Stay dry, protected and warm wherever you set up camp with our choice of the best garden, hiking and backpacking tents
The best tents will serve you for many years to come. Whether you’re looking for a storm-proof shelter or a cosy family tent for your garden at home, you need to choose wisely. A high-quality tent will keep the warmth in, keep the weather out and let you enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep wherever you pitch up, be it a windswept mountainside or a muddy festival field.
There used to be little choice outside of traditional A-frame designs, but the variety of tents available now means there’s something to suit everyone. And don’t let the idea of fiddly pitching put you off – the new breed of pop-up and inflatable tents make it easier to pitch a tent than ever before.
In this article, we’ve chosen our favourite tents for practically every camping situation, from the best budget tent to buy for a weekend trip to a luxurious, spacious family tent that you’ll use again and again. Whatever adventure you’re planning, we’ve reviewed a tent to suit you.
If you just want to buy a tent and get pitching, scroll down the page. Not sure what features and specifications you need to look out for? The quick buying guide below will run you through all the factors you’ll want to consider.
Best tents: At a glance
- Best fast-pitch tent: Decathlon Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black | £130
- Best lightweight family tent: MSR Habitude 4 | £550
- Best budget festival tent: Mountain Warehouse Festival Dome | £30
- Best budget family tent: Quechua Arpenaz 4.2 F&B | £250
- Best tent for big families: Outwell Jcksondale 7PA | £1,800
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How to choose the best tent for you
What type of tent should I buy?
When looking for a tent, your decision will depend on where and when you’re planning to pitch it. Do you need a lightweight tent that you can carry easily while backpacking, a mountain tent that can withstand severe weather, a pop-up tent that you can put up in a couple of minutes or a family-sized tent that can handle a barrage of kids and adults? Take some time to work out which suits you best – each type is designed to work best for its purpose.
What size tent do I need?
Check the manufacturer’s suggested berth or person capacity. Put simply, this is the number of people a tent can take – so far, so straightforward. But don’t get caught out: a tent’s berth is given based on the number of people the tent can sleep without taking any baggage into account, so a four-man tent, for example, might be a squeeze for four adults in practice.
If you’re looking to sleep two people, a small tent will suffice, but if you’re looking for a family tent, a four or six-man model with more than one bedroom is your best bet. Family tents will be much heavier than other types too, so it’s worth checking the all-in weight if you have a lot of walking to do to get from the car to the campsite.
How can I choose a more weatherproof tent?
Look out for a specification called the hydrostatic head (HH): this is a figure indicating how waterproof a fabric is in millimetres. To be considered waterproof, a tent’s fabric should have a minimum HH of 1,000mm – and the higher the better, so aim to choose a tent with a HH rating of 2,000mm or more.
Some tents have just a single layer and are known as “single-skin” tents, while “twin-skin” tents come with an inner and outer layer for water protection. If you go for the latter, make sure the two layers aren’t touching when you pitch the tent, as this could impact the water protection.
What other features should I look out for?
As with almost anything, the more you’re willing to spend on a tent, the more options you’ll have. Many higher-priced models come with a range of extra features – such as space for storing dirty gear and internal pockets to keep everything organised.
If you’re just looking for a basic, everyday tent for fair-weather camping, there are plenty of effective, budget-friendly options, but if you want to stay warm and dry in severe weather – and let’s face it, predictability isn’t a strong point of the UK’s climate – consider spending a little extra for proven waterproofing technology from the bigger manufacturers.
How we test tents
Pitching tents is easy when there are no time constraints, the weather is nice, and there’s nobody nagging you to get it done before dark. However, to ensure we balanced our testing with real-world camping insight, we pitched as many of our tents as possible in both controlled conditions (such as in the park or garden) and in the wild. If a tent was designed for backpacking, we tested these claims on either hiking or bikepacking trips. We even loaned out tents to volunteers, who then gave us feedback on pitching, comfort, and packing. To the best of our knowledge, none of our tent tests have led directly to divorce (yet!).
Unfortunately, due to post-COVID-19 supply chain issues, some tents were not available for full testing, but, to ensure their claims still met our testing standards, we visited camping retail showrooms, brand offices, and trade shows in order to get hands-on experience with them.
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The best tents you can buy in 2023
1. Decathlon Quechua 2 Seconds Easy Fresh & Black: Best fast-pitch tent
Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at DecathlonStylish, packed with features and fantastically fast to pitch, this style of pull-up tent could spell the end of the standard pop-up design. It’s just as quick to pitch but packs away in next to no time.
To pitch, you simply pull on two chords that clip and bend the poles into position. With the flysheet, bedroom and groundsheet already fitted, you’re ready to go in 30 seconds, if that. Once pitched, you can move it into position and peg out.
With a bedroom of 205 x 145cm, it’s just big enough for a couple, and with two doors offering storage space you can both get out or get to your kit without wrestling. Having two doors and a mesh bedroom compartment also means it’s great for ventilation in the summer. The blackout fabric works well, and we like the internal storage pockets and hooks that mean it’s easy to keep a torch close by.
It’s a sturdy design with good waterproofing for summer storms, but the pop-up mechanism doesn’t have a lock, so cheeky campers (or well-oiled festival-goers) could collapse your tent with a firm press. But it’s this mechanism that also makes it a dream to put away, and we were able to get it back in the bag in less than a minute.
Key specs – Person size: 2; Weight: 4.7kg; Waterproofing: 2,000mm (5,000mm groundsheet); Packed dimensions: 59 x 20cm
2. MSR Habitude 4: Best lightweight family tent
Price when reviewed: £550 | Check price at Ellis BrighamYou may recognise MSR from wild camping photos as the brand that’s best known for its super-light and portable backpacking tents. However, here they’ve taken the same features and performance and created a tent that’s big enough for four adults and their kit. Whether you’re taking a small car to a campsite, or want to get away from the crowds for proper adventures, you’ll not find a more versatile option for families.
Pitching is quick and intuitive, and the lightweight pole configuration ekes out every square inch of space, leaving a cavernous interior with plenty of standing height, which is rare for a dome design. There’s also plenty of pockets for organisation and a generous porch for muddy boots or cooking kit storage. There’s no blackout lining though, so, if you want a lie-in, remember your eye mask.
Key specs – Person size: 4; Standing room: Yes; Bedrooms: 1; Pitch time: 8-10 minutes; Weight: 5.4kg; Waterproofing: 10,000mm HH; Packed dimensions: 58 x 23cm
3. Mountain Warehouse Festival Dome: Best budget festival tent
Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Mountain WarehouseWhile it won’t win any awards for spaciousness or extra frills, Mountain Warehouse’s Festival Dome tent does everything you want it to. Namely, it will withstand a sudden change in the weather and make a small but cosy home at your next festival, despite weighing little more than 2kg. It also won’t take away hours of your time when it comes to setting up camp, with colour-coded fibreglass poles for quick and easy pitching.
The Mountain Warehouse tent is designed to sleep two people, with storage space in the porch. The porch is a little on the small side for anything more than the bare essentials, but the tent is more than good enough as a place for two people to crash after a day spent dancing or exploring. And at such a cheap price, you can always donate it to charity at the end of the festival rather than dump it back at home.
Key specs – Person size: 2; Bedrooms: None; Weight: 2.2kg; Packed dimensions: 159 x 13cm; Pitched dimensions: 130 x 270 x 100cm; Waterproof rating: 2,000mm
4. Quechua Arpenaz 4.2 F&B: Best budget family tent
Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at DecathlonWhile so many “family” tents take up most of a car boot, the Quechua Arpenaz 4.2 F&B is surprisingly portable, and packable. You won’t want to go backpacking with it, but one person can easily carry it from the car park to the pitch site at even the biggest festival.
Despite being compact, this tent has two double bedrooms (140 x 210cm), 3.9sqm of living space and a height of 1.95m, which makes a huge difference, especially when getting dressed. The living area in the middle has a waterproof groundsheet and is just large enough for two adults and two young children to sit in if the weather turns.
With just four colour-coded poles, pitching is quick and simple, with the bedroom pods clipping neatly to the poles once you’ve erected the outer fly. And brilliantly, the bedrooms have excellent blackout fabric for a long night’s sleep.
This is an ideal tent for anyone who wants maximum space when camping but doesn’t have much storage room at home.
Key specs – Person size: 4; Standing room: Yes; Bedrooms: 2; Pitch time: 10 minutes; Weight: 12.3kg; Waterproofing: TBC; Packed dimensions: 60 x 30 x 30cm
5. Vango Jora Air 450 Sentinel Eco Dura Package: Best eco-friendly family tent
Price when reviewed: £850 | Check price at VangoAnyone who has yet to try an inflatable tent should head straight to Vango as their AirBeam system is the best in the business, making pitching this tent a doddle. At six metres long and three metres wide, with a very generous two metres of headroom, this is a big family tent, with plenty of living space and two blackout bedrooms making it ideal for extended camping trips with the kids. The fact that the awning is pre-attached is a neat touch too, as it helps expand the amount of space available to shelter from the inevitable rain.
We’re also impressed by the brand’s commitment to sustainability: this tent is constructed using their Sentinel Eco Dura Fabric, which is made from recycled single-use plastic – they estimate it took 207 bottles to make the tent.
Key specs – Person size: 4; Standing room: Yes; Bedrooms: 2; Pitch time: 10 minutes; Weight: 24.2kg; Waterproofing: 4,000mm HH; Packed dimensions: 80.0 x 42.0 x 42.0cm
6. Snugpak Ionosphere One-Person Tent: Best tent for solo campers
Price when reviewed: £159 | Check price at AmazonSnugpak’s Ionosphere bivvy tent is ideal for adventurers setting out alone on wild camping trips and multi-day hikes when you want to travel fast and light. It’s small, lightweight and will leave space in your backpack for all the other essentials you need on your trip.
Despite its small size and ease of setup, the Ionosphere is surprisingly roomy compared to other bivvy tents on the market. That means it’s a little heavier at 980g, but it’s worth carrying an extra half a kilo to guarantee a comfortable night’s sleep. The Ionosphere is well ventilated and big enough for even the tallest campers to squeeze in. It also comes with a high hydrostatic head rating (5,000mm) so you won’t have to worry about leaks, whatever the weather.
Key specs – Person size: 1; Bedrooms: None; Weight: 980g; Packed dimensions: 48 x 12 x 12cm; Pitched dimensions: 225 x 75 x 35cm; Waterproof rating: 5,000mm
7. Outwell Jacksondale 7PA: Best tent for big families
Price when reviewed: £1,800 | Check price at AmazonIt’s a big investment buy, but, with three bedrooms and enough living space to have a full-on festival, this is an inflatable tent that will grow with you, no matter how large your family gets.
At 7.5m long, it will gobble up your pitch, and will fill most car boots when packed away. But, if you have the space, you’ll be rewarded with a home-away-from-home loaded with class-leading features, including silent-opening magnetic doors, cable entry points for power, and an impressively versatile HookTrack system that enables you to run LED lighting – and even hang a pendant light – without trailing cables.
The fabric is hard-wearing and waterproof. We appreciated the webbing guide straps, which make it extremely stable even in high winds, as well as the high levels of adjustable ventilation. It is also bug-proof, and the rain cover over one of the two side doors will help keep the worst of the British weather off the groundsheet.
Key specs – Person size: 7; Standing room: Yes; Bedrooms: 3; Pitch time: 27 minutes; Weight: 38.4kg; Waterproofing: 4,000mm HH; Packed dimensions: 94 x 52 x 52cm
8. Robens Yukon: Best alternative tent for glamping
Price when reviewed: £740 | Check price at AmazonThe bell tent is dead, long live the Yukon! While we love a traditional bell tent, if you’re looking for something that has the same cool retro vibes, but comes with more modern, practical features, then we heartily recommend this new Scandinavian-style shelter from Robens. It’s boxy, but beautiful.
The HydroTex polycotton (65% polyester, 35% cotton) outer is warm in the cold, yet breathable and ventilating in the heat, while still being impressively water-resistant, with a 10,000mm fitted groundsheet that is practically impervious. We love the rectangular pole configuration that creates a generous living area and terrific picture window for you to enjoy the vistas. At only 170cm, there’s not much space to stand, but we didn’t mind this as it adds to the frontier-style adventure feel. We think this is a great tent for young families who want style, features, and comfort, as well as to stand out from the festival crowd.
Key specs – Person size: 4; Standing room: 170cm max; Bedrooms: 2; Pitch time: 10-20 minutes; Weight: 17.2kg; Waterproofing: 4000mm HH; Packed dimensions: 91 x 25cm
9. Craghoppers 4 Man NosiDefence Kiwi Tent: Best tent for retro style
Price when reviewed: £385 | Check price at CraghoppersMade from a thick, durable, recycled-polyester and cotton fabric, with an anti-mould finish and PFC-free waterproofing treatment, this old-school-style tent is no lightweight backpacking tent. It’s worth noting that, while the heavyweight fabric doesn’t actively repel the wee beasties you might encounter on your travels, it is completely impenetrable to biting insects.
The sewn-in groundsheet and basic steel pole design makes it straightforward to pitch, but it is easiest with two people as it‘s only stable once the guy ropes are secured. Once up, the high-sided skirt design – similar to a classic bell tent – gives a surprising amount of room inside, although, at only 1.5m high, adults won’t be able to stand up. We think it works best as a luxuriously sized tent for a couple with loads of kit, rather than for a family.
Key specs – Person size: 4; Standing room: No; Bedrooms: 1; Pitch time: 15 minutes; Weight: 8.6kg; Waterproofing: DWR; Packed dimensions: Not stated
10. Dometic Boracay FTC 301: Best premium tent for tall people
Price when reviewed: £950 | Check price at Dometic
This premium-priced inflatable tent from Sweden is a godsend for tall people. We tested the Boracay FTC 301, which is the smallest tent in Dometic’s collection, but they also have a four-person design, and even bigger, more palatial options, as well as canopy extensions. Each has the same 1.9m headroom and follows the same unique, boxy design, which maximises the usable space.
The design of every toggle, zip, and guy is impressive. The tent peg loops are colour coded for easier pitching, the internal window blinds unzip and stuff conveniently into a built-in pocket, the blackout bedroom is eerily dark, and the hanging loops are a quality metal carabiner. You really can see where the money has been spent.
It is huge for a three-person tent, making it ideal for a young family or for luxury-focused campers. The living area has space for chairs, a camping table, a stove, and all the kitchen paraphernalia you could need. Also, thanks to a capacious, secret storage area, accessed through a zipped door in the bedroom, you can keep everything out of the way until required.
Key specs – Person size: 3; Standing room: Yes; Bedrooms: 1; Pitch time: 10 minutes; Weight: 23kg; Waterproofing: 6000mm HH; Packed dimensions: 78 x 36 x 43cm
11. Alpkit Ordos 2: Best value lightweight two-person tent
Price when reviewed: £235 | Check price at AlpkitUK brand Alpkit has made a name for itself with a sensibly-priced portfolio of high performance, sustainable and stylish outdoor gear, and this two-person ultralight tent is a perfect example.
Weighing as little as 1.4kg and packing down to the size of a 1.5 litre bottle, this two person tent is ideal for solo backpacking adventures where you either want a little more space to yourself, or fancy cosying up with a companion. The 105 x 90cm vestibule has enough space for two 50cm-wide sleeping mats and plenty of luggage, and while we’re not suggesting it is palatial, the semi-geodesic design means you won’t feel like you’re trapped in a coffin either.
Pitching this type of ridge-line tent is super simple even after a long day’s hiking. The anodized aluminium poles come with press fit connectors which are robust and reliable, the seams are fully taped and it’s all colour coded to make life easier.
It’s by no means the lightest two-person tent on the market, but you would need to double your budget to gain significant weight savings. Unless you’re needing to save grams off your pack weight, the Ordos 2 offers an almost perfect balance of value, design, comfort and durability.
Key specs – Person size: 2 person; Standing room: No; Bedrooms: 1; Pitch time: 7 minutes; Weight: 1.4kg (min); Waterproofing: 3000mm HH; Packed dimensions: 13 x 42cm
12. Halfords 4 Person Vis A Vis Tent: Best budget tent
Price when reviewed: £95 | Check price at HalfordsNot a name normally associated with camping, but Halfords have designed a great tent at an unfeasibly low price, making it an excellent option for families’ first time camping, or for friends, or festival-goers. It’s easy to pitch and the hanging bedroom compartments inside help hold in warmth, while reducing the possibility of condensation. There’s plenty of space for kit, and just enough of a living room if the weather turns.
With 2,000mm waterproofing, it will survive the odd downpour, but this is definitely more of a design for sunny summer escapes, especially when you want the most space for your budget. It also packs down well and is light enough to carry, so a good choice if you’re not travelling by car.
Key specs – Person size: 4; Standing room: No; Bedrooms: 2; Pitch time: 15-20 minutes; Weight: 7.3kg; Waterproofing: 2000mm HH; Packed dimensions: 53 x 20cm