Which four-person tent is best?
Popular with couples and small families, four-person tents are roomy enough for comfortable camping without being too heavy or bulky to lug to your camping spot.
You have plenty of options, from lightweight backpacking tents to instant tents that are great for people new to camping or campers in a hurry. If you’re looking for a tent that’s spacious and easy to pitch, the Coleman Instant Cabin Tent is a top choice.
What to know before you buy a four-person tent
Types of four-person tents
The type of tent you choose makes a difference to your overall camping experience. Dome tents, cabin tents, instant tents and backpacking tents are among the most popular choices.
- Dome tents: These have dome-like shapes and are relatively low to the ground, making them moderately wind-resistant. However, the low interior height makes them difficult to move around within.
- Cabin tents: With almost completely straight sides and a slightly curved roof, cabin tents have more height to them. Some of these tents even have the space so you can fully stand inside them. The trade-off is that they’re less stable in high winds.
- Instant tents: Instant tents, including pop-up tents, take mere seconds to pitch. They’re great for people without much camping experience or those who need to set up quickly, such as people with young kids to look after.
- Backpacking tents: Thanks to being light and small when packed, these tents are great for people who need to hike to their camping spot. Many are designed for wild or all-season camping, so they’re extra durable, water-resistant and wind-resistant. However, they’re often pricier than other tents of the same size.
You might assume that a four-person tent comfortably sleeps four people, but it isn’t as simple as this. Generally, tents of this size fit four people sleeping practically shoulder-to-shoulder on mats. If you want to sleep on air beds or have space to store gear, you may find these tents are better for two people. Consider an eight-person tent to sleep four people, each on their own air mattress and storage space.
What to look for in a quality four-person tent
Single-wall vs. double-wall
Tents can either be made of a single wall or layer of fabric or have a double-wall design with an inner tent and a rainfly that fits over the top. The double-wall design is usually better at keeping out the rain, but the former is easier to pitch.
Built-in groundsheets help keep rain, drafts and bugs out of your tent, but they reduce ventilation.
Even if a tent has a built-in groundsheet, there are other types of ventilation. Tents can have mesh panels and roof or side vents, all of which increase airflow, so you don’t overheat.
How much you can expect to spend on a four-person tent
Basic tents of this size cost roughly $50-$100, while higher-end versions are priced from $100-$500. If you spend less than $50 on a tent, it probably won’t be particularly durable or good at keeping the rain out.
Four-person tent FAQ
Are tents waterproof?
A. Technically, tents aren’t waterproof, but they are highly water-resistant. Tent exteriors or the rainfly have hydrophobic coatings that repel water and taped seams to keep water out. Tents are also designed, so water is channeled off the exterior rather than pooling.
Still, tents can only take so much rain before water seeps through the exterior. All tents have a waterproof rating, sometimes called the “hydrostatic head.” Since this waterproof rating system was developed in Europe, it gives the quantity of rain a tent can withstand in millimeters.
You don’t need to understand the metric system to decipher it. Just know a 1,000 to 1,500 mm rating withstands light rain, a 1,500 to 3,000 mm rating withstands moderate rain and a rating over 3,000 mm withstands heavy rain and snow.
Can tents go moldy?
A. Tents can go moldy if you put them away when they’re wet and leave them. Ideally, let your tent dry out before you pack it away. If time or weather conditions don’t allow it, unpack your tent when you get home and let it dry completely before you pack it again and store it.
What’s the best four-person tent to buy?
Top four-person tent
What you need to know: This tent is perfect for inexperienced campers or those who need to set up quickly, as it only takes a mere 60 seconds to pitch.
What you’ll love: The cabin design means the interior height is taller than that of dome tents, with a center height of 4 feet, 11 inches. Welded corners and inverted seams help keep the rain out. The interior blocks sunlight for better sleep.
What you should consider: It fits one queen-size airbed, so it’s a squeeze if you want to sleep four.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top four-person tent for the money
Pacific Pass Four-Person Dome Tent
What you need to know: This basic tent is great for occasional use but won’t stand up to regular camping trips.
What you’ll love: This tent is a breeze to pitch with just two crossed poles. The separate rainfly provides additional protection from water, and you can remove it for better ventilation on hot, dry nights.
What you should consider: Even with the rainfly, it’s only suitable for use in light rain.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Kelty Late Start Four-Person Backpacking Tent
What you need to know: Thanks to its lightweight and compact design, it’s perfect for anyone who has a hike to their camping spot.
What you’ll love: It provides enough protection from the elements for use on wet and chilly spring and fall days. The low-profile design offers increased wind resistance. With quick-corner technology, you can set it up in a flash.
What you should consider: There’s no vent in the rainfly, so condensation builds up overnight.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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