Determining what makes the best tent is dependent on what you intend to use it for. A big factor to consider when choosing any tent is during what time of the year you plan to use it. So, it’s important to do your research when trying to find the best 4-person 3-season tents.
The 10 Best 4-Person 3-Season Tents are:
- Moon Lence 4P
- Teton Sports Mountain
- Kelty Grand Mesa 4
- Kazoo 4 Person Camping Tent
- Beeksy 4 Person Dark Room
- Kelty Late Start
- Kelty Tallboy 4
- Kelty Rumpus 4P
- Coleman Sundome 4-Person
- Eureka Copper Canyon LX 4
Listed from smallest to largest, some of these tents are better for hiking and some are better for car camping, but they are all well designed, affordable 4-person 3-season tents. Below, we discuss what makes these tents the best on the market.
What To Look For In A 3-Season Tent For 4 People
When deciding what to look for in a 4-person tent, you must first decide what you’re using it for. For example, backpackers tend to focus on their pack weight and small profiles, whereas car campers tend to focus more on square footage and comfort amenities.
Of course, price is certainly something that all campers keep in mind. With these top ten tents, you shouldn’t have to break the bank to enjoy a weekend in the outdoors.
Besides price, you’ll find some other criteria that many campers focus on when making tent selections. Whether you are out-backing through the wilderness, camping at the state park, or enjoying a weekend of fishing by the river, there is a tent here for everyone.
By and large, the quality of what you buy depends on what you can afford. However, you can easily enjoy the camping experience without the need to spend a fortune on gear. There’s no rule book for enjoying the outdoors, but there are some industry standards that you should at least be aware of.
Backpackers typically look to minimize their weight as much as possible, but it comes at a high price. To buy a lighter tent, you’ll pay a hefty premium. You have to decide what you can afford, but it’s not too hard to find a decent tent at a mediocre price. You’ll find a few good options listed below.
On the other hand, car campers tend to focus more on square footage, but the same concept applies. The bigger the tent, the more it’s going to cost.
Also, consider additional items that you might need to buy. If your tent doesn’t already come with all the needed gear, then anything extra like stakes, poles, guy-lines, or footprints all cost extra dollars that will have to be taken into account. Be sure to review the tent specs so you know what you’re getting before it arrives.
How Much Room Do You Need?
Tents come in all shapes and sizes and picking one that’s right for you can be overwhelming at times. Trying to imagine the everyday routine of your camping experience will help you avoid any unforeseen circumstances.
Think about how much space you and your party members will take up when sleeping. A good starting point is at least 2 feet in width for each person and at least 6 to 8 inches in length more than the tallest person’s height. This will give you a beginning baseline to determine the smallest set of dimensions you can get by with.
You’ll also need to think about whether or not you’ll be keeping any additional gear inside your tent. More gear means more space, which means you need more money. Be sure to check the actual length and width of your tent before you purchase so that you’re not disappointed when it arrives.
Ease Of Use And Access
Regardless of whether you are looking for a 3-season tent for backpacking or car camping, everyone wants a tent that’s easy to set up and take down. But not everyone will agree on what that looks like. Some tents come with simple X-frame construction poles, some with hub systems, and some with skeletal systems. Find one that works for you, and stick with it.
Don’t overlook the simple things like your doors and windows, guy-lines, staking loops, etc. You want your tent to be as functional as possible with the least amount of inconvenience. For example, can you open and close the windows from the inside? Do your doors have double zippers for easy access? It’s the little things that go a long way to make your camping experience pleasurable.
You definitely want something easy to take down and pack up, as well as something easy to clean. If you are a backpacker, it’s especially important to make sure that your tent can be compacted. Remember, you will be carrying it with you wherever you go and will likely need to set it up and take it down more than once on any given trip. Don’t let a difficult tent ruin your outdoor adventure.
Zippers And Windows
Make sure your zippers work well and are sturdy. That one mechanism can ruin your entire trip if it malfunctions. Ensure that the zippers on your doors, windows, and rainfly are all functioning properly and slide smoothly.
Make sure there are no missing teeth or disruptions in the stitching. Make sure that all the zippers can freely open and close without getting hung up on the fabric. Zippers need to be of good quality and not cheap plastic.
Freestanding vs Staked
Whether you choose a freestanding tent or a staked tent is really a matter of preference. There is no right or wrong, or one that is better than the other. They both have pros and cons, and it’s just a matter of which one works best for you.
Staked tents are generally lighter because they typically come without tent poles, and this is sometimes preferred by hikers because of the weight reduction. Staked tents also hold up to the inclement weather better, so if you trek above the tree lines where weather is more adverse, then you might prefer the stakes.
However, many hikers still choose freestanding tents because they are generally much easier to pitch and can usually be done by one person.
What Kind Of Poles Do You Need?
Tent poles come in fiberglass, aluminum, steel, or carbon. For more affordable tents, you’re going to get fiberglass or aluminum. Fiberglass is much heavier and cheaper, which is why they usually come with lower-priced tents. This isn’t a big deal for car campers because they usually aren’t concerned with weight, but most hikers prefer aluminum poles.
Aluminum poles are lighter and a bit sturdier. One of the biggest complaints from campers is that fiberglass poles have a tendency to snap in high winds or under heavy weight. Sometimes they claim that the poles break for no reason at all. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that tents with fiberglass poles aren’t worth buying.
It truly depends on the environment. If you’re planning on some more arduous adventures, though, aluminum poles would be the recommended choice.
Guy Lines And Loops
Make sure you have the necessary guy lines and loops for your tent. With some tents, the guy lines have to be purchased separately or upgraded. Guy lines may seem insignificant, but they will keep your tent secure during sudden weather changes so make sure they stay taut. Otherwise, you just might lose your tent.
Whether you’re car camping or backpacking, you always need a place to store your gear. Lights, phones, and wallets will always need a place to stay. How many storage pockets you need really depends on how much extra gear and how many people you have with you. Some tents have none, some have just a couple, and some have an abundance of storage. Pick one that suits your needs.
Weatherproofing And Durability
Weatherproofing is arguably the most important factor of any tent. If it doesn’t keep you protected from the elements, then your tent is not doing its job. You need a tent that keeps the rain and wind out and can withstand a decent amount of wear and tear.
If it doesn’t repel rain, then you’re going to get leaks. If it doesn’t withstand the wind, then you’re likely going to get cold or lose your shelter altogether. Many tents have their own proprietary blends of fabric so you may need to do a little research as to their actual durability, but you shouldn’t go any less than a 68 denier fabric for your floor and fly regardless of the type of camping you do.
Even with a footprint, your tent floor is often exposed to the ground as well as wear and tear from foot traffic, so if it’s not tough it won’t last. Your fly is what keeps the water out so not only does it need to be durable, it should also have a high waterproof rating. At a bare minimum, it should be no less than 1000 mm.
Different Tent Profiles: Car Camping vs Hiking
The type of tent used when backpacking is completely different from the type of tent used when car camping. When in the wilderness, you want a tent with a low profile and a fly that extends all the way to the ground for thorough protection.
You’ll want to have the vestibules to keep your gear out of the weather in case it rains. The smaller the tent the easier it is to keep warm, so if the weather turns suddenly you know you can stay warm in a smaller tent.
Another thing you might want to have when backpacking with multiple people is a tent that features two doors. Because you are confined to much more limited space, it makes things much easier if you have an entrance on both sides.
If you are car camping, you will want lots of room to sprawl out and enjoy your campsite. With your vehicle readily available, you can keep most of your gear dry. If the weather turns too bad, you can always pack up and go home, so don’t worry about durability as much. Just look for big and roomy.
The trail is a different story. If you’re on a thru-hike, you’re sort of stuck until you can hike your way out. You’ll want the added security of a shelter that can withstand some harsher elements if it needs to. Most prefer tents with full fly closures and lower profiles because they are more capable of preserving warmth and withstanding adverse weather conditions.
3-Season Tent vs 4-Season Tent
A 3-Season tent can keep you warm and dry for three seasons out of four, with a good one being suitable for winter too. It should be able to keep bugs out and minimize condensation while providing good airflow. Unless you’re camping in a pile of snow or climbing Mount Everest, a 3-season tent should work just as well in the winter months as it does in the summer months.
While 4-season tents are certainly more durable, they are also going to cost you a lot more money, and it’s not something that you really need to have unless you enjoy camping in the brutal winter months. They are typically designed with much less mesh to preserve warmth, so a 4-season tent will likely be too hot to use in the summer months.
10 Best 4-Person 3-Season Tents
1. Moon Lence 4P
Although not a well-known brand, the majority of campers who have purchased these tents rave about how great they are. You can actually buy this tent in two forms. You can purchase it with a full fly that offers a large vestibule for a very low price. In this form, it weighs about 10 lbs.
The inner tent appears entirely mesh, and the fly is entirely solid except for a small vent in the top rear. This does minimize airflow if the vestibule is completely closed, but the floor space is large enough for a queen size mattress.
Resistant To The Elements
The tent fabric is made of 190T and is wind resistant, freeze-resistant, and water repellent. The floor is made from 150D Oxford cloth, which is very durable and waterproof on both sides with a rating of 2000 mm.
Weighing much less at 7 ½ pounds, the other option is a basic 4-man tent with a half-fly for even cheaper. This version is also made with the 190T, but its waterproof rating is only 1000 mm. This option also has a little more ventilation offering a rear window and ground vent.
Both options offer approximately 49 square feet of floor space and 60 inches of headroom. They are super easy to set up and can be done by one person without any difficulty. The dome construction limits the interior room, but the head-space isn’t that bad.
They both have a D-door and mesh pockets for storage. This tent is relatively light in comparison to other models. The full fly version is more durable, but the half-fly is still not that bad. This tent is technically a pop up tent, which makes for easy setup.
- Very easy to set up
- Full-fly option available
- Extremely affordable
- Less durability on the half-fly option
- Decreased ventilation on full-fly option
- Full-fly a little heavy for backpacking
2. Teton Sports Mountain
At a low price for its quality, this tent offers durable 150D polyester Oxford fabric and micro-mesh with a 3000 mm waterproof rating. It weighs just over 10 lbs and provides just under 53 square feet of floor space.
Full Fly Extension
It has full mesh sides with two triangular doors and a bathtub style floor, and a full fly extension with vents in the fly for 360 degrees of ventilation. The fly provides two very small vestibules on each door.
The tent pegs aren’t the greatest and could stand to be upgraded, and it’s a little on the heavy side for backpacking, but it could be done. It also comes with a gear loft and pockets throughout providing substantial storage.
- Reasonably priced
- Durable 150D/3000 mm fabric
- 2 doors
- Small vestibules
- A little heavy for backpacking
- Poor quality stakes
3. Kelty Grand Mesa 4
For a relatively cheap price, the Grand Mesa is another great option for backpacking. Weighing just a tad bit more than the Late Start, the Grand Mesa comes in at 6 lbs 13 oz.
It has four no-see-um mesh walls, and its bathtub style floor, while slightly smaller at 54 square feet, extends substantially higher than the Late Start. It’s made of 68 denier polyester fabric but, while the floor has an 1800 mm rating, the fly only has a 1200 mm rating.
It comes with a full fly and EZ-zip vestibule that provides a roomy 14 square feet, but there are no windows or vents on the fly. It has X-frame construction with aluminum poles and clip-style connectors.
- Full fly with large vestibule
- Solid 68 denier fabric
- No windows on the fly
- Only 1 door
- Slightly heavier than Kelty Late Start
4. Kazoo 4 Person Camping Tent
For just a little more than the previous tent mentioned, the Kazoo provides just over 56 square feet of room with a quick setup. The walls are built with fabric borders around interior mesh windows and come with 2 D-doors and 2 good sized vestibules.
The Kazoo also comes with its own extra-large footprint that gives you a ground barrier for your vestibules. It has a full fly extension with an exterior window on each side, which gives it plenty of visibility on all four sides.
The fly and floor are made of 210T Ripstop fabric with a 3000 mm waterproof rating. It has SBS dual zippers, interior pockets, and the vestibule flap can also be turned into an awning. This tent does have fiberglass poles making it a little heavier at over 7 ½ pounds.
- 2 doors and vestibules
- Full fly
- Excellent ventilation
- Fiberglass poles
- On the heavy side for backpacking
- Can be expensive
5. Beeksy 4 Person Dark Room
The Beeksy is a 4-man waterproof and windproof tent with large mesh windows and a rainfly that extends halfway down the tent. It’s made with 185T polyester and has a waterproof rating of 1000 mm with welded corners and inverted seams.
A Bit Heavier
It can easily be set up and taken down by one person in less than ten minutes. For an extra fee, it even comes with its own footprint. It has a solid front with three near-vertical mesh walls. This tent weighs over 11 ½ pounds, so not great for backpacking, but makes for a sturdy car camping tent.
It has two-way zippers, multiple storage pockets, and a power port. Designed for two adults and two kids, this tent offers 56 square feet and a center height of 56 inches. There’s limited ventilation when the fly is attached. This tent features darkroom technology and advertises 20% more headroom when compared to other tents.
- Great price
- Easy setup
- Heavy for backpacking
- Can get warm with fly
- Very snug for 4 adults
6. Kelty Late Start
The Kelty Late Start is one of the better tents for backpacking. This is more expensive, but for the higher price, you can get a solid 4-man tent that only weighs 6 lbs 4 oz. For a 4-man tent, you can’t beat it.
It has a bathtub style floor that sits exceptionally low with four no-see-um mesh walls. It comes with pre-bent aluminum poles to help maximize interior space providing just under 56 square feet of room. Even with the fly on, this tent gets great airflow. However, there are no windows in the fly, so this really impedes any views you might have.
The floor and fly are made with 68 denier polyester with an 1800 mm waterproof rating. It has a full extension rainfly that provides an additional 9.14 square feet of storage space for all of your gear. It has a single D-door for entry and exit, and it’s super fast to set up. All in all, this is a solid tent if you can afford it.
- Very lightweight for a 4-man tent
- Great ventilation
- Roomy and durable
- Only 1 door
- A little pricey
- No windows with fly
7. Kelty Tallboy 4
With a trail weight of 9 lbs 14 oz, the Tallboy features 57 square feet of room and almost 6 feet of height. It features 68 denier solid sides and mesh roof with a 1200 mm waterproof rating.
Quite A Tight Fit For 4
For around $150, you get X-frame construction and fiberglass poles that can easily be set up by one person. This tent would comfortably sleep two, maybe three, but you’d need to be really good friends to squeeze four.
The tent walls do not feature any windows, but the door does. So, it can become warm with the fly as ventilation decreases. The Tallboy also features a gear loft and a number of storage pockets.
- Good standing room
- Durable and waterproof
- Plenty of storage
- A little tight for 4 adults
- Fiberglass poles
- Poor ventilation with fly
8. Kelty Rumpus 4P
Reasonably priced and offering 60 square feet, the Kelty Rumpus provides a classic dome construction ideal for car camping. It has a single full side door with a high bathtub floor and four no-see-um mesh walls.
It has a full extension rainfly made with 68 denier polyester with a 1200 mm waterproof rating, which provides a very large vestibule with 45 square feet. However, there are no vents or windows on the fly, which limits airflow and visibility.
The Rumpus also has four interior pockets providing sufficient storage space, and it offers plenty of standing room at 58 inches. Sadly, it comes with fiberglass poles so it’s a little on the heavy side weighing 12 lbs.
- Durable 68D/1200 mm
- Very Roomy
- Super large vestibule
- Fiberglass poles
- Heavy for backpacking
- Limited airflow and visibility
9. Coleman Sundome 4-Person
The Coleman Sundome is a good car camping tent. It’s pretty cheap for 63 square feet and almost 10 ½ pounds. It has a simple X-frame construction with a maximum height of 59 inches. The tent sides are solid ⅔ of the way up with a mesh dome roof.
The front is a D-door with zippered window, and the back has a zippered window and ground vent, which creates good ventilation all around. The Sundome features Coleman’s unique WeatherTech System with patented welded floors and inverted seams.
There is some controversy over how well the waterproofing actually works, and some campers dislike the zippers due to fabric snags. The rainfly extends about halfway down, which provides a canopy over the window and door. This tent also offers storage pockets and E-port.
- Very affordable
- Storage pockets and E-port
- Increased ventilation
- Fiberglass Poles
- Debatable waterproofing
- Subpar zippers
10. Eureka Copper Canyon LX 4
This cabin-style tent is both on the pricey side and the heavy side, but it makes a great tent for car camping. At 17 lbs, the Copper Canyon has plenty of space with 64 square feet. The near-vertical walls provide 84 inches of headspace throughout so you won’t ever have to duck, hunch, or crawl.
Use A Footprint
It’s fairly easy to set up with two people, but it can be done with one in a pinch. It has a steel and fiberglass frame with a 75 denier, 190T polyester canopy, floor, and fly, which all have a 1200 mm waterproof rating. Despite the 75 denier rating, many campers claim this floor is extremely thin and prone to punctures. You’ll definitely want to use a footprint with this tent.
It also has 3 windows, storage pockets, and an E-port. Zipper snags can sometimes be an issue, but if you’re into glamping, this is a very popular option.
- Extremely spacious
- Great airflow
- Very heavy
- Higher cost
- Questionable durability on floor and zippers
Best 4-Person 3-Season Car Camping Tent
The Eureka Copper Canyon is the best 4-person 3-season car camping tent. While it is the heaviest and most expensive, it’s also the largest and the tallest. It provides a spacious 64 square feet of living space and an exceptional 84 inches of height. Its durable steel and fiberglass frame give it a little more stability in higher winds.
Its three windows provide good air ventilation, and it has all the extra amenities including an abundance of storage pockets and an E-port. It offers plenty of room for your party to spread out and get comfortable. Whether it’s sleeping pads, cots, or air mattresses this tent offers an abundance of room.
Best 4-Person 3-Season Backpacking Tent
Sacrificing weight for some added features, the Kazoo 4-Person is the best 4-person 3-season backpacking tent. While it’s a little heavier than the Grand Mesa and the Late Start, the Kazoo not only offers two doors, but also an added footprint that extends into the vestibules. Having that barrier between the ground and your gear not only keeps you dry but all your stuff too.
It has comparable square footage to the lighter tents, but also has a better waterproof rating. So for an extra pound of weight, you get two doors, protected vestibule spaces, and a better waterproof rating. Plus, you save a little bit of money.
Everyone’s camping experiences are different, so everyone wants different things from their tent. Though it might be confusing to search through the many different specifications of various tents, our list above should serve as the perfect starting point!