Tents and Shelters
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.
The best tents and shelters, reviewed and curated by the Trailspace community. The latest review was added on September 26, 2020. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.
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.
Recent Tent/Shelter Reviews
Roomy tent for 3 person. Poor quality rain fly 8 years review. ...This tent has been great for spring to fall hiking. It is light and accommodated me, my wife and 2 small children under 5 years old. The mesh tent itself is well built and very roomy. My problem was with the rain fly. It is clipped on the tent with plastic hardware that is glued on to the fly. After 2 years this glue started to fail and in one year all the hardware fall off. The rain fly is of no use now and this tent is only good… Full review
I had great hopes for this unique tent. When Tentsile first started making tents I was always intrigued. It looks like a great concept and solves some of the problems of a traditional hammock for people who can’t sleep well in a hammock position. In practice, however, the Tentsile UNA is very limited in its use, it is too heavy for backpacking, and cumbersome to set up. It is relatively comfortable, but as a 6'5" man, it was somewhat cramped. Setup The setup requires three trees of roughly equal… Full review
Very sturdy, easy to erect, and spacious shelter that makes use of trekking poles or ridgeline. Much less faff than threading poles through sleeves and spills wind very efficiently. Various configurations for inside make this a very versatile lightweight shelter. I have really enjoyed using this tent over the last few weeks of summer. It comes in Forest Green or Desert Brown (I opted for green). There is also a four-season version with a snow skirt. The construction seems sturdy and well stitched… Full review
Great tarp. Excellent weight, coverage, and ease of use. Best tarp I have found on the market considering weight and coverage. I’ve had this tarp for three years now and it has held up great. It comes with its own lines and has line tensioners on all lines. This makes it much easier to use with simple knots. It takes three stakes to set up. It can work as a ground tarp in a pinch using two trekking poles, though not ideal without trees. The tarp provides plenty of coverage and I’ve gone through… Full review
I have two of these tents. After all these years, they are still standing up well. Overall, they are lightweight, strong, and versatile. Backpacking or backyard play, they are great! Full review
Great car camping tent, absolutely love the pockets inside as well as the nearly straight vertical walls. Orange, yellow, and white colors do tend to attract bees, wasps, and other bugs that like bright things. The combination of pole sleeves and pole hooks seems to give the tent a very solid frame. Only thing I don't care for about it is the rainfly. I use it in wet Western Washington. The fly comes nearly to the ground on the two solid sides, but on the front and back door sides the fly stops… Full review
Good tent with a few flaws. Fairly lightweight. I've carried this on trips as long as 56 miles. Roomy for one, cozy but manageable for two. Love the vestibule and dual door design for two-person use. Great windows without the fly, but keeps rain out with the fly. Easy setup and take-down. Footprint should extend beyond tent for better protection, tends to flop around. When the fly is staked with string it has a gap that convects air up under the fly and through the tent; with no window covers there… Full review
A comfortable sleeping experience that allows you a unique way to connect with where you are camping. However, you need to be sure you have the right orientation of trees in order to make it tight and flat. I tried out the Una for two nights while camping in Northern California in July. I chose three redwood trees for the base. Although not perfectly lined up to the tabs on the side (for visual reference), they were wide enough to make minor adjustments. Having never set up the tent before,… Full review
This reflective cord is easy to tie knots, making it ideal for guy lines. The 2.5mm thickness is thick enough to work knots loose without a hassle, and is high visibility both night and day for easy spotting. MSR (Mountain Safety Research) has an extensive product line—not only tents, stoves, and water treatment, but accessories galore are available for every subcategory. When a shelter does not come with all the needed guy line, MSR’s Ultralight Cord is an excellent product to assist with stabilizing… Full review