Best Camping Tent for Beginners | 2 Best Choices For New Campers

Tents are expensive enough that the first time purchasing a camping tent for beginners can be stressful and overwhelming. We’ve done the research to find the top tents on the market and help you skip from planning and go straight into your weekend exploring the outdoors!

Sneak Peek: Best Camping Tent for Beginners

Best Value: Coleman Sundome

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  • Unbeatable value for price
  • Weighs only 7 pounds
  • Thicker rain repellant fabric and reinforced corners
  • Large mesh windows for airflow

Upgrade Pick: Gazelle T4 Pop-Up

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  • Simplest setup on the market
  • Unique box design offers a spacious interior
  • High peak height for comfort
  • Removable floor is easy to clean

What to Consider When Finding the Best Camping Tent for Beginners

There are almost a dozen different types of tents that you can choose from, some will be much easier for beginners. Here are our six most important factors for beginners to consider when picking their first tent!

Considerations When Buying the Best Tent for Beginners

Ease of Setup

The most frustrating part of a camping trip is getting the tent up and down. To ensure your beginner camping experience is positive, pay close attention to the instructions and consider a pop-up tent style if you are worried about classic cross-pole designs like the Coleman Sundome.

Capacity

While many of these tents are listed as two-person capacity, a lot of manufacturers don’t take gear space into realistic consideration. We’d recommend the three or four-person tents to make sure that you have plenty of room to make your tent a home! You’ll definitely want to think about jumping up a size if either of you are tall or uncomfortable in small spaces.

Other Important Factors

Peak Height

Outside of capacity, this could be the most important factor for comfort in your tent design. Higher peak heights that allow you to stand up in the middle can feel like a luxury after trying to change in a short backpacking tent for a few days. Peak height is usually easy to understand from the photos and design of the tent itself but take a look at the product descriptions to make sure it meets your needs!

Weight

If you’re car camping, weight may not be a critical factor but for primitive campers and backpackers, every ounce counts. When you’re hauling every bit of supplies out to the site, a pound over a mile or three will really add up! Pay special attention to the backpacking tents below if you’re looking to save on weight.

Seasonality

Many tents are rated as 3-season tents and shouldn’t be relied on for shelter in the winter. 4-season tents have thicker fabrics and fewer air vents to try to keep you warmer camping in the snow. The vast majority of tents marketed towards car campers are 3-season tents. 4-season tents are used for mountaineering and other cold-weather camping. We’ll stick to mostly 3-season tents in this guide.

Material & Stitch Quality

As your mobile fabric shelter, having high-quality materials and strong seams can make or break your fight against the rain. Take a look at recent tent reviews to ensure the manufacturer quality is up to par and you won’t wake up in a puddle!

Detailed Reviews

1. Coleman Sundome

Best Value Tent for Beginners

best camping tent for beginners

Pros

  • Great value for price
  • Weighs only 7 pounds
  • Thicker rain repellant fabric and reinforced corners
  • Large mesh windows for airflow

Cons

  • Easier to set up with 2+ people
  • 2-person space does not leave much room for gear

Coleman has always put out great value products and the Sundome is no different. The Sundome uses a two-pole system for the frame and has mesh walls on two sides of the tent, making this a perfect choice for the summer humidity. Coleman uses thicker fabric than a lot of other value brands that help repel the rain if you get caught in the rain.

Some of the smaller features include two side pockets within the tent for your personal gear and a small pocket intended for running power cords from a generator, car, or electric box into the tent. Bring a power cord and you won’t have to worry about running out of juice for directions on the way home.

All of this combined with the reliability of the Coleman brand makes this the best tent for beginners that are looking for a general-purpose car camping tent for beginners!

2. Gazelle T4 Pop-Up Portable Camping Hub Tent

Upgrade Camping Tent For Beginners

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Pros

  • Very easy to set up thanks to the pop-up design
  • Unique boxy design gives a lot of space
  • Good peak height
  • Comes with water-resistant technology
  • Durable zippers
  • Comes with rainfly and integrated poles
  • Has a removable floor

Cons

  • Not very good for windy nights
  • Heavier
  • Doesn’t come with the strongest stakes

Our upgrade choice when looking for beginner tents is the Gazelle hub tent meant for four people. It is so easy to set up that it actually takes only 90 seconds. When it is not standing tall, this square-shaped tent can be packed into a 67.5-inch duffle bag.

The peak height is 78 inches and the floor space is 61 square feet. It is made of a 50+ UV-rated material and can resist water, wind, and mildew, which not only makes it impressive but is also extremely convenient.

This tent comes with a waterproof rainfly that has integrated poles and taped seams. You must insert the poles in all corners before you pop it on the roof. The tent itself comes fully assembled which means you just need to pop it open for set up. The innovative framework uses metal hubs and fiberglass for the structure and it resists strong winds quite well.

The floor is held together by a hook-and-loop tape that can be seen on the interior thanks to the extra strip which also gives it strength. And it can also be removed easily if you want to shake the dirt and sand. And by the way, the two doors of the tent are equipped with durable YKK zippers which are known not to snag or break.

Best Beginner Tents for Camping | More Reading

Not sure you’ve found the right tent still? Check out some of our other tent guides and see if another model strikes you!

About the Author

Photo of author

Robbie

Robbie is a Co-Founder and editor at Midwest Camping. Robbie has backpacked over three hundred miles of the Appalachian trail, visited seventeen national parks, and camped regularly for the last two decades.

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