• Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Go out and camp with the best tents for your adventures

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Apr 7, 2021

Derrek Sigler 04.07.21

Go out and camp with the best tents for your adventures

There are two types of people in this world: those who camp and those who don’t. The majority of us fall into the first category and enjoy the spirit of the great outdoors that can only be understood through a fun and relaxing camping trip. While modern RVs have made the activity quite luxurious, most of us started camping with a tent, and many of us still enjoy using one. Tents are a great way to connect with nature, while being able to protect yourself from rain and mosquitoes. We spent many nights in a tent and endured both great experiences and less than favorable conditions. Finding the best tents for your adventures is easier than you think. Bring on the summer, it’s time to go camping.

Cover image: Shutterstock/TSLPhoto

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Contents

1. Browning Big Horn – Great Tent Selection

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Browning Big Horn - Large Tent Spike

A large tent for a family trip

This is a line of tents that we have quite a bit of experience with. It’s a large tent with a divider that makes two rooms, perfect when you want one room for your gear and one for sleeping. It has a center height of 7’3″, which is really good for us taller ones who don’t want to bend over all the time. This tent has 150 square feet of space and comes with interlocking fiberglass poles. glass. The tent has two doors and six windows for ventilation. The flysheet is coated for UV resistance and waterproofing. We have used these tents for week-long family trips. They can accommodate up to 8 people and seem to hold up pretty well to bad weather, and trust me – if you’re camping for a week it’s bound to rain at least once.

Point: Do not attempt to assemble this tent by yourself. It’s definitely a two-person job.

Benefits/Large, spacious and robust once installed

The inconvenients/It takes two people to set up

Conclusion/An ideal tent for families or long trips

2. The North Face Wawona – Choice of four

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The North Face Wawona - Choice for Four

Compact 4 people

It has been a few years since I was first exposed to The North Face tents. I was immediately struck by the quality of the components. This is what distinguishes good tents from bad ones. It is easy to use quality nylon and other materials to make the tent shell quality, but the poles and other equipment must hold up. This compact 4-person tent from The North Face uses their new DAC MX pole, which adds strength to the pole while reducing weight. The tent has a double-wall construction for durability, while allowing excellent airflow. Pockets on the sides and in the ceiling provide storage for gear, and there is a large additional storage vestibule big enough for one person to sit in.

Point: Great tent for a family hiking adventure.

Benefits/Strong and compact posts, but large in size

The inconvenients/Higher cost

Conclusion/A large tent for 4 people

3. Cabela’s Alaskan Guide – Editor’s Choice

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Cabela's Guide to Alaska - Editor's Choice

Built for brutal conditions

I admit to being a bit biased towards Cabela’s Alaskan Guide series tents. At a former employer, we were allowed to use these tents whenever we went camping, and I spent many nights inside. That included a few nights (and days) of keeping my head down as a series of severe storms blew me away on a spring turkey hunt. The Alaska Guide was developed to handle the most extreme weather conditions while keeping you and your gear toasty warm. It features a durable 75D ripstop polyester flysheet with a 2000mm PU waterproof coating that keeps rain and snow out no matter how hard the wind blows at you. The tent body is made from 210D Oxford polyester for extreme durability and a tub-style floor that prevents water from seeping into your tent. You have additional protected storage and a protected entrance with the integrated vestibule. There are also vents to allow the tent to breathe, which helps reduce moisture buildup from morning condensation or the weather mentioned above. There are several sizes available, but I like the 8-man, simply because I like the extra space.

Point: Thoroughly clean your tent and dry it before storing

Benefits/The best tent for an unpredictable Mother Nature

The inconvenients/Any

Conclusion/When you want to stay dry and comfortable, that’s it

4. Coleman Sundome – Budget Choice

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Coleman Sundome - Economy Choice

Back to basics

Yes, there are a few tents that are slightly cheaper, but for the difference of a few bucks, you might as well get a trusted brand, like Coleman. The Sundome series has been around forever. The latest version uses Coleman’s Weathertec nylon and taped seams for a dry and comfortable camping trip. It has a center height of 6 feet and can be easily installed in minutes. The flysheet keeps you from getting wet when the sky opens up and the design and components help the tent withstand winds of up to 35 mph. A port in the corner of the tent lets you plug in a power cord to add extra comfort while you’re camping as well.

Point: Adding a little CampDri helps extend the life of the tent.

Benefits/Easy installation and disassembly

The inconvenients/Not as portable for hiking

Conclusion/A great budget option

5. NEMO Kunai – Backpack Pick

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NEMO Kunai - Backpack Choice

Four season fun

When you’re a serious backpacker, space is at a premium, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality either. The Nemo Kunai is an amazing 2-person, 4-season backpacking tent that weighs just 67 oz and takes up virtually no room in the pack. The tent has a rainfly that covers both rain and snow, and it blocks the wind, keeping you comfortable whether you’re hiking along the trails in summer or winter, and n anywhere in between. It has a 20D Polyester Ripstop outer shell with No-See-Um mesh and the fly is 15D Nylon Sil/PeU Ripstop 1200mm. The floor material is 30D PeU Ripstop nylon so you can rest easy that the elements won’t rip through the floor to ruin your night. The lightweight and compact poles can also handle whatever nature throws at you.

Point: Sweep up dirt and rocks as often as possible, as they can damage any tent.

Benefits/Compact and lightweight with 4 season comfort

The inconvenients/Taller campers will want a longer tent

Conclusion/A great backpacking tent for year round use

Vestibules Explained

A common complaint we see about some tents is related to the vestibule, and it’s usually because someone doesn’t quite understand how one is calculated into the capacity of the tent. A vestibule is the space between the outer flysheet door and the inner tent door. This is generally considered a protected place to store gear, boots and more that is not part of the tent’s footprint. Some tents and manufacturers have vestibules that can also be added to the tent for additional storage.

Vestibules are very important for four-season tents, as they allow you to store wet gear, boots, backpacks and more that might otherwise take up valuable space inside the tent.

Tent seasons

When you see a tent classified as a four season tent, you can expect several things. The rainfly will extend to the ground and the tent structure can withstand the harshest winter conditions. You often pay a premium for a four-season tent, so consider that and how you plan to use your tent before you buy.

Other tents are considered three-season tents, although you may not want to use one in early spring or late fall, depending on where you are camping. These tents may not be as structurally built for higher winds and weather, and rain will not often spread to the ground.

Should I air my tent?

Yes definitely. Any use allows a certain amount of moisture to remain trapped inside the tent, and moisture is the enemy of everything. Let dry completely.

Should I spray my tent before using it?

Yes and no. Check your tent’s manual to see if spraying a silicone-based waterproofing agent, like CampDri, will harm your tent’s fabric. It used to be that you had to avoid waking up wet, but today’s fabrics are much better.

About the Author

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Derrek Siger

Derrek Sigler has been a professional outdoor writer for more than two decades since earning his master’s degree in creative writing with a thesis on fishing humor. But if you ask anyone who knows him, he’s been telling fishing stories since he was old enough to hold a rod. He has written for Cabela’s and served as editorial director for Gun Digest books. Over the years he has also written for Petersen’s Hunting, North American Whitetail Magazine, Wildfowl, Grand View Media and worked with Bass Pro Shops, Hard Core Brands and Bone Collector. Successful Farming got him to write for their magazine and he appeared on their TV show discussing hunting and ATVs on several occasions. He writes about the things he loves – hunting, fishing, camping, trucks, ATVs, boating, snowmobiles and the outdoor lifestyle he enjoys with his family in their state native of Michigan and more as they venture across North America.

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