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 June 8, 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
These are the ultimate hammock tree straps for lightweight backpacking. Small, easy to use, ultralight, and reasonably priced. Hummingbird even sells replacement parts and extensions. Better used with Hummingbird's excellent hammocks, but work with any type, though most will require a carabiner. These are the lightest and most compact tree straps ever. As seen in the photo bellow, it’s more than 10oz (300g +) over my Hamaca Portable Style, which is the heaviest one I’ve used, I admit, but still… Full review
Used a few times, including last night in Torridon in very wet conditions. Stable as anything, no condensation to worry about. Pitches really quickly. Took about five minutes and being fly first / in one means it's wonderful to put up when already raining. Weight—1.6 kilos—so not too heavy, but it feels bombproof, so worth the weight sacrifice for comfort. Full review
Perfect for Basecamp! space galore! so roomy Our dog appreciates the bump-outs on the side! great full mesh ceiling if you want to roll back the fly and sleep under the stars! great extra touches, like side bumpouts for getting gear out of the way, heavy duty floor, and shoe mat at entrance My husband and I have been doing primitive tent camping for decades, and have used a portable pop-up tent meant for a couple people who are backpacking or canoeing, where the name of the… Full review
I have used my Nemo Galaxi 2P tent for my solo (+ dog) backcountry camping for two years now. It is quick and easy to put up alone, very spacious design, held up beautifully during severe rainstorm. I love the fact that there is a lot of mesh space—I really like fresh air when I sleep! I like that there are two doors each with a large vestibule. It gives flexibility on choosing a site to set up—and allows for a nice cross breeze with the fly doors open. The fly also setups easily; both fly and… Full review
This tent is a classic!! This tent is a classic. I travelled and backpacked with it, through storms and sunshine. Even after years of use, it holds on real good. As long as you make sure your fly is nice and tight, you'll be safe from rain. I definitely recommend it. Full review
Out of the box, I really liked this tent. Super easy to set up, roomy, and a couple of nice extras like a hammock net to hold small items and a port to run a power cord through (I didn’t test this out because I had no power needs in the tent, but I did keep an eye on whether or not bugs would access the tent—didn’t see any inside!). This is a nice setup for a car camping tent for a family of four or a couple with dogs. On the downside, it was heavy (definitely not for backpacking), the bungies… Full review
Larger tent with room enough for three. Light enough to haul in a backpack, on a bike or canoe. Easier setup with color-coded sides. Would recommend and would get 5 stars if we didn't have a sewing defect on the rainfly. Just out of the box... The details for camping consideration. poles, stakes, rainfly, and tent. Right out of the box as it will never look like this ever again! This tent at 6 lbs and nicely packed can fit into a medium size backpack. Or can fit nicely into a bike wagon for… Full review
A very well-designed tent for three- or four-season use, with excellent protection from bad weather. Durable construction with excellent-quality materials. To me the K-2 XT is best on canoe trips on whitewater rivers, where the weight isn't significant, but the protection from wind, rain, and long stretches of cold weather is crucial. I have two 4P Timberlines and a Marmot Tungsten as well, and they're fine for summer in the south, but in the shoulder seasons, and especially in the north at any… Full review
Full Updated MSR Elixir 2 review (February 2021) A couple of months ago we made first impressions and technical specs videos of this tent (see below), but today we will be sharing our honest opinion about it, its pros and cons, and some tips and discoveries we made after using it the whole season of hiking. So if you’ve wanted to learn all the truth about this tent, this video may be useful for you. *** Cheap vs Expensive tent comparison (November 2020) In the following video we compare… Full review