Best Tents: Top 5 Camping Shelters Most Recommended By Experts

One of the best ways to get away from the busyness and craziness of everyday life is to spend time in nature. And if you’re looking to spend a night, or multiple nights, enjoying the wilderness, then camping is a great way to go. Though many people have turned to glamping, a more upscale version of camping, there are still plenty that want the real thing, that want to pitch a tent and sleep close to the ground. And for those people, we searched the web to find the consensus best tents you can buy, according to experts, and we’ve listed them here for you.

Not only can you get away from your everyday responsibilities by doing a little camping, but you can also take advantage of the many health benefits that come from enjoying time in nature. Research shows that individuals who visit green spaces on a weekly basis and feel a certain level of connection to mother nature, feel better physically and mentally. In this first of its kind study, researchers from the University of Plymouth, Exeter University, the University of Derby, and Natural England set out to examine the relationship between humans and nature. More specifically, the positive health and well-being benefits humans receive from time spent in nature and whether a connection with nature produces pro-environmental action. Much good comes from spending time in nature, but do the benefits increase if, say, you live closer to a nature reserve or park?

In short, yes. In a new study, researchers from the University of Warwick, Newcastle University, and the University of Sheffield set out to learn about the connection between natural, green areas and mental wellbeing. Researchers reviewed data collected on 25,518 Londoners combined with data on London’s 20,000 public green spaces, which allowed them to explore the effects of proximity to greenery on wellbeing. And the results? Overall, they found a strong relationship between the amount of greenery near a person’s home and their mental health, and green spaces located within 300 meters — about .18 of a mile — of an individual’s home had the biggest impact. For example, an increase of just under 2.5 acres of greenery within 300 meters of a person’s home was associated with an eight-percentage point increase in life satisfaction, a seven-percentage point increase in self-worth, and a five-percentage point increase in happiness. Now you may be thinking of buying a house in the woods rather than just going on a camping trip.

Nature is healing, and that’s why it’s time to get to our list of the best tents money can buy. Below is our list of the five best tents as recommended by outdoors experts. Of course, we want to hear from you. Comment below to let us know which tent allows you to connect with nature!

camping dome tent near water, best tents
Tent beside a body of water (Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels)

The List: Best Tents, According to Outdoors Experts


1. Coleman Skydome 

For a two-person tent from a trusted brand that’s been in the camping industry for what seems like forever, Outdoor Life recommends the Coleman Skydome. “The Coleman Skydome 2-Person Camping Tent was my pick for the best two-person tent for a number of reasons: It’s relatively simple to set up, it’s got a spacious interior, and it’s affordable. You’ll inevitably spend a little more time in your tent car camping than backpacking. Lazy early mornings, an outfit change after your afternoon hike, a pre-dinner nap—so you want a tent that you, and your camping partner, can stretch out comfortably in. Besides having the most generous square footage of any tent in my test, what set the Coleman Skydome Tent apart from its competition was its height: an impressive four feet. While many 2-person tents only have space for one person, the 60 inches of width means that not only can you fit yourself and your adventure partner (snuggling optional; the tent is wide enough to accommodate a queen-size sleeping pad), but also a four-legged friend.”

Coleman Skydome 
Coleman Skydome

But if you need a bit more room, check out the Skydome Darkroom six-person. “Roughly the same dimensions as the REI Co-op Wonderland 6—and a no-fuss setup. Pre-attached poles simplify the process (but add to the bulk of the thing when it’s packed up), while a square floor plan means you can’t misconfigure the fly. As with any tent in this price range, however, there are some trade-offs. Organization options are limited, and durability is suspect, but if your crew goes camping once a year in drier climes, the price is certainly right,” adds REI.

Switchback Travel compares the Skydome to the Sundome: “Coleman is practically synonymous with affordably priced camping gear, so it comes as little surprise that their Skydome 6 slots in as our top budget pick this season. What is surprising to us, however, is how modern this tent looks and feels. In stark contrast to Coleman’s fairly dated and cheap-feeling Sundome below, the Skydome is far more weather-worthy with a full-coverage rainfly (the Sundome’s leaves most of the sides exposed) and uses pre-bent poles and more vertical walls that open up the interior in a big way. We also love that the poles are pre-attached to make setup a breeze, and the wide door and generously sized vestibule really help boost overall convenience.”

2. The North Face Wawona

“The North Face Wawona 6 is one of our favorite tents for family camping trips. The roomy interior has plenty of standing height, easily sleeps a family of 4 and two dogs, and has good pockets for storage and organization. We love the extra-large outer vestibule and find it handy for storing larger gear like bikes or a fishing pole and tackle box, so there is more room for sleeping. This roomy outer area adds nearly 1/3 to the usable space of the tent. It is great for gear storage, but if you pack light, we enjoy it just as much for hanging out in the shade to take in the view. The sturdy build and well-vented construction keep you comfortable in most types of weather, whether hot, cold, wet, or windy,” writes Outdoor Gear Lab.

The North Face Wawona (six-person)
The North Face Wawona (six-person)

The Wawona seems closer to being a small house than a tent. The New York Times notes: “Adults over 6 feet tall will be able to walk upright inside this tent—which has almost-vertical walls that can easily accommodate beds, cribs, and cots—as well as in the vestibule. We also appreciated the tent’s construction, which combines good ventilation (the upper part of the canopy walls are mesh) with campsite privacy (those mesh bits are covered by the fly, which reaches only halfway down the tent on the back and sides). And this tent is easy to set up and pack down, especially considering its size. (It comes with a carrying bag equipped with duffle-style handles.) You’re unlikely to find a similar-sized tent that matches the Wawona’s quality and features for less money—most comparable tents we tested cost much more. As with most six-person tents, the Wawona 6’s footprint is sold separately.”

“Offered in four- and six-person capacities, the tunnel-like design is reminiscent of REI’s Wonderland 6 below and provides a generous amount of interior space, including around 3 more square feet of floor area and an additional 2 inches of peak height—all for around $100 less. And we love the massive front vestibule (44.7 sq. ft.) that easily doubles as a seating area,” adds Switchback Travel.

3. REI Wonderland

The X will fit a group of people, but that space comes with a hefty price tag. Gear Junkie writes, “It performed perfectly in windy and rainy conditions, where the enormous awning provided space for lounging and cooking for four adult men. While optimized for a group of four, the Wonderland X not only serves as a giant camping shelter but also as a big hangout space. By removing the interior sleeping quarters, the shelter becomes a 13 x 9-foot floorless shelter. It can easily cover a picnic table, the tailgate of a truck, or even a small car. REI built the Wonderland X with extremely heavy materials, ensuring a very long life if properly maintained. And at 35 pounds, this tent is definitely not coming backpacking! But for those looking at an alternative to canvas wall tents or just a very robust, large car camping setup, this tent is the pinnacle!”

For more on the 4-person model, Clever Hiker writes: “REI’s Wonderland 4 is a redesign of the popular Kingdom Tent. It features a large, open space with a high ceiling, giant doors at both ends, and plenty of convenient storage pockets to keep gear organized. The Wonderland is fully rain-ready with sealed seams, a protected front entryway, and a huge vestibule for storing wet gear. It has a scalloped fly with protected windows all around, so you can see out and have ventilation even if it’s raining. Though this tent is quite large, it’s a manageable weight and fits into a compact case for easy carrying.”

CNN writes about all three versions of the Wonderland: “If you’re looking for lots of ventilation without sacrificing protection from the rain, this tent is a great option. Even with the rain fly on, you’ll feel airflow, thanks to triangle windows on the side walls and two huge mesh doors with weather-protective awnings. The cabin-shaped Wonderland 6 lets campers up to 6 feet, 6 inches tall stand up straight in the main room of the tent. REI also touts its bugproof mesh ceiling panels that enhance ventilation and provide a view of the stars on a clear night. A super-versatile, heavy-duty tent that checks all the boxes and more, the REI Co-op Wonderland X caters to campers in search of a group or family-size, three-season tent to add to their camping checklist.”

4. Nemo Aurora Highrise

“With a max peak height of 72 inches and near-vertical walls that really open up the interior space, the Aurora Highrise from Nemo won us over thanks to the ease-of-assembly, detailed internal gear storage, and its ample headroom for tall campers. Despite its noticeable height, it stood up to heavy winds while camping on the beach even though the guy lines weren’t tied down. The durable fabric worked to block out the elements, and the aluminum poles perfectly balance the weight-to-strength ratio you’d expect in a high-end tent. Large side windows worked well to help regulate air circulation, and the two doors open onto generous vestibules. Nemo really packed in all the small details destined to woo you, including the brand’s Gatekeeper door clips, a pocket that transforms your headlamp into a tent lantern, and multiple gear pockets,” writes Travel + Leisure.

 Nemo Aurora Highrise
Nemo Aurora Highrise

Outdoor Gear Lab writes, “The Nemo Aurora Highrise 6 is the complete package, with loads of space and features packed into a stylish and functional design. You can easily fit a twin and two singles, and with a max height of 6′ 5″, you have enough space to add some cartwheels to your morning indoor camp routine. The dual vestibules, super large front door, great privacy options, and fun floor design make it one of our favorite tents, and you will be hard-pressed to find a tent that balances all its features better. On the other hand, the Aurora Highrise can be a bit complicated to set up for the first time, though it does get easier once you get the hang of it. We also wish there were more pockets and better-designed windows.”

New Hampshire-based NEMO introduced the Aurora collection a couple years ago, adding a competitor to crossover options like the Marmot Tungsten above and REI Trail Hut below. The latest Highrise variation, however, takes aim at the premium and luxurious end of the market with a standing-height interior, steep sidewalls, and massive footprint that rival the livability of competitors like the top-rated Wawona and REI Wonderland below. As we’ve come to expect from NEMO, the Aurora Highrise is also thoughtfully built with windows at each side that make it easy to air things out and remain protected from rain when open, two large doors and vestibules, a rainfly that can be staked out as an awning (poles sold separately), and high-quality materials throughout—including robust aluminum poles and a thick 150-denier floor that’s outfitted with a fun checkered pattern,” writes Switchback Travel.

5. Marmot Limestone

CNN notes that the six-person model has ample space inside: “Whether you’re car camping with the family or a few friends, this tent has plenty of room for a six-person crew or extra amenities like airbeds, cots and side tables. Double doors also help with ease of entering and exiting for larger groups.”

Marmot Limestone
Marmot Limestone 4/6P

As it turns out, the smaller, four-person version is pretty sturdy, according to Gear Junkie. “While testing in the Rocky Mountains, we experienced sudden high winds and heavy rains. Nearly every tent experienced some damage ranging from broken poles to leaks…It remained sturdy and dry through it all. It’s not as tall or roomy as some car camping tents, but the sacrifice of space is worth it for excellent weather protection. You can fit four people or spread out and sleep comfortably with just two in 60 square feet of floor space. The large double doors make coming and going easy. Pre-bent poles make for a quick setup. There is a vestibule on one side for holding extra gear, and interior gear pockets keep you organized. and there is plenty of mesh that allows for maximum airflow. This tent is a great option if you don’t mind not being able to stand up inside. The peak height is 63 inches, so anyone taller than about 5 feet will have to crouch.”

“The Marmot Limestone 6P Tent is downright cavernous, with an 89.9-square-foot floor area, an additional 40 square feet of protective storage in the vestibule, and a peak height of 76 inches, enough space for us to stand without issue. Yet, despite its massive size, it was easy to set up thanks to the color-coded poles, clips, and fly, taking one person about 15 minutes. The waterproof fly comes with taped seams for full coverage, with plenty of venting to avoid overheating or condensation – a key feature for a multi-person tent – though it could benefit from a bit more air circulation. When weather isn’t an issue, the mesh ceiling affords star gazing, and Marmot also adds all the right mini-features, like internal pockets for gear storage and a lampshade pocket to hold your headlamp and provide ambient light,” writes Travel + Leisure.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Joe Vitiello

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