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 January 13, 2022. 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
A cheap, light, and highly effective item that simplifies and speeds up hanging tarps, clotheslines, etc. It has other uses as well. Introduction A few years ago I purchased a couple of these Cam Jams to see if and how I could use them to improve my camp setup workflow. I like Nite Ize products and have a lot of their S-biners and other NI items around. It’s basic but simple, practical and well-made stuff. The Cam Jam is basically a cord tightener. As anyone who backpacks and camps knows, this… Full review
Great, if you never have a warranty issue. Full review
Huge Dyneema tarp with tons of tie-out points. Can go into lots of configurations. Heavier weight Dyneema that has been durable. Perfect for the Pacific Northwest—can make a great big rain shelter, can be pitched in c-configuration which provides ground cover, can pitch beaks or flaps for privacy. I have been using this tarp for several seasons for solo backpacking in the Pacific Northwest, including the Olympic and Cascade mountains and section hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. The tarp is showing… Full review
The S2S Nano bugnet is an ultra-lightweight approach to bug protection under a tarp that works, but it comes with some significant compromises. If you already are comfortable with the sacrifices that a small floorless tarp comes with, then this S2S bugnet is one of the best choices for lightweight bug protection. Otherwise, this product probably isn’t for you. This is a review of the Sea to Summit Nano Insect Shield Net Shelter, single size. Sea to Summit (“S2S”) makes a variety of camping… Full review
The Hilleberg Helags 3 is a three-season tent designed for groups looking for excellent protection in a lightweight package. Although a bit tight for three people and their gear, this tent has superb livability for two people (a Helags 2 is also available). Excellent ventilation combats condensation well in such a large tent. Two doors/two vestibules allow for plenty of gear, and a 35-inch/89cm center height works well for most hikers. As outdoor recreation is coming to an all-time high, a need… Full review
The X-Mid is quick to set up and has a lot of vestibule space. It packs down to a football sized bundle and weighs about 2 pounds. X-Mid Initial Impressions I bought this tent when it was on sale so I was willing to take on an “unknown” product. The first time to set it up was confusing as the inner mesh tent has cords that attach to the fly. Once set up it provides a lot of space. After using it many nights, the set up is less than 2 minutes and unless on a pronounced slope, it pitches… Full review
Easy to set up, even in rain. Room for gear on both sides. MUST stake the interior section if on any slope because you will slide downhill. I looked for three years for just the right tent. This one is it! Easy to set up in the rain... uses my trekking poles, so reduced weight. It took some getting used to. I like my gear "inside" with me, but no can do with this tent. Still I did well and my gear stayed dry under the side walls. LOTS of room on both sides. Interior of tent is just enough for my… Full review
A lightweight, high quality, solo tent with great space and weather protection. A great solo shelter. It's lightweight, 2lbs 13 oz in its stuff sack. I carry its parts seperately: the poles and stakes in the Nemo bags provided that have cords with toggles, and the tent body and fly in a Sea to Summit Ultra Sil compression sack. The Nemo tent bag un-zips into two halves to carry the body and fly in one half. I'd recommend carrying a footprint, the bathtub floor's lightweight fabric (20 denier) is… Full review
The Gossamer Gear The One is a very straightforward non-free standing tent design that provides a nice amount of room, is lightweight, and is a reasonably priced shelter option for the solo hiker focused on minimizing weight. Overview Back in September of 2020 Gossamer Gear was phasing out the existing version of The One available as they were about to release an updated 2021 version of The One, and put the existing version on sale at a great price, so I picked one up. I really didn’t need… Full review