Tents and Shelters
The best tents and shelters, reviewed and curated by the Trailspace community. The latest review was added on March 11, 2019. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.
Ready for a night out? Whether you’re an ultralight alpinist, family of backpackers, devoted hanger, or comfort camper, you'll find the best tents, tarps, and hammocks for your outdoor overnights right here.
Check out our top picks below—including price comparisons—to shelter you in any terrain, trip, or season: winter mountaineering, three-season thru-hiking, warm weather car camping, hammock hanging, alpine bivys, tarps, and emergency shelter.
Or you can browse our thousands of independent tent and shelter ratings and reviews by product type, brand, or price. Written by real-world hikers, backpackers, alpinists, climbers, and paddlers, Trailspace community reviews will help you select a dependable, field-tested, outdoor abode just right for your next adventure.
Recent Tent/Shelter Reviews
The North Face Meso 2
Very disappointed with my North Face Meso 2. I paid the extra for a North Face tent as I thought paying the extra money was worth the quality I would get from the North Face. I was totally wrong, the tent has literally been used twice camping by a lake and the attachments on the fly sheet have come away. Like the other review on here, I bought mine in Cape Town, South Africa, through Duesouth, but don't know where to turn to have this design/build issue addressed. Full review
REI Kingdom 6 Tent
With sufficient details from others' reviews I'll cut to my issues. Half the tent roof is screen but there is no provision for neatly stowing the fly after it is peeled back for porch use. So you get an untenable mess in a breeze. The quonset hut pole configuration relies on exotic custom castings for an inferior performance to the simpler overlapping dome design of the old King Pine Dome. Quonset huts are corrugated metal. Fabric is not the first substitute coming to mind. While nothing has gone… Full review
The North Face Rock 32
It's a decent car camping tent. It's a decent car camping tent. I take it with me on extended stays and there's ample room for my gear and myself. Handles the wind great...the rain is another story. I had to waterproof the bathtub floor as the first time I used it rain seeped right through on anything touching the ground. Full review
Replaces my bivy sack. I will not give a detailed review because an excellent detailed review (by Mike Gartman) has already been posted. I just want to add some not so obvious additional points. The first time I set this tent up I had some bad tent breathing motion of the outer relative to the inner, so they would touch in strong wind gusts. When I got the tent home I realized that on the two triangular head and foot sections of the tent there are a total of four loops that could have additional… Full review
Therm-a-Rest Down Snuggler
I’ve tried this underquilt a few times in the backyard, but not yet overnight in the woods. Twice in the low 30s, it’s still been a little cool on my shoulder areas. I had to add a thin foam pad (from packing material that I salvaged) under my shoulders. I’m still experimenting with which end to use the adjustable cord side on. With my Therm-a-Rest Snuggler I noticed it was better to put the adjustable side on the head end to really snug it up under the hammock and bring more cover up around… Full review
Eureka! Mountain Pass 2XT
Great tent. My wife and I used this tent for 199 days on the Appalachian Trail. Eureka tents are the best. I've been camping in Eureka tents for nearly 40 years. Full review
Grand Shelters IceBox Igloo Tool
An ingenious system that can be used to build igloos for up to five happy campers. Works as advertised, but using it efficiently requires a lot of experience, especially with difficult snow. I don’t recall when I first heard about the Icebox, but I do recall being pretty interested when an engineering-minded neighbor back in Vermont bought one. He built one igloo up in the fields behind his house, then promptly stashed the Icebox in his garage and more or less forgot about it. When he heard we… Full review
Kelty Grand Mesa 2
After researching 2-3 man tents for a while I stumbled across the Grand Mesa 2. I found it at Academy Sports. It was on sale for $68. I'm guessing it was a returned item. All of the other lightweight tents I have been looking at were between $300-$500. So I thought I would give it a shot. I haven't used it yet, only setting it up in my hotel room before heading offshore for two weeks. It was real simple to set up. Seemed sturdy and has ample room for myself, 6'1" 225 lb. There is also enough room… Full review
My Trail Poncho UL Tarp
For those willing to accept compromises in the pursuit of a low pack weight, the Poncho UL Tarp provides a reasonably durable, value option for rain gear, pack cover, and shelter—with a few important caveats. The Poncho UL Tarp is at its best as rain wear, pack cover, and shelter in more moderate conditions, but high winds or sustained heavy rain can make the user vulnerable to the elements. However, due to its versatility, it is an ideal multi-use item for day packs, emergency bags, etc. What… Full review
What’s the “best” tent or shelter for you? Consider your personal outdoor needs, preferences, and budget:
First, and most important, in what seasons, conditions, and terrain will you use your tent, tarp, or hammock? Choose a shelter that can handle the conditions you expect to encounter (rain, snow, wind, heat, humidity, biting insects, an energetic scout troop), but don’t buy more tent than you truly need, and don’t expect one tent to do it all.
Tents are typically classified by sleeping capacity (i.e. one-person, two-person, etc). However, a tent's stated sleeping capacity usually does not include much (or any) space for your gear and there’s no sizing standard between tent manufacturers. Some users size up.
Will you use the tent as a basecamp or is it an emergency shelter only? To determine if you and your gear will fit, look at the shelter’s dimensions, including floor and vestibule square areas, height and headroom (including at the sides), plus the number and placement of doors, gear lofts, and pockets, to assess personal livability, comfort, and footprint.
- Weight and Packed Size:
If you’ll be backpacking, climbing, cycling, or otherwise carrying that shelter, consider its weight, packed size (and your pack it needs to fit in), and its space-to-weight ratio before automatically opting for the bigger tent. Paddlers and car campers have more room to work with, but everyone should consider how the tent and its parts pack up for stowage.
Tents come in various designs. Freestanding tents can stand alone without stakes or guy lines and can be easily moved or have dirt and other debris shaken out without being disassembled, though they still need to be staked out. Rounded, geodesic domes are stable and able to withstand heavy snow loads and wind. Tunnel tents are narrow and rectangular, and large family cabin tents are best for warm-weather campground outings.
- Other features and specs to consider include single versus double-wall, ease of setup, stability, weather resistance, ventilation, , and any noteworthy features.
- Read more in our guide to tents.