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There’s a lot of things to consider when buying a tent – size, weight, design, ease of setup, quality, price, and more. Here we’re focusing on five tents that will make your sleep nice and pleasant when you’re out camping.
According to our research, the best tents for sleeping are:
- Coleman Sundome
- The North Face Mountain 25
- Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL Ultralight Backpacking Tent
- REI Co-op Grand Hut
- REI Co-op Kingdom 4
#1. Coleman Sundome
Check price | Best for sleeping in rainy conditions
If you haven’t heard of Coleman, you’ve probably never even been outdoors. Joking aside, this brand is one of the leading and most trusted brands for campers and other nature lovers.
We choose the Sundome because, with the upper half of the tent covered in mesh, it is extremely breathable, even with a rainfly on.
The tent has specially protected corners and it doesn’t leak water in – a feature that makes all the difference between sleeping soundly through a night of rain and fighting to keep the water out the whole night (or just give up and consent to sleep in a puddle).
In one corner, there’s a special “e-port” – an opening through which you can put a cable and easily make use of electric power inside.
You can easily fit a Queen sized air mattress inside and sleep comfortably. You can choose this tent in a variety of sizes which can host from 2 to 6 sleepers.
Bear in mind that the rainfly is quite important for this tent because in case of rain or dust/sand, or even normal wind – you are not protected.
Buy: Coleman Sundome, $55.75+ from Amazon
#2. The North Face Mountain 25
Check price | Best for all seasons
The North Face Mountain 25 is made for all seasons – it can withstand low temperatures, snow, rain, strong wind, you name it. It’s really unexpected to see a tent that is so lightweight (less than 9lb) and incredibly durable/resistant to inclement weather.
The PU/silicone-coated rainfly repels rain and sleet and is easily removable. Mountain 25 is designed to be used in a wide variety of weather conditions, including storms that last for days. Many refer to this tent as “bomber” or “bombproof” because of these qualities.
The many pockets and hanger loops for keeping all your belongings make this tent quite livable. It also has two doors which adds to the luxury.
It hosts two people and is quite spacious because of the wall angle and how it’s rounded at the top. The mesh is placed strategically so that you can get good breathability and remain well protected.
You are very likely to sleep like a baby in such a safe, dry, durable, and livable tent. The North Face Mountain is one of our favorites although it’s hard to find at the moment.
Buy: The North Face Mountain 25, $599 from Amazon
#3. Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Check price | Best lightweight tent
The Fly Creek HV UL Ultralight Tent is made for those who spend a lot of time on their feet and for whom every fraction of an ounce in weight matters. The rainfly works well and the setup is easy and intuitive.
With only around 2 lb in weight, you can’t expect it to be extremely durable. Since extra lightweight materials were used, the tent itself is somewhat delicate, so you have to be careful when setting it up and generally mind the branches or other sharp things that could damage it.
This Big Agnes tent is a 3-season tent and it has shown to respond really well to heavy rain. You can get it in a size for 1, 2, or 3 people. There is only one door, even for the 3-person size.
You can’t stand up straight in this tent and it’s not very roomy if more than one person sleeps inside.
The Fly Creek HV UL is probably the best option for hikers and those who don’t camp in extremely cold weather.
Buy: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL Ultralight Backpacking Tent, $329.95+ from Amazon
#4. REI Co-op Grand Hut
Check price | Best for windy conditions
The Co-op Grand Hut by REI is a fantastically easy-to-pitch tent – just make sure to set up the poles and stakes correctly if you don’t want your tent to be fell down in the wind.
Otherwise, it can withstand strong gusts of wind. Be mindful of a meshy side at the bottom of the tent. It’s there to improve breathability but dust could enter through in strong wind so try to face that side opposite of where the wind is coming from.
The walls of the Grand Hut are almost vertical which gives a very pleasant, real-room-like feeling. You can move around with more freedom and even stand up even if you are 6’2” tall. This design also holds more air inside.
This tent features two tall doors that make it easy to get in and out and the fly is easy to set up. Similar to other REI tents, the Co-op Grand Hut contains plenty of room for your stuff – meshed pockets are everywhere and there are also gear loops to attach lights.
This tent comes in a medium-sized heavy-duty type of bag.
Buy: REI Co-op Grand Hut, $299 from REI
#5. REI Co-op Kingdom 4
Check price | Best large tent
This tent is huge. We really mean it – REI says that Co-op Kingdom 4 is made for four people, but with the floor dimensions of 100in x 100in (8ft 4in x 8ft 4in), it’s bigger than a typical 4-person tent.
With plenty of room even for tall and large campers, you should be able to sleep as well as in your own bed. There’s also enough room for air so you don’t have to worry about it getting too stuffy inside at night.
In order for four people not to feel like they are stripped off of their privacy, REI has a wall that you can form by pulling the sides of the tent and zipping them in the middle. This way sleepers get two separate rooms within the same tent. Cool, right?
The tent comes with a rucksack bag and a waterproof fly that can be rolled up to cover only the front/back side of the tent or rolled sideways to cover only the left/right side.
This tent is fantastically designed with plenty of pockets for all of your belongings and the fly can be extended to cover and protect the things you keep outside of the tent.
The biggest flaw becomes obvious when it actually starts raining – especially sideways. The four vents at the top of the fly can’t but leak water. It’s best if you never even open them or if you can find a way to seal them shut with tape or velcro.
Otherwise, the tent will protect you well from bugs, keep your privacy, and last for a long time.
Buy: REI Co-op Kingdom 4, $429 from REI
What should I consider when buying a tent?
- Purpose. The first thing you should consider is the purpose of the tent. Are you camping in cold or warm weather? Do you want one tent that can protect you in literally any kind of weather? Do you want it to be roomy inside or do you need it just for sleeping and no luxury whatsoever? Make sure you get the right design of the tent.
- Size. Get a tent that can host all the people you need. If you have a small kid, you can probably use a tent for 2 for some time, but soon you’ll need one for three people. You can also get a tent with more than one room. You can get a tent for 1 person, or you can get one for 10 people.
- Brand and reviews. Check out the brand of the tent and see if it’s a trustworthy one or not. Also, read the reviews for that particular model. Don’t only read article reviews or reviews on the manufacturer’s website, but do research on other websites that sell the same product, like Amazon. This will help you get a full picture of what the tent is like and whether it’s for you.
- Portability. If you are planning to drive to the campsite and back, you can get a heavier and more durable tent, whereas if you’re hiking, especially for a long time, you’ll look for the most lightweight option.
- Cost. Not every expensive option is the right option for you. Once you decide on a model, you can check if any sellers offer a discount.
How can I make sleep more comfortable when camping?
- Start with the sleeping bag. Get a quality bag that’s good for you – car camping ones are wider whereas backpacking sleeping bags are snug and more heat retaining.
- Get a good air mattress that won’t lose air or get easily punctured. Since your sleep and your mattress depend on its ability to retain air, you should test it before your trip. Even if you’ve had it for a while – inflate it just in case. You can also invest in an inflatable or another type of travel pillow for better sleep.
- Earplugs and eye mask. When you’re camping, you could be lucky enough to sleep in complete silence and total darkness, but it could also be the opposite. The sounds of nature and living creatures can be too much for a light sleeper, so earplugs are a great backup. Also, if you’re sleeping under the clear sky and full moon, you may need to block out the light with a mask.
- Mind what you consume – avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and alcohol and heavy meals in the evening. You can have some relaxing tea about 1-2 hours before bedtime. To avoid getting up at night to relieve yourself, try to stay hydrated during the day, and not drink much liquid just before bed (one cup of tea is fine as long as it’s not too close to bedtime).
Choosing the right place for pitching a tent
Apart from choosing the right tent, you also need to choose the right place for setting it up. The general rule is to set it up on the flat ground, avoiding hills altogether (top, sides, or bottom – all are unsafe choices). When you find a place that’s level enough, inspect the ground and remove any branches and rocks that could bother you or damage your mattress. Surfaces with grass or dry leaves are better than rocky surfaces.
You should also stay away from trees because, even though there’s a small chance of it happening, some campers were killed by branches that suddenly fell on their tent. Branches may be shed by trees or broken in storms.
Take a moment to think about how exposed your tent is to the sun and wind. You don’t want too much of any elements.
Things to be aware of when spending a night out camping
If you’re planning to camp in a popular park, reserving a space is a must during the peak season. Even if it’s not the peak, it’s safer if you reserve it on time.
Check the weather in advance and prepare your clothes accordingly. Bring rain protection and waterproof shoes if there are signs that it will be rainy.
Also, be sure to pitch your tent during the daytime. It can be a real pain to do it at night.
Plan your meals well and don’t take too much food, especially perishable food. When storing food, make sure you store it properly – you don’t want squirrels and raccoons to steal your family’s food.
Finally, don’t leave trash, leftovers, or anything else behind you. If you found someone else’s litter, pick it up and help nature to stay nice and clean for a long time to come!