If you’re anything more than a passive camping or hiking enthusiast, you know how critical it can be to have one of the best camping tents in (or on) your pack.
So to devise a list of top camping tents, and ultimately our #1 pick, we made sure to include both casual and avid campers. We then set out to create a minimum acceptable spec, which in this case was a 40D nylon 6 material used in high-wear areas, manufacturing best practice seam-tapping and weatherproofing, a minimum two-person occupancy, 3-Season rating or better, and minimum ventilation without any significant condensation buildup.
Finally, price point and weight played heavily, and that’s why our #1 Pick is the Nemo Equipment Losi Tent making it our Editor’s Choice/Best Camping Tent of 2019.
Though those variables weren’t alone in nudging the Losi in to first place – it’s ideal for the majority. Aside from being expertly designed, it’s roomy inside for a two-person tent, versatile enough for most, breathes very well, and it’s a breeze to hike with because it’s so lightweight.
- 1 Best Camping Tents 2019
- 2 How We Choose
- 3 Why You Should Buy a New Camping Tent
- 4 #1 Pick Nemo Equipment Losi Tent
- 5 #2 Pick Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8
- 6 #3 Pick Hilleberg Tarra
- 7 #4 Pick The North Face Summit Series VE 25 Summit Gold
- 8 #5 Pick Eureka K-2 KT Tent
- 9 Key Factors Considered
- 10 Key Features
- 11 Mistakes to Avoid
- 12 Which Tent is Right For Me
Best Camping Tents 2019
|Nemo Equipment Losi||Big Agnes Flying Diamond||Hilleberg Tarra||The North Face Summit||Eureka K-2 XT|
|Weight||4 lbs 4 oz||19 lbs 14 oz||8 lbs 6 oz||10 lbs 13 oz||11 lbs 12 oz|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
How We Choose
Material of construction is imperative when you’re manufacturing something that’s intended to stand up to extreme environments. Tent manufacturers that have an ultimate goal of creating superior products (as all of them should), will ensure proper performance materials are used for individual tent parts based on intended consumer use. The canopy, base, vestibule(s), rainfly, guy lines, leads, grommets, zippers, and guide stitching should all be carefully designed to last, with the occupant’s safety and comfort considered first and foremost before anything else – such as profit margin. These materials were the first thing that we considered when we developed the following list.
We also considered average consumer use when weighing our top picks – most hikers, backpackers, and campers won’t need tents rated for arctic conditions (although it’s nice to have equipment that can withstand severe environments, and it makes the purchase a more valuable long-term investment too). Overall spaciousness was considered with respect to maximum tent occupancy. We wanted to ensure that our top picks offered at least a floor area of 15 square feet per person, with an interior height of at least 41 inches at peak.
Avid campers know that condensation can be an issue if their tent isn’t properly ventilated, and through field testing we eliminated tents that didn’t demonstrate adequate air flow. There’s a fine balance between environmental protection rating and air flow. Double wall tents typically won’t breathe as well as single wall, and the heavier the material, the less airflow you should expect. Waterproof coatings will hinder air flow, and of course fewer vents mean a smaller volume of air in and out at any given time. All of these factors were considered when rating our initial selections.
Why You Should Buy a New Camping Tent
Advances in materials engineering have come a long way in recent years, and as performance materials continue to evolve, so will tent manufacturing methods. A quality tent is a long-term investment that should offer reasonable protection and comfort for you and your camping pals well into the future, but if you have something that’s a bit outdated it may be time to trade up.
In addition to advances in performance materials, extensive field testing continues to help manufacturers perfect structure design, rigging, and hardware components. Poorly designed components can spell trouble when you’re most vulnerable – I’ve had seams rip apart during trips, and zippers fail in thunderstorms (no fun).
Tears in your tent’s fabric can be safely patched if less than one inch in diameter, any larger and you need to replace your gear. Also, regularly inspect seams for signs of separation – if you find any irregularities it’s time to start shopping for a new tent.
With all of that said, on to our list!
#1 Pick Nemo Equipment Losi Tent
Price: $390 | Weight: 4 lbs. 4 oz. | Type: 3-Season Backpacker | Occupancy: 2 Person
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Durable, lightweight, and a low cost of ownership.
Finding a camping tent that’s this lightweight and durable – for this price – is hard to do. I’ve personally tested this tent in both the Ozarks during winter and the Deep South during summer, and it’s without a doubt the best tent I’ve ever owned. So far I’ve managed to log about 70 hours of hard use with the Nemo – and that’s 70 worry-free, no rip, peaceful hours, mind you.
Two doors (and two vestibules) make ingress with two people a breeze, and allows for that extra bit of space to pull gear in and out of the elements as needed. It’s also quite roomy…did I mention I like my space? Thirty-two square feet on the inside, with an interior height of forty-six inches, and a full mesh canopy to boot leaves little space to be desired.
The tent’s large side vents keep things cool in the warmer months, and also help move air through the tent so those all-day long hiking odors aren’t choking you up while you’re trying to catch some shut eye. If you’re considering the Nemo I highly recommend that you grab the Footprint and the Gear Loft.
Note: Get the footprint for obvious reasons. Get the Gear Loft for those extended trips when you’re packing small items you need quickly, or for an elevated area that you can use to dry moist clothing.
The Nemo Equipment Losi Tent is fully seamtaped and waterproof, and the precision-crafted pole structure provides a surprising amount of support for its unique construction. It’s an extremely well designed tent that very plainly demonstrates how quality engineering can make a huge difference in product life expectancy as well as its general ergonomic efficiency.
#2 Pick Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8
Price: $700 | Weight: 19 lbs. 14 oz. | Type: 4-Season | Occupancy: 8 Person
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Size, size, and Everest-ready construction.
If you’re planning a large family camping trip we’ve got a tent for you: meet the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8.
Built to handle the extreme elements of every season, the Diamond 8 features a dome design and pole support structure made to withstand significant winds and heavy snowfall. From Big Sur in August (35+ MPH winds) to the Sun River Country of Montana in November (withstanding 12” of fresh snow at 7 degrees) this big boy gets the job done and provides ample room for the family to stretch their legs too.
The interior floor area is a whopping 112 square feet with a peak height of six feet, and if that isn’t enough the vestibule offers an additional 35 square feet for storing gear, ice chests, and if you’re really a daredevil – other smaller tents.
Note: Overall an awesome family tent that will withstand severe conditions and provide years of use with the proper care. One caveat, watch out for the vestibule pole tension across the front door – some people have reported the zipper splitting after about two years.
#3 Pick Hilleberg Tarra
Price: $1100 | Weight: 8 lbs. 6 oz. | Type: 4-Season | Occupancy: 2 Person
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: It’s build quality is second to none, and leaves very little to be desired.
There are a few high-quality, extreme environment tents that meet the “mark” when it comes to durability, comfort, and ultimate consumer value, but the Hilleberg Tarra came out ahead of the rest due to its spaciousness and versatility.
With double-walled, all-season, domed construction complete with multiple pole intersections designed to support significant snow loads, the Hilleberg Tarra is a well-rounded monster best used for mountaineering expeditions, winter camping, base camping, and (if you’re brave enough) even polar expeditions.
The fabric used on the exterior shell is Kerlon 1800 and the support poles are a thick 10 mm making this a very sturdy shelter. Hilleberg didn’t miss the finer details either. The zippers are all heavy duty, pegs are top notch, and there are dual entrances to allow for ease of entrance and stowage of gear.
This tent recently received Top Pick by OutdoorGearLab and was proclaimed to be “the strongest two person tent they have ever tested.”
Note: If weight is a significant concern the Hilleberg may not be perfect for you, but you’re not going to find an all-weather, two-person, extreme environment tent that has this much room inside. If you’re like me, the extra 2.25 pounds is worth the additional leg room.
#4 Pick The North Face Summit Series VE 25 Summit Gold
Price: $730 | Weight: 10 lbs. 13 oz. | Type: 4-Season | Occupancy: 3 Person
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Easy to set up in bad weather, and capable of withstanding some of the planet’s worst conditions, the North Face Summit Series VE 25 is one of the most durable tents you can buy at this price point.
This thing is as close to bombproof as you’re going to get for its $730 price tag. Used extensively on K2 expeditions and tested to a whopping -60 degrees Fahrenheit, the Summit Series VE 25 will handle just about anything you’re willing to toss at it. At forty-eight square feet interior space it’s a roomy three person tent, and the vestibule is a useful eleven square feet. Also, with the Summit Gold’s heat-prevention flaps, you can use this sucker comfortably in the summer without dying from heat exhaustion.
No-stretch, reflective Kevlar guylines with a camming adjuster, and glow-in-the-dark zip pulls makes setup configuration a streamlined process, even in low-light conditions.
#5 Pick Eureka K-2 KT Tent
Price: $500 | Weight: 11 lbs. 12 oz. | Type: 4-Season | Occupancy: 3 Person
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Versatility, Comfort, and Cost.
I’m personally in love with the Eureka brand. They’re relatively easy on the wallet, and tend to last an extremely long time if you take proper care of them. If you’re searching for an excellent all-season tent that fits three adults comfortably, you’ll be hard pressed to find something at the same price point that provides as much value.
The Eureka K-2 XT Tent’s geodesic dome construction doesn’t give under high winds or heavy snowfall, and the two vestibules offer excellent protection from the elements. There’s also a unique guy line configuration that offers additional versatility when setting up camp.
Fifty-two square feet of floor space with a center height of forty-eight inches offers a roomy space for three adults, although if you’re like me you’ll only plan on sleeping two in this beast.
Note: The Eureka K-2 XT isn’t the lightest tent out there, but the durability you get with this all-season is worth the extra weight – if backpacking with a partner, split the load.
Key Factors Considered
- Construction: Some manufacturers miss the mark when it comes to using top notch materials for construction. Generally, you want to look for tents that feature fully seamtaped and waterproof materials, ripstop performance fabrics, well-engineered guy line supports, low-light ease of use features, and an included footprint to help protect your investment.
- Weight: If you’re an avid backpacker then you know all too well how important weight is. Depending on use, trail distance, and the number of people on your excursion, you’ll want to always consider pack weight before hitting the trail head.
- Occupancy: Clearly you need a tent that’s fit for the occasion and can accommodate your trekking buds. I prefer packing a tent that sleeps one additional person than I have in my party (Remember, I love my space).
- Ease of Setup: Some tents are just insanely complex and nearly require a degree in architecture to put together – stay away from these. Look for consumer reviews that praise ease of setup while hiking the great outdoors. This is your shelter from the elements, and the last situation you want to find yourself in is one where you’re stuck scratching your head in a state of confusion while the sun is setting and storm clouds are rolling in. The easier to set up, the better.
- Weather Rating: If you’re like me you like versatility. Today’s backpacking trip might take me to a warm climate, while tomorrow’s might take me to a frigid one. Make the most of your investment and grab an all-season tent that can tackle any environment. There are exceptions here though as clearly shown by our top pick – some of us will never have a need to tuck in and shelter from falling snow, high winds, or tiny monsoons again. Choose a tent that reflects your unique needs and can grow with you over time.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Complexity: If it’s too complex, stay away. Dangerous situations can arise while you’re hiking, or camping, and the last thing you want is to have a tent you can’t set up in inclement weather. Complexity and safety don’t mix. We realize that most buyers aren’t going to have the opportunity to assemble a tent prior to buying – our recommendation is to take advantage of consumer reviews that praise usability and setup.
- Price: A great tent isn’t cheap. Stay away from temptations to buy economy tents if you’re a regular outdoors-man. Quality, dependability, durability, and comfort are reflected in cost to own. If you cheap out, rips, leaks, and low-grade materials could bite you while on your next trek. Always do your research.
Which Tent is Right For Me
It really all comes down to usage. If you’re looking for a great all-around tent that can handle most challenges, delivers on price, durability, and ease of use the Nemo hits that mark and then some, but it doesn’t come close to the versatility of the Hilleberg. That said, if you don’t ever plan on camping in sub-freezing temps the Nemo may be perfect for you. It’s one of the best camping tents (with value and versatility in mind) on the market today, and should provide for many years of heavy use no matter where you hike to in the wild, beautiful world of the outdoors!