May 15, 2023

These Camping Tents Will Keep You Comfortable and Dry

"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."

Part of the fun of camping is bedding down in a tent for the night, reading or telling stories by flashlight, and taking in the sounds around you as you nod off. Determining which tent will keep you comfortable depends on how easy it is to set up, whether it can handle some inclement weather, and the overall durability of the materials.

For relatively casual summer adventures, this all-important piece of camping gear doesn't demand a large investment—there are tons of affordable tents that’ll last years with proper care. There are plenty of great options ranging from basic shelters to feature-rich abodes that start to feel more like glamping.

For this guide, we focus mainly on car camping tents that prioritize comfort, weather-proofing, and ease of setup. If you’re hoping to save a lot of weight in your pack or space in your car, check out our guide to the best ultralight tents.

To find the best camping tents on the market, we tested almost a dozen tents that’ll make your next trip the best one yet, whether you’re going solo or hitting the parks with your family.

If you’re heading out for a weekend to one or two campsites, a sizable car camping tent will keep you the most comfortable. Car camping tents prioritize livability, with most four-person models measuring five feet or more at the tallest point.

Generally speaking, more breathable, more durable tents cost more money—but the most expensive tents prioritize the lightest weight possible, which isn't an issue if you’re car camping. Durable materials add weight, but also prolong your tent's lifespan, especially if it rains a lot in your favorite camping spots.

Some deluxe models include multiple rooms, extravagant windows, and other various extra features—these can be more expensive, but car camping tents are available at every price point.

[accordion id='077ff35c-247f-4011-8868-5713e9e71a0c'][/accordion]

To find the best camping tents, we considered spaciousness, features, materials, packed size, weight, ease of setup, and costs. We slept in the most promising models while camping in state parks across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Delaware.

These tents have seen us through rain storms, clear nights, below-freezing temperatures, humid summer nights, and one severe thunderstorm. As we used them, we judged how well the tents ventilated and how easy they were to pitch and pack.

Shop Now

Base Camp 4-Person Tent


REI's Base Camp tent has a classic dome design, is highly weather-resistant, and can fit up to four people, though we recommend keeping it at two. The two wide doors give tent-mates the option to enter and exit without bothering the other, with a solid fabric for privacy and a mesh panel for venting.

The mesh roof provides extra ventilation and gives your the option of star gazing from the comfort of your tent. Color-coded poles and sleeves make setup quick and easy if you’re pulling up to the campsite after dark. The vestibule covers both front and back, with just enough room in the front to keep gear covered outside the tent. The interior of the tent has a bunch of pockets and hang lines for those who like to keep a tidy "home" while out in the wilderness.

The fly on this tent is thick and provides great weather resistance, but it does get a bit warm on sunnier days. The fly makes this a great option for four-season camping, but if summers are exceptionally hot in your area, you may want something with more mesh. The peak height won't let you stand up completely, but it is comfortable for most.

For the quality, roominess, and price, the REI Base Camp tent is a great option for two or three people looking to get out of the city in a reliable, weather-resistant shelter.

Shop Now

Sundome 4 Camping Tent


The Sundome has two large windows and a ground vent to increase airflow and prevent condensation. For a techie touch, Coleman added a zippered port to the front of the tent so you can run electrical cords inside from your campsite's outlet.

It runs less than half the cost of most four-person tents while boasting more square footage than many competitors—it feels generous in size even without vertical walls or a tall ceiling. Of course, there are some trade-offs: There's only one door and a decent amount of water seeped in at the corners after a full day in the rain. Just be sure to seal the seams before your first use and it won't be an issue.

If you don't need a lot of bells and whistles and mostly stick to fair-weather adventures, the Sundome is made for you.

Shop Now | Shop Now | Shop Now | Shop Now

Shop Now

Alpha Breeze Camping Tent


The Alpha Breeze performs as well as it looks, with sturdy materials and array of windows and vents. It has four doors that are double-layered with solid and mesh panels, and the A-frame design provides exceptional wind and weather-resistance.

The poles and floor are heavyweight, which is great for durability but makes this one of the heaviest on our list. The combination of thick materials and good ventilation make this a great option for four-season camping because it's adaptable to more extreme weather including high winds, torrential rain, and summer heat.

The large awning provides a vestibule that gives you useable coverage at both the front and back of the tent—the front can fit two chairs and some gear, while the smaller back area works for boots and shoes. The A-frame inspired design offers ample floor space that’ll fit two single cots with plenty of room in the middle for extra gear or a dog, or three to four single beds with minimal gear inside.

This tent shines when it comes to the durability of materials, but it's heavy to carry. The provided bag is small enough for a short hike to a campsite if you want to get off the beaten path, but it's too heavy for thru-hiking trips. Color-coded poles and sleeves help during setup, but it wouldn't hurt to do a trial run before taking this tent out as the awning can be tricky.

Shop Now

Half Dome SL 2+ Camping Tent


Despite the trimmed-down specs, the Half Dome still manages to clock in as one of the roomiest two-person tents out there—and now it comes with a footprint that wasn't included in previous versions.

REI cut the number of roof vents from four to two, lowering the peak height by two inches, as well as updated the door design to remove part of the zipper and used finer fabrics on the floor and fly. What hasn't changed is the nearly 36 square feet of floor space, which can accommodate campers with four-legged friends or extra gear. It's roomy enough that we didn't feel like we had to compete for space with our tent-mates.

Color-coded clips easily snap into place, allowing us to speed through setup. The full-coverage fly didn't falter despite an all-night deluge during our test, and we appreciated that we could open and close the roof vents from inside instead of outside—and even when they were closed, we had enough ventilation.

Shop Now | Shop Now

Shop Now

2 Second Easy Pop-Up Camping Tent


The Easy has a pre-assembled design that works via a connected system of hinged poles, cords, and handles. Pull the two handles, and the tent—fly and all—pops up, though it didn't exactly happen that fast on the first try. One of the hinges refused to lock in place initially, but it cooperated after a few tries. Breaking down is just as simple: After removing the stakes and guy lines, two buttons collapse the poles, fold in the corners of the tent, and tuck everything back into the bag.

We liked how dark the interior of the tent was and credit the multi-layered fabric that reflects and blocks light. The fly blocked out almost all sunlight, which helped our tester get a restful sleep past sunrise.

The thick polyester fly did make the tent feel stuffy soon after we set it up with the temperature in the 70s, though. Rolling up one of the fly doors helped a lot, but that may not be enough on warmer days.

Our six-foot-two tester appreciated the ample headroom, but the narrow floor felt crowded for two. That said, we were glad that each occupant had their own door. The Easy is the kind of tent that's not intimidating to use if you’re just getting into camping, and it’ll make more experienced campers at the next site over think twice about their more complicated rigs.

Read Full Review

Shop Now

Copper Canyon LX Car Camping Tent


Even the tallest campers won't have to crouch inside the Copper Canyon LX. This big, boxy tent has vertical walls and reaches seven feet at its peak—we could comfortably stand up, walk around, reposition gear, and change clothes. The LX makes good use of the space with four mesh pockets, two removable gear lofts, and a hook in the center, which we used to hang a headlamp.

Pitching the LX is uncomplicated. The height did pose a minor challenge to our five-foot-four tester when attaching the fly, but it was doable. The tent body is mostly polyester taffeta, and it has four large windows you can partially open to control ventilation. We didn't experience any stuffiness inside, but we tested early in the season when temperatures didn't top 40 degrees.

Another feature we love is the zippered cord port to the left of the door. The Copper Canyon has just one entrance, except in the eight- and 12-person versions, which are outfitted with a room divider. Still, the tent is plenty livable and great for longer car camping trips.

Shop Now | Shop Now | Shop Now | Shop Now

You Might Also Like

The Do's and Don'ts of Using Painter's Tape

The Best Portable BBQ Grills for Cooking Anywhere

Can a Smart Watch Prolong Your Life?

How We Tested You Might Also Like