Tents: Ratings of Sources
Total of 24 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
2009 Gear Guide: Tents
by Kelly Bastone
Our AssessmentBackpacker magazine reviews more tents than any other publication, testing them under rigorous conditions to gauge their durability under wind and rain. Editors provide details and test results for six one-person tents, 11 two-person tents, seven three-person tents and six mountaineering (four-season) tents -- plus three tarps. In each tent category, editors recommend one tent as the best all-around choice, another as the best value, and a third as the best ultralight choice. The Big Agnes Salt Creek Recycled also earns a Green Award for using recycled materials. The 2008 and 2007 picks are also worth considering; most are still available.
by Editors of Outside magazine
Our AssessmentSeven backpacking tents are reviewed here, based on extensive field tests. The Nemo Losi 3P earns the Gear of the Year award, praised for its lightweight spaciousness, ventilation, weather protection and easy setup. The Big Agnes Gore Pass 2 is judged a "killer value," while the Sierra Designs Vapor Light 2 is sturdy but the lightest of the bunch. The 2008 and 2007 buyer's guide picks -- the Marmot Aura and Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL2 -- are also worth considering and still widely available.
State of the Market Report: Single Wall Tents (2008)
by Will Rietveld and Chris Townsend
Our AssessmentThis illustrated comparison review by two experienced gear reviewers evaluates 24 single-wall tents sized for one or two backpackers. Each tent is evaluated for nine different factors as well as an overall rating. Several tents earn the highest overall rating, yet excel in a particular area such as weight or durability. Therefore the authors recommend studying your individual priorities carefully before choosing a backpacking tent.
Double Wall Tents Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview
by Doug Johnson
Our AssessmentThis older review compares 18 double-wall backpacking tents, which are warmer than single-wall tents and less apt to have condensation problems. Based on thorough testing, the tents are rated for ventilation, wind stability, insect protection, durability and several other relevant factors. These specific ratings make it easy to pick out the best tent for a specific purpose, while the tents can also be ranked based on their overall average ratings. Though this article is older, many of the reviewed tents are still available. Still earlier articles include a 2004 review that compares and rates eleven single-wall tents, and a 2003 review that tests tarp shelters and bivy sacks. This site also provides detailed single-product tent reviews, and its newsletter often previews new tents.
Tents and Shelters
by Contributors to REI.com
Our AssessmentREI sells dozens of tents across a wide price range, most of which have accumulated at least a few reviews and ratings from users. You can filter the tent listing by type and size, then sort by average rating. The list even shows the number of reviews on which that average rating is based, making this one of the easiest retail sites to check for the top-rated tents. For each tent, the owner-written reviews are summarized for the major pros and cons.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com also makes the owner-written reviews and ratings of tents sold here very easy to browse. You can filter the tents by type, and sort the list by average rating. Quite a few tents stand out here for high ratings based on enough reviews to make them significant. It's interesting to see that not all the top-rated tents are at the high end of the price range, though owners do praise the high-end Paha Que brand for its lifetime warranty and excellent rainproofing.
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentWe rank this review lower only because of its age. Some of the tents tested here are still available, but more current reviews emphasize that tent technology has moved on since 2005. Although this older tent review is titled "Family Tents," it includes one- and two-person tents as well. All told, the review compares 24 tents, nearly all domes, in three sizes, determined by square footage and number of people accommodated. Each tent is tested and rated for ease of setup, rain resistance, construction quality and convenience of use. The ratings chart also notes the number of doors, whether or not poles are aluminum and whether or not the tent has a vestibule for extra storage and doorway protection.
2009 Editors' Choice Awards
by Editors of Camping Life
Our AssessmentEditors of this publication aimed at family campers pick two dome tents (one more a hybrid dome/wall tent) as the best new tents for 2009. The April gear guide issue describes eight other tents, but doesn't evidence any testing. The 2008 Editors' Choice list is available online, recommending three family tents that are still available, and a January 2008 review recommends the Kelty Lounge 4 based on actual usage. Two other family camping tents come in for criticism in a July 2007 review. Based on tests, editors say both the Eureka N!ergy 9 tent and the Wenzel Fern Ridge tent lack sufficient weather protection to stay dry during heavy rainstorms.
2009 Spring Buyers' Guide
by Steve Casimiro
Our AssessmentThis annual adventure gear guide recommends two tents: the Big Agnes Salt Creek Recycled 2 for backpacking, plus The North Face Minibus 23 for car camping. This is a respected publication in the adventure field, but it's not clear how many other tents were considered, and whether or not any testing was done.
by Contributors to BackpackGearTest.org
Our AssessmentExperienced hikers publish very detailed single-product tent reviews here, often including reports of long-term use. Though the site is aimed at backpackers, a few reports cover tents used by families. Reviews of the same tent by different people are not consolidated in any way, and the site provides no way to compare tents except by reading each review. Hence it's a good site to check once you've narrowed your choice to two or three tents, rather than as a starting point.
Packs, Tents, Stoves, and Guides (Chapter 8)
by Roland Mueser
Our AssessmentMost of the specific tent recommendations in this book are too old to be of much value, though the top-ranked Sierra Clip Flashlight tent is still available. However, this book -- based on a survey of 136 hikers on the Appalachian Trail -- still provides useful buyer's guide information on selecting a backpacking tent. The author concludes that as long as a tent feels large enough, is easy to pitch and enter and weighs no more than four pounds, it's apt to be satisfactory. Therefore, it's better to spend more on a pack where price differences matter more.
Eureka! Family Tent Review 2008
by Matt Smith
Our AssessmentThis review compares two Eureka series of family tents, the N!ergy and the Copper Canyon. The latter is judged more durable, but the author's tests show that the corner poles on both tents might need some bracing in high winds. Another reasonably recent review at this site, by Steve Mann, recommends the MSR Mutha Hubba -- saying it performs well both for backpacking and car camping, with an excellent balance between space and weight. This site also provides comparison reviews of ultralight tents, three-season tents and four-season tents, but all three reviews are outdated.
by Contributors to Moosejaw.com
Our AssessmentThis retailer site publishes owner-written reviews and ratings of tents, most of which are fairly small. Quite a few have accumulated enough reviews to make their average rating significant, and the list shows the number of reviews on which the average is based.
by Contributors to Cabelas.com
Our AssessmentThis retail site has accumulated dozens of owner-written reviews and ratings for quite a few of the tents sold here. Not surprisingly, some of the least expensive tents get lower ratings, but the reviews show some bargains too.
Tents and Shelters
by Contributors to LLBean.com
Our AssessmentNot all the tents sold here are branded L.L.Bean, but most are. Several tents stand out for reasonably high ratings based on a significant number of detailed owner-written reviews. Once you browse to the category that interests you (family tents, for example) you can see the average rating. In interpreting the ratings and reviews, note that editors don't distinguish among sizes -- consolidating the reviews, for example, of the four-person and six-person tents in the King Pine Dome series.
Guide to Tents
by Contributors to Trailspace.com
Our AssessmentThese owner-written reviews of backpacking tents are nicely organized into sections, and you can sort the list to show the top-rated tents that are currently available. Quite a few tents listed here have accumulated only one or two reviews, while others have been discontinued -- though this makes the site a good place to check reviews of secondhand tents.
by Contributors to TheBackpacker.com
Our AssessmentNearly 300 backpacking tents are arranged in alphabetical order, with no way to sort the ratings or search for a specific brand, so it's tedious to browse through these owner-written reviews. Quite a few tents do stand out for perfect five-star ratings from enough users to make these averages significant.
by Contributors to Backcountry.com
Our AssessmentMost of the family and backpacking tents sold here have accumulated only a few reviews from owners, but several tents stand out for their perfect five-star ratings from over a dozen owners.
Eureka Timberline Original A-Frame Tent
by JT Uptegrove
Our AssessmentThis detailed single-product review recommends an inexpensive A-frame tent based on actual use. While this is an interesting read, the article is completely positive and doesn't compare the tent to competing options.
Top 8 Family Tents
by David Sweet
Our AssessmentAbout.com's camping guide reviews eight family tents here, with occasional references to personal use or testing. We rank this review lower than most primarily because it's apparently several years old and the tents are neither rated nor ranked, though some brand comparisons might still be useful. The author finds no drawbacks for the family tents made by Springbar and Paha Que. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Canopies and Tents
by Contributors to Buzzillions.com
Our AssessmentThis site aggregates owner-written reviews and ratings from several retail sites, including REI, Moosejaw, Eastern Mountain Sports and others. The list of tents shows each model's average rating plus the number of reviews on which it's based. If you click on a tent, you can see the number of reviews from each retailer and read the detailed reviews if you like. The site also shows where each tent is in stock, and makes clear that certain tents have been discontinued but may be available second-hand.
Tent Comparison Chart
by Editors of Backpacking.net
Our AssessmentEditors don't rank or test tents here, but you can sort this chart of tent specifications by weight, price, floor space, interior height, vestibule, pack size or capacity, then investigate the tents that match your priorities best.
by Contributors to OutdoorReview.com
Our AssessmentThis site makes it easy to see owner-written ratings of dozens of tents, but so many have received perfect or near-perfect ratings that the reviews don't make it easy to narrow the selection. Nor can you filter the list to show, for example, only family tents or only three-person tents. Some of the top-rated tents are listed with prices but are actually no longer available. It's worth checking here once you've narrowed your choices.
Best Family Camping Tents: Buying a Tent for Camping with the Family
by Kelby Carr
Our AssessmentThis review doesn't document any testing, but gains some credibility due to the author's experience as an expert in family travel. She's the family adventures writer for Suite101.com, as well as the About.com guide to travel in France. However, the four tents she recommends here don't fare well in owner-written reviews we found at other sites.