Gear

The Best Lightweight Camping Tents For Overnight Hikes

July 27, 2019 by

Ah, the great outdoors, enjoying nature, sleeping under the stars… well not quite directly under the stars.  Tents have become a non-negotiable in most camping set ups now.  Whether you are going out alone or with the family, having a good tent is extremely important and can make or break even the most scenic of camping trips.

When you are done with the campfire, you will want a place to lay your head to rest.  Ideally, your tent can stand up to rain, to the wind, and keep you and your belongings safe and warm.  Most basic tents can do at least that.  However, with new technologies and innovations, the world of tens is now more complex than ever.  Full of choices from size, to ease of setup, to built-in technology, there are more options than ever.

In this guide, we have done some of the research for you.  We collected the top 5 tents with differing features and sizes that are out there on the market right now to give you the best in each class.  We then included a buying guide to help you think of different questions to ask and features to look at.  It is our belief that by getting clear on what you need, you can get clearer on what you actually want in a good tent.

Coleman Elite Sundome 6 Person Tent with LED Light System

This is a classic dome tent from Coleman, one of the most trusted manufacturers in the camping space.  With snag-proof continuous sleeves for the poles, this is an easy manual set up and can be set up in about 10 minutes time.  Meant to hold 6 people sleeping, this smaller sized tent has a classic, simple design.

Do not take the dome exterior to mean that it is outdated.  In fact, it has built-in lighting.  The LED light has 3 different brightness levels so you can see what you need to during the night without scrambling around for a flashlight.  The Weathertec protection has welded floors and all of the seams are inverted to keep unwanted moisture out, whether it is rain or dew.

Pros

  • Built-in LED lighting gives 100 lumens
  • Made for 6 people or 2 queen-sized beds
  • Variflo ventilation to keep air moving

Cons

  • Rainfly needed to cover the ventilation system
  • Best for warmer weather camping

Why We Recommend It

This is a classic tent with a modern flair.  Meant for smaller parties, this tent is perfect for a short, comfortable camping trip in moderate weather.

CORE 9P Instant Cabin Tent

One of the most memorable and frustrating memories that people have of camping comes with setting up the tent.  The river next to you is flowing, the fish are jumping, the field looks beautiful, but instead, you are matching up poles and trying not to tear your tent in the setup.  The instant tent is the perfect solution to that.

The CORE 9P Instant Cabin Tent brings together the ease of an instant 60 second set up, with the room and comfort of a cabin tent.  This tent can divide into two separate cabin rooms giving you privacy or creating a sleeping and relaxing divide.  With built-in storage pockets you can organize your items neatly.  There is even an electrical cord port that you can fit electronic wires through if you need to charge devices from an outside power source.

The telescoping poles are pre-attached and so you can set this tent up in 60 seconds with only one person.  Even if just you set it up, it fits 9 easily or 2 queen-sized airbeds so there is plenty of room for family and friends.  With a side door and plenty of ventilation windows, you can keep cool in warmer weather.  The H2O Block Technology keeps all of the seams free from leaks and the rain fly will keep the rain off of your tent.

Pros:

  • Instant set up with built-in telescoping poles
  • Sleeps 9 people
  • Cabin tent structure
  • H2O Block Technology

Cons:

  • 68D polyester may not be durable to cold, hard weather
  • Doors can be small to put a blown-up mattress through

Why We Recommend It

This is a larger tent that highlights both the features of an instant set up tent and the 2-room feel of a cabin tent.  A great 9-person tent for camping in warmer weather.

Coleman Evanston Camping Tent with Screened-In Porch

While this is another classic offering from Coleman, one of the distinctive features of this dome tent is the screen room.  A screen room while camping can provide an avenue to better ventilation, an outdoor living space to play cards, or an opportunity to sleep right under the stars all while keeping mosquitos and insects out.  A good screen room allows you to enjoy the outdoors without the outdoors enjoying you!

Equipped with the same WeatherTec system and easy set up as the other Coleman listed up above, provides extra shade and a roof at the entrance to the door of the tent.  It can add two more people to his usual 6-person tent for those who want to sleep outside.  The screen room on this one has a floor, so you rest in comfort.

Pros

  • 6-person dome tent with screened room
  • Weathertec protection system
  • Excellent ventilation system

Cons

  • Screen room is not weather-proof
  • Tent covering is exact, set it up correctly or wind and rain could get in

Why We Recommend It

This tent is a fantastic example of a great tent with a screen room and highlights all the benefits you can get from a screened in room while you are camping.  Namely, extra ventilation, extra storage, a place to sit outside without mosquitos getting you, or outdoor camping in nice weather.

Napier Outdoors Sports #84000 5 Person SUV Tent With Screen Room

Sometimes you require a lot out of a tent.  Not only do you want a screened room, but you also want a separate shade structure near the other door.  You may also want it to attach to the back of your SUV for added comfort and increased sleeping capacity.  The Napier Outdoors tent is a tent can do all of that.  With a 10 by 10-foot floor, you can easily sleep 6-person in the main room, 2 extra in the floorless outside screen room on nice nights, and 2 more in the bed of the SUV if it is set up properly.

If you do not want to attach the tent to your SUV, you can easily detach the vehicle sleeve and have a stand-alone tent.  The extra storm flap can act as an extra shade, privacy, or keep extra rain off of the tent.  With polyester taffeta material and a polyethylene floor, you can rest assured that you will stay dry while camping in expansive luxury.  The steel and fiberglass poles will keep you stable and keep the tent from bending in the wind.

Pros

  • Spacious area you can stand in all the way through
  • Floorless screen area
  • Kids can sleep safe in the car up off of the ground
  • Easy setup, durable poles

Cons

  • SUV sleeve can leak if not set up properly
  • Can be heavy

Why We Recommend It

The Napier is a great example of a spacious, expansive tent that brings car camping a whole new meaning.  With the ability to open right out of the back of the SUV or stand alone, this is a versatile tent that holds up to the elements well.

Coleman Signature 2000008055 Tent

The Coleman tent is for those that want to camp in luxury with family and friends.  Set up to hold 9 people or 2 Queen-sized airbeds, the tent sets up easily and quickly thanks to snag-free tent sleeves and continuous poles.  With built-in LED lights and 3 different settings, the tent also comes with a built-in fan system to keep you cool and work with the ventilation systems I the mesh windows.

The Coleman Signature 2000008055 tent is as close to climate control as you get with camping.  The thick polyester outside and WeatherTec rain protection, you will stay warm and dry during cool, wet weather.  The window vents and built-in fan will help you keep you cool during warmer weather and keep air moving at your touch.  The LED lights will make sure that you have the lighting you need in the evenings and nighttime.  Whether you need to find your tent after the campfire or find your belongings at night, the LED lights are a major plus.

Pros

  • LED and Fan system run by 4 D batteries
  • 14 x 10 feet sleeping area perfect for 9 people
  • Easy setup
  • Port for electronics and extension cords
  • WeatherTec protection

Cons

  • Sipper on the storage bag is weaker than the other zippers
  • Hard to get replacement parts with so many built-in components

Why We Recommend It

Sometimes you want to camp in luxury.  You want to enjoy the great outdoors, but still have a measure of control and to be able to share the experience with your family and friends.  With the ability to sleep 9 people and the built-in LED lights and fans, this is a great tent.

Key Features

As with many industries right now, innovation creates options and choices.  It is our hope with this section that we can help you clarify what you need and are looking for in a tent.  Then you can go back through the list of reviewed products and see which one is right for you.

How Many People Will You Be Sleeping?

If you have a family with kids, you will naturally want to go for one of the higher capacity tents, or even possibly one of the cabin tents so you can have some privacy and separation.  The Napier SUV tent gives you plenty of ability to expand or make certain sections smaller, but there is no cabin ability there.  If you do not foresee larger camping events, then the smaller 6-person tent will be perfect for you and another and some of your belongings without getting crowded.

What Sort Of Weather Will You Be Camping In?

While most people start camping in the summers or during school breaks, that is not always the case.  If you like to do some winter camping or cooler weather adventuring, you will want a more durable tent than some of the heavily ventilated Colemans that we review.  The Napier of the CORE may hold up better in harsher weather.

Will You Be Spending Much Time Around Your Tent?

If you are going to be out all day just to come back and collapse into your tent after a long day, then the type of tent might matter less.  However, if you are going to be spending some time relaxing around your tent and making it a nice “home-away-from-home” then an investment into a tent with a screened room could be smart.  It would provide a nice outdoor enjoyment area where you could set up some chairs, a table, and play some cards in the cool of the breeze.  Additionally, this could be an outside sleeping area during nice weather.

Do You Want To Keep It Simple Or Have Accessories

As you can see there are plenty of basic tents, but more and more there are accessories such as LED lighting, fans, the ability to attach to cars, screens, etc.  It is important to consider this as there are additional costs involved for each innovation.

Conclusion

As you can see, not only are there multiple considerations when it comes to what sort of tent to buy, there are lots of different types of tents for each need.  This is great as camping now can be as custom and comfortable as you would like it to be.  At the same time, it can be a bit overwhelming.  Now that you have read through to the end and hopefully asked yourself some of the above questions, we invite you to go back through and click on each tent review and see which one would work best for you, your family, and your camping needs.

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