The best tents for camping, hiking, festivals and expeditions

When you're out in the middle of nowhere you need a tent that's up to the task
Essential tents for outdoor adventurers

What you look for in a tent can vary massively, depending on what type of camping trip you’re 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 you’re going to be carrying your tent in a backpack, you’ll 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 you’ve 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 group’s 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 tent’s 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, we’ve 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)

Buy now: The North Face (UK) / The North Face (US) | $599

Best tents

If you’re 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? It’s easy to pitch (using an X-tent design) and weighs just 2.24kg.

Black Diamond Distance Tent (2 person)

Buy now: Black Diamond (UK) / Black Diamond (US) / Amazon | $399.95

Best tents

This ultralight tent from Black Diamond is the ultimate fast-pitch shelter on the go. It’s 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. It’s a single wall shelter, that’s easy and quick to set up and packs down to the size of a water bottle, with plenty of ventilation.

It won’t 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)

Buy now: Decathlon (UK) / Decathlon (US) - older version / $39.95

Best tents

For something good value that’s also decent quality, look no further than this model from Quechua. It will sleep three campers and features “Fresh & Black” technology that keeps the interior cool, dark and dry both day and night.

It’s 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 it’s fitted with mosquito net doors to keep bugs at bay.

Weighing just 3.2kg, it won’t weigh you down, making it a good choice for any casual camping trip.

Best for hiking

Berghaus Peak 3.3 Pro Tent (3 person)

Buy now: Blacks (UK) / Amazon | $154.99

Best tents

Whether you’re hiking up mountains or trekking across open moorland, this Berghaus tent will have you covered. It’s 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 won’t weigh you down. Use the tension straps in windy conditions, kick off your boots and enjoy a decent night’s kip.

Vango Gamma 300 (3 person)

Buy now: Vango (UK) | £120

Best tents

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 won’t 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)

Buy now: Decathlon (UK) / Decathlon (US) / Amazon | $59.99

Best tents

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.

It’s compact and weighs 2.9kg, so you won’t feel you’re lugging a bulky model about to reach your pitch. It’s 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)

Buy now: Eurohike (UK) / Amazon (UK) | £99

Best tents

You’ll certainly look the part at a festival with this retro-style tepee tent from Eurohike. Sleeping four people, it’s 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. It’s not the lightest option, weighing 4.6kg, but it’s good quality, quick to erect and surprisingly spacious.

Best for family trips

Coleman Rocky Mountain Tent (5 person)

Buy now Amazon | $287.10

Best tents

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 you’re 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 that’s not such a problem if you’re driving.

Eurohike Rydal 600 Tent (6 person)

Buy now: Eurohike (UK) | £400

Best tents

You can sleep up to six people in this family-friendly tent from Eurohike and one of the best things about it is that it’s easy to pitch, with color-coded poles that are lightweight but strong.

It’s hefty to lug about, weighing 16.5kg, but you get plenty of space – 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 night’s sleep, and the waterproof taped flysheet and sewn-in groundsheet promise to keep you warm and dry.

Tags:    Trekking
Tagged    Trekking