Discover the Best 3 and 4 Person Tent for Camping (in 2020)
A tent is essential if you want to enjoy the great outdoors. But they also take up a lot of space. If 3 or 4 people head out on a trip, that’s a lot of tents to stuff into the trunk. And then you have to think about the rest of your gear.
Good 3 and 4 person tents offer a solution to that problem. But you have to find the right model. A bad tent leads to a bad night and some don’t offer the space that you may need to comfortably fit so many people.
That’s where we come in. Here are our reviews of some of the best 3 and 4 person tents for camping, as well as our handy buyer’s guide.
Table of Contents
Our Top Pick: Big Agnes Tensleep Station 4
There’s a lot to love about the Station 4. It offers a ton of room, multiple doors, and exceptional protection from the elements. Wait till you see the adjustable awning. It lets you set up the front vestibule in multiple configurations, including something like a grand Fifth Avenue entrance awning if you feel like it.
- Adjustable Awning
You have all sorts of options available to you when it comes to this tent’s awning. It rolls up into practically nothing for those moments when you want to create a welcoming atmosphere for new people. But you can also extend it horizontally, using a pair of poles to support it, or extend it diagonally to shelter the front door of the tent. Of course, you can also attach it to the rest of the tent via zips to create some more internal floor space.
- All-Weather Camping
This is a bulky tent because it’s built to survive some pretty harsh conditions. The aluminum three-pole frame offers exceptional stability. But it’s the materials used that make this such a versatile tent. There are mesh windows to aid in breathability, a tough polyester floor, and waterproof layers that extend over the mesh when the weather gets rough.
- Exceptional Floor Space
The main tent offers 65 square feet of floor space, with the rear vestibule adding another 8 square feet to the package. That’s more than enough room for three or four sleeping bags, plus all of the gear that you bring along for the trip. You’ll be able to enjoy your camping in comfort, rather than having to clamber all over one another to get around the tent.
- Two Doors
Having two doors may not seem like a big deal at first. But when you’re camping with multiple people, having a couple of escape routes available for those late night bathroom breaks can prove invaluable. Two doors means that those at the back of the tent don’t have to disturb those at the front when they need to get out.
- Simple Setup
The three poles that make up the main frame are exactly the same, which means you don’t have to spend ages figuring out what goes where to get the tent up. Big Agnes also color-code the rain clips, so you know exactly where everything slots into place. It’s easy enough for 1 person to handle, but 3 or 4 will make very short work of it.
- The Tent Stakes
While the stakes that come with the tent certainly do the job, they could have been a bit sturdier. Made using aluminum, there’s a chance that some of them will bend, especially when hammered into hard ground. You may want to switch some of them out for steel stakes to ensure security.
- The Tent Pole Bag
Another minor frustration comes from the storage bag offered for the tent poles. It’s at the tight end of the scale, which makes it quite difficult to slot the poles back into the bag after use. It’s likely that you’ll end up tearing the bag through trying to force the poles into place.
The tent’s fly uses 100% polyester, with a polyurethane (PU) coating adding some waterproofing. The body combines polyester with a mesh, which offers breathability in warmer conditions. More polyester comes into play on the floors, which offer the toughness needed to deal with boots and lots of activity.
Who’s it Best for?
This is the ideal tent for 3 and 4-person parties that value comfort during their camping. It’s rugged, versatile, and offers enough little features, floor room, and storage space to accommodate 4 people. It is a touch on the expensive side though, so beginners and those who don’t face harsh conditions may want to look elsewhere.
To find out more about this tent, head to https://www.backcountry.com/big-agnes-tensleep-station-4-person-tent.
Our Instant Tent Pick: Coleman Instant 4 Person Camping Tent
Good instant tents, particularly those that accommodate 3 or 4 people, are few and far between. Coleman’s offering makes the list because it combines a very low weight with much more strength than you may anticipate. It’s a great choice for people who want to get the tent up and ready for use in a matter of minutes.
- Lightning Quick Setup
This is an all-in-one cabin tent, which means the tent poles come pre-attached and the fly has been built into the tent. The end result is a tent that takes about two minutes to set up. You just extend the poles and put them in place to get the tent ready to go. This is a huge advantage when setting up in the dead of the night.
- Excellent Ventilation
The use of mesh throughout gives this tent exceptional ventilation. There are large mesh windows on two sides of the tent, which you can open up whenever you need a little extra airflow. They also have covers to zip up if the weather gets more unfavorable.
- Decent Space
The tent offers 56 square feet of floor space and extends to a maximum height of 4ft 10in at the center. This makes it ideal for 3-person parties. Four people may find that it’s a bit of a squeeze, but you should all fit as long as nobody in the party is particularly tall.
There aren’t many 3 or 4-person tents that run at a lower price than this and still offer a decent amount of quality. Camping novices and those working to a tight budget will find an agreeable price that doesn’t break the bank.
- Not Great With Wind and Rain
The cabin setup seems to affect the stability of the tent in high winds. You may want to look at additional methods of securing it if you’re expecting difficult conditions because the wind has a habit of pulling the tent out of place. The WeatherTec system offers ample protection against light rain, but you may find that the tent starts leaking in downpour conditions.
- Single Entrance
A single entrance isn’t ideal when there are four people in a tent. Those at the back will have to crawl over everybody to get outside. On the plus side, it’s a fairly large door that doesn’t present any problems when you get to it.
Though it’s a very light tent, the fact that it has its poles built in does present a storage problem. You have to stuff the whole thing into a single bag, which takes up more room than you may expect. It’s not a deal breaker, but non-instant tents of equivalent size tend to take up less space when packed away.
The tent features a pair of large mesh windows for ventilation, which you can protect with the privacy flap or open up using the zips. Coleman use 150D polyester taffeta for the body of the tent, which provides adequate protection and can withstand some rough and tumble. The 1000D polyethylene floor holds up well and the steel poles provide rigidity.
Who’s it Best for?
Anybody who wants to get their tent up as quickly as possible will love the speed of this tent. You won’t have to spend hours messing about with different poles and loops. It’s also a good budget option, which will attract camping novices and those not looking to break the bank. But those looking to camp in difficult conditions should look elsewhere.
To learn more about this tent, head to https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-2000018016-4-Person-Instant-Cabin/dp/B004E4AVY8/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1522316192&sr=1-2&keywords=Coleman+Instant+4+Person+Camping+Tent
Our Summer Tent Pick: Mountainsmith Bear Creek 4 Person Tent
If you’re looking for room, the Bear Creek has the answer. It offers plenty of floor space, in addition to a couple of unique extra features. The tent is among the simplest on our list and it has a very low weight.
- Comes with a Footprint
A good footprint protects the base of your tent against rough terrain, but you usually have to buy them separately. Not so with this tent, as it comes with its own footprint. This saves you a little money, as well as ensuring the tent lasts longer than one without a footprint.
- Huge Floor Space
The more people you have, the more valuable that floor space becomes. The Bear Creek offers 70 square feet of space, which is more than enough for 4 people and all of their gear. If you have 3 in your party, expect to enjoy a roomy and comfortable experience.
- The Rear Closet
The tent comes with a closet built into the rear. You can access this using a small door that’s large enough to fit most backpacks. The closet keeps your gear in one place, which makes it very easy to find what you’re looking for.
The tent weighs less than 10lbs, which means it’s easy to lug around. It also packs down compactly, so it’s not going to take up a lot of space in the car. Moreover, it’s easy to find space for storing it in an apartment or similarly small home.
- It’s a Two-Season Tent
This lightness and extra floor space comes at the expense of a little strength. The tent doesn’t hold up well to difficult weather conditions, so you’ll want to avoid using it during the fall and winter. The tent almost exclusively uses breathable poly, which means it will let cold gusts of wind in.
- Single Entrance
While the rear closet is a nifty idea, it also means that there’s no door built into the back of the tent. As expected, this means a bit of clambering for those who want to get out. Having said that, the large floor space means you have a little extra room for maneuver for those late night excursions.
- Aluminum Poles
While aluminum poles offer flexibility and lightness, they also compromise the strength of the tent a little. Again, this is not the ideal tent for camping out in difficult conditions. You may find that the poles struggle in high winds or when put under a lot of pressure.
The tent uses a breathable poly for most of the body, which offers amazing ventilation at the cost of protection against the cold. The material also offers some protection against water, with the floor having a coating that guards against 5000mm while the fly protects against 2000mm. The aluminum poles keep things light, but do mean that the tent isn’t as sturdy as some others.
Who’s it Best For?
Summertime campers will love this tent’s breathability and it’s a perfect choice for the summer music festival period. Its lightness also makes it a good choice for hikers, again assuming that they don’t face difficult weather. However, the tent doesn’t offer enough strength and protection for use during winter and fall.
To discover what else this tent has to offer, head to https://www.amazon.com/Mountainsmith-Bear-Creek-Person-Season/dp/B01N4UGRY2
Our Luxury Tent Pick: Vango Capri 400 XL Tent
If you want to go all out for comfort and luxuriousness during your trip, there’s no better choice than the Capri 400XL. It features separate rooms and an enormous floor space, though this obviously comes at the cost of portability.
- Massive Floor Space
While the Bear Creek offers great floor space, the Capri 400 absolutely dwarfs it. You get 143 square feet of space, which the tent divides across three rooms. You get two “bedrooms” in the back, plus a small “living room” at the front. On top of that, the tent comes with an awning that you can use as a porch area.
- Great Ventilation
Speaking of the “living room” space, it has large plastic windows on both sides that open up to allow air to circulate. Couple this with the mesh above the doors of the sleeping areas and you have a tent that offers great ventilation. Of course, you can also seal all of this up for those cold nights when you don’t need air circulating throughout the tent.
- Air Beam Technology
You only get one standard pole with this tent. The rest of the tent use Vango’s Air Beam technology, which makes setting the tent up very simple. Just attach a pump to the beams and get to work. It does take a few minutes to fully inflate the beams, but you won’t have to wrestle with the tent during that time.
- High-Quality Waterproofing
This is a tent that can withstand the elements, as it demonstrates with its waterproof ratings. The tent’s shell can deal with 4000mm of water, whereas the floor can handle 10000mm. You won’t have to deal with any leakage, even in heavy rain.
- The Lights Out Lining
The bedrooms are essentially small tents built into the main shell of the Capri 400. These little internal tents use a darker fabric than the shell, which means they protect against any encroaching light sources during the night. This is particularly useful for sleeping in active campsites and for protecting against flashlights in the middle of the night.
- Huge Weight
A tent of this size doesn’t come without its costs. The weight can be a huge burden for anybody who’s intending on carrying the tent any sort of distance. It weighs almost 50lbs when packed up, which means you won’t want to camp too far from your car.
- You Need Space
The massive floor space offers comfort, but it also means you’re going to take up a lot of room at the campsite. In fact, you may even have to check ahead to ensure you can use the tent beforehand. If you’re heading to a busy campsite, you may find that you struggle to find the room to pitch the tent properly.
Vango uses Protex 70D polyester for the flysheet, which adds to the tent’s waterproof qualities as well as offering durability. It also has openable PVC windows, rather than mesh. This allows more light into the tent’s living space, as well as allowing plenty of air to circulate. We also like the internal tension band system, which you can use to reinforce the tent in difficult conditions.
Who’s it Best for?
Anybody who finds that regular 3 and 4 person tents don’t offer enough space will fall in love with the Vango. It’s ideal for making your camping trip as luxurious as possible. The inner lining of the “bedrooms” also makes it a good choice for those who find that light disturbs their sleep too easily. Of course, you’ll make huge sacrifices in portability to enjoy these luxuries.
To find out more about this tent, visit https://www.amazon.com/Vango-Capri-Tent-X-Large-Herbal/dp/B01LB0N202/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1522319093&sr=1-1&keywords=Vango+Capri+400+XL+Tent.
The Tents That Didn’t Make the Cut
We examined many tents to come up with this definitive list. Naturally, that means that there were a few tents that impressed us, but didn’t quite make the cut. Here are some mini reviews of those tents, so you can see if they suit your needs.
HUI LINGYANG Instant Dome Tent
Setting up is a doddle with this tent, which may make it a good choice for the camping novice. It also offers mesh windows with covers, which help to keep air flowing. The low price and choice of colors also make it appealing.
However, it doesn’t provide as much room as the other instant tent on our list. You’d struggle to fit 3 adults inside with their gear, which makes fitting 4 very unlikely. It also offers practically no waterproofing, to the point where water often seeps in during fairly light drizzles.
Eureka Copper Canyon 4
It’s the little added features that we liked about the Copper Canyon 4. The electricity port and gear loft are very impressive features. It’s also easy to set up and is one of the tallest tents that we looked at. The massive windows also make this a desirable summer tent.
But the problems come with the fact that this a freestanding tent, so it’s not going to provide much protection in windy conditions. Moreover, the massive windows mean that you’ll really feel dips in temperature, even when you have the covers rolled down.
If you want to learn more about this tent, go to https://www.backcountry.com/eureka-copper-canyon-4-tent-4-person-3-season?skid=ERK001I-ONECOL-ONESIZ&ti=UExQIEJyYW5kOkV1cmVrYSBUZW50cyAmIFNoZWx0ZXJzOjE6Mjg6MTAwMDAwMjY2X2JjLXRlbnRzLXNoZWx0ZXJz
Marmot Halo 4 Tent
This tent’s versatility impressed us, as it’s large enough to serve as a car camping tent while being light enough to take on short hikes. You also get a decent amount of floor room, plus it has two vestibules that you can extend to increase the floor room further. The use of two doors also made this a very attractive tent.
However, it provides very little protection against water. In particular, you’ll find that condensation becomes a problem during wet conditions, to the point where you may notice small puddles on the floor. The poles also bend a little too easily, which isn’t expected given the high price tag attached to the tent.
Still, it’s a decent summer tent that offers loads of room. If you want to find out more, visit https://www.backcountry.com/marmot-halo-4-person-tent
3 and 4 Person Tent Buying Guide
You can’t assume any old tent will do. Some tents work better in warmer conditions, whereas others provide the stability needed to deal with harsh weather. Moreover, you must think about the needs of the people using the tent before making your purchase.
That’s where this buying guide comes in. We’re going to cover some of the key factors to consider before buying a 3 and 4 person tent.
Just because a tent claims it fits 4 people, it doesn’t mean that it will fit them comfortably. You need to look at the floor space that the tent offers to determine if it suits your needs.
Most 3 and 4 person tents offer between 50 and 70 square feet of floor space. At the lower end of that scale, you’ll find the tent has just enough room for people, without a lot left over for gear. As a result, you may want to lean towards the higher end of the scale to ensure you have room to store things and to move around in.
Of course, you can always go for a luxury option, such as the Capri 400 reviewed above. This solves all of your space issues, but such tents offer poor portability that makes them unsuitable for carrying over large distances.
The level of ventilation that a tent offers determines its suitability for camping in warm weather. The inside of a tent can get very hot with the sun beaming down on it.
Typically, tents use their own versions of windows for ventilation. These tend to come in either mesh or plastic varieties.
Mesh windows don’t allow as much light in, but they keep air circulating even when they not fully open. They usually have covers to protect against harsher conditions, though you may find that some summer tents omit these entirely for a mesh-heavy design.
Plastic windows allow plenty of light into the tent, plus you can usually open them fully to allow air to circulate. However, they don’t allow any air in when closed, plus they can compromise privacy if they don’t have covers.
Pole and Stake Materials
Manufacturers use all sorts of materials for their poles and stakes.
- Aluminum is among the most popular because it offers lightness and flexibility. However, there are small compromises in stability, which may make such poles unsuitable for difficult weather.
- Fiberglass offers greater strength while adding weight to the package.
- Steel also offers a higher level of strength, but you lose some flexibility and add even more weight.
- More recent technologies include the Air Beams that Vango uses. These inflatable poles allow you to avoid wrestling with a tent to get it set up while still offering good stability.
You can spend a couple of minutes or an entire hour on setting up your tent. It all depends on your choices.
Traditional tents require you to insert all of the poles to get them upright. This is very rarely a one-person job given the size of the tents in this list, but such tents tend to offer greater stability. The best examples of these tents use color-coding to help you get all of the poles in the right places.
Then there are the instant tents. There’s no denying that these tents don’t have the structural integrity of traditional tents. Plus, they use built-in poles that make getting replacements difficult when something goes wrong. However, they do allow you to get your tent setup in a matter of minutes. This makes them desirable for novices, as well as people who will have to set their tents up during the night.
Most tents offer some level of waterproofing. But some are better at dealing with heavy rain than others.
Look for the waterproof rating for both the shell and the floor. The fly may also have a similar rating too. This is typically measured in millimeters, with the higher numbers representing greater waterproofing.
The tent’s doors may not seem like a big issue until you find yourself climbing over 3 other people in an effort to get outside.
Ideally, the tent will have front and rear doors to allow for easy exiting and entering. The only valid reason not to opt for more than one door is if you must cut down on the weight (doors make the tent heavier). If that’s the case, make sure that the one door is large enough and there’s enough floor area for you to access the door at night without waking everybody up.
Tent extras include the following:
A porch offers you a place to sit outside while staying under shelter. It’s also ideal for keeping wet gear in, as you don’t want to introduce soggy gear to the inside of the tent. Of course, having a porch adds more weight to the tent.
Footprints go underneath the tent to protect the floor from whatever rough terrain you pitch on. They’re not essential, especially if the tent has a sturdy enough floor. However, they do reduce the amount of wear that the tent undergoes, which may extend its life by a few more months or years. They also add another small layer of padding to the underside of the tent, which may make it more comfortable.
The Final Word
Finding the best 3 and 4 person tent for camping is a more involved experience than you may have realized. You have to look beyond the name of the tent and check its features to see if it offers what you need.
There are some key questions to ask yourself during this process.
- Does the tent offer enough floor space?
- Is it suitable for the climate you’ll camp in?
- Do you value comfort or practicality?
Once you have answers to these questions, you can start your search in earnest.
In our opinion, the Big Agnes Tensleep Station 4 should offer everything that 3 or 4 people need for camping. It has a decent amount of floor space, which the vestibule adds to. It’s also one of the sturdier tents around, plus the two-door layout proves useful at night. You can learn more about it at https://www.backcountry.com/big-agnes-tensleep-station-4-person-tent.
But if you want to go really big, the Vango Capri 400 XL Tent offers a ton of space, separate bedrooms, and a living area. You also get a porch, massive windows, and an inner layer that guards against encroaching life. However, it’s heavy and costly, which makes it unsuitable for camping too far away from the car. To find out more about it, head to https://www.amazon.com/Vango-Capri-Tent-X-Large-Herbal/dp/B01LB0N202/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1522319093&sr=1-1&keywords=Vango+Capri+400+XL+Tent.