The Best Camping Tent Review

Looking for the most comfortable camping tent? One that will keep your friends and family dry in a storm, and will give you the ventilation you need to stay cool on a hot summer day when the insects start to get hungry? We took eight of the top models on the market and put them head-to-head in a variety of tests in our lab and in campgrounds around the West. We tested their comfort, storm-proofness, ease of setup, packed size, and workmanship to determine the overall best, the best value, and strongest.

See also: Best Backpacking Tent Review and Dream Camping Gear List.

Read the full review below >

Review by: Devin Chance ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab September 19, 2012

Top Ranked Camping Tents Displaying 6 - 7 of 7 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #6 #7
Product Name
Eureka Copper Canyon 8
Eureka Copper Canyon 8
Read the Review
Eureka Tetragon 8
Eureka Tetragon 8
Read the Review
Editors' Awards     
Street Price Varies $342 - $380
Compare at 3 sellers
$290
Overall Score 
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65
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57
Editors' Rating
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User Rating Be the first to rate itBe the first to rate it
Pros Spacious, tall, great ventilation, lots of pockets, free standing, removable divider.Easy setup, removable divider, big plastic stakes, free standing, gear loft.
Cons No vestibule, design is not good in wind, small tent stakes, pole joints get stuck in sleeves.Floating rain fly poles, not a lot of standing room due to dome shape,
Best Uses Camping, car camping, family camping.Car camping, family camping, camping
Date Reviewed Sep 19, 2012Sep 19, 2012
Weighted Scores Eureka Copper Canyon 8 Eureka Tetragon 8
Comfort - 40%
10
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9
10
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5
Weather Resistance - 30%
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4
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5
Ease Of Set Up - 15%
10
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7
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9
Workmanship - 10%
10
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4
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4
Packed Size - 5%
10
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5
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9
Product Specs Eureka Copper Canyon 8 Eureka Tetragon 8
floor materials 75D 190T polyester taffeta, 1200 mm coated 75D 210T polyester taffeta, 800 mm coated
rainfly materials 75D 190T polyester taffeta, 1200 mm coated 75D 185T polyester taffeta, 800 mm coated
main tent materials 75D 190T polyester taffeta, 1200 mm coated 75D 185T polyester taffeta, 800 mm coated
Seasons 3 3
weight 34lbs 2oz 20lbs 2 0z
design type freestanding freestanding
number of doors 2 2
inside max Height 7' 6'4
floor dimensions 130sq ft 120sq ft
packed size 10" x 28" 8x30
time to set-up with 2 people 15 min 12 min
take down time 10 min 13 min
Notes/awards

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


  • Review Photos
  • Editors' Choice Winners
  • All Reviewed Products

Choosing a camping model is completely different than trying to find the best backpacking tent. While weight dominates backpacking tent decision making, comfort is the number one criteria for camping. Below you'll see a summary of the tents we felt were the very best choices, and why. Take a look at our Camping Tent Buying Advice article for tips on how to narrow down the choices, and key buying considerations.

Comfort
We valued comfort as the most important rating category in our tests. The best tents had enough standing room for a dance party, while the smaller tents only had room for one person to stand up in the middle of the tent and crouch or bend everywhere else. We crowned the REI Kingdom 8 the comfort winner. It has enough screen windows and shading for your whole family to hang out in on a hot summer day and still be comfy. It also has huge a huge vestibule that allows you to keep a cluster-free environment in your tent by giving you more storage space for you gear. On top of that its barn house shape allows you to stand up throughout the tent and lets people circulate throughout it.

This tent exemplifies the qualities of a comfortable design. Other tents we tested that are similar in comfort were the Eureka Copper Canyon 8 and the Kelty Parthenon 8. Both allowed adults to easily walk around in the tent without crouching and also offered good ventilation.

Click to enlarge
The REI Kingdom 8 (left) lets even tall people walk throughout the entire tent and is very well-ventilated. The Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8 (right) is the most storm resistant tent in our general camping tent tests.
Credit: Devin Chance

Storm Resistance
When there is a surprise storm, you want to be ready for it and have a tent that can handle it. The most storm resistant tent we tested was the Marmot Limestone 6. It is the only tent we tested we would trust in a snowstorm. The design is very strong and the roof pitch sheds snow better than the competition. It is also a stable tent in high winds, something that few other tents of this comfort level can claim. The other top scoring tents for storm resistance was the Kodiak Flex-Bow.
Click to enlarge
The Kodiak Flex-Bow uses burly canvas with a durable pole design. This is the vent on the right side of the tent as well
Credit: Devin Chance
Workmanship
If you plan on using a tent for more than just one season you should really think about how well made and durable it's going to be. Our top scoring workmanship tent is the Kodiak Canvas 6-Person Flex-Bow Canvas Tent that won a Top pick award for this category. This tent will last you a lifetime of camping joy, and we used its high quality as a standard for the other tents we tested.

Click to enlarge
From left to right: Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8, REI Kingdom 8, Eureka Tetragon 8, Eureka Copper Canyon 8, Kelty Parthenon 8, Kodiak Canvas Flex-bow 6 person
Credit: Devin Chance
Packed Size
The Eureka Tetragon 8 and the Marmot Limestone 6 packed down the smallest and lightest. The two tents with the best carrying and organizing sacks were the REI Kingdom and the Big Agnes. Both use well-thought-out bags that allow you to organize the different tent components and pack up quickly.

Ease of Setup
The best tents we tested can be set up by one person without hassle, while the hardest tents take at least two people and a lot of time, especially at night by headlamp. The easiest tent to set up was the Coleman Instant Tent 6; with one person it only takes about two minutes.

The easiest tent to set up in windy conditions was the Kodiak Flex-Bow. It is heavy and less likely to fly away. You also don't have to wrestle on a rain fly as you do with many other tents.

The Winners
Editors' Choice: Rei Kingdom 8
The REI Kingdom 8 is our top rated tent. It scored the highest for comfort due to its high ceiling height, convenient divider. and great rain fly. It also scored very high in Ease of Setup and Workmanship. This tent gets all the details right: the vestibule is spacious and versatile and the carrying case is the best we tested.

Best Buy: Coleman Instant Tent
The Coleman Instant Tent 6 was the least expensive tent we tested and the easiest to set up. For occasional camping trips it is an excellent value and is less than half the cost of many other tents tested.

Top Pick: Big Agnes Flying Diamond
The Marmot Limestone 6 gets a Top Pick award because it is the second highest rated tent and the most storm resistant. It is the only contender we tested that we would really want to be in during a massive rain or snow storm. Most tents are okay in the rain, but the Flying Diamond is fit for serious wind, sleet, and snow.

Top Pick: Kodiak Flex-Bow
The Kodiak Canvas 6-Person Flex-Bow was the most durable tent we tested. It stood up to serious winds and all-around punishment. We expect this tent to have very good long-term value. When other tents begin to rip or bend poles after years of use, we expect the Flex-Bow to still be going strong. We also just like its nostalgic design it evokes that timeless camping feel when hanging out next to it and inside.

Devin Chance
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