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 October 13, 2019. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.
Recent Tent/Shelter Reviews
The MSR FreeLite 2 is a dependable three-season tent that's designed for two people. With an easy setup and an efficient design, it's a solid option for the average backpacker. If you're someone who's looking for a dependable, lightweight tent, the MSR FreeLite 2 will do the trick. This tent is extremely reliable, straightforward, and packable. It's easy to pitch, holds up against gnarly rain and wind. And it even ventilates nicely. Without consulting instructions, the setup was fairly logical. Full review
A large bivy, not a hiking tent. I bought this a couple of years ago for section hiking part of the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand South Island. Though it did the job keeping me dry and snug it became very claustrophobic after a while especially when confined by rain. If the ground sheet tray is fully pegged down which covers the vestibule area too, cooking in wet weather is dangerous and therefore impossible. It can be unpegged and drawn back inside the main body but cooking is still not a safe… Full review
For an affordable fall and winter tent this one is very good value. The four-person version is great for two people and all their hunting gear. This tent is dry and fairly warm even in freezing conditions. This tent has seen all of its use in norther Minnesota October through December. It preforms very well in cool and cold weather along with rain and snow. I haven't had the tent up in high wind. I have never experienced any condensation on the inside, even running a propane heater which creates… Full review
I've used this tent for three-season camping in Minnesota. Lightweight (10.6oz), durable, easy to pack and set up. I'm 5'11'' and 160lbs. It houses me and my pack comfortably. It's more of a 1.5-man bivy than strictly a one-man. And if you really needed to, two people could snuggle up tight inside. Seams are sealed and I haven't had any water intrusion when camping on damp ground. Setup: A little more tedious, as the poles do not support the shape of the tent on their own. Staking or guy lines are… Full review
Cheap, light, resilient; a quality clone of the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2. IMPORTANT MODEL NOTE: I have an older, out-of-production version. The new (current) is about 150 grams heavier, has more pole structure at the rear, a ventilation flap, and mid-fin side guys. Setup: Very easy, though a little thought is required for a taut pitch. The basic pitch is inner first: an aluminium pole structure (all-in-one, on a hub) overlaid on the inner, the inner clips to the poles, then a fly is put over. Full review
Great two-persons lightweight summer tent, well ventilated and easy to set up with a generous front big mesh door for easy entry that can be covered by a double zipped fly creating a vestibule. The front fly could be also used as a canopy or when rolled up for easy access, extra breeze, or just stargazing. Since all the major technical aspects have been covered in previous reviews I will concentrate on some observations that in my opinion made the difference—pleasant and unpleasant alike. Setting… Full review
2-1bs and a 4 per leg, 1-1b and a 1 per gable, 2-2b's and a 2 per cross support. 5's make up the 2 canopy truss supports. It is that easy. Overall we have had good success with this, other than the fact the screen doesn't quite go to the ground. Full review
I purchased a Eureka Summit in 1993 when I moved to Alaska. It is fairly heavy, and after 25+years of use, the zippers are finally failing. I am hoping I can fix this by replacing the zipper sliders. Full review
The setup was easy, it packed well into the bag, poles look to be good quality. My problem is with the "pop-up" vents on the fly. There is not enough overhang to keep rain from blowing in. I have a lot of ALPS gear, so I figured I would try a tent. The setup was easy. It packed well into the bag. Poles look to be good quality. Disappointing that it does not come with a floor saver. My problem is with the "pop-up" vents on the fly. There is not enough overhang to keep rain from blowing in. It was… Full review
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.