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 February 2, 2023. 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 not tried this method. It just doesn't appeal to me at all. Seems very iffy, and the use of plastic etc., without a vent pipe or hole could contribute to soaking condensation. I've overnighted in -25°c in both quinzhees and proper winter backpacking tents, both accommodating a small stove to warm things up before turning in. This just looks really painful. :) Full review
A snow trench tarp shelter is quick and easy to make. But you must put ski poles or skis over the trench before laying down the tarp. Otherwise, you'll have to find some long branches. A tarp can be the most effective, easy to use shelter material. Full review
Claustrophobic I went with Sierra Club and they insisted I build one of these. It was the same basic idea but no lining. The problem in a nutshell—to me it was like being buried alive. Like being in a tomb. Like that scene in "Kill Bill" where Uma has to punch her way out of the coffin. I could not handle it. So I set up my tent. And was cold. Full review
This is my take on digging a snow cave for backcountry survival. SNOW CAVE The Scouts had a “Klondike” event where we slept in snow caves. Seemed like a great opportunity to learn a survival skill one would need if stuck in the backcountry. Snow maintains approximately 32/0° temperature and is good insulation against surrounding weather and temperature. We have some experts at this craft. I am not such an expert, but I thought I’d add the twist of using skis as the framework to see if that… Full review
Light weight, rugged design. Adequate construction. Decent zippers. Perfect for day-long bike trips or light camping duty. Full review
Tent is well constructed with lots of vents and doors. Great vestibule for cold weather entrance and gear storage. Easy to set up with color-coded poles. Four-person is large and you are able to stand up in it. Tent is great for base camp or car camping with two adults and one or two small children. I would recommend it, however it does not come with footprint and North Face does not support this tent as it recommends you use a footprint but does not carry them. Since tent is odd shape, even aftermarket… Full review
Good 2 person tent that really strikes a balance between weight and livability Note - This is the newer Solution Dye version of the Tiger Wall UL3. If you read my reviews you may know I don't like 2 person UL tents. In my travels, I have not had luck leaving equipment in the vestibules. Spiders, scorpions, porcupine and possum have all made their way to my vestibules. So, we require a tent big enough for gear inside. After looking at the Tiger Wall UL2, we decided on the Tiger Wall UL3. The UL2… Full review
The Serenity UL NetTent from Six Moon Designs works great as part of a primary shelter system, but is light enough to carry as a secondary option. So many ways to set up in shelters, under tarps, or open to the sky makes it great for distance hiking. Just add six stakes and a hiking pole Since I was going to be testing the Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape I figured I would try out their Serenity UL NetTent along with it. The two are designed to work together well and they do, but I used the tent… Full review
The Gatewood Cape from Six Moon Designs is a minimalist's dream that can serve as rain gear, pack cover, and shelter, among a few other things. Others dealing with harsh conditions or preferring more comfort will find it useful in addition to their regular kit. Laraway Mountain summit on the Long Trail in Vermont As part of my continuing search for an improved long-distance experience I am always trying out new things. This year I tried out a couple of things from Six Moon Designs that aren't… Full review