Best Cheap Camping Tents For 2017 – An All Inclusive Guide

camping gear

Are you planning your next camping trip and are looking for the best camping tents? If you are an experienced camper, then you know finding the best camping tent involves more than heading to your local sports and outdoor gear retail store.

You want a camping tent that you know will be comfortable, durable, and spacious enough to fit more than one person comfortably, and that is also lightweight enough to transport and carry throughout your outdoor adventure.

Choosing a tent because it’s cheap isn’t always the best way to go. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a guide on the best camping tents?

Well, you’re in luck because we have done the research already, and have compiled a list of what we think is the top five best camping tents and the best tent brands for any outdoor activity and environment.

Quick Comparison

2 Person Tent

35 sqft. Floor Space

  • Two vestibule layout
  • Free standing tent
  • Ventilation windows
  • Removable gear loft
Buy From Amazon

3 Person Tent

Better Water-Resistance

  • Vertical Walls
  • Taller Center Heights
  • Rainfly Setup
  • WeatherTec system
Buy From Amazon

SUV Tent

Very Easy Setup

  • SUVs and Mini Vans
  • Inverted "T" Layout
  • Flame Resistant
  • Includes Carry Bag
Buy From Amazon

2 Person Tent

Ultralight & Portable

  • 3 Season Large Tent
  • Durable Polyester
  • All Weather Travel
  • Near-Instant Setup
Buy From Amazon

Best Camping Tents for 2017

Read on to check out this all-inclusive guide to help you make an informed decision before you buy just any camping tent. We’ve also included the pros and cons of each option so that you can decide which camping tent is right for you.

1. Best 2 Person Tent – Mountainsmith Morrison

$70.16
Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person Tent
488 Reviews
Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person Tent

  • Freestanding three-season, two-person tent.
  • Bathtub floor with taped seams to keep interior dry.
  • 185T polyester rainfly with 2,000-millimeter-rated polyurethane coating.
  • 35 square feet of main floor space and 14 square feet.
  • Breathable 185T polyester tent material.


2 person tent

Why We Like This Tent: This tent is our number-one pick because of its spaciousness – both for sleeping and storage space for two – and its features that keep the interior dry and ventilated.

Livability: The Mountainsmith Morrison three-season tent comes with over 35 square feet of floor space, big enough for two people. This tent also has plenty of light and the mesh walls offer plenty of ventilation.

This tent also comes with “bathtub floors” which help keep the interior dry. There are also some dry storage compartments, which are great for easily grabbing your things and any small essentials without having to crawl in and over sleeping bags.

Although this is a three-season tent and isn’t the best idea to use and camp in during winter months, users have claimed that even when the temperature drops to 28 degrees F overnight, this tent remained 15 degrees above, and maintained the temperature throughout the night.

Versatility: This tent also comes equipped with two doors and vestibules, guy out attachment points, clip-pole attachment to reduce weight and for maximum ventilation and breathability, tent fly adjustable ventilation windows, reflective guylines with “tri-glide” cord adjustment and even a detachable ceiling loft for picture-taking or even stargazing.

Lighting: One of the best features of the Mountainsmith Morrison two-person tent is also known for its airiness, breathability, and lighting.

The mesh walls, adjustable windows, and detachable ceiling allow for maximum light during the day and keeping the flies and mosquitos out at night.

Assembly: The Mountainsmith Morrison tent comes equipped with a free-standing, two-pole design and even color-coded fly and instructions for quick and easy assembly.

This tent can be set up virtually in minutes. The instructions are also clearly printed and color-coded on the pack itself, so there’s no need to worry about losing the instructions or damaging them over time and with usage.

The guy lines also make this tent easy to assemble in severe weather.

All in all, the Mountainsmith Morrison three-season two-person tent is one of our top five picks. This tent weighs only approximately five pounds, which means that it is lightweight enough to carry around or transport.

This tent can be found on Amazon for $100 to $200. If this might seem relatively cheap for a tent of this size and value, it is. Avid campers, hikers, and other outdoor adventure-seekers will recommend this tent as being one of the best for its cost.

2. Best Three Person Tent – Sundome by Coleman

Sundome 3 Person Tent
1,080 Reviews
Sundome 3 Person Tent

  • Up to 33% more water-resistant than a Comparable standard Coleman tent.
  • 2 windows for great ventilation and views.
  • Included rainfly for extra weather protection.
  • 7 x 7 ft. Foot print, 4 ft. 4 in. Center height.
  • 1-Year limited warranty.


coleman

Why We Like This Tent: This tent is one of our top five recommended tents because of its spaciousness, easy assembly, weight and airy features.

Livability: Because the Sundome three-season tent is built to fit three people comfortably, this tent provides up to 49 square feet of floor space, and one door. When set upright, the center pole reaches a maximum of 5’2” center height.

Because this tent is guaranteed to keep you dry, the floors are a bit rugged and are lined with inverted seams. As a result, it’s best to use air mattresses to sleep on in this tent rather than sleeping bags.

Versatility: This tent has mesh “windows” rather than mesh walls. This is to help keep the rain and elements out, and the warmth in – especially during severe weather or cooler temps.

The “rainfly” covers the door and windows and is made from polyester. There is also an inner mesh vent for breathability and ventilation.

Lighting: Although this tent has one door and windows, the lighting isn’t as robust as what we saw with the Mountainsmith Morrison tent.

However, when comparing other Coleman tent products and models, the Sundome is one of the better options for light.

Assembly: The Sundome tent comes equipped with two fiberglass poles. Although this tent is designed to fit a third person, compared to the tent we reviewed above, this tent weighs only three pounds, making it easy to carry, set up, and transport.

Assembling and even navigating in and out of the tent after assembly is a snap. The zippers are easy to move without any snags or letting in any water or moisture.

It is also light, easy to pack, and easy to set up – even in the dark. The tent comes in a “dome” shape, hence the name, and comes in both green and navy blue color options.

The Sundome three-person, three-season tent by Coleman is a quality product, and is highly recommended for camping trips in campgrounds, short backpacking trips, and backcountry adventures.

Its spaciousness, easy assembly, setup and affordability make it a very popular choice for families who are ready for camping adventures.

The Sundome can be found on Amazon for approximately $50 to $100 – a great price for a camping tent of this size and quality.

3. Best Car Camping Tent – Explorer 2 SUV Tent

$19.96
Sundome 3 Person Tent
88 Reviews
Sundome 3 Person Tent

  • Bungy cord with plastic coated hooks attach to the vehicle’s underframe.
  • Outer door panels fold up and tie back for maximum ventilation.
  • Zip and tie at bottom corners for privacy.
  • No-seeum insect screen.
  • Inverted ‘T’ layout on insect screen and two way zippers.


explorer tent

Why We Like This Tent: For a tent that you can assemble and attach to a vehicle – like a mini, movable campsite – we highly recommend the Explorer 2 SUV tent.

This tent attaches to the back hatch of an SUV and turns the vehicle into a convenient sleeping area without the hassle of assembling an actual tent.

Livability: The Explorer 2 SUV tent is a great way to turn your vehicle into a sleep area without having to worry about what crawls around on you while sleeping on the ground or getting wet in inclement weather.

This tent fits most SUVs and minivans with liftgate rear panels less than 67″ wide. This tent is also easy to set up in as little as five minutes and with little to no equipment or hardware or complicated instructions.

Drive from campground to campground or other site, store all your stuff without taking up too much room, spread out an air mattress, and sleep in the comfort and protection of your own vehicle.

Versatility: As we mentioned above, the Explorer 2 SUV tent fits the batch hatch and rear lift gate of most SUVs and minivans. One important thing to note is that this is without the spare tire.

The inverted “T” door zipper also makes it easy to get in and out of the vehicle and users can protect their privacy – and their skin from insects – with the mesh insect screen.

The outer door panels can also be tied back and come equipped with 2-way zippers that easily open and close without any snags or ripped fabric.

This tent can also be used along with utility or boat trailers. Simply drape Tent over vehicle, use bungee cords to connect to tire wells, raise gate and you’re there!

Lighting: Although the Explorer 2 SUV tent is really only half a tent, it would be unfair to rate its level of lighting. With this type of tent, the lighting is ample while the back hatch or rear liftgate is ajar or opened to maximum height.

However, there may be more or less light inside the vehicle, depending on the make and model vehicle you drive. For example, many SUVs come standard with tinted windows today; therefore, the overall level of light in those vehicles might be significantly less than others.

Assembly: As mentioned above, this tent is super easy to assemble, and can be set up in less than five minutes. Users can simply drape the tent over the vehicle while also using the bungee cords to connect the outer layers of the tent to the tire wells.

Then, users can raise or close the gate as they prefer. The Explorer 2 SUV tent is made of polyester, and is compliant with flame resistant guidelines.

The tent itself is compact and only weighs approximately five pounds and comes equipped with a carry on and storage bag.

In summary, this tent is a great option for those who prefer to travel from campsite to campsite without having to worry about the weight of transporting a tent.

It’s also a great option for those who love the outdoors but aren’t too keen about sleeping on the ground. The Explorer 2 SUV tent has numerous benefits and advantages over the “standard” tent. For $100 to $200, users can get the whole package.

4. Best Ultralight Tent – Swift-n-Snug 2 Person Camping Tent

Swift-n-Snug 2 Person Camping Tent
55 Reviews
Swift-n-Snug 2 Person Camping Tent

  • 3 Season large tent is spacious and comfortably fits two people.
  • 2 man tent features near-instant set up that takes only a few short minutes.
  • One of the most durable polyester tents currently available for sale.
  • Good companion for all weather travel.
  • Best buying experience possible.


Swift N Snug

Why We Like This Tent: One of the most enjoyable things about camping is the ability to hike, backpack, and explore various sites without worry.

However, one of the worst things about camping is not having the right gear with you or having to carry and transport too much gear, making it difficult for the hiker to truly enjoy the experience.

One of the reasons why the Swift-n-Snug 2-person camping tent made its way into our top picks is because we believe it is the best ultralight tent for transporting and carrying from site to site without discomfort.

Livability: Although the name “Swift-n-Snug” suggests that this is a small tent, cozy for only one or two people, this tent actually measures 6’7” long and 5’ wide, and it is even roomy enough for tall people.

It is also spacious enough, and can comfortably fit two people. This tent is a three-season tent and is ideal for outside use, such as for camping and backpacking trips.

Versatility: This tent is made from a strong, durable polyester that will not rip. In fact, this tent is known for being one of the strongest tents available for purchase. It comes with two doors and vestibules.

Although this type of tent is relatively roomy, it is also a space-saver and extremely portable. When packed in the carry bag, it only measures 22″ x 4.7″ x 3”, making it the perfect, lightweight tent to pack, carry, and transport.

The Swift-n-Snug is also durable enough to endure various weather conditions, including rain and wind. This tent comes equipped with a rainfly cover to withstand rain, and strong poles to keep the tent upright in windy conditions, keeping you dry and protected.

On the other hand, because this is a three-season tent, it is also suitable to withstand dry, hot weather. It is well ventilated, allowing proper airflow inside the tent and protection to keep insects out.

Lighting: Because this tent is lightweight yet strong enough to endure weather, it does not have mesh walls or windows, which means the lighting inside the tent is relatively dim.

However, this tent does have two doors, allowing for some light to enter when ajar.

Assembly: The Swift-n-Snug tent comes is very quick and easy to set up and assemble, taking only five to ten minutes. The tent is also easy to disassemble, allowing users to pack the tent in the carry bag.

All in all, the Swift-n-Snug three-season, two-person tent is extremely lightweight and versatile, making it one of the best tents for camping, backpacking, hiking and easy to take with you on any outdoor adventure.

This tent only weighs approximately three pounds when packed, making it easy to pack, carry, and transport.

This tent can be found on Amazon for $50 to $100, also making it one of the most affordable options that we’ve included in this article.

However, in terms of the Swift-n-Snug tent, a lower price doesn’t mean lower quality. This type of tent is also one of the strongest and most durable tents available for camping, hiking, and backpacking.

Best Tent Brands

If you are getting ready to embark on your next – or your first – camping adventure, then you know that part of the experience is all about the gear you pack with you.

Camping gear should be as lightweight as possible for transporting easily; strong, durable, and a quality product; and should also be ventilated and breathable enough to keep the air from becoming stale but insulated enough to maintain interior temperatures and the weather elements out.

Depending on the size of the tent and the quality you are looking for, a good tent that fits several people can cost a few hundred buckaroos.

Even if you have figured in the cost of a new tent in your camping budget, you still want to find one that is of the highest quality and at the best price.

The top three best tent brands include:

1. North Face 

The North Face is known for its quality product line of clothing, jackets, and even outdoor gear, including tents. Although North Face is known for its high prices, their tents are among the best quality outdoor gear products available.

With their extensive tent product line, users are likely to find a deal or a tent that is reasonably priced on Amazon. If you are looking for a quality tent this camping season, then make sure North Face is on your list

2. Coleman

Although Coleman is at the lower end of the price spectrum when compared to North Face, this doesn’t mean their quality is less.

Coleman tents and other outdoor gear are offered are a great option for people who are looking for a tent for casual use but for a good value. Although Coleman offers a number of backpacking tents, they are more known for their car camping tent line.

3. L.L. Bean 

L.L.Bean offers a number of high-end tent options. The higher quality and more expensive tents can be found between $200 and $500.

L.L. Bean offers a number of tent options, including lightweight, backpacking options. In fact, L.L. Bean’s Microlight FS 2 Tent received the “Editor’s Choice” award from Backpacker’s magazine in 2012.

Conclusion

All in all, finding the best camping tents for a specific purpose or person simply involves research and a basic understanding of the key aspects that go into what makes a great camping tent.

We already know that some of the details, such as the fabric and material, size, and weight are key characteristics in looking for the best camping tent, as well as any additional accessories, such as zippered compartments, bag or any other accessories.

The best camping tents we have listed in the above guide are what we believe are great options for all campers and outdoor adventure-seekers, from the camping newbie to experienced, camping aficionados.

These camping tents are all designed with quality in mind to ensure your camping experience is the best one.

Any of the above options would be great purchases, but the best option for you comes down to personal preference as well as the type of camping tent you are looking for based on the number of campers in your party.

Finally, although finding the best camping tent might be frustrating, especially if you are unsure of where to look, it’s important to remember that selecting out an appropriate camping tent can be a great way to add more excitement as you plan your next camping experience.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. In the beginning, tents were used far back to the Iron Age. This is mentioned in the Bible also, it is described as ‘the first to live in tents and raise sheep and goats’.

  2. All great tips that will help make your next camping trip more enjoyable and hassle free. The only one I don’t agree with is to leave the dog at home. After watching how excited she gets when she watches us getting ready for the next trip that would just be to cruel.

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