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 16, 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
I have owned this tent for 11 years. Have used it roughly once each year and I use it by myself or with only one other person, so not under heavy repeated use. If you want it to last, best not to force anything and follow the instructions on setup. It has held up very well and still looks like new. I sweep it out before every take down. Recently, I experienced my first breakage. At the top center hub, I got in a hurry and erected the legs too soon in the wrong order which caused the hub to twist… Full review
Roomy, comfortable shelter with plenty of storage. Generally good weather protection and ventilation. I love this castle of a tent. I have used this tent on multiple trips in the Virginia Blue Ridge mountains as well as in the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming. This review is based on those trips and particularly on an 8-day backpacking loop trip in Wyoming mountains with elevations around 10K. In two very hard thunderstorms the waterproofing of the fabric was overwhelmed, allowing moisture to "spritz"… Full review
Very light. Much more affordable than most super-lights. Simple to put up. Green is perfect for unobtrusive wild camping. Perfect for one person plus kit. And possibly a Border Collie. Tent blends in nicely. Wouldn’t have been interested if it had been yellow or orange. Force 10 designation puzzled me. Suggests this could withstand high winds and rough weather, which, very plainly, it couldn’t, at least not a lot of it. It genuinely is super-light. Packs down small. Is easy to put up and take… Full review
This is a review of the Sanctuary 12'x10' hex SilTarp, Paria’s lightweight, double-treated and seam-taped 30D ripstop hex-cut tarp with catenary sides and ridgeline that comes as a kit with DCF guylines w/ line locks and alu Y stakes. It’s more suited for hammock camping and backpacking, but Paria also offers the Sanctuary in square/flat and tapered/catenary cuts and various sizes, which provides for all types of campers and backpackers who don’t want to spend a fortune on a good and lightweight… Full review
Strong yet light bag for tent/tarp stake storage. Arrowhead Equipment's Tarp Stake Bag is perfect for keeping stakes together with a very minor weight penalty. Arrowhead Equipment's Tarp Stake Bag is not complicated, so this won't be a long review, but I have found these bags to be very functional so wanted to share them here on Trailspace. Arrowhead Equipment is a small "cottage" business based in Idaho since 2009. Construction & Features: Available in 8" or 10" sizes, the Tarp Stake… Full review
Loved the tent. I’ve had it for 8 years. Just be sure to stake it in high winds. If it blows over, you're going to bend poles! That being said, this thing is about as much room for the footprint as I’ve seen. I love the backpack it comes in. I’ve had the tent for 8 years and it’s solid. Throw the tent on a kid, as it has a backpack for the tent, and you’re off. This is obviously a car camping tent, but I love the feature. We have a large air mattress that we throw in, but I usually inflated… Full review
Super bad value. Looks great, pitches easily, very light ONE-person tent with gear. Famous name and high price for something that delivers a poor camping experience in benign conditions. In wet, you could be in a lot of bother with soaking gear, clothes, and sleeping bag. Do NOT touch with a tent pole. For the sake of a few pounds, I'd rather go up with a heavier two skin than risk hypothermia in this waste of money. North Face, you should be utterly ashamed to put your name on such an appalling… Full review
Poor materials (adhesives) and no help from Zpacks. Zpacks won't stand behind their product. After 25 nights over four seasons, the patches where the inner elastic cord that holds up the bathtub floor on the inside and where the center guyline attaches started slipping because the glue holding them to the cuben fiber roof got sticky. Pulling apart, they started pulling apart the cuben fibers. Zpacks won't honor this as a material defect and says they cannot repair it. It is out of warranty… Full review
Tent was affordable and the only style our Walmart had available. Taking it down, the mechanism in the main center pole snapped down on my fingers and nearly took my fingertips off at the joints. It took a passerby to release the mechanism to get free. Please use extreme caution when using these type tents (instant tent). I have since talked with three of my friends who have had similar experiences. Please put a warning on the direction pages to prevent any serious injury to others. I am still experiencing… Full review