Best Camping Tents of 2022

We bought and tested all the best camping tents on the market today to find the best shelter on any budget for your next outdoors adventure. 
Best Camping Tents - Intro - 1
The ‘field of dreams’ where we set-up, lived in, and thoroughly tested every tent on our list.

This is The Wise Adventurer’s roundup of the best camping tents currently on the market. This guide is the culmination of untold hours of careful research followed by days of hands-on testing and evaluation in the field. Out of the ten camping tents that made the cut for our recent shoot-out, we found The North Face Wawona 6 to be the best camping tent overall for 2022. 

That’s no small feat because as you’ll read below, the competition was stiff, and each tent brought something special to the table. We evaluate every tent we purchase on a wide range of features, all of which play an important role in making a camping tent a joy to own and use. Our testing looks at everything from the up-close quality of each material and component to the “big picture” concepts like overall livability and value for your money.  

Best Camping Tents - Intro - 2
Our evaluations start before the tents are even out of their bags, and continue throughout the trip to assess everything from individual material quality to weather protection.

We found the North Face Wawona 6 to be the best camping tent overall for a few reasons: Our testers applauded its outstanding material quality and construction as well as its excellent weather protection, which was particularly impressive for a tent with this much interior space. The Wawona also sports one of the best rainfly/vestibule combos on the market, with a pole-supported “gear garage” that’s large enough to store the bulkiest items (bikes, skis, fishing gear, etc.) but also functions as a shady place to hang out when the weather is good. Perhaps what’s most appealing about the Wawona is that despite all its space and quality, it beats all but the most budget-conscious competitors in terms of price, making it the most accessible to the widest range of outdoors enthusiasts. 

Best Camping Tents - Intro - 3
The Wawona’s vestibule adds a ton of value and livability. 

The Wawona won’t be the perfect tent for everyone though, and that’s ok. Every camper is different, and we all use tents like these for different things. Some folks value a quick and easy setup, some want something that’s light enough to double as a backpacking tent, and others just want a well-made shelter without spending a ton of money. Wherever you fall into the camping continuum, you’ll find a tent below that suits your needs. Of course if you’re not quite sure what you need (or what makes a tent worth buying in the first place), make sure to check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide down at the bottom to get you up to speed. 

Alright, let’s take a look at the results from our field test!

TentsIn Short…
The North Face Wawona 6: Best Camping Tent OverallExcellent interior space, reliable weather protection, and an impressive “gear garage” vestibule. Premium tent quality at an affordable price point. See Review
Nemo Wagontop 6: Highest QualityUnbelievably spacious interior and tall ceilings. Excellent exterior storage and premium materials throughout. See Review
Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6: Best On A BudgetEasy to pitch and nails all the essentials. A well-made tent from a well-established brand at department store prices. See Review
REI Co-op Base Camp 4One of the sturdiest and most weather worthy camping tents on the market. Added cold weather chops extend your camping into the shoulder seasons. See Review
Nemo Aurora Highrise 4Pushes the limits of interior space for a four person tent. Innovative design and high-quality materials with a bright and handsome style. See Review
MSR Habitude 6Top shelf design and bad weather performance without sacrificing interior space. Surprisingly light and compact construction adds versatility. See Review
Big Agnes Bunk House 4A premium quality four-person shelter with solid weatherproofing and unique features. Rainfly doubles as a standalone portable shelter. See Review
REI Co-op Wonderland 6A massive six person camping tent made from durable materials. Tunnel shaped design and ground-level windows give a particularly large and open feel. See Review
Marmot Tungsten 4P: Best hybrid camping / backpacking optionA four person shelter designed to work double duty as a lightweight camping tent or spacious backpacking shelter. Clever frame design makes the most of available interior space. See Review

Mountain Hardwear Trango 4: Best Winter / Four-season tent
A bombproof four-season shelter that’s built to climb mountains and survive blizzards. Unmatched quality and toughness with impressive innovations throughout. See Review

Best Camping Tents of 2022

The North Face Wawona 6: Best Camping Tent Overall

Best Camping Tents - The North Face Wawona 6 - 1

Specs:
– Price: $475
– Weight: 20.9 lbs (9.5 kg)
Floor size: 120” x 96” (305cm x 244cm)
Peak height: 76” (193cm)
Number of compartments: 1
– Capacities: 6 person / 4 person
– Shape: Dome
– What we like: Quality, livability, ventilation, price
What we don’t: Set-up takes some extra effort

Taking the top spot as the best camping tent in our recent field test is the North Face Wawona 6. The Wawona won us over with its massive interior, reliable weather protection, fantastic front vestibule, and outright value. 

Best Camping Tents - The North Face Wawona 6 - 4
The North Face Wawona 6, right after its first set-up.

Space and comfort are the main reasons anyone buys a six person tent, and the Wawona’s generous floor plan and lofty ceilings lacked nothing in that regard. It felt like a proper cabin-style tent, and anyone short of 6’4” will be able to stand and walk around inside it comfortably. We also loved that The North Face updated the Wawona to include a back door in the most recent model, so combined with the tent’s litany of mesh storage pockets, the interior truly wants for nothing now. 

Best Camping Tents - The North Face Wawona 6 - 2
Even without it’s massive gear garage, the Wawona wants for nothing in terms of space.

And while interior space and organization were both fantastic, it’s the exterior space that really stole the show here. We’re talking about the North Face Wawona 6’s fantastic rainfly/vestibule combo, which was arguably the best in our test among some serious contenders. We love the pole-supported design because it allows the near-vertical walls of the main cabin to continue into the vestibule area rather than tapering off sharply toward the ground. You can store just about anything in here from mountain bikes to climbing gear, but we opted for a table for two and enjoyed it as a shady spot to eat. 

Best Camping Tents - The North Face Wawona 6 - 3
Whether you’re storing gear out of the weather or want some extra shade for lunch, this vestibule is top notch.

Materials and construction were all high quality here from the rugged DAC MX aluminum poles to the bomb-proof 150D floor, and they all work together to make a tent that’s truly weather-worthy despite its large footprint and tall walls. With the rainfly pitched and properly guyed out, the Wawona is ready to handle wind and rain in equal measure, which is a feature tents this size often lack. 

Best Camping Tents - The North Face Wawona 6 - 5
With the rainfly zipped up and secured, the Wawona 6 is a safe haven in any weather.

Oddly enough, that very same rainfly/vestibule that makes the Wawona such a great tent is also our only real complaint with it. There’s no way to remove the pole-supported gear garage from the rest of the rainfly, so you’ll have to take some extra time to get it pitched and properly guyed out in anything but the clearest conditions. All things considered it’s a minor inconvenience that yields a ton of livability, and considering the Wawona’s approachable price point, it feels wrong to complain about it at all. Read our full test and review…

Pros:Cons:
– Excellent interior space/livability
– Massive “gear garage” front vestibule
– Surprisingly affordable
– Pole supported vestibule takes a little extra time to set up properly



Nemo Wagontop 6: Highest Overall Quality

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Wagontop - 1

Specs:
– Price: $699.95
– Weight: 20 lbs (9.1 kg)
– Floor size: 140” x 100” (356cm x 254cm)
– Peak height: 80” (203cm)
– Number of compartments: 2
– Capacities: 6 person / 4 person / 8 person
– Shape: Cabin
What we like: Massive, high-quality, livability, vestibule space
What we don’t: Expensive, set-up, not great in heavy wind

The folks at Nemo have a well-deserved reputation for thinking outside the box when designing high quality outdoors gear, and the Nemo Wagontop 6 camping tent is arguably the best example in their lineup of that ethos. 

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Wagontop - 2
The Nemo Wagontop 6, right after its first set-up.

If quality, interior space, and innovative design are what you’re after, we found that the Wagontop is the best camping tent for the job. In terms of interior space, this tent is unmatched, sporting a massive two-room floor plan and the tallest ceilings in our test at a whopping 80”. Nemo’s unique “covered wagon” approach to the Wagontop’s tunnel shape also means that those ceilings remain consistently high throughout the tent and even out into the front vestibule. 

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Wagontop - 3
Even next to other large camping tents, the Wagontop’s plus-sized dimensions stand out.

Speaking of which, the Wagontop 6 is another top contender for exterior storage, and one of the few that can hold a candle to the Wawona above’s gear garage. It’s also optional on clear days, as Nemo designed the Wagontop with a hybrid single/doublewall design. This allows campers to simply roll the vestibule back over the tent, which reveals the Wagontop’s screened-in front porch and lets some extra air and light into the shelter. 

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Wagontop - 4
This entire vestibule rolls back behind the room divider, converting the front room into a sunny front porch. 

The Wagontop’s material quality is some of the best we’ve seen as well, and its outrageous 300D floor took top honors in our test. Everything else essentially follows suit here, from the Wagontop’s thick aluminum poles to its integrated composite hubs. This tent also sports the best windows of any camping tent we’ve used, which run the full length of the main sleeping area, giving epic panoramic views of the landscape in every direction. 

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Wagontop - 5
The Wagontops bulletproof 300D floor feels more like thick canvas than polyester.

We found two main things that kept the Wagontop from topping our list of best camping tents this go-around. The first is that this is one of the most expensive tents out there, typically retailing for about $700. The second is that the unique tall tunnel shape of the Wagontop just isn’t ideal for serious wind. It is still the ideal tent for large groups and families, however, so if you primarily stick to clear weather camping with the occasional rain, your crew will be hard pressed to find a higher quality shelter. Read our full test and review…

Pros:Cons:
– Unmatched interior space for a 6 person tent
– High quality, durable materials throughout
– Excellent front vestibule
– Expensive
– Not built for high winds



Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6: Best Camping Tent On A Budget

Best Camping Tents - Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 - 1

Specs:
– Price: $169.95
– Weight: 13.8 lbs (6.3 kg)
– Floor size: 119” x 106” (302cmx 269cm)
– Peak height: 68” (172cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
Capacities: 6 person / 4 person
– Shape: Dome
– What we like: Affordable, spacious, great warranty, ease of set-up
– What we don’t: Fiberglass poles, no vestibule, thin floor, lower ceilings

They say “you get what you pay for” when you buy a cheap tent, but after spending a weekend in the Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6, we’re convinced that’s no longer the case.

Best Camping Tents - Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 - 5
The Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6, right after its first set-up.

Kelty has always been known for making affordable camping gear that nails all the basics. They don’t make the lightest gear out there and they don’t use the most high-tech materials, but they always do a great job of keeping costs down without sacrificing reliability. The Basecamp is a perfect example of this: It’s got plenty of room for four campers to share comfortably, boasts one of the easiest-pitching designs on the market, delivers reliable waterproofing, yet still manages to undercut the cost of the overwhelming majority of budget brands by a healthy margin.

Best Camping Tents - Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 - 2
The Discovery isn’t the tallest tent in our test, but it’s no slouch in the space department either.

The Basecamp’s design is simple but effective: Three sides of the shelter are covered by a full-length rainfly and a tall bathtub-style floor fills the gaps at the ground level, while a dependable waterproof coating and well-taped seams throughout the tent seal the deal. There’s no front vestibule on the Discovery, but a pole-supported awning provided us a drip-free entryway, and pre-attached guylines on each corner added enough stability for a little wind. 

Best Camping Tents - Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 - 3
The Basecamp’s three-quarter fly protects the tent’s mesh walls from rain, while the front door’s awning creates a drip-free entrance.

With that being said, it’s important to keep in mind that premium tents cost more for a reason: The Kelty Discovery Basecamp does well in the rain, but it’s not the kind of tent we would want to be inside during a proper thunderstorm. The fiberglass poles are good quality, but at the end of the day, they’re still fiberglass. The same goes for the tent floor, which is well sewn and fully seam-sealed, but it’s made from the same lightweight 68D polyester as the rest of the tent. 

Best Camping Tents - Kelty Discovery Basecamp 6 - 4
The Kelty’s poles are fiberglass, but they’re by no means flimsy.

That means adding a footprint is pretty much mandatory for durability’s sake (we’d also recommend something like a moving blanket on the inside), but considering the outrageously low price of this tent, you should have plenty of money left over to make it happen. It’s also worth noting that Kelty backs this tent with the same “useful lifetime” warranty of their other shelters, so should something go wrong, your purchase is protected. Read our full test and review…

Pros:Cons:
– Outrageously affordable
– Easy to use
– Reliable waterproofing
– No exterior storage
– Fiberglass poles
– Thin floor material



REI Co-op Base Camp 4

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Base Camp 4 - 2

Specs:
– Price: $449
– Weight: 16.8 lbs (7.6 kg)
– Floor size: 100” x 86” (254cm x 218cm)
– Peak height: 60” (152cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
– Capacities: 4 person / 6 person 
– Shape: Dome
What we like: Great weather protection, works in the cold and hot, quality material
– What we don’t: Lower peak height, costs extra

You’ll never hear us complain about a tent having “too much weather protection” and the REI Co-op Base Camp 4 is our case in point: Here’s a tent that nails all the most important aspects of a large, livable tent, but takes it a step further by doubling down on protection and stability when mother nature takes a turn for the worst. 

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Base Camp 4 - 1
The REI Co-op Base Camp 4, right after its first set-up.

All that added strength and protection is great, but what really impressed us about the Base Camp was its versatility: You’d think a tent with such a heavy-duty fly and minimal mesh would run hot in the summer months, but it actually ventilates with the best of them. The Base Camp’s two ground-level mesh windows create a “chimney effect” inside the tent, pulling in fresh air from outside and sending stale/hot air out the top. These vents (as well as the large windows on the Base Camp’s double doors) can be left wide open for hot weather, completely shut off for cold weather camping, or left somewhere in-between thanks to their zippered interior panels. 

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Base Camp 4 - 4
The REI Base Camp’s adjustable ground-level windows are its secret sauce, allowing the tent to ventilate well despite its fabric-heavy design.

Durability was also a highlight of our time spent with the Base Camp, and our testers all applauded the tent’s rugged five-pole structure and thick 150D polyester oxford floors. These tough materials combined with a full-coverage rainfly made the Base Camp feel like a veritable fortress in any weather, and one that would continue performing for years of use and abuse. 

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Base Camp 4 - 5
The Base Camp sets the standard for durability and weather protection with tough materials and a sturdy frame.

As far as cons go, we don’t have any serious complaints with the REI Co-op Base Camp 4. It costs a few dollars more than a typical three-season shelter, but there’s no question where your money went once you see how rugged and weatherworthy this shelter is. The Base Camp 4 also has a relatively low ceiling height compared to some models like the Nemo Aurora Highrise and Big Agnes Bunk House below, but REI also makes a 6 person Base Camp that adds stand-up height ceilings to the mix if you really want to have it all. Read our full test and review… 

Pros:Cons:
– Outstanding material quality throughout
– Beefy weather protection
– Cold weather compatible
– Lower ceilings than some
– Cost a bit more than typical 3-season models



Nemo Aurora Highrise 4

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Aurora Highrise 4 - 1

Specs:
– Price: $399.95
– Weight: 15.9 lbs (7.2 kg)
– Floor size: 100” x 90” (254cm x 229cm)
– Peak height: 75” (191cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
– Capacities:  4 person / 6 person
– Shape: Dome
– What we like: Impressively spacious, great vestibule, outstanding livability, durable materials
– What we don’t: Expensive, questionable wind performance, potential hardware issues

The Nemo Aurora Highrise 4 is a new model for the 2022 season, and after digging through its spec sheet online, we knew we couldn’t leave it out of our recent camping tent field test. 

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Aurora Highrise 4 - 3
The Nemo Aurora Highrise 4, right after its first set-up.

The main selling point for us here is the Aurora’s unique architecture, which uses a secondary set of poles to stretch the tent’s interior dimensions to new heights for a four-person model. We’re happy to report that the new design absolutely works, and the Aurora was one of the tallest and most spacious 4 person models we’ve ever used. The ceilings are well over six feet tall, which is rare for a four person shelter, and Nemo’s pole design actually pulls the side walls out beyond vertical for unrivaled shoulder room as well. 

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Aurora Highrise 4 - 4
Nemo’s new Aurora Highrise pushes the envelope on how spacious a four-person tent can be.

We also loved that Nemo took advantage of this unique design and built the Aurora Highrise’s windows into the extra space under the frame’s overhang: The result is two large windows that deliver excellent ventilation and views, and can effectively be left open in light to moderate rain without letting water inside the tent. This design also allows for extra space between the rainfly and canopy, which virtually eliminates any overnight condensation inside the tent. 

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Aurora Highrise 4 - 5
The Highrise’s unique pole structure allows the windows to be left open in light rain. 

Aside from this design, the Aurora packs a few more noteworthy highlights: For one, the material quality is just what we’ve come to expect from Nemo. The Highrise’s poles are all made from tough 13mm diameter aluminium, and its floor (which also happens to be a colorful plaid pattern) specs the same 150D polyester fabric as other premium models. The Highrise features two doors, and each gets its own exterior storage vestibule, so combined with the above average interior space, this is a four-person tent that can actually sleep four campers comfortably. 

Best Camping Tents - Nemo Aurora Highrise 4 - 6
All that extra space means that the Highrise will actually sleep four campers on full sized sleeping pads. 

Overall we were impressed by the Nemo’s performance, but had a few concerns with the new design. The first came when setting up the tent as a tester managed to bend one of the rivets that hold the side poles in place. It didn’t effect the performance of the tent, but it was enough to remind us that this new design is still relatively untested. The second is that as much as we love the Highrise’s window awnings, they aren’t the most aerodynamic shape out there. We didn’t get a chance to test the tent out in any serious winds, but we felt they could be a liability in heavier gusts. Still, this is an impressive accomplishment as a four-person shelter, and we all felt that the unique design, tough materials, and lifetime warranty were all well worth the asking price. Read our full test and review…

Pros:Cons:
– Innovative frame design maximizes interior space and height
– Rain-shielded windows deliver excellent ventilation (and views!)
– Impressively tall ceilings for a 4 person model
– Expensive
– New design is remains relatively untested for durability



MSR Habitude 6

Best Camping Tents - MSR Habitude 6 - 1

Specs:
– Price: $660
– Weight: 13.3 lbs (6.1 kg)
– Floor size: 120” x 100” (305cm x 254cm)
– Peak height: 77” (195cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
– Capacities: 6 person / 4 person
– Shape: Dome
– What we like: Quality materials, easy setup, good livability, great interior space
– What we don’t: Single door, thin floor fabric, expensive

If you’ve ever used an MSR product, be it a backpacking tent, a camp stove, or a water purifier, you know they make some of the most capable no-nonsense gear in the business. The MSR Habitude 6 is the outfitter’s take on the classic dome tent, and it did not disappoint. 

Best Camping Tents - MSR Habitude 6 - 2
The MSR Habitude 6, right after its first set-up.

Everywhere we looked both inside and outside of the Habitude, we found evidence of the high-standards MSR is known for.

Best Camping Tents - MSR Habitude 6 - 4
MSR’s backpacking DNA is clear to see in the new Habitude 6. 

Dome tents typically fall short in terms of peak height and shoulder room, but MSR’s unique three-pole design is a total game changer. This hubbed pole set stretches the tent out evenly in every direction, boosting shoulder room throughout the floor plan and allowing for an unusually tall entryway. The tent is also extremely easy to pitch despite its mountaineering-like appearance, and we all gave the Habitude high marks for ease of set-up. 

Best Camping Tents - MSR Habitude 6 - 3
Some dome tents struggle to deliver on interior space, but the MSR Habitude isn’t one of them.

This rock-solid frame, combined with MSR’s full-length rainfly and expertly placed guylines, creates a massive shelter that’s surprisingly stormworthy. We also noted the unmatched quality of the Habitude’s hardware like the pole receivers and guyline lockers, which are all made from rugged anodized aluminum that outclasses any over three-season shelter we’ve come across. It’s also worth noting that the MSR Habitude 6 is impressively lightweight (13.3 lbs in total) and compact for a shelter this size, which left us wondering if it could pull double duty as a group backpacking tent. We haven’t tested this yet, but we have no doubt the tent could easily be split between four packs and used for a certified backcountry palace. 

Best Camping Tents - MSR Habitude 6 - 5
Materials are high quality and well made throughout, right down to the Habitude’s red anodized aluminum hardware.

Our main complaint with the MSR Habitude 6 is its price, which is usually somewhere north of $600 unless you can find one on sale. That’s a pretty steep investment for even the best camping tent, and when you take into account that this tent only sports a single door and traditional (although plenty spacious) vestibule, that can be a tough pill to swallow. All things considered though, the Habitude’s standout quality and attention to detail certainly justify its bump in price, and if you’re looking for a family camping tent that your group can enjoy for years to come, it’s worth every penny. Read our full test and review…

Pros:Cons:
– Outstanding interior space
– Storm-worthy construction
– Premium hardware and components
– Expensive
– Single door design
– Basic vestibule



Big Agnes Bunk House 4

Best Camping Tents - Big Agnes Bunk House 4 - 1

Specs:
– Price: $499
– Weight: 14.2 lbs (6.5 kg)
– Floor size: 92” x 90” (233cm x 228cm)
– Peak height: 70” (178cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
– Capacities: 4 person / 6 person
– Shape: Cabin / dome
– What we like: Spacious, high-quality, and impressively versatile
– What we don’t: Expensive, we hope you like red

We’ve been smitten with Big Agnes’ backpacking gear for years, and have high praise for just about every piece of Big Agnes gear we’ve owned from their impressively light and livable Copper Spur backpacking tents to their ultra-plush sleeping pads.

Best Camping Tents - Big Agnes Bunk House 4 - 2
The Big Agnes Bunk House 4, right after its first set-up

Needless to say, expectations were high for the Big Agnes Bunk House 4, and we left our field test thoroughly impressed by the tent’s unique features and high quality construction. 

Best Camping Tents - Big Agnes Bunk House 4 - 3
The Bunk House’s big square shape is the definition of a “cabin style” tent.

Possibly the most impressive feat this tent pulls off is that despite its committed cabin-style construction with vertical walls and an almost cube-like appearance, it lacks for nothing in terms of weather protection. The Bunk House’s rainfly and accompanying pole-supported vestibule stretch the full length to the ground in 360-degrees around the tent, and boast incredibly robust seam taping that may very well outlive the tent itself. Combined with the shelter’s double dose of rugged guylines (there are 8 in total), the tent’s big box shape has no need to fear wind or rain, and we all felt confident it would be a safe harbor in a proper thunderstorm. 

Best Camping Tents - Big Agnes Bunk House 4 - 4
Once everything is staked down and guyed out, the Bunk House feels surprisingly stormproof.

The other standout feature of this tent is the unique design of the rainfly/vestibule combo: Big Agnes designed the Bunk House 4 to convert into what they call “shelter mode” just like their popular backpacking tents, which means the fly can be used by itself for a portable shady spot or impromptu rain protection. It’s a perfect companion for picnics, trips to the beach, or anywhere else you can use some extra shade, and adds considerable value to the total package. 

Best Camping Tents - Big Agnes Bunk House 4 - 5
There’s plenty of room to hang out under the Bunk House’s vestibule, but you can extend it even further as a pole-supported awning.

Other features of note here include an integrated “welcome mat” that helps keep the inside of the Bunk House dirt-free, rock-solid poles and hardware, and the ability to convert the middle of the vestibule into a pole-supported awning. The Bunk House also happens to have one of the coolest tent bags we’ve ever seen, which can be worn like a backpack for hands-free transportation. 

(photo: thomas carrying tent on his back from “weight and packed size” section) Caption: Why don’t more tents come with their own backpacks?

Downsides here are minimal, as we felt the Bunk House 4 was absolutely worth its asking price, but we did note two things that kept this shelter from landing the coveted “best camping tent” title. The first was that Big Agnes’ pole system put a little more stress on the tent’s door zippers than we’d like, and although we didn’t’ experience any issues here, it could become a durability concern a year or so down the road. The second is that everything about this tent is VERY red, including any person, place, or thing that steps inside it while the rainfly is in place. Minor concerns overall for an otherwise exceptionally well made and highly capable shelter. Read our full test and review…

Pros:Cons:
– Cabin construction meets stormproof protection
– Rainfly converts into standalone shelter
– High quality materials and a sweet carry bag.
– Potential durability issue with highly tensioned door zipper
– Can we get a less red version?



REI Co-op Wonderland 6

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Wonderland 6 - 1

Specs:
– Price: $599
– Weight: 22.9 lbs (10.4 kg)
– Floor size: 120” x 100” (305cm x 254cm)
– Peak height: 75” (191cm)
– Number of compartments: 2
– Capacities: 6 person / 4 person
– Shape: Tunnel
– What we like: Spacious, livable, high quality
– What we don’t: Not great in wind, expensive, no exterior storage

The REI Co-op Wonderland 6 is new for 2022, and replaces the outgoing Kingdom series of tents as the outfitter’s flagship car camping shelter.

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Wonderland 6 - 2
The REI Co-op Wonderland 6, right after its first set-up.

The Wonderland is much more than a simple refresh of an old design though, and we found a lot to love in the Co-op’s latest and greatest. 

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Wonderland 6 - 3
The Wonderland is impressively large, and all that extra mesh gives it a nice open feeling to boot. 

The biggest standout feature here by far is interior space, which is the one part of the Kingdom’s design REI didn’t change. That’s a good thing, because the Wonderland packs the same massive floor plan with over 83 square feet of living area, as well as the same fantastic 78 inches of peak height. The tent uses a tunnel-style design to retain that impressive height from door to door, so we were able to stand up and walk around pretty much anywhere inside the shelter. 

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Wonderland 6 - 4
The tall ground level windows are a new addition, and provide unobstructed views while also increasing ventilation. 

The biggest update here is the Wonderland’s new dual ground-level windows, which along with a new canopy design that incorporates much more mesh throughout, makes for one of the best camping tents we’ve tested in terms of ventilation. REI also gave the Wonderland a new frame design that uses triangulated poles in the center of the tent, which add additional stability to the frame and allow for unobstructed views from each of the side windows. The rainfly design is new as well, and uses a scalloped shape that raises up in the middle to preserve both the views and ventilation when pitched. 

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Wonderland 6 - 5
The Wonderland’s 16mm poles took the cake as the thickest in our test.

Another major highlight we noted during testing was the outright material quality of the Wonderland 6. This tent specs some of the burliest aluminum poles we’ve ever seen, with the thickest measuring in at a whopping 16mm diameter. That’s even wider than massive shelters like the Nemo Wagontop 6 we recently tested, so combined with the Wonderland’s other similarly rugged materials (the 150D polyester floor, for instance), we expect this tent to last for several years of regular use. This is still an extremely tall and relatively open design though, so we wouldn’t recommend testing its durability in high-wind scenarios. 

Best Camping Tents - REI Co-op Wonderland 6 - 6
In a weather like this, the Wonderland 6 is tough to beat. 

The new design isn’t all roses though, and we have a few critiques for the Wonderland we’d like to see addressed on future models. Our biggest complaint is that although REI did a good job of protecting the entryway with a fairly deep pole-supported awning, there’s no exterior vestibule on the Wonderland. REI sells an additional “mud room” accessory, but it adds another $100+ to the price. Speaking of price, our other main complaint here is that although the Wonderland is without a doubt a premium and impressively spacious camping tent, it retails for a hefty $600. For that reason, it may be worth waiting to snag your own Wonderland until REI runs one of their semi-annual sales, which can reduce the price of the tent by over $100, transforming it into one of the best values on the market. Read our full test and review…

Pros:Cons:
– Massive interior space with an open and airy feel
– Reliable construction with durable materials and hardware
– Smart two room layout with doors on each end
– Expensive when not on sale
– Not designed for use in heavy winds



Marmot Tungsten 4P: Best Hybrid Camping / Backpacking Tent

Best Camping Tents - Marmot Tungsten 4 - 1

Specs:
– Price: $399
– Weight: 9.3 lbs (4.2 kg)
– Floor size: 93” x 82” (236cm x 208cm)
– Peak height: 52” (132cm) 
– Number of compartments: 1
– Capacities: 4 person / 3 person / 2 person / 1 person
– Shape: Dome
– What we like: Versatile, weather-worthy, quality materials 
– What we don’t: Expensive, lacks specialization

Hybrid tents are a great option for campers who want a single shelter that does it all. The Marmot Tungsten 4P is light and compact enough to take on group backpacking trips, but packs enough space and storage to pull car camping duty when called upon.

Best Camping Tents - Marmot Tungsten 4 - 2
The Marmot Tungsten 4, right after its first set-up.

Needless to say, the Tungsten’s compact dimensions looked a little out of place among a sea of giant camping tents in our recent field testing, but after spending some time with the Marmot, we’re convinced it’s earned a place among the best camping tents of the year. 

Best Camping Tents - Marmot Tungsten 4 - 3
The Tungsten boasts plenty of livable space, even for a dual-purpose model.  

Versatility was the main selling point here for us, as is the case with any hybrid tent. The Tungsten’s 53 square feet of floor area isn’t exactly impressive for a car camping tent, but it’s a serious luxury out in the wilderness. The same goes for the Tungsten 4’s peak height, which at 52” isn’t even pretending to be stand-up height, but still marks a huge improvement over your typical backpacking tent (and a solid 4-inch advantage over other popular hybrid models). 

Best Camping Tents - Marmot Tungsten 4 - 6
The Tungsten may feel small compared to car camping specific models, but as a backpacking tent, it’s an absolute palace.

Another big selling point of the Marmot Tungsten 4 is that while some camping tents make a good argument for “fair weather only” shelters, there’s no such thing as a fair weather backpacking tent. As such, the Tungsten gets the full backcountry weatherproofing treatment, which includes a full-coverage rainfly, double exterior vestibules to shelter gear from the rain, covered zippers, and dual roof vents to make the most of the mesh-heavy canopy’s ventilation. The Marmot also felt poised to handle heavy winds with aplomb thanks to its durable hubbed aluminum poleset, streamlined shape, and well-placed guyline attachments.

Best Camping Tents - Marmot Tungsten 4 - 5
With the rainfly pitched and guyed out, the Tungsten feels ready to brave an all-night downpour. 

Our only complaint with the Tungsten is that it lacks specialization. It’s smaller than most car camping tents and heavier than most backpacking tents, but to be fair, that’s the tradeoff you get with any hybrid model. We’ll also point out that while the Tungsten 4 isn’t the most affordable hybrid on the market (REI’s Trail Hut 4 retails for $100 less), we believe it is the best value overall. Everything about the Tungsten felt rugged and reliable right down to the hardware. We think this tent represents the sweet spot between budget-friendly and super-premium (Nemo Dagger OSMO, MSR Elixir 4, etc), and while it’s a little heavier than the competition, it’s also taller and a good $50-$100 less expensive. Read our full test and review…

Pros:Cons:
– Do-it-all versatility
– Excellent weather protection
– Quality materials and construction
– Heavier/bulkier than a dedicated backpacking tent
– Less interior space than a dedicated camping tent



Mountain Hardwear Trango 4: Best Winter / Four-Season Tent

Best Camping Tents - Mountain Hardwear 1

Specs:
– Price: $1,100
– Weight: 12.7 lbs (5.8 kg)
– Floor size: 96” x 94” (244cm x 239cm)
– Peak height: 50” (127cm)
– Number of compartments: 1
– Capacities: 4 person / 3 person / 2 person
– Shape: Dome
– What we like: Proven mountaineering tent, rugged, livable
– What we don’t: Expensive, overkill for most campers

Four season tents are the ones we reach for in the worst conditions. These are truly bulletproof shelters that are built to weather punishing winds, heavy snows, high elevations, and all manner of unforgiving landscapes. The Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 is our favorite of the lot, and pound for pound is probably the most impressive tent we’ve ever tested. 

Best Camping Tents - Mountain Hardwear 3
The Mountain Hardwear Trango 4, right after its first set-up

The Trango has been around for a while (since 1995 to be exact), and has a hard earned reputation as one of the most capable mountaineering tents money can buy. After spending a few nights in one at high elevation, we’re inclined to agree. 

Best Camping Tents - Mountain Hardwear 2
The Mountain Hardwear Trango is built to go anywhere, but feels especially at home in high elevations.

Everything about the Trango is impressive. Mountain Hardwear specs the toughest materials on the planet for this shelter, including a seemingly unbreakable DAC Featherlite NSL Green poleset. Both the canopy and rainfly are anchored to the frame using glove-friendly gated locks, which lock all three elements (plus the guyline loops) of the tent together for unmatched wind resistance. Waterproofing is just as robust, with 2,000mm rated waterproofing on the fly and a full 10,000mm of resistance on the floor (that’s an important detail for a tent that’s meant to sit in deep snow). 

Best Camping Tents - Mountain Hardwear 4
Waterproofing is great, and Mountain Hardware goes the extra mile by using polyester-cored cotton thread that expands when wet to create an even tighter seal. 

What surprised us the most about the Trango, however, was that for all its impressive performance and technicality, it’s a pleasantly simple shelter to live with. You can’t stand up inside the Trango, but the interior is still plenty spacious enough for three campers to share comfortably, and although the tent uses five separate poles to achieve its unparalleled stability, it was actually one of the easiest models to pitch in our field test. The Trango also packed the best interior storage of any tent in our testing, two generously sized vestibules that are large enough to cook under, and an outstanding degree of ventilation for such a cold-weather-focused shelter. 

Best Camping Tents - Mountain Hardwear 5
There’s plenty of room for three to share comfortably here, and even enough space to cook inside the vestibule in poor weather.

Ultimately we have zero complaints with the Trango. We can’t even begin to scratch the surface of its litany of features and innovations here, but we all felt it was the most capable and bombproof of any of the tents we tested. Its only transgression is that it’s simply too hardcore for your average three-season camper, and while its price is more than justified for its intended purpose (all mountaineering tents are expensive), most casual campers would be better suited to something properly cabin-shaped and cavernous. Still, if your adventures take you to inhospitable places, this is the kind of tent that will keep you dry and protected anywhere on the planet. Read our full test and review…

Pros:Cons:
– Unparalleled weather protection
– Built to handle gale-force winds
– Toughest materials on the market
– Expensive
– Overkill for most campers



Buying Guide For The Best Camping Tents Of 2022

A lot goes into choosing the best camping tent for your outdoor endeavors, and sorting through all the jargon, specs, and customer reviews is a massive undertaking. Combine that with the sheer volume of camping tent options on the market today, and you’ll start to see why we felt this project was important. In this guide we’ll walk you through all the most important details of what makes any camping tent worth buying, as well as what goes into our own testing and evaluation in the field to determine how each model stacks up against the competition. 

How We Evaluated And Tested These Tents

Our process starts the same as yours: We spend untold hours researching online, talking to experts, and visiting our local outfitters to see these tents in person. From there (once we’ve narrowed down our top contenders), we go out and purchase each tent out of pocket, and take them out into the field for an unbiased, up-close inspection. 

Best Camping Tents - How We Tested And Evaluated These Tents
Every tent on our list is purchased out of pocket and tested in the field.

We spend time with each tent to evaluate all of the most important aspects of their performance, which you’ll find in detail below. We weigh each model on its own merits but also compare them to our other selections to determine relative performance and value to the competition.

Space and Comfort

Space and comfort are the single biggest difference between a dedicated camping tent and the fast and light shelters designed for backpacking. There are a few exceptions out there, but the majority of camping tents are intended for car camping use only, which means they can afford to be as big and spacious as you want. We look at space and comfort primarily through the lens of two factors: Floor space and peak height. 

Floor space is important because it dictates how many campers you can actually sleep comfortably inside a shelter (remember, just because a tent says “six person” doesn’t mean you’ll actually want to try wedging six people inside). For ideal sleeping (and living) conditions, our general recommendation is that you “subtract two” from a given tent’s size, so an eight person model is best for six or fewer campers, a six person is ideal for four, and so on. Peak height is important as well, because taller ceilings mean you can stand up, walk around, change clothes, and stretch out as needed. 

Best Camping Tents - Space and Comfort - 1
Comfort is king in the Nemo Wagontop 6, which had the largest (and tallest) floorplan of any tent in our testing. 

A tent like the Nemo Wagontop 6 is a great example of just how much space and comfort a tent can provide. Ceilings around the six-foot mark are relatively common in this space (North Face Wawona, MSR Habitude, Nemo Aurora Highrise), but the Wagontop goes a step further, and its 80-inch ceilings allow pretty much anyone shy of a professional NBA player to stand tall and stretch out anywhere in the tent. Of course all that height would be useless if the Wagontop’s floor space didn’t follow suit, so naturally its 140”x100” living space is also one of the most spacious layouts around. 

Best Camping Tents - Space and Comfort - 3
Exterior vestibules like those found on the North Face Wawona 6 are great for storage, but they have other uses as well.

Comfort isn’t all about space though. We also consider storage and ventilation to play a key role in the comfort equation. Ventilation should be obvious, as no one wants to spend time inside a hot stuffy tent with water dripping off the ceiling. Storage is important because the less space you have to dedicate to storing your gear on the tent floor, the more space you’ve got to stretch out. Mesh interior pockets and gear lofts are great for this, but the best camping tents often feature sizable exterior storage vestibules for this purpose as well. The North Face Wawona 6 is a great example here, as its vestibule is large enough to store any manner of gear, but also adds livability as a roomy place to relax outside the tent rain or shine.

Weather Resistance

Weather resistance plays a huge role in a tent’s versatility and livability. Pretty much any tent serves its purpose by keeping the bugs at bay during fair weather, but as we all know, mother nature doesn’t always play nice. The main factors we look for in evaluating a tent’s weather performance are waterproofing and wind resistance. 

Good waterproofing requires a few different features. A good rainfly is always your first line of defense here, and we look for specific things when evaluating one. The first is a fly’s ability to shed water over extended periods of time, which we prefer to test by putting a tent through a proper rainstorm, but settle for “man-made” precipitation when the weather won’t cooperate. 

The second is the presence (and quality) of a fly’s seam taping. If you want to see what a properly sealed seam looks like, the Big Agnes Bunk House 4 is one of our favorite examples here. Lastly, a rainfly’s area of coverage is also important. A full coverage fly (one that covers the entire tent and stretches down to the ground) is the best design for peace of mind, but as technology advances, more and more great tents with partial coverage flys hit the market (North Face Wawona, REI Co-op Wonderland, Nemo Wagontop, etc.). 

Best Camping Tents - Weather Resistance - 1
A full coverage rain fly like the one found on the Base Camp 4 gives added peace of mind in heavy rains.

The other half of the waterproof equation for us is a tent’s floor. Tent floors need to be thick for durability, but also need to have the same (if not better) protection as a tent’s fly to keep water out for extended periods. The ideal tent floor features tall walls all around the ground (also called a “bathtub style” floor), and should also have the same durable seam-taping present in any area that could possibly touch water.

Waterproofing is a requirement for any good tent, but what really sets the best camping tents apart from the pack is wind resistance. Wind resistance is a tough job for a proper camping tent because they tend to be much taller and less aerodynamic than their backpacking counterparts. Ultimately a tent’s windworthiness depends on the strength of its poles and the design of its rainfly. 

Best Camping Tents - Weather Resistance - 2
The best camping tent frames bend without breaking under heavy stress from wind (or fellow campers).

We’ll get more into what makes a tent pole tough in the durability section below, so let’s address the rainfly aspect here: Ideally we look for as few gaps between the rainfly and the ground as possible, which again means that a full coverage rainfly that stretches down low around all sides of the tent is ideal for handling wind. 

Best Camping Tents - Weather Resistance - 3
Mountain Hardwear’s triangulated guyline system is absolutely rock solid.

In addition to a nice aerodynamic fly, we also look for a good amount of guylines attached to it, as these are ultimately what give a tent’s structure its strength. There’s no better example of a windproof and well-secured rainfly than the Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 we recently tested, but tents like the North Face Wawona, Big Agnes Bunk House, and MSR Habitude 6 are all good examples of how a good rainfly and tough guylines allow a big tent to survive in the wind. 

Ease of Set-up

Of all the aspects of the camping experience, setting up and taking down a tent is arguably the least enjoyable part. The easier a tent is to set up, the easier it is to live with, so although this isn’t the most important part of a tent’s performance, it does contribute to overall livability in a major way. 

A few factors we look for here in our testing: Color coding, for one, always makes setting up a tent easier as it takes the guesswork out of what goes where. There’s no better example of this than the Mountain Hardwear Trango, which uses clear colors on every part of the shelter from the poles to the feet to the clips themselves. This is also a great example of how a seemingly complicated tent can actually be one of the easier ones to pitch with the right design: Mountain Hardwear engineered the Trango to be set up during a snowstorm (with gloves on) and it just goes to show what a difference details like this can make. 

Best Camping Tents - Ease of set-up - 1
The Mountain Hardwear Trango’s color coded poles, clips, and canopy leave nothing up to chance.

We also look for designs that can be easily pitched by one camper (anyone who has ever struggled to get all four corners of a tent staked out on their own will appreciate this), and have found that a combination of easy-to-secure systems (like the Kelty “quick corners” design on the Discovery Base Camp), linked pole sets (Marmot Tungsten, MSR Habitude), and clip-in canopies all make a tent easier to pitch. 

Best Camping Tents - Ease of set-up - 2
Kelty’s “Quick Corners” system makes setting up their tents solo a piece of cake.

The other side of the coin that we look at here is taking down a tent. This is always a much easier process, but speaking from experience here, no one likes a tent that refuses to pack back down into the bag it came in. Again, a minor detail, but one less possible point of frustration to deal with when it’s time to break camp. 

Durability

The best camping tents are often big investments, and while some are much larger than others, nothing determines a tent’s overall value quite like durability. Even the most weatherproof tent on the market isn’t worth buying if it isn’t going to survive beyond a single season, so we put a lot of weight on durability during our testing. 

Material quality and construction are the first thing we look at here. By closely examining both the thickness and durability of fabrics as well as the quality of the seams that hold them together, we’re able to get a good idea of how long a given tent will last. One of our favorite examples of this is the REI Co-op Base Camp 4, which specs high-quality fabric and construction everywhere you look including a 150D polyester oxford floor, which is more than double the thickness of your typical backpacking tent. 

Best Camping Tents - Durability - 1
The sturdiest tent frames use thicker aluminium poles with extra intersections for stability.

The other major contributing factor to a tent’s durability is its frame system, which includes the tent’s poles as well as any fittings or hubs that hold them together. As a general rule of thumb, aluminum poles are the standard for quality, and the thicker they are in diameter, the more robust they’ll be. There are exceptions out there (Easton Syclone poles, for example, are made from a carbon fiber composite), but aluminum is the standard for a good camping tent, especially if it’s coming from a name brand like DAC (like those found in the North Face Wawona and Mountain Hardwear Trango). 

Best Camping Tents - Durability - 2
Name brand poles like these from DAC are always a plus. 

Fiberglass poles are typically found on more budget-oriented tents, and are a common failure point on many cheaply made department store models. They aren’t necessarily a deal breaker though, as some brands use extra thick fiberglass poles (the Kelty Discovery Base Camp series, for example), which are robust enough for general camping duty while also keeping overall cost down. 

Weight and Packed Size

Because camping tents are typically transported in your car and only carried short distances into camp, weight and packed size won’t be a major sticking point for most campers. Even the largest six person models we’ve tested will fit easily into the trunk of a car or on a shelf at home, so with a few notable exceptions (canvas tents and instant tents, for example), they all pass the test here. 

Best Camping Tents - Weight and Packed Size - 3
Weight and packed size will never be a deal breaker for car-camping. Just make sure you have enough space in your car!

The only exception to the rule comes for camping tents that are designed to double as backpacking tents, like the hybrid Marmot Tungsten 4 below on the right. For this model, we look at the total weight and packed size of the tent, and determine whether or not the shelter could be reasonably carried by our group. In the case of the Marmot, it can be split into equal loads relatively easily, so it passes the test for its intended use. 

Best Camping Tents - Weight and Packed Size - 1
Which one of these four person tents would you rather carry on your back? Marmot or Nemo?

It’s also worth mentioning that from time to time you’ll come across a tent that isn’t advertised as a backpacking model, but happens to be compact and light enough to make it possible. The MSR Habitude 6 is one such example because despite its large size, it only weighs a little over 13 pounds, which could potentially be split between three or four packs for a unique group backpacking experience. 

Best Camping Tents - Weight and Packed Size - 2
The MSR Habitude is much too large for one person to carry long distances, but could be easily managed by three or four.

Value

Value is a complex thing to determine, but it’s arguably the most important metric we evaluate. We test a tent’s value using three questions: 

  1. How much does this cost? 
  2. What are you getting for your money?
  3. How long will it last?

The best camping tents are often expensive, but more money doesn’t always mean more quality. Consider two of the six-person models from our recent test: The sub-$200 Kelty Discovery and the sub-$500 North Face Wawona 6. Both tents share similar floor space and seasonality, yet both are great values for the money. That’s because while the Kelty is more than enough tent for casual users who mainly stick to fair weather camping, the North Face’s extra weather protection, durability, and premium storage vestibule more than make up for its extra $300 cost if you’re planning on spending lots of time outdoors, rain or shine. 

Best Camping Tents - Value
Any way you look at it, the Kelty Discovery Base camp is a ton of tent for the money. 

Now, compare that same sub-$500 North Face Wawona 6 to something like the $600 REI Co-op Wonderland 6: The Wonderland is slightly larger, slightly taller, and slightly easier to pitch, but it doesn’t have any exterior storage and it isn’t built for serious winds. Both are high-quality tents that bring a lot to the table, but the North Face ultimately edges the REI out in terms of value for its price-to-performance ratio. 

The Bottom Line

As you can see, a lot goes into our testing, and taking all the above factors into consideration, the North Face Wawona 6 took our pick as the best camping tent of the bunch. Here’s one tent that truly delivers on every metric: It’s made entirely from high quality and highly durable materials, lacks nothing in terms of rain and wind protection, and offers up generous interior dimensions and tall ceilings in equal measure. Its exterior storage vestibule is one of the best and most versatile designs on the market, and all that comfort and performance comes in at a price point that no other shelter of this quality can match. 

Best Camping Tents - The Bottom Line
The North Face Wawona 6: Our Best Choice Overall

The Nemo Wagontop 6’s top-shelf materials, unmatched interior space, and amazing panoramic views are well deserving of our pick for the highest quality tent overall. There’s nothing else out there quite like the Wagontop, and it’s sure to be the envy of the campground anywhere you pitch it. 

And, of course, if you’re looking for a reliable 6-person model with a budget-friendly price tag, there’s just no beating the Kelty Discovery Base Camp 6’s sub-$200 entrance fee. This tent is big, tall, and incredibly easy to pitch, and leaves plenty of cash left over for all those important things like firewood, ice, and a cooler full of your favorite libations.

Leave a Comment