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Black Folks Camp Too

Tent Camping

BEST CAMPING TENTS OF 2019

For your home away from home in the outdoors, we break down the year’s top tents for camping from premium to budget.

Spacious, user-friendly, and feature-rich, tents for camping are made for a relatively luxurious experience in the outdoors. Many of these behemoths offer enough room to set up cots or even chairs and a table for card games on a rainy day. The majority of car campers take only a few trips a year, usually during the peak summer months, and even the cheapest tents on this list will perform well for this type of use. For tougher weather conditions or as a long-term investment, consider springing for a better-built and more expensive model. For more information, see our comparison table and buying advice below the picks. To complete your kit, we’ve also written about the best camping sleeping bags and mattresses.

Our Top 10 Rated Camping Tent

1. REI Co-op Kingdom 6 ($469)

Floor area: 83.3 sq. ft.
Doors: 2
Weight: 21 lbs. 6 oz.
Capacities: 4P, 6P, 8P
What we like: Spacious and can be divided to create separate rooms.
What we don’t: Super tall construction isn’t ideal for windy weather, although the new pole design helps.

For a quality build from a company that knows a thing or two about camping, the REI Co-op Kingdom is our top tent of 2019. Most importantly, you get a ton of livable space and just about all of the features we look for. The hubbed pole design creates near-vertical walls, so the peak height of 75 inches is enjoyed throughout most of the tent (traditional dome-style tents are only roomy in the very middle). Further, the Kingdom has been thoughtfully designed with plenty of interior storage, a center divider to create separate rooms, large doors on both ends, and a rainfly that is one of our favorites on the market.

 

2. Coleman Sundome 6 ($90)

Floor area: 100 sq. ft.
Doors: 1
Weight: 16 lbs. 10 oz.
Capacities: 2P, 3P, 4P, 6P
What we like: Bargain basement price.
What we don’t: Questionable build quality and limited rainfly coverage.

Realistically, a healthy number of people only go camping once or twice a summer in good conditions, and don’t need all the bells and whistles of the tent above. If this sounds like you, give serious consideration to the Sundome 6 from Coleman, which isn’t made from the fanciest fabrics but likely will got the job done. Most importantly, the price that’s often around $90 is a steal compared to some of the fully featured tents on this list that are five times that much.

 

3. REI Co-op Half Dome 4 Plus ($329)

Floor area: 58.7 sq. ft.
Doors: 2
Weight: 7 lbs. 10 oz.
Capacities: 1 Plus, 2 Plus, 3 Plus, 4 Plus
What we like: Great crossover camping and backpacking tent for families.
What we don’t: $30 price jump from the previous model.

REI redesigned its signature Half Dome line last year with a big emphasis on interior space. To start, they now only offer “Plus” versions, which traditionally were longer and wider variations of their standard-sized models. The other major change was a new pole design that stretches the walls to be nearly vertical, giving the interior an even more open and airy feel. And good news for those who have owned previous editions: the current Half Dome retains the build quality, durability, and feature set that has made it a long-time favorite.

 

4. Marmot Limestone 4P ($359)

Floor area: 59.7 sq. ft.
Doors: 2
Weight: 11 lbs. 11 oz.
Capacities: 4P, 6P, 8P
What we like: High-quality construction and enough tent for most campers.
What we don’t: Not as storm-ready as the Marmot Halo.

The livability of the REI Kingdom above is tough to beat, but Marmot offers another quality set-up in the Limestone. This camping tent includes ample space for four, is easy to pitch, and reasonably weather resistant thanks to a full-coverage rainfly and taut DAC pole design that stands up well to moderate wind. And while the peak height of 61 inches on this four-person dome-style tent isn’t anything to write home about (the higher capacity versions have taller ceilings), the poles effectively stretch the walls outwards to create a roomier-feeling interior. It’s true that the Kingdom 4 is taller and more spacious, but the Limestone costs $40 less and is a better performer when the wind picks up.

 

5. Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Model 6-Person ($450)

Floor area: 90 sq. ft.
Doors: 1
Weight: 33 lbs.
Capacities: 4P, 6P, 8P
What we like: A very strong, weather-worthy design.
What we don’t: Heavy and doesn’t have as much usable space as the REI Kingdom.

For camping in rough weather, Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Model is a proven winner. With a strong six-pole hexagonal design, full-coverage rainfly, thick polyurethane floor and fly coatings, and tough fabrics, the tent is capable of handling brutal wind (it’s rated for 50 mph gusts), rain, and even snow. Importantly, it’s also comfortable in mild temperatures and rich in features. Mesh vents and windows can be opened to encourage airflow, the front vestibule is generously sized, and you get enough pockets along the interior to keep gear organized. The REI Kingdom above has better organization and more mesh for warm weather, but the Alaskan Guide is the better option for hunkering down in a storm.

 

6. Kelty Discovery 6 ($200)

Floor area: 97.5 sq. ft.
Doors: 1
Weight: 16 lbs. 4 oz.
Capacities: 4P, 6P
What we like: Good price and a nice overall design.
What we don’t: One door and thin, delicate materials.

Kelty’s Discovery line offers a competitive mix of features for value-oriented campers. At $200 for the six-person model, it’s affordable but includes a number of upgrades from cheap tents like the Coleman Sundome above. First off, you get a full-coverage rainfly and vestibule for rainy and windy conditions. Kelty also uses quite a bit more mesh in the construction so the tent makes it easier to keep cool in the summer heat. We would prefer a second door for easier access and more storage, but it’s not a deal breaker at this price point.

 

7. REI Co-op Base Camp 6 ($449)

Floor area: 84 sq. ft.
Doors: 
2
Weight: 20 lbs. 10 oz.
Capacities: 4P, 6P
What we like: Sturdy structure, ease of use, and full-coverage rainfly.
What we don’t: Not as roomy as the Kingdom 6.

The Base Camp from REI is the sturdier cousin to our top-rated Kingdom tent, and shares the same excellent mix of quality materials, organization, and design features. The dome shape means the walls aren’t as vertical as the Kingdom, but with an updated pole structure for last year, it’s still very easy to move around inside. Other notable changes include more mesh along the tent body and additional rainfly vents, which address some of the airflow issues of the prior model. Importantly, the Base Camp remains a strong performer in the wind with its overlapping five-pole system (it’s rated for 3+ season use, meaning the tent can hold its own).

 

8. Caddis Rapid 6 ($280)

Floor area: 100 sq. ft.
Doors: 1
Weight: 25 lbs. 8 oz.
Capacities: 6P
What we like: Fast set up and quality materials.
What we don’t: Only partial coverage rainfly and very large packed size.

For those that want a fast set up, tents that have the poles permanently attached can cut down on the total time substantially. Caddis isn’t the only company to use this quick pitch design but we think it’s the best on the market. Unlike the popular Instant Tent from Coleman below, the hallmark feature of the Rapid 6 is the quality of materials. True, the poles are heavy steel, but everything else stacks up very well at this price point. It’s also massive inside, with 100 very usable square feet thanks to near-vertical walls.

 

9. Big Agnes Big House 6 Deluxe ($400)

Floor area: 75 sq. ft.
Doors: 2
Weight: 13 lbs. 11 oz.
Capacities: 4P, 6P
What we like: Tall walls and airy feeling inside.
What we don’t: Less weather worthy than the competition.

Aptly named, the Big Agnes Big House Deluxe offers excellent interior space at a competitive price. The Big House was updated a couple years ago, and Big Agnes switched from a dome shape to a cabin style for improved roominess. The design is quite tall, with the sidewalls sloping upward aggressively to a peak height of 78 inches in the six-person model. Keep in mind that this extra real estate creates a sail-like effect in the wind, so make sure to stake the tent out completely and use the included guylines.

 

10. The North Face Wawona 4 ($299)

Floor area: 58.1 sq. ft.
Doors: 2
Weight: 13 lbs.
Capacities: 4P, 6P
What we like: Open interior at a good value.
What we don’t: Single-wall construction isn’t as versatile as double wall.

Products from The North Face languished in quality for years, but we’ve seen a noticeable bump in design and innovation of late. From their camping tent lineup, we like the Wawona for its mix of price, ease of use, and durability. Offered in four- and six-person capacities, the tunnel-like design is reminiscent of the REI Co-op Kingdom above and offers a generous amount of livable space. But where it really stands out is value: the Wawona 4 undercuts the Kingdom 4 by $100 without compromising in storage or wind and rain protection.

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