What you look for in a tent can vary massively, depending on what type of camping trip youâre about to embark on. If you're heading out on a two-day hike close to home you'll have very different requirements to someone about to head out on a multi-day expedition.
So before we start to run through the options you'll need to have a firm plan of what you're planning on using it for.
Choosing a tent
Size and weight: If youâre going to be carrying your tent in a backpack, youâll want something that is light and packs down small, while most family tents are designed to be carried in a car, so are generally larger and heavier. Look at the packed size of the tent to make sure it will fit in your boot or backpack.
How easy it is to set up: If youâve got kids in tow, an easy-to-erect tent will get your family camping trip off to a stress-free start. And a pop-up variety will be quick to set up, though is less robust so more suited to casual camping or sheltered spots.
Sleeping capacity: Choose a model based on your groupâs size, and consider whether you might need additional space for gear, extra friends or dogs. Assume a close fit and, if necessary, upsize your tent capacity by one person.
Other factors: The tentâs seasonality, flexibility of sleeping compartments and added features such as zips, number of doors or windows, ventilation and insect protection are also important to consider before making your choice.
To help out, weâve picked some of the best tents on the market for different types of trips, including family trips, expeditions, and festivals.
Best for expeditions
The North Face Assault 2 Tent (2 person)
If youâre into serious expeditions, this option from The North Face is hard to beat. Designed for high-altitude camps and tested by athletes, it offers reliable protection in even in the harshest conditions.
Sleeping two people, it features a three-layer laminated fabric that boosts waterproofness and breathability. There is a vestibule that acts like a mudroom to stash your gear, but you can remove it on milder days for extra space.
Inside, there are plenty of tabs so you can hang everything from your stove to your torch easily. And the best bit? Itâs easy to pitch (using an X-tent design) and weighs just 2.24kg.
Black Diamond Distance Tent (2 person)
This ultralight tent from Black Diamond is the ultimate fast-pitch shelter on the go. Itâs ideal for mountain adventures and is constructed using carbon trekking poles that you can then use as for hiking the following day.
The tent is compact, though has enough room for two people, and is our lightest option, weighing just over 1kg. Itâs a single wall shelter, thatâs easy and quick to set up and packs down to the size of a water bottle, with plenty of ventilation.
It wonât offer as much protection from super harsh conditions or rainstorms, but this three-season tent is robust in strong winds and ideal for those looking to make their camp without wasting time.
Best for budget
Quechua Arpenaz 3 Fresh&Black Camping Tent (3 Person)
For something good value thatâs also decent quality, look no further than this model from Quechua. It will sleep three campers and features âFresh & Blackâ technology that keeps the interior cool, dark and dry both day and night.
Itâs simple to put up, featuring a classic dome structure and should withstand gusts of up to 40km/h. The ventilation system means air will circulate between the room and the flysheet and itâs fitted with mosquito net doors to keep bugs at bay.
Weighing just 3.2kg, it wonât weigh you down, making it a good choice for any casual camping trip.
Best for hiking
Berghaus Peak 3.3 Pro Tent (3 person)
Whether youâre hiking up mountains or trekking across open moorland, this Berghaus tent will have you covered. Itâs light (just 3.25kg) yet strong thanks to its ripstop polyester flysheet, which is designed to handle harsh weather conditions.
The tub-style bedroom is designed to keep groundwater out should the heavens open and the pegs are lightweight so wonât weigh you down. Use the tension straps in windy conditions, kick off your boots and enjoy a decent nightâs kip.
Vango Gamma 300 (3 person)
Buy now: Vango (UK) | ÂŁ120
This tunnel tent from Vango is spacious, stable and packs down to a small size (48 x 18cm). It sleeps three people and weighs just 3.3kg, making it a great choice for groups of friends on a hiking trip.
Available in green or blue, it takes around ten minutes to pitch and features extra bands designed to help the tent withstand adverse weather conditions and strong winds. The interior fabric is breathable yet blocks out morning light in the sleeping compartment so you wonât get woken by the early morning sun.
Waterproof and robust, this would be a good companion for hiking trips to come.
Best for festivals
Quechua 2 Seconds Pop-Up Camping Tent (2 person)
When you arrive at a festival, the last thing you want to be doing is spending precious performance-watching time putting up your tent. This Quechua model from Decathlon promises to be up and ready in just two seconds.
Itâs compact and weighs 2.9kg, so you wonât feel youâre lugging a bulky model about to reach your pitch. Itâs a fairly basic model, but still offers protection against wind, rain and sun for at least a few days.
Quick to disassemble and slot back into its cover, this is a great option for camping newbies and those short on time.
Eurohike Tepee Tent (4 person)
Youâll certainly look the part at a festival with this retro-style tepee tent from Eurohike. Sleeping four people, itâs easy to construct using a single steel pole and flysheet.
The groundsheet and flysheet are waterproof and designed to keep the soggy weather out, and the door has a zip-up mesh panel to protect you from bugs. Itâs not the lightest option, weighing 4.6kg, but itâs good quality, quick to erect and surprisingly spacious.
Best for family trips
Coleman Rocky Mountain Tent (5 person)
Buy now Amazon | $287.10
A great option for families of up to five people, this tent will sleep two adults and up to three children in two sleeping compartments. The bedroom fabric wall can be removed and is held in place with toggles, offering more flexibility, while blackout material will help keep out daylight while youâre sleeping.
There is also a decent-sized porch, as well as a separate living compartment for eating and playing card games.The groundsheets are fully sewn in to offer maximum protection against the elements, and the tunnel structure is easy to pitch and spacious.
The only snag is that it weighs in at a hefty 16.8kg, though thatâs not such a problem if youâre driving.
Eurohike Rydal 600 Tent (6 person)
Buy now: Eurohike (UK) | ÂŁ400
You can sleep up to six people in this family-friendly tent from Eurohike and one of the best things about it is that itâs easy to pitch, with color-coded poles that are lightweight but strong.
Itâs hefty to lug about, weighing 16.5kg, but you get plenty of space â two sleeping compartments for three people each, plus a large living area and additional porch for stashing muddy boots.
The bedrooms are darkened and breathable, so you should get a good nightâs sleep, and the waterproof taped flysheet and sewn-in groundsheet promise to keep you warm and dry.