Best 3 Person Tent Review

Best 3 Person Tent for Backpacking Reviews

Reviews of the Best 3 Person Tents for Backpacking

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We’ve all heard it: “Three’s a crowd.”

Clearly, people saying this have never had a ménage à trois. Or maybe they have and it didn’t go well.

Anyway, for whatever reason you’re in search of an ultralight, best 3 person tent for backpacking, you came to the right place.

Each review is based on:

  • Durability
  • Ease of use
  • Season rating
  • Comfort Level
  • Detailed specs
  • Cheapest Prices

Let’s get started!

The Best 3 Person Tent for Backpacking:
What Sets an Ultralight Tent Apart?

1.When you’re backpacking, the best type of tent to use is an ultralight tent. The best 3 person tents for backpacking are compact. Also, they should be less than 5 lbs yet durable enough to last for years.

2. Usually, the lightest 3 person tents aren’t as stable as the heavier ones.

3. Condensation is common in ultralight tents. The key to preventing condensation is to make sure you have as much ventilation as possible. Leave your rainfly open at night, and you’ll find a lot less dampness in the morning.

The Three Best 3 Person Tents for Backpacking

Big Agnes Fly Creek Ultralight 3 Person Tent

The Lightest 3 Person Tent for Backpacking

Weight Measurements Basics Material
Packed Weight: 3 lbs 8 ounces Floor Dimensions: 90 x 66 (foot width) 60 inches Form Factor: Freestanding Canopy Fabric: Ripstop nylon/polyester mesh
Minimum Trail Weight: 3 lbs Peak Height: 42 inches Doors: 1 Tent Floor: Coated Ripstop Nylon
Rainfly + Footprint Weight: 2lbs 5oz Square Footage: 39 square feet Season Rating: 3 Rainfly: Coated Ripstop Nylon
Pole: 9.6 millimeters Vestibule Square Footage: 12.5 square feet Available Color: Gold/Grey Pole Type/Material: Aluminum DAC Featherlite NSL*


The Big Agnes Fly Light Ultralight 3 is an excellent tent for backpacking. In addition to having an incredibly low trail weight, it provides excellent storage and organization options. It’s also easy to set up, and it accommodates people over 6 feet tall. The biggest downside is that the ultra thin walls don’t do well with mid- to heavy winds.

Price-O-Meter: $$$$
(Price scale is 1-5, with 5 being the most expensive)

Included Set Up

It all depends on the vendor. If you buy directly from REI, only the stuff sacks and 11 superlight stakes are included.

However, you can usually get better deals if you look around the web for them. In this case, everything but the footprint comes with the tent. Talk about a bargain!

You can either buy the exact footprint for the Fly Light Ultralight Best 3 Person Tent, or you can save money by using a footprint you already have. Another option is to poke around the web for a cheaper rainfly that’s just as good. Just make sure it’s compatible with the tent’s dimensions.

Why We Love It

Easy organization: There’s plenty of storage space both outside and inside this 3 person ultralight tent. In the first place, the vestibule allows for covered storage space. The second awesome characteristic is that the tent has 7 interior pockets.

Stability: Due to its expert design and several guy points, it the Big Agnes Fly Light Ultralight 3 person tent can handle mild rain and winds. However, it *is* one of the lightest ultralight tents and therefore has ultra-thin wall. Naturally, heavy winds will take a toll on the shape.


Comfort: Next, there’s the comfort factor. Unsurprisingly, this ultralight beauty is comfy due to plenty of room. Since the peak height is 42 inches (3.5 feet), most people can comfortably sit upright.

Another aspect is its length. Attention, tall campers! The sleeping length is 90″ (7.5 feet). With this length, there’s extra room at the end to store some of your belongings.

However, the walls lean inward which can make it a little crowded for 3 people. It’s best as a 2 person tent for backpacking.

Ease of Use: In the same way it’s comfy, the Fly Light Ultralight best 3 person tent is relatively easy to set up. It’s no instant tent, of course. But considering that it’s a backpacking tent, it isn’t hard to set up. DAC Twist Clips snap onto the poles quick as can be.

Reflective guyouts and webbings on the corners help keep you from stumbling into the tent after one beer too many…

Special Considerations

Although this is one of the best 3 person tents for backpacking, it isn’t good for rough weather or car camping. It’s very, very thin. That compromises durability and the ability to withstand heavy wind and rain. Steer clear of the Fly Creek if you know you’ll be in very windy or stormy conditions on a regular basis.

Best Uses

Above all, the Fly Light Ultralight best 3 person tent is ideal for backpacking. We can’t emphasize enough how lightweight it is. In fact, it’s lighter than a lot of 1 and 2 person tents. So for long treks, this could be a life saver.
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>>Click Here for Pictures & More Reviews

Reviews of the Best 3 Person Tents:
Big Agnes Copper Spur Ultralight 3 Person Tent

The Most User-Friendly Ultralight 3 Person Tent


Weight Measurements Basics Materials
Packed Weight: 4 lbs Floor Dimensions:  90 x 70/62  inches Form Factor: Freestanding Canopy Fabric: Ripstop nylon/polyester mesh
Minimum Trail Weight: 3 lbs 7 oz Peak Height: 43″ Doors: 2 Tent Floor: polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon
Rainfly + Footprint Weight: 2 lbs 12 oz Square Footage:  41 square feet Season Rating: 3-4 Rainfly: polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon
 Number of stakes: 8 Vestibule Square Footage: 9 + 9 square feet Available Color: Orange/Grey Pole Material: DAC Featherlite aluminum


The next ultralight, best 3 person tent up for review is another Big Agnes tent, and it’s just as impressive as the Fly Creek. The Big Agnes Brand is one of the best tent brands; you can count on quality tents and great customer service.

In a nut shell, the Big Agnes Copper Spur 3P has plenty of advantages over the Fly Creek. It’s more spacious, has more features, and is much sturdier. However, it is heavier and takes up more space in a backpack.

Price-O-Meter: $$$$

Included Set Up

When you buy this particular Big Agnes Copper Spur Ultralight 3 person tent, set up includes the poles, stuff sack with sewn-in instructions, 8 stakes, and lightweight tent clips.

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This is by far the most comfortable ultralight 3 person tent. (Click for more pictures.)


Why We Love It

Doors & Vestibules: There are two doors with vestibules. This adds extra storage with twice the vestibule space.

Organization: There are an incredible 8 interior mesh pockets on the inside of the tent. This means that each person has two pockets to organize/separate their personal belongings.

Stability: Unlike the Big Agnes Fly Light Ultralight 3 person tent, the Copper Spur is sturdy for its weight. This is a huge contributor to why it’s heavier, of course. But it stands up much better under windy and rainy conditions.


Two vestibules mean twice the storage. Since they have room, you’ll have less gear crammed in the tent with you.

Also, rather than having one door to crawl in and out of, there are two! That means more personal space, ultimately. The chances of waiting for a tent-mate to get in and out are slim to none.

The longer your backpacking trip is, the more thankful you’ll be for dual exits/entrances! You’re already shacking up with two other people *and* spending most of your time during the day with them. Even of you love ’em, you know… it’s annoying to crawl over people every time you have to get up.

Tall campers will be a little more comfortable in the Copper Spur Ultralight 3 person tent, due to the higher arched walls.

Special Considerations

At 4 lbs, this isn’t on the lightest side for being an ultralight tent.

Also, one common complaint is condensation build-up. It tends to collect on the walls and dribble down the tent walls. Condensation is normal in ultralight tents, so that isn’t a deal breaker.

The key to preventing condensation is to make sure you have as much ventilation as possible. Leave your rainfly open at night, and you’ll find a lot less dampness in the morning.

Even though the tent comes with 8 stakes, we recommend buying more. The more you have, the better you can secure it in dicey weather conditions.

The two vestibules are fantastic. Even so, they aren’t very big – just something to keep in mind when packing.

Best Uses

First and foremost, the Big Agnes Copper Spur Ultralight best 3 person tent is meant for backpacking. However, it’s better at weathering storms than the Fly Light. So if you backpack often but only car camp a handful of times a year, this one tent is probably fine. (For the price, you’ll be motivated to make that work!)

Best 3 Person Tents: A Review of the Sundome 3 vs the Copper Spur UL3 is a great article to read if you’re on the fence about getting a lightweight tent vs an ultralight tent. It also has great Copper Spur Ultralight 3 Person Tent accessory reviews.

>>Click Here for Pictures and More Reviews

Nemo Dagger Ultralight 3 Person Tent

The Most Spacious & Sturdy Tent for Backpacking

Weight Measurements Basics Materials
Packed Weight: 4 lbs 4 oz Floor Dimensions:  90 x 70 inches Form Factor: Freestanding Canopy Fabric: 20-denier nylon/mesh
Minimum Trail Weight: 3 lbs 12 oz Peak Height: 42 inches Doors: 2 Tent Floor: 30-denier nylon
Packed Size: 19 x 6 inches Square Footage:  43 square feet Season Rating: 3 Rainfly: 20-denier nylon
Pole Diameter: 9/9.6 millimeters Vestibule Square Footage: 23 square feet Available Color: Birch Leaf Green Pole Material: Aluminum


Price-O-Meter: $$$

Included Set Up

What’s included with this lovely ultralight, best 3 person tent? The aluminum pole and tent stakes come with the tent. Purchase the Nemo Dagger 3P Footprint and Nemo Dagger 3P Gear Loft separately.

Why We Love It

Ease of Use: Set up is easy and should take you less than 10-15 minutes. On average, it does take just a little longer to snap the clips on and off the poles. There’s just something different about these clips.

Similarly to the Big Agnes Copper Spur Ultralight best 3 person tent, the Nemo Dagger 3 has two doors. What a relief! This will cut down on awkwardly crawling over your tent mates to get out of the tent.

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The Nemo Dagger UL 3P is spacious, both inside and out. (Click for more pictures and reviews)

Stability: It’s always a little tricky to find stability in an ultralight tent. On the one hand, it needs to be very thin in order to be super light. But on the other hand, you want to know it can stand up under wind, rain, and even snow.

The Nemo Dagger Ultralight best 3 person tent is a win-win. It isn’t the lightest ultralight tent. But the few extra ounces are worth it. Especially when you take into account that you can split it up between three backpacks.


As discussed in the Copper Spur review, two doors with vestibules nearly doubles the comfort level. There’s twice the exterior space, as well as more wiggle room inside.

Compared to the Big Agnes ultralight tents in this review, the Nemo Dagger Ultralight 3 person tent is probably the easiest to sit up in, all around. Comparatively, the peak height, square footage, and vestibule areas are all larger.

Congrats! You and your two backpacking tent pals will still like each other at the end of your trip, since you won’t feel like you’re stacked on top of each other. (Unless that’s what you wanted all along… knock yourself out! This is the best 3 person tent for it. )

Organization: First, there’s an overhead sleeve for a light of some kind. There are also a couple of mesh pockets for storing your electronics, a book or two, and other personal things like that.

Special Considerations

Unlike the Big Agnes tents, the Nemo Dagger Ultralight 3 person tent does not have reflective parts. So, if you’re camping in a crowded area, make sure to put up some light around your tent when you go to sleep.

Especially if you’re camping out at a music fest of some sort. It’s *highly* likely that a drunken camper will mistake your tent for their own… it happens more often than you think

Another aspect to be aware of is that there are less interior pockets. Once you see the 7  pockets in the Big Agnes Fly Creek Ultralight best 3 person tent, it’s hard to settle for any less. However, all the extra interior and vestibule space make up for that.

Check out the Nemo Dagger UL 3P Gear Loft, which adds even more room for stashing your gear.

Best Uses

As is the case for all ultralight tents, the Nemo Dagger Ultralight best 3 person tent is designed for backpacking. In contrast to many ultralight tents, though, it’s heavy and sturdy enough to use for car camping as well.

>>Click Here for Pictures & More Reviews

Finding the Best 3 Person Tent for You

Each of these ultralight 3 person tents is high quality and great for backpacking.

Of course, the best 3 person tent for *you* depends on your needs. It’s pretty easy to make a choice when you know what your primary purpose of the tent will be. Combine purpose with your priorities and there’s your answer.

For example, if you value space over weight, the Nemo Dagger Ultralight 3 person tent is best for you. But if you know you’ll be going on backpacking treks that last for weeks, you’ll probably want the Big Agnes Fly Creek. Then there’s the Copper Spur, which is kind of the best of both worlds.

Although they’re pricey, consider your new ultralight 3 person tent an investment – it’ll make backpacking that much better.

Happy Trails!
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Best Tent Brands

The 6 Best Tent Brands Experienced Campers Trust

Best Tent Brands: Intro

Best Tent BrandClearly, some manufacturers of tents are more trustworthy than others. This is why we’ve compiled the complete list of the all-time best tent brands.

Kudos to this couple for having a good time, but seriously. The tent kind of sucks. At least if it were intended to serve any sort of purpose other than stage a photo.

But look no further – here are reviews of the 6 best tend brands.

Best Tent Brands #1: Coleman

Of course. Was there any doubt?

While Coleman doesn’t cater to rough and tough outdoors people, it does cater to the other 95% of the population. Their tents, coolers, and other products are made for household use and camping trips a few times a year.

For must of us, that’s all we need. And if you’re on a budget, you’ll love Coleman’s prices. Somehow Coleman manages to balance perfectly on that thin line between good value and “cheap,” meaning their prices are as low as possible while still performing well for the money.

Our Favorite Coleman Tents:

First, take a glance at the Coleman 8 Person Instant Tent. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from Coleman: great functionality, excellent value for the money, and simple.

But Colemans aren’t always wallflowers.

Best Tent Brands, Best Tent Brand
The Coleman Tenaya Lake Fast Pitch 8 Person Tent

The Coleman Tenaya Lake 8 Person Lighted Fast Pitch Tent with Closet, Multicolor, for example, really blows up that “plain Jane” image. With an LED lighting system, built-in closet, and a wheeled carry bag, this super high tech instant tent is quite impressive.

Coleman is the Best Tent Brand for:

  • Car Camping
  • Occasional Use (during the summer season, mostly)
  • Campers on a Budget

>>Browse Coleman Tents & Reviews

Best Tent Brands #2: Big Agnes

Big Agnes, the “Mother of Comfort,” specializes in camping equipment, gear, and clothing. Whether you choose an ultralight tent or an ultra-comfy sleeping pad, the Big Agnes gear will be both comfortable and durable.

Our Favorite Big Agnes Tent:

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard us bring up the Big Agnes brand name. If you’re a dedicated backpacker, you know the importance of having the best ultralight tent. And the is just that.

2 Person Instant Tent, Pop Up Tents, Fast Pitch Tent
The Big Agnes Fly Creak Ultralight 2 Person Pop Up Tent

The Big Agnes Fly Creek Ultralight Tent does a good job of highlighting the brand’s excellence. Big Agnes definitely knows their specialty, as this 2.6 lb best 2 person ultralight tent has everything a backpacker could ask for.

Bottom Line:

Whether it’s camping gear, clothing, or a tent you’re after, Big Agnes’ products have withstood the test of time and will give you the most bang for your buck.

Best Tent Brands #3: ALPS Mountaineering

ALPS Mountaineering is another brand of tent that we mention quite often. As long as ALPS Mountaineering has been in business, the company has followed this mission: “To create durable, high-performance performance products without the premium price tag.”

Since their beginning in 1993, ALPS Mountaineering has continuously widened their product range. From the Lynx 1 Lightweight Tent to foam camping mats, there are hundreds of high quality camping products.

Our Favorite ALPS Mountaineering Tent:

It was difficult to choose just one favorite, but we finally settled on the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1. This is a great lightweight tent for one person. It’s less than 4 lbs and is defiant in the face of inclement weather.

Bottom Line:

If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a quality tent, consider an ALPS Mountaineering tent. This brand tends to be a bit more expensive than Coleman, but there’s also an increase in quality.

ALPS Mountaineering is the Best Brand for:

  • Car Campers
  • Frequent Campers

>>Browse ALPS Mountaineering Tents & Reviews

Best Tent Brands #4: Kelty

Haven’t heard of the brand Kelty? You’re not alone.

But if you’re searching for the best tent brands, make sure to look at Kelty tents. Kelty’s mission is truly inspiring:

When it comes to our brand, we want you to know that we stand for excitement. For adventure. For products that live up and stand up…because your good times depend on it.

Our goal is to deliver up proven gear that’s innovative, uncomplicated and built to last. We’re there for those of you seeking good times, adventure and gear that brings it all together. We hope to empower and inspire you to get outside… create memories and fulfill the passion for adventure that we all have.

Our Favorite Kelty Tent:

While Kelty offers some dope tents, the Kelty Salida 2 is our favorite. It weighs less than 5 lbs, which is pretty damn good for a two person tent. Equally as cool is its idiot-proof color coded clips.

In fact, the Kelty Salida 2 earned itself the winning spot in How to Choose the Best 2 Person Ultralight Tent.

Bottom Line:

In short, Kelty is one of the best tent brands because of its strong, adventure-friendly nature. The relative durability and reasonable prices of Kelty’s tents made this a must for our review of the best tent brands.

Kelty is Best for:

  • Frequent Adventurers
  • The Mid-Frequency Camper (Between ‘occasional’ and ‘every weekend’)

>>Browse Kelty Tents

Best Tent Brands #5: Wenzel

Like Kelty, Wenzel is another lesser known brand. Even though you might not be familiar with the Wenzel name, you can trust it. They’ve been producing tents and gear for 120 years!

Wenzel has an enticing mission statement. In summary, the company’s goal is to provide the best family tents. The tents are easy to set up, and they’re tough enough to keep your family dry and comfortable.

Our Favorite Wenzel Tent:

We’re partial to the Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent. There’s room for (up to) 8 people, and there are two rooms. The cool part about this large family tent is that the second room is like a screened-in porch.

When you need a break from the sun or it’s rainy, the screened-in room is so much fun. Remember to pack cards for the  best drinking games!

Bottom Line:

Wenzel is a brand that commands respect, since it’s been growing for 120 years. Since they’re know for providing strong, waterproof family tents, always consider a Wenzel tent.

Wenzel is Best for:

  • Families
  • Frequent Car Camping

>>Browse Wenzel Tents

Best Tent Brands #6: Eureka

I can personally vouch for Eureka brand tents. Growing up, my family of 8 used a Eureka tent for summer car camping. It lasted for over 15 years! Then my parents sold it.

Like the other best tent brands in this review, Eureka makes more than just tents. They sell lots of camping gear, like sleeping pads and sleeping bags.

Our Favorite Eureka Tent:

The Eureka Copper Canyon 4 Person Tent is a spacious cabin tent. And because of the large D-shaped door and fabulous circulation, this is a super comfortable tent.

It’s just like the one I grew up with, only it’s upgraded a little. It’ll serve you well, my friends. Have fun picking out a new Eureka tent!

Bottom Line:

Eureka’s Copper Canyon 4 Person Tent is a prime example of Eureka’s high quality products. In comparison with Coleman tents, these are a bit pricier. But the quality is also a little better.

There’s about a 99% chance you’ll find the size and shape tent you want when looking Eureka brand tents.

Eureka is Best for:

  • Casual Camping
  • Newbies
  • Families

>>Browse More Eureka Tents

The Best Tent Brands: Final Thoughts

Shopping for a tent can be overwhelming, especially when you’re a beginner. Fortunately, we’ve created a tent buying guide, with tips and definitions. (Because who knows what polyurethane is off the top of their head?)

And now that you’re familiar with 6 of the best tent brands, you can save a lot of time by focusing most of your attention to these brands.

Of course we encourage you to explore other options. But it’s likely that you’ll find a tent from one of these 6 best tent brands.


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Best Tent Fabric Structures & Buyer's Guide

Best Tent Fabric Structures: A Tent & Hammock Buying Guide

The Most Comprehensive Tent & Hammock
Buyer’s Guide Out There

Shopping for a tent can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. You want the best tent fabric structures, sturdiest poles….if you even need poles?

Plus, even if you’re an experienced backpacker, the terminology looks like Greek… to me, at least.

With this in mind, I made a handy little tent cheat sheet that covers everything you should be thinking about when looking at a tent.

First, there are oodles of definitions. While not the most riveting material, it’s super helpful. There’ll be a lot less “what the hell does this mean?” moments. Plus, I’ll give you an outline so you can skip down to the ones you want to read.

Looking for hammock and tent fabrics for sale? Stay tuned for a post with all of that info.

Table of Contents

Now here’s that overview to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Just click on whatever you’re interested in and wallah – you’ll find it.

1. The Best Place to Start

  • Season Rating
  • Trail Weight
  • Number of Doors
  • Sleeping Capacity

2. Best Tent Brands

3. Tent Types & Shapes

  • A-frame
  • Cabin
  • Dome
  • Free Standing
  • Hammock Tents
  • Hoop/Tunnel/Cube
  • Instant Tents
  • Modified A-Frame
  • Non-Freestanding Tents
  • Pop Up Tents
  • Pyramid or “Teepee
  • Tree Tents
  • Ultralight Tents for Backpacking

4. Tent Parts

  • Footprint
  • Rainfly
  • Guylines

5. The Different Pole Materials

6. The Best Tent Fabric Structures Definitions

7. Miscellaneous Tent/Hammock Coatings & Other Parts

The Best Place to Start

First, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the main reason you need a tent?
  2. How often will you use it?
  3. How familiar are you with tents?

Figuring out the main purpose really helps you narrow your options. For example, if you only need a tent for occasional car camping, you can get away with a heavier tent. On the other hand, backpackers should opt for ultralight tents.

If you have plenty of experience with tents, you probably won’t have a problem setting up most tents. However, newbies would benefit from something simple like an instant tent.

And if you love rowdy music festivals, you’ll want a tent with sturdy fabric structures!

The next step is to consider season rating, weight, number of doors, and sleeping capacity.

Season Rating

Four Season Tents

Four season tents are ultra tough shelters that have the best tent fabric for winter use. Solid pole structures and strong fabric structures work together in order to weather the toughest elements.

Basically, they can handle whatever Mother Nature decides to dish out. Whether it’s rain, heavy winds, or snow, the ideal four season tent will keep you safe in sound while you camp in the winter.

Don’t expect a lot of height, since their shapes are usually lower to the ground.

Three Season Tents

Although they aren’t the best for winters, three season tents aren’t wimps by any means. They’ll keep you shielded from gusts of wind and rain, but they’re not designed for snowy conditions.

And the walls are made of mesh, making them ideal for warmer temperatures when you need some consistent air flow.

Trail Weight

First, some quick definitions:

Trail weight/minimum weight is the total weight of the tent itself, the poles, and the rainfly.

On the other hand, every ounce is a huuuge deal for backpacker camping. The best one person backpacking tent will generally be less than five pounds for solo expeditions and no more than eight pounds for group backpacking.

Packaged weight refers to every part of the tent that arrives at your doorstep. So if a rainfly, footprint, stakes, and poles are included with the tent, it would be the weight of all those parts with the tent.

If you’re a car camper, trail weight isn’t a biggie. In fact, the heavier and roomier the better when you won’t be carrying the tent on your back. This affords you the luxury of more wiggle room and extra features.

But if the rainfly and footprint, for example, aren’t included, the packaged weight will be lower. Use this number for two advantages:

  1. The lower the weight, the less parts are included with the initial purchase.
  2. It’s an easy measurement of how much it’ll weigh when you’re hauling it around.

>>Read More About Packaged Weight/Trail Weight

 Number of Doors

This is another good thing to scope out when you’re looking at tents. As is the case with all of these factors, convenience usually collides with weight. The less doors a tent has, the lighter it’ll be.

But if you’ve ever shared a tent, you know how nice it is to have multiple doors. Then each person has a personal entrance with their own sheltered storage space. You’re in close enough quarters as it is… it’s nice to skip the crawling over one another.

Sleeping Capacity

Of course you’ll want to consider how many people will be using the tent on average. While the capacity listed on tents is helpful, it’s just a starting point. If you don’t want to be elbow-to-elbow, get a tent with extra space.

Best One Man Tent Reviews
This guy got the shaft.

Get even more if you want wiggle room and space tstore your stuff.

Look at the both the dimensions and square footage. Probably the most important measurement to look at is peak height. This is especially helpful for taller or wider campers.

If you’re pushing 6′ or taller, pay extra close attention! We don’t want you to end up like this guy.

 Best Tent Brands

Before delving into the nitty gritty, here are the best tent brands:

  1. Coleman
  2. Big Agnes
  3. ALPS Mountaineering
  4. Kelty
  5. Wenzel
  6. Eureka

When you shop from one of these companies, you can be confident that it’s crafted from the best tent fabric structures for the money.

For complete reviews of each exceptional brand, go to Best Tent Brands: The Creme de la Creme of the Tent World.

 Tent Types & Shapes

Some of these words are used more than others, but you’ll see them all on tent descriptions. They refer to the size, shape, and construction materials.


First, there’s the classic A-frame design type. These are kind of the run-of-the-mill shapes designed for casual camping.


Then there are cabin tents, which are rectangle or square shaped. ‘Cabin tent’ refers specifically to a cabin tent with an A-frame.

Next, the ‘cabin dome tent’ is the same thing but the tent has a dome frame. (Go figure!)


Now the dome design type can come in various forms, but the gist is the same. These dome-shaped fabric structures have high ceilings. As a result, they have more space than traditional A-frames.

Double Walled:

A tent with double walls has two main components: a rain fly and the basic tent itself. The first layer of mesh/cotton has excellent ventilation. Then the outer layer, the rain fly, is 100% waterproof. It goes over the tent and stakes hold it in place.

Fast Pitch Tents

Coleman’s trademark name for their best quick tents. They take less than 10 minutes to set up.

Free Standing:

So, free standing tents aren’t really “free.” Freestanding tents use poles and once you set up the tent, you can pick it up and move it. This is ultra convenient, for example, if you lie down and notice an extra big tree root is protruding from the ground.

Another reason people like free standing tents is that they’re easier to set up. Without all the stakes and cords to mess with, it’s a rapid process.

Usually, free standing tents are double walled. The first layer of mesh/cotton has excellent ventilation. Then the outer layer, the rain fly, is 100% waterproof. (If it’s made with only the best tent fabric…)

It goes over the tent and stakes hold it in place.

Hammock Tent

Probably the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine a hammock is the traditional cacoon-style, open air kind. Hammocks become tents when they have two main components. First, mesh netting is a must for keeping bugs out. Second, hammock tents have rainflies for protection from inclement weather.


The fourth type of tent design relies on stakes to hold the tent in place. While not freestanding, they are quite resilient against the elements.

Often, pop up tents have the hoop shape.

Instant Tents

If you like fast and easy, you’ll love instant tents. You can usually set them up by yourself, in less than two minutes.

In an instant tent, the tent and its frame are already integrated. All you have to do is open the tent and attach the poles.

>>Read Reviews of the Best Instant Tents

Modified A-Frame

The modified a-frame style offers more room than a classic A-frame. Either a pole setup or curved walls gives the tent more interior room and makes it a little stronger. Make sure the tent has the best tent fabric structures for storms, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a tent.

Pop Up Tents

Pop up tents are a subtype of instant tents. These dummy-proof tents come with the poles already attached to the tent. Simply unfold the tent and secure each corner with a tent peg.

If you expect rain or condensation, throw a rainfly over the top.

Non-Free Standing:

Simply put, a non-free standing tent is a type of tent that requires stakes, and maybe trekking poles.

Also, a non-freestanding tent has just a single layer of wall. It doesn’t have a rainfly because the wall is already waterproof. (Well, if it’s a quality tent. When you’re soaking wet after using a cheap “waterproof” tent, you’ll never make the same mistake again!)

Usually, the best ultralight tents for backpacking are freestanding.


Notably, tent fabric structures with a pyramid design have a flawless space to weight ratio. Pyramid tents involve a center pole that holds up a rainfly. Thus the “teepee” shape.

One downside is that pyramid tents aren’t well suited for damp, muggy environments swarming with bugs.

Ultralight Tents for Backpacking

Ultralight tents are becoming more and more popular for backpackers since they’re unbelievably light. Generally, to be “ultralight,” a one person tent should be around 2 pounds and a two person tent should be below 3 pounds.

The best ultralight tents for backpacking should be compact. And, even though they’re light, their fabric structures should be comparatively durable.

One one hand, it’s cool that these tents have just a single, thin wall.

But the lack of ventilation is something to think about. It’s important that you know they’re more prone to condensation, so you can be prepared.

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>>Read About the Best 2 Person 3 Season Ultralight Tents

Quick Tents

Now this is the shortest definition: ‘quick tent’ is the same as an ‘instant’ tent.


A wedge shape… has the shape of a wedge. The higher end is where you rest your head. This shape is advantageous because it works really well in windy conditions.

But as you can see, there isn’t much room in one of these things. Not a good idea if you get claustrophobic, that’s for sure!

Tent Parts


The footprint of a tent is the tarp you put under your tent before setting it up.

I highly suggest getting a footprint, even if it costs extra! It’s a must for rain… and rain has a way of creeping up, even if the forecast predicts sunny skies.

Tent Fly & Guylines

A tent fly, or rainfly, is the outer layer of a tent. It’s the main protection from rain, snow, etc. It’s especially important to make sure it’s made from the best tent fabric on this one.

Guylines stretch out the rainfly tightly over the tent. As a result, the water (or snow) falls down and away from the tent. Guylines are also another way to stabilize the tent’s body.

Tree Tents

Tree tents are a marvelous invention. They’re hybrids of tents and hammocks. Simply put, this means you can suspend them between trees or peg to the ground. Talk about versatility!


Vestibules are basically mudrooms for tents. Because you can use that space to store gear, cook, and get extra protection from the wind, they’re a major plus.

Thanks, Section Hiker, for the awesome descriptions.

>>Read More About the 3 Types of Vestibules

Materials Used in Construction

Depending on the purpose of the tent, different materials are ideal. Obviously, different materials cause varying comfort levels, durability, and weight.

3 Types of Pole Material

Fiberglass – The cheapest poles are made from fiberglass. They’re heavier, less robust, and are meant for gentle camping.

Aluminum – Next there are aluminum poles, which are the most common material on the best one person tents. Aluminum is stronger and lighter than fiberglass poles.

Carbon Fiber – The third most common pole material is called carbon fiber. High end tents often have carbon fiber poles. Since they’re light and strong, they’re ideal for backpacking.

Carbon Fiber is also found in lightweight golf carry bags.

However, due to the thin and light nature of carbon fiber materials, they just aren’t as durable as trusty aluminum poles.

 The Best Tent Fabric Structures

Speaking of tent fabrics, here we are. The range of best tent fabrics is so varied these days that it’s hard to keep track of what is best for which type of activity.

Bedouin Tent Fabric Structures

Bedouin Tent Fabric is a stretchy tent fabric that’s very waterproof. (Sometimes it’s called stretch tent fabric.)

In order to find quality Bedouin tent fabric wholesale, we suggest checking out Alibaba.

Blackout Tent Fabric 

As the name suggests, blackout tent fabric keeps light almost completely out of the tent. It’s completely opaque.

Cotton Canvas “Army Tent Fabric” Tent Fabric

Originally, most tents were cotton canvas. A benefit is that the best canvas tents are breathable because of the cotton. It’ll keep you from getting too hot or cold.

However, if you’re looking for the best backpacking tents, steer clear of cotton canvas. It adds a lot of weight.

Cuben Fabric

Whereas cotton canvas fabric structures are heavy, Cuben fabric is the best lightweight tent fabric. It’s the priciest of the bunch, but that’s because it’s so darn light while still being waterproof. If you want the absolute best tent fabric, look for the words “cuben fiber” in the description.

I’m singing cuben fabric’s praises, but it does have its downfalls. Quality cuben fiber tent structures are strong. But this thin fabric just isn’t as tough as other fabrics.

Nylon Tent Fabric, Nylon Hammock Material

The best one person tents, especially one man backpacking tents, are usually made of nylon, a silky thermoplastic material. When you see the word “silnylon,” that means it’s nylon with silicone – this is a good thing! Silnylon makes the nylon waterproof.
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Polycotton Canvas Tents & Hammocks

Basically, polycotton canvas tents are the modern version of cotton canvas tents. The polyester/cotton blends have the same benefits of the best canvas tents, but they’re lighter.

Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) Coating Canvas Tents

You’ll usually find PVC coating on the best large tents. PVS tent fabric boosts the overall strength of the tent fabric. It’s also the best fabric in terms of being waterproof.


Polyester is a super popular material for tents. Many believe it’s the best tent fabric since it’s a little stronger than nylon. Different companies use different types of protective coatings.


Taffeta isn’t just a fun word to say. It’s also a light- to medium- weight fabric woven in with the nylon or polyester of a tent or hammock.

In the case of Parachute Hammocks, it’s taffeta

 Best Tent Fabric Structures & Materials: Definitions

Acrylic coating is the cheapest so obviously, less durable.

Silicone is a costlier coating, but it does does a better job of shielding from the elements. >>Read More

Polyurethane is the material you’ll find on the floor and fly of almost all tents. The higher the number listed before the coating indicates a better degree of rain-resistance.

Denier is just a measurement of how thick the material is. The higher the number, the thicker it is.

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Best Tent Fabric Structures & Tent Buying Guide:

If you made it to the end of this article, congrats! Now you’re an official tent aficionado.

Stay tuned for a DIY tent post. In this in-depth review of the best tent fabric structures and materials for sale, we’ll cover fabric canopies, fabric tent pole covers, insulated fabric, and more.

Happy Trails!


Check out the rest of site for more tent, hammock, and cooler reviews. Readers who enjoyed our tent buying guide also liked:

6 Best One Man Tents, Reviewed (Find the Best Solo Tent for You!)

9 Best Instant Tents, Reviewed: Quick Tent Buyer’s Guide

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