Northwoods 6-Person TentBuying a cheap tent is like buying a cheap umbrella. You’re probably going to get wet. However, you do not have to spend a fortune if you’re a casual camper who wants a decent tent to use a few times a year. Sturdy tents with strong poles and quality materials can be found for under $100.
Your tent should be comfortable and dry. Look for a full rainfly – not a cap-sized rainfly –that runs down the outside of the tent. You’ll also want full zippers, not flaps, around the windows, doors and rainfly.
REI recommends you look for tents with aluminum poles, quality zippers, and a decent floor.“A tent’s pole structure usually determines how easy or hard it is to pitch. Fewer poles allow faster setups. It’s also easier to attach poles to clips than it is to thread them through ‘continuous’ pole sleeves. Many tents offer a combination of both clips and short pole sleeves in an effort to balance strength, ventilation and setup ease.”
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While these are the proper guidelines to follow when buying a tent, it’s also important to consider how you’re going to use it. You can probably ignore most of the above if you’re looking for something the kids can use in the back yard. And even the best tents can be a problem if you don’t pitch them correctly. If you go with a tent featured in this piece you should practice pitching it a few times at home. Let it stay out overnight – especially if the weather calls for wind and rain – to see how it holds up before you trust it with your family inside. If it doesn’t live up to its claims, send it back. (But do your research.)
Rightline Gear Pop Up Tent1. Rightline Gear Pop Up Tent
This one gives you camping in an instant, employing the same design functionality used for windshield shade screens. There are no poles, it sets up in about a minute, and folds back into an easy carrying case when done. The tent is water resistant, sleeps two adults, and requires no ground tarp.
You may not want to take this one on your next safari outing, but it’s a quick and fun way to introduce kids to camping.
Starting at $97 on Yahoo! Shopping.
Wenzel South Bend 4-Person Dome Tent2. Wenzel South Bend 4-Person Dome Tent
The large mesh roof vents and side walls on this dome tent provide good cross ventilation, with stability bolstered by Wenzel’s patented hoop fly. It will fit four people who don’t mind crouching – the center height is 52.” The tent features a Polyester mesh roof, walls and fly with a welded polyethylene tub style floor. It’s a three-season model with two zippered windows and a floor area of 63 Sq. Ft.
Northwest Territory Silverdome 4-Person Tent3. Northwest Territory Silverdome 4-Person Tent
This dome tent will easily hold four people with its 10 ft. x 8 ft. overall size and 80 sq. ft. of interior space. The special silver coated fly keeps the tent cooler than a traditional rain fly, which makes it an appropriate tent for weekend overnights or fun in the back yard. The tent is easy to set up and features two storage pockets, gear loft and electrical cord access, a rear floor vent, carry bag and a limited lifetime warranty.
Starting at $60 on Yahoo! Shopping.
Gigatent Giga Tent Garfield MT804. Gigatent Giga Tent Garfield MT80
This Garfield Mt80 Family Dome Tent, manufactured by Gigatent, sleeps up to six people in its 8 X 10 footprint. The MT 80 features Gigatent’s peaked rain fly on all four sides to protect you from rain and post storm conditions. It has a waterproof bathtub floor, full pole sleeves, taped rain fly seams that cover the doors and windows tightly.
This dome tent offers a decent center height of 60 inches, and the top is designed with center mesh panels. The tent comes with a durable carrying bag, separate bags for the poles and stakes, and an interior gear loft.
Starting at $72 on Yahoo! Shopping.
Texsport Cool Canyon Square 2-Person Dome Tent5. Texsport Cool Canyon Square 2-Person Dome Tent
Do you like camping but aren't so keen on being stuck in a hot tent? This square dome tent is for you. The large tent features a silver polyurethane coated rainfly which helps keep it 10 degrees cooler than outside. It has zippered panels on the rainfly and a rear floor vent for extra ventilation. Heavy-duty polyurethane coats the taffeta walls with a rip-stop polyethylene floor. It also has a 3/4 length front awning rainfly and a mud mat. The Texsport has a two-pole pin and ring frame system with shock corded poles with durable speed clips to secure the tent to the frame. It also features a “No-See-Um” mesh front door and rear window with zippered storm flaps. The tent comes with stakes and a carry/storage bag.
Starting at $75 on Yahoo! Shopping.
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Wenzel Ponderosa Two-Room Dome Tent6. Wenzel Ponderosa Two-Room Dome Tent
If the word “Ponderosa” isn’t enough to sell you on this roomy tent from Wenzel, keep reading. This one is great for hiking and biking trips, as the two-room tent is lightweight enough at 10.8 pounds to carry on a backpack or saddlebags yet spacious enough to sleep four people at once. The tent has a center height of 60 inches, a removable divider curtain, a shock-corded fiberglass frame with a pin and ring connection and a weather-armor polyester fabric with a polyurethane coating. The frame is designed for quick and easy setup; the coated fabric is reliable and sturdy with seams and water-repellent threads, zippers, and webbing. The Ponderosa has three windows, Dutch D-style doors, four mesh roof vents a 10-year limited warranty.
Starting at $95 on Amazon.com
Alps Summit Tent7. Alps Summit Tent
This is a roomy, three-season tent that is supposed to sleep four, but you might be more comfortable with two. For the price and quality, that’s not too bad since it features a center height of 60”.
Two large mesh windows are included, as well as a hooded fly at the front and rear of the tent. Like many of the tents on thus list, the Summit Tent is perfect for car camping, Scouting adventures and overnights.
Cedar Ridge Granite Falls Tent8. Cedar Ridge Granite Falls Tent
This is a simple two-pole freestanding dome tent with one door and a vestibule. Two zippered windows – one in the door, one in the rear – and large side mesh panels provide ventilation. It comes with welded tub style, walls, rain fly, fiberglass poles, pole and stake bags, a gear loft, mesh storage pockets and a tent bag. The freestanding two-pole system with fiberglass poles makes for easy assembly with pole clips that quickly snap over the tent poles. Although this is a four-person model, Cedar Ridge also makes a similar, two-person tent for $30 less.
Tahoe Gear Acadia 6-Person Dome Ten9. Tahoe Gear Acadia 6-Person Dome Ten
If you know five other people you’d like to share a tent with, this must be for you. The Tahoe Gear Acadia Tent will sleep up to six folks and coms with easy setup poles, stakes, guy ropes, and rain fly. It features a durable polyester tent body for warm or cool weather, polyester fly with taped fly seams and polyethylene binding floor. A fly canopy extends out over the door for extra coverage and the open mesh roof area provides excellent cross ventilation throughout and allows the tent to double as a more open room during the day or night. It includes a tent carry bag, pole bag, stakes, guy ropes, assembly instructions and a two-year manufacturer warranty against product defects.
$80; vminnovations.com (Free shipping)
Northwoods 6-Person Tent10. Northwoods 6-Person Tent
Here’s another big tent for those of you who don’t mind being close to your loved ones. It’s roomy, among the better-looking tents on the list, and features plenty of storage pouches and a closet in the back. There are large, sturdy exterior pockets for electrical cords and other items to stay organized and out of the way.
Northwoods says this tent is built to withstand everything from backyard campouts to roughing it in the wilderness. The lightweight shock-corded fiberglass frame provides stability and durability while the polyethylene base resists water, tears and punctures. It weighs 14.4 pounds and features three large windows.