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 April 11, 2021. 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
Expansive interior, flappy exterior, cheap—but not cheap enough. After enjoying the space in our Sierra Designs Meteor Lite 3, we decided to upgrade our car camping tent. Our venerable Mountainsmith Morrison had provided us years of shelter, and I stupidly sold it off to buy the Klymit. The fabrics used are all heavy. This is a car camping tent so almost 8 pounds is fine if the tent holds up. So I'm not going into details about weight like I normally do. We bought this tent for its size. And… Full review
I've had a Starlight for twenty years now and it still is good for use. Camped in Oregon Cascades during summer and fall during light snows with protective tarp over it. Extra light, small storage bag, and gray-green color good for blending in. Perfect for backpacking bug protection in Oregon mosquito lakes. Perfect for bicycling tenting. Perfect price. Great tent for people used to camping old school. Reduce condensation by putting a light larger tarp over the top with paracord tied to front rear… Full review
Camped from CO to AK in 1996. Never got wet—snow, wind. Put a tarp inside the tent. I drove 9 hours each day from Denver, CO, to Talkeetna, AK, in 1996. I camped out every night following my drive during my drive. I never got wet, nor hampered by wind, etc./ snow I have camped in my Temberlline 2 tent in many conditions (i.e. backpacking, car camping, etc.). A great tent. Full review
Decided on Hyke & Byke Zion 2 Person versus Naturehike Star River 2 Person Backpacking Tent. See my full video: https://youtu.be/Vzc8lsjkWn4 Full review
High quality design, lightweight and spacious. Just spent 2 nights in 40 mph winds with rain and snow, and 0 issues! We were in a rush to keep moving, so no pics from this trip, but I'll update on subsequent trips. I bought this as a bigger backpacking tent for my wife and I. We still have an LL Bean Microlight 2 ul, but for shorter trips or those with more tent time we wanted some room and the Meteor Lite delivered. The shoulder and head room is great. We had four people in the tent playing cards… Full review
Lightweight and easy to pitch. A fabulous lightweight tent which I used for biking. Pros and cons as above. I have had no trouble getting it back into its bag, which is something others have struggled with. The vestibule zips up close to the top of the inner door and there is very little overhang, which means in inclement weather if you unzip the outer door you risk getting water inside. There's no protection really as you enter or exit the tent. The vestibule is also very small with little… Full review
This is a very good car camping tent. It works well for two large adults who need some space. It has held up well with rain and hail. The materials are durable. However the poles bent with 35 mile per hour gusts. Eureka replaced the poles at a reasonable price. I purchased this tent for car camping in the typical state park and national forest campgrounds. I think I have used it fifteen to twenty nights. My camping friends express their appreciation for the comfort. I would trust it with winds up… Full review
Plenty of room for cots. Super ventilation, but you can close it off for cold weather. 2021 year review. Bought this tent many years ago for state park camping. Grew thru the years, to a pop up, pull behind camper, then to a motor home, but never felt like we were camping. Looking what to bring on a Stone Mountain NC trout fishing weekend that included a Mr buddy heater and decided to dust this one off. The years had been kind in storage and she was good as new. Supper windy during setup and had… Full review
Boy Scout leadership tent with 20 years on it! Been through Michigan winter camping to Black Hills mountain camping. Yes, it's heavy, it's not a backpacker, it has never let us down. This has been an ideal "scouter tent"—a little expensive, and a little heavy. It is built like you'd expect from a commercial tent. Full review