent… Why not live a little?

That’s where the 6 person tents comes in. These are your classic tent, turned up to 11. 6 person tents are tall enough to stand up in, big enough to sleep four in comfort, and often have a little front porch or gear garage action thrown in the mix as well.

We’ve sifted through all the best 6 person tents currently out there to find the ones that represent the highest quality, most innovative features, and best value currently available. To know more about how we evaluated the tents, don’t forget to check out our buying guide

If you’re looking for the crib notes here, our favorite 6 person tent on the market is easily The North Face Wawona 6. Here’s a tent that lacks nothing, oozes quality, and has an unbelievable amount of premium features baked into an already attractive price. Of course, it’s not the only one we think you should consider though.

Some folks are looking for good quality without spending a ton of money. Others just want an easy-to-pitch and easy to live with tent regardless of the price. Whatever style of camping you’re into, we’re confident your next 6 person tent is listed somewhere below. Ready to pitch a tent yet? Let’s get to it.

TentSummary
The North Face Wawona 6: Best OverallBest overall 6 person tent. Fantastic build quality, an included gear garage, and a price you wouldn’t believe. See Review
White Duck Regatta: Highest Overall Quality
A massive canvas tent with galvanized steel hardware that’s built to last a lifetime. Cavernous interior space, plus a high quality stove jack that’s great for use with a wood burning tent stove. See Review
Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6: Best On A BudgetBrand name quality at department store prices. Arguably the best bargain Kelty has ever brought to market in a tent. See Review
Nemo Aurora Highrise 6An innovative family camping tent that uses a unique pole structure to stretch the walls beyond vertical. Outstanding interior space, tough materials, and innovative windows that can be left open in the rain. See Review
REI Co-op Base Camp 6: Best 6 Person Winter TentA six person shelter that’s ready to go year-round. Built for winter conditions, yet still packs enough ventilation for use in the summer months as well. See Review
MSR Habitude 6Premium materials and thoughtful features abound in this dome-style shelter. A wide floor plan and standing-height ceilings create outstanding livability. See Review
REI Wonderland 6REI’s new flagship camping tent that’s just as tall and roomy as ever. Fantastic ventilation and outstanding interior features. See Review
Nemo Wagontop 6Massive interior space combined with a huge front vestibule. Premium materials and features. See Review
Bushnell Shield Instant Cabin 6Solid weatherproofing and convenient “instant tent” construction. An easy to live with tent at a great price. See Review
Teton Sports Mesa 6Absolutely bulletproof material. Heavy-duty weatherproof canvas, stainless steel, and quality throughout that’s built to last. See Review

 

Our Picks For The Best 6 Person Tents

The North Face Wawona 6: Best 6 Person Tent Overall

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Specs:
– Weight: 20.9 lbs (9.5 kg)
– Packed size: 32” x 10” x 10” (81cm x 25cm x 25cm)
– Floor size: 120” x 96” (305cm x 243cm)
– Peak height: 78” (198 cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Dome
– Best for: Three season family camping
– Price: $

The North Face Wawona 6 takes our pick as the best 6 person tent overall for its combination of space, features, and material quality, all at a price that’s hard to believe. We can’t say we’re surprised considering the Wawona also took top honors as the best camping tent overall in our recent field test: Make no mistake, we love this tent.

Seriously, we had a hard time finding anything to complain about here whatsoever.

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We’re big fans of the Wawona’s spacious gear garage, which makes for a great place to hang out on hot and sunny days. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

In terms of interior space, the North Face Wawona is one of the best traditional 6 person tents out there with a full 102 square feet of floor and a peak height of six and a half feet. Throw in the massive vestibule with its attached gear garage, and you’ve got an incredible amount of covered exterior space as well, which we used to stash gear and enjoy a nice shady lunch outside the tent.

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The latest update to the Northface Wawona includes upgraded DAC MX tent poles, were we found to be lighter and stronger than the outgoing set. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

The really wild part about this tent is that you’d think it would have some serious Achilles heel that forced The North Face to keep it so affordable. Maybe something like fiberglass poles, questionable fabrics, or a single entry/exit. Not the case.

The Wawona 6 actually gets upgraded DAC MX aluminum poles, which are both lighter and stronger than the previous model, and the entire body is made from 150D polyester taffeta. We really had to dig for a complaint on this one, but if there’s one thing we’d point out about the Wawona, it’s that because the rainfly is a mandatory part of the tent’s structure, it took us a bit longer to pitch and guy out. Taking your time here is important because if you get the setup wrong, you’ll get to watch one of the roomiest 6-person tents you’ve ever seen take flight in the wind like a beach umbrella. Get it right, however, and you’ll be treated to one of the most enjoyable camping experiences money can buy. Read our full test and review of The North Face Wawona 6…

Pros:Cons:
– Outstanding value
– Love the included garage
– Durable materials throughout
– Large vestibule design requires attention to function properly



White Duck Regatta: Best Overall Quality

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Specs:
– Weight: 77 lbs (34.9 kg)
– Packed size: 45” x 15” x 12” (114cm x 38cm x 31cm)
– Floor size: 197” x 197” (500cm x 500cm)
– Peak height: 118” (300cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Bell
Best for: Four season family camping
– Price: $$$

The White Duck Regatta gets the nod for highest overall quality, and if you’re comparing it to traditional polyester or nylon tents, there’s really no contest here. Our testers all lauded the incredible durability of the Regatta’s thick cotton canvas and galvanized steel hardware during our recent winter field test, and if you’ve never owned a canvas shelter before, the Regatta is the right place to start.

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If space is what you’re after, the massive floor and vaulted ceilings of the White Duck Regatta are second to none. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

In addition to its utterly bulletproof materials, our testers also loved the outright interior space of the White Duck Regatta. This 16-foot bell tent gave us plenty of space to sleep two queen-sized arrangements, and had enough room left over to store all our extra gear and even a table and a set of chairs. 

Canvas tents are also an excellent option if you intend to use a tent stove in the colder months, and the White Duck Regatta’s heavy-duty silicone stove jack is one of the highest quality stove jacks we’ve used. We had snow on the ground during our most recent outing with the Regatta, so we took full advantage of this feature and loved every minute of it. 

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We kept the tent stove roaring during our White Duck winter field test. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

As is the case with any large canvas tent, the main drawback of the Regatta is its size and weight. This tent comes in multiple bags and weighs in around 70 lbs, so while you can definitely set it up solo, we definitely recommend bringing a friend along to help carry it. Aside from that, the only major issue here is price, but we’ll also note that although the Regatta is a bit more expensive than a traditional synthetic tent, it also happens to be one of the best deals around if you’re shopping for a high-quality canvas shelter. Read our full test and review of the White Duck Regatta…

Pros:Cons:
– Unparalleled material quality
– Incredibly spacious interior
– Tent stove ready
– Heavy/bulky
– Expensive



Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6: Best On A Budget

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Specs:
– Weight: 13.8 lbs (6.3 kg)
– Packed size: 23” x 7” x 7” (58cm x 18cm x 18cm)
– Floor size: 119” x 106” (302cm x 269cm)
– Peak height: 68” (172 cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Dome
– Best for: Three season family camping
– Price: $

If you keep up with The Wise Adventurer, you know we’ve long been fans of Kelty’s line of high-quality, budget-friendly outdoors gear. The Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 is new for this year, and is quite possibly the best value Kelty has ever brought to market.

Naturally we couldn’t resist the urge to add the Basecamp to this year’s camping tent test, and the Basecamp didn’t disappoint. Dirt cheap, spacious, and incredibly easy to pitch, the Basecamp delivered outstanding quality and livability for less than most department store brands!

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It may not be the biggest tent we’ve tested, but the Basecamp isn’t exactly hurting for space either. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

We’re talking about a 6 person tent from an outfitter we know and trust coming in at Coleman tent prices. Unreal. On top of it’s outstanding price, the Kelty also offers a wider floor plan than the North Face above, simplified setup thanks to the “quick corners” system, and pre-attached guylines for added convenience.

The poles themselves are fiberglass, as is common among Kelty tents, but our testers felt they were some of the sturdiest fiberglass poles we’ve used to date and had zero durability concerns by the end of the weekend. At a burly 13mm diameter, we’d felt we’d have no qualms about sleeping through a wind storm under these poles, and have heard zero complaints from other Kelty owners about poles snapping in bad weather.

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Kelty’s “quick corners” system at work in the field: This unique setup makes the Basecamp one of the easiest 6 person shelters to pitch solo we’ve ever used. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

As far as cons go, The Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 has three main hangups. The first is that unlike many of its 6P stablemates, the Basecamp uses an “open awning” style rainfly to cover the front door rather than a large storage vestibule. We know it isn’t a backpacking tent, which means you’ll pretty much always have your car available for weatherproof storage, but it’s still kind of a bummer on a tent this size. Our second complaint is with the tent floor, which is made from a thinner than average 68D polyester material. We never managed to poke a hole in it during our time in the field, but all things considered, we highly recommend picking up the footprint designed for the tent (which is also dirt cheap). Our third and final gripe here is the peak height of the Discovery, which is the lowest in our roundup. At well under 6 feet, the Discovery is the least “stand up friendly” tent on this list. Still, at this price we expect a few trade-offs, and in terms of cost, sleeping area, and build quality, there’s just no better value out there for a tent this size. Read our full test and review of the Kelty Basecamp 6…

Pros:Cons:
– Outstanding price
– Roomy floorplan
– Lifetime warranty
– No storage vestibule
– Thin floor for a camping tent
– Low peak height



Nemo Aurora Highrise 6P

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Specs:
– Weight: 18.9 lbs (8.6 kg)
– Floor size: 120” x 100” (305cm x 250cm)
– Peak height: 77” (196 cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Dome
– Occupancy: 6 (4 person also available)
– Best for: Three season family camping tent
– Price: $$$

A brand new tent from the team at Nemo is a rare thing indeed, so of course we had to add it our test!. We’re happy to report that the Aurora Highrise delivers the outstanding quality and innovation that Nemo is known for, and this is easily one of our favorite models of the year.

Each of our testers agreed that the most exciting aspect of the new Aurora Highrise was Nemo’s new pole structure, which uses two additional supports on the roof to stretch the tent’s walls out beyond vertical for extra interior space. This design also has the added benefit of pulling the Aurora’s two side windows out at an angle, which allowed us to leave them open for added views and ventilation whenever it rained. 

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Rain or shine, the Aurora’s covered windows can be left open to keep cabin fever at bay. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

We were also fans of the Aurora Highrise’s premium rainfly, which includes a full-length vestibule at either door for outstanding weather protection and extra space to store gear outside the tent. Each vestibule also uses a dual zipper design allowing them to be converted into sun awnings in clear conditions, which we took full advantage of during our field test. 

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Two additional roof poles pull the Aurora’s walls out beyond vertical for outstanding interior space. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

If we had to find something to complain about here it would likely be price, as $500 dollars is a lot of money to spend, even for a shelter this innovative and well-built. We’ll also note that during our testing we managed to bend one of the rivets on the canopy during setup, mainly due to the high amount of tension required to get the additional roof poles in place. We could easily chalk this up to user error, as it was our first time setting up the tent, but we’re also reminded that as is the case with any new model, long-term durability remains a relative unknown with the Aurora Highrise. Read our full test and of the Nemo Aurora Highrise (4P model)…

Pros:Cons:
– Beyond-vertical walls give outstanding interior space
– Unique windows can be left open in the rain
– We’re loving the rainfly/vestibule design
– Expensive
– Long-term durability is untested



REI Co-op Base Camp 6: Best 6 Person Winter Tent

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Weight: 20.4 lbs (9.3 kg)
Packed size: 24” x 11” x 11” (61cm x 28cm x 28cm)
Floor size: 110” x 110” (279cm x 279cm)
Peak height: 74” (188cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: 4 season family camping
Price: $$

Next up on our list is the REI Co-op Basecamp 6, which is an excellent family camping tent that’s built to tackle winter weather.

We love the  Basecamp because although it’s got the chops to handle low temperatures, its usefulness isn’t limited to the winter months alone. In fact, thanks to the Basecamp’s fantastic (and highly adjustable) ventilation, our testers found this tent to be an outstanding warm-weather shelter that’s well equipped to handle anything from hot sunny days to all-day downpours.

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Despite its excellent cold weather chops, we found the REI Co-op Base Camp to be a comfortable and well-ventilated shelter in the warmer months as well. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

Speaking of rain, we found the Base Camp’s overbuilt cold-weather features also translated to year-round utility in bad weather. Between the reinforced geodesic-dome pole structure and streamlined canopy, our testers felt the Base Camp was one of the first tents they’d pick if they were expecting heavy wind and rain, which adds considerable value to the shelter. Add to that equation a rainfly with dual exterior storage vestibules, and you’ll start to see why we’re such big fans of this incredibly versatile tent.

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The Base Camp’s expedition-inspired frame and hardware make it one of the best tents to have on hand to weather a proper storm. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

Of course with true year-round versatility comes a few tradeoffs, which also happen to be the drawbacks of this shelter. The first we’ll point out here is that although the Basecamp is designed to handle cold temperatures, it isn’t actually built to withstand serious snow loads. We’ll wager you aren’t planning on dragging your spouse and children out to camp with three feet of snow in the forecast anyways, but just know this tent isn’t built to hold up under that kind of weight. The second drawback you’ll want to be aware of here is that because winter tents are built to be streamlined and more compact than their three-season cousins, the Basecamp is limited to a peak height of 74 inches. Granted that’s still slightly over 6 feet tall, but combined with the dome-style shape of the Basecamp, we felt it wasn’t quite as “stand up friendly” as our other top contenders. Read our full test and review of the REI Co-op Base Camp (4P model)…

Pros:Cons:
– Ready for cold weather camping
– Works all year round
– Fantastic in bad weather
– Not cut out for heavy snow
– Winter-friendly design limits peak height



MSR Habitude 6

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Weight: 14 lbs (6.3 kg)
Packed size: 23” x 10” x 10” (117cm x 25cm x 25cm)
Floor size: 120” x 100” (305cm x 254cm)
Peak height: 77” (195 cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $$$

MSR is known for their highly technical backpacking and mountaineering gear, so it should come as no surprise that their line of camping tents, the MSR Habitude series, packs some serious quality and tech.

The first thing we noticed while setting up the MSR Habitude 6 was its outright quality and construction of the design. The poles are made from hardy 7000 series aluminum, the closures are all sealed with top-notch YKK zippers, and the seams are cleanly stitched and taped.

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The Habitude’s weather protection is classic MSR, with a bulletproof full-length rainfly and a spacious vestibule for exterior gear storage. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

Once we had the tent pitched, the quality of the Habitude 6 only became more apparent. Our tester noted the interior space was excellent thanks to a generous peak height and a unique pole structure that pulled the walls outward for more elbow room at any angle. There are oodles of mesh pockets inside for organization and storage, as well as over 24 square feet of exterior storage thanks to the Habitude’s extended vestibule. MSR even thought to add an integrated “front porch light” into the tent’s frame, which we fully appreciated anytime nature called after dark.

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Material quality of the MSR Habitude 6 is outstanding throughout, right down to the little details like the sturdy anodized aluminum hardware seen here. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

The Habitude 6 is every bit the quality shelter we expect from MSR, but if you’re considering picking one up yourself, you’ll want to keep the following in mind: First, although this is one of the largest dome tents out there, we’d have loved to have seen a second door on this shelter. Second, the floor is made from a thinner 68D taffeta polyester material, which means you’ll definitely want to purchase a footprint to protect your investment. We never managed to damage it out in the field, but again, better safe than sorry. Finally, the MSR’s premium price matches its premium construction. We think the interior space and standout quality are well worth the price, but it’s definitely on the spendier side of the models on our list. Read our full test and review of the MSR Habitude 6…

Pros:Cons:
– High-quality materials throughout
– Free standing design for easier set-up
– Four-pole frame expands interior space
– Single door on a six person tent
– Thinner floor
– Expensive



REI Co-op Wonderland 6

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Weight: 22.9 lbs (10.4 kg)
Packed size: 32” x 13” x 13” (81cm x 33cm x 33cm)
Floor size: 120” x 100” (305cm x 254cm)
Peak height: 75” (191cm)
Rooms: 2
Shape: Tunnel
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $$$

New for 2022, the REI Wonderland 6 is the Co-op’s latest flagship camping tent. The Wonderland series replaces REI’s beloved Kingdom line of tents, but don’t you fret, it’s got many of the same perks we loved and some new features to boot.

For instance, the Wonderland retains the Kingdom’s excellent tunnel shape, which means its massive floorplan rises into nearly vertical walls and caps out with over six feet of standing height throughout the length of the tent. This allowed our testers to walk freely through the Wonderland’s interior, which is always nice to have on a larger camping tent like this. The Wonderland also retains an interior room divider, allowing us to take full advantage of its two rooms/two doors layout when we wanted some extra privacy.

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Whether you opt for the two-room layout or one big open area, we found the Wonderland 6 had room to spare. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

Materials are high quality throughout with a solid 150D polyester floor, a 75D polyester rainfly, and 16mm-thick poles, which our testers noted were some of the thickest of the group. The Wonderland also gets improved ventilation thanks to a new floor-mounted mesh panel, which creates a “chimney effect” that helped keep us cool on hot days by coercing warm air out through the mesh ceiling.

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The new mesh windows helped keep us cool on warm days, and never leaked a drop of water through their zippers. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

While many of the updates on the new Wonderland can be seen as positive, there are a few nitpicks that kept the Wonderland off the top of our list this year. First, the full-length vestibule has been removed from the rainfly, so although both the front and rear doors are protected by an awning, we would have loved some extra exterior storage. Second, although the new floor-mounted mesh adds ventilation to the design, it isn’t fully covered by the vestibule, which makes it less suited for wind-blown rain. Granted, we never had any issues with water coming in through the zippers, but we’d still prefer a full-coverage fly. Finally, the Wonderland comes in at a higher price point than the outgoing Kingdom. It’s still a ton of tent for the money (plus it’s backed by REI’s excellent customer support and warranty), and will make for a long-lasting shelter for many seasons of family camping to come, but you’ll want to catch it on sale to get the most bang for your buck. Read our full test and review of the REI Wonderland 6…

Pros:Cons:
– Excellent interior space
– High quality construction
– Fantastic ventilation
– No storage vestibule
– Less weather-worthy than its predecessor
– More expensive than its predecessor



Nemo Wagontop 6

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Specs:
– Weight: 20 lbs (9.1 kg)
– Packed size: 27” x 12” x 12” (69cm x 30cm x 30cm)
– Floor size: 140” x 100” (356cm x 254cm)
– Peak height: 80” (203cm)
– Rooms: 2
– Shape: Cabin/Wagon
Best for: Couples/families wanting maximum space
– Price: $$$

Let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way: The Nemo Wagontop 6 is HUGE. Easily the biggest synthetic tent we used in our recent camping tent field test.

With just shy of 100 square feet of floor space and an additional 27 square feet of space inside the massive vestibule, our testers had plenty of room to stretch out inside the Wagontop, and more space left over than we could ever use to store gear.

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When we say big, we mean big. We had plenty of room to stretch out inside the Wagontop 6. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

Peak height is nearly seven feet, and due to the “covered wagon” design of the Nemo’s construction, we were able to walk around the entire tent freely without ever having to stoop down or bend over. 

Materials are rock-solid throughout, with special emphasis on the 300D polyester floor, which we’d say is right up there with the White Duck Regatta canvas tent above in terms of durability. We also loved the massive extended rainfly hanging off the main door of the Wagontop 6, which is just as tall as the rest of the tent and feels more like a third room (there are two inside thanks to the privacy divider) than an outside space.

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Long arms come in handy when setting up the unique “covered wagon” design. (photo credit: The Wise Adventurer)

If you’re looking for the most space possible for your family and gear, the Nemo Wagontop is the tent to beat, but you’ll want to consider a few of its pain points before pulling the trigger.

The first and most obvious is the price, which at over $500 is an awful lot of money. The second is the wagon top design, which adds a ton of interior space but at a cost. Because it uses two extra-long, extra-tall poles in its main construction, we found shorter testers had a bit of a challenge pitching the Wagontop. It’s also worth mentioning that once you manage to get the Wagontop pitched, it’s much more prone to catching heavy wind than any other shape we’ve tested. All things considered, those are two minor complaints for an otherwise exceptionally livable tent. The build quality of this shelter just can’t be overstated, and we believe the Wagontop is worth every penny. Read our full test and review of the Nemo Wagontop 6…

Pros:Cons:
– Huge
– Huge vestibule
– High-quality materials
– Expensive
– Rainfly cannot be detached
– Not a great shape for strong winds



Bushnell Shield Series 6 Instant Cabin

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Specs:
– Weight: 27 lbs (12.2 kg)
– Packed size: 32” x 15” x 15” (81 x 38cm x 38cm)
– Floor size: 132” x 108” (335cm x 274cm)
– Peak height: 72” (183cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Cabin
– Best for: Families looking for convenience and quality
– Price: $

We’ve been fans of the Bushnell Shield Instant Cabin series for a while, and their 9 and 12 person sizes have found their way into our previous tent roundups before.

So it should come as no surprise that the “smallest” of the series, the Bushnell Shield Series 6, has found its way onto our best 6 person tent roundup for the same reasons: It’s got tons of floor space, rugged materials, great weather protection, and that “instant tent” setup that just can’t be beaten for convenience.

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The Bushnell Shield combines and XL interior you want with the lightning-fast setup of an instant cabin tent.

Highlights of the Bushnell Shield include its Weather Shield treatment, which uses both fully-taped seams and water-repellent fabric to handle even the worst downpours, as well as the same Heat Shield technology you’ll find on the larger tents that uses reflective backing to keep the inside of the tent darker and cooler when you need it to be.

You’ll also find the same rugged 150D polyester construction throughout the body of the tent, which adds a little weight to the overall package, but promises to last for season after season. Best in class internal storage rounds out this attractive package, and a surprisingly low price sweetens the deal even further.

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Storage and organization are another highlight of the Shield, which sports numerous interior and exterior pockets for your quick-access essentials.

As far as the negatives go, we’ve got two we’ll point out. First, the pre-attached/hubbed pole design of these instant cabins has been a known point of failure in the past. We haven’t heard any major concerns out of the Bushnell Shield, but other tents have had problems with these hubs failing. Second would be the floor of the Shield. Obviously how and where you set up your tent makes a huge difference in its performance, but we’ve seen a few reports of the floors of these dents developing small holes over time. We recommend being smart about where you pitch the Shield, and recommend always using a good footprint as well to get the most life possible out of the floor.

Pros:Cons:
– Fantastic weather protection
– “Instant Tent” setup is a breeze
– Durable materials
– 6 foot even ceiling isn’t the tallest
– Heavier and bulkier than most
– Hubbed pole design = questionable durability



Teton Sports Mesa 6

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Specs:
– Weight: 68 lbs (30.8 kg)
– Packed size: 39” x 15” x 14” (99cm x 38cm x 36cm)
– Floor size: 120” x 120” (305cm x 305cm)
– Peak height: 78” (198cm)
– Rooms: 1
– Shape: Cabin
– Best for: Couples
– Price: $$$

If you’re loving the rugged construction of the White Duck Regatta but don’t want a tent quite so large, the Teton Mesa 6 is our favorite alternative. You’ll get the same ultra-durable cotton canvas and galvanized steel construction, but in a more compact package that’s better suited for couples and smaller groups.


Yes, these classic “Sprinbar-style” shelters are still heavy and bulky, but that’s just the price you pay for a tent this tough.

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Tall ceilings and massive doors make loading and unloading your gear into the Mesa a breeze.

Speaking of price, much like the Regatta above, the Mesa requires a steep initial investment, but it’s an investment that we expect to last decades.

Notable features of the Mesa include a simple “top-bar” design that makes for fast pitching and easy setup, tons of gear storage via six internal pockets, and a full-length (5-foot) awning that functions independently of the front door.

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The Mesa’s convertible sun awning is a great feature to have on bright sunny days.

We don’t really have any serious complaints with the Mesa outside of its overall “heft” and high price tag. It’s still worth pointing out that 70 pounds of tent is about three times as much weight as any synthetic tent on our list, and the packed size of the Mesa is something you might want to confirm your trunk will hold before you commit to owning one.

Pros:Cons:
– Insanely durable construction
– Excellent weatherproofing
– Plenty of storage
– Heavy/bulky
– Expensive



6 Person Tents Buying Guide

Best 6 person tent - Buying Guide
Photo by Josh Hild

We like to think of the best 6 person tents being your average camping tent on steroids. 6 person tents take that step up from being extra room for you and a partner to being legitimate family tents with enough space to comfortably sleep four campers.

6 person tents are also the first size where having some extended outdoor space/shelter really comes into play.

You’ll notice many of the tents on our list above included some combination of extended vestibules, awnings, or outright gear garages like we saw on the North Face Wawona. If you’re currently in the market for a six person tent but aren’t sure which features to focus on, here are the main metrics we look for when deciding which tents make the list.

Floor Size

Best 6 person tent - Floor size
Photo by Steve Halama

As stated above, 6 person tents make the leap from sleeping one couple comfortably to sleeping either two couples or one couple with kids. For that reason, we put extra importance on outright floor space, because an extra five square feet can really make the difference between being cramped and being comfortable.

Center Height

6 person tents are also the first step up in size where a center height over six feet starts to make sense. As anyone who has ever shared an average-sized dome tent with an energetic child will tell you, the easier it is for everyone to stand up and move around, the more likely your tent is to survive the trip.

Of course we also prefer a high center height for ourselves, as having over six feet of ceiling inside a tent makes things like changing clothes or organizing sleeping arrangements that much easier for adults. Taller is generally better here, but just keep in mind that if you go too tall, you might risk catching more wind than you bargained for.

Shape

Best 6 person tent - Shape
Photo by Philipp Jairsh

Most 6 person tents sport a dome or extended-dome design, and that’s really not a bad thing so long as the floor space and peak height are generous enough.

You will start to see a few cabin-shaped options in this category however, and just like larger 10 person and 12 person styles, or even more spacious options: you’ll always get more living area out of the vertical walls of a cabin than any dome shape can provide. Again, keep in mind that domes do have their advantages over cabins though, most notably being that they fair better in heavy winds and are generally better suited for bad weather.

Weight And Packed Size

While weight and packed size aren’t really a factor for larger tents (think 8 person and above), it can start to factor into the buying decision for 6 person models.

Granted, you likely won’t be planning on hiking your six person tent into the backcountry as these are primarily still car/family camping tents, but at around 20 pounds, a six person tent is the only large car camping tent you might consider hiking a couple hundred yards further down the trail to get some privacy. They also tend to be lighter and more compact than 8 person models while serving much the same purpose, so if you’re on the fence between the two but prefer a more portable shelter, 6 person tents might be the ticket.

Seasonality/Weather Protection

Best 6 person tent - Weather Protection
Photo by Maria Inge

The best 6 person tents have a way of finding that sweet spot between being huge and roomy but still being extremely capable in even the worst weather. A well-designed and properly staked 6 person tent holds up to 50 mph winds and heavy rains without breaking a sweat.

Of course some are made better than others, and you should always be mindful of other buyers’ reviews for real-world feedback on any tent you buy. Generally speaking though, a good 6 person dome from a reputable brand should always come with all-weather peace of mind baked into the price.

The key indicators you want to look out for are the same as other camping tents: Fully-taped waterproof seams (preferably on both the rainfly and the tent body) and a thick waterproof tent floor (tub-style floors are tough to beat for reliability) take care of protection from the wet. If you’re planning on using your tent in seriously rough weather, remember rounded shapes fair better in strong winds, and aluminum poles are generally more reliable than fiberglass ones.

Storage Space And Compartments

Floor space is great, but once you start sharing it with three other people, storage and organization become more important. Ideally, a good 6 person tent has a convenient and separate pocket for each camper to stash essentials like their phones, headlamps, and keys.

In addition to personal storage, any extra pockets or gear loft space you can get comes in handy for tents this size. Remember, these tents are big, but since you’re sleeping extra bodies, floor space can be a precious commodity. Any opportunity you have to get extra gear off the floor and out of the way adds livability to the tent.

Ease Of Set-up

Best 6 person tent - Ease of Setup
Photo by Steve Halama

Most tents in the 6 person range use traditional collapsible poles like your standard backpacking tent. You’ll see a few “instant cabin” pop-up designs in this category like the Bushnell above, but they’re the exception rather than the rule here.

The easiest 6 person tent setups use intuitive designs like color-coded poles and attachment points to take as much pain out of the pitching process as possible. Tent manufacturers regularly claim their tents can be set up in “under 5 minutes”  but again, we recommend comparing feedback from multiple owners of any tent you’re considering to get a real idea of how quickly one or two people can pitch a tent.

Durability/Materials

Similar to other family-friendly tents, 6 person tents are expected to endure more foot traffic than backpacking tents or even large 4 person varieties.

For that reason, we recommend paying special attention to high-wear items (especially the floor material) to make sure the tent you buy can withstand that abuse.

High denier fabrics (like the incredible 300D polyester floors of the Nemo Wagontop) are a good indicator that your tent will go the distance. The same goes for the poles of a 6 person tent. Our preference is always aluminum poles over fiberglass ones, as aluminum poles can bend and even dent without breaking, and tend to stand up better to serious winds.

If you do choose a tent with fiberglass pole construction, pay close attention to the quality of the fiberglass. Tents like the Kelty Discovery above have incredibly thick fiberglass construction which shouldn’t raise any serious red flags. Your typical department store tent on the other hand… We’ll just say those are “camp at your risk” poles and leave it at that.

Conclusion

For all the reasons above, we found that The North Face Wawona 6 was hands-down the best 6 person tent currently on the market.

Its massive floor plan, high ceilings, excellent weatherproofing, and sturdy materials all make it a stand-out tent at any price. The fact that the Wawona isn’t even close to the most expensive tent on our list (and the fact that it includes a sweet gear garage at no extra cost) easily earns it the number one spot in our book. In fact the only metric it doesn’t absolutely excel at here is ease of setup, but that’s only because it takes extra time and energy to get the gear garage properly pitched and staked out. Personally, we would rather have the gear garage included and spend a little more time getting it right than living without it.

The North Face Wawona 6 - Orange
The North Face Wawona 6: Our Best Choice Overall (exists in orange or grey)

If you’re looking for a tent that’s a little easier to own and pitch, we’re big fans of the outright simplicity and budget-friendliness of the Kelty Discovery Basecamp. If you’ve got a little more cash to spend and want the added utility of an extended vestibule, models like the Nemo Wagontop, MSR Habitude, and REI Base Camp have all got you covered. And of course, if having the longest-lasting, burliest tent money can buy is at the top of your list, there’s just no substitute for a classic cotton canvas model like the White Duck Regatta or Teton Sports Mesa.

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