Camping and the outdoors is more about the experience than the gear you wear and the gear you use. That being said, choosing a brand that neglects to focus on quality over quantity is an epic waste of money. Ideally, you want to find a company with a proven track record of producing quality gear at an affordable price from people who truly enjoy being outdoors.
Finding the right tent can feel like a daunting task, with so many tents to choose from finding one that fits your needs can take forever and there’s always the chance you swing and miss. Tents range in size, weight, quality, price, construction, and what outdoor activity they’re designed for.
We picked the 7 best tent brands out there to make your life a little bit easier. Sure, these tents may not be the cheapest but the initial upfront investment is worth your consideration.
Table of Contents
The Best Tent Brands
The top brands in the tent game all make the same thing tents, the question is, what sets them apart from the competition? Reliability, longevity, affordability, and quality are all important considerations when choosing a tent.
These tent brands all have a proven track record of making tents that people love and have risen to the top of the pile. Whether you need a tent for a family outing, a long distance backpacking trip, or for a climbing adventure, you’ll find a tent that fits the bill.
- Founded: 1901
- Headquarters: Witchita, Kansas
- Best for: Backpacking and camping
Coleman may very well be the most recognizable name in outdoor gear, you’ll find their products everywhere you look. Coleman was founded in Oklahoma in 1902 by William Coffin Coleman when he began selling gasoline pressure lamps to farmers. From these humble beginnings, the Coleman brand was born and in the following decades, it became synonymous with outdoor recreation.
Coleman started with camping lanterns, however, they have since branched out and design literally everything and anything that is related to the outdoors. You will find their products on the shelf of your local outdoor supply brick and mortar, as well as, online.
If Coleman tents have peaked your interest, you can find their full selection here.
- Dome tent with spacious interior allows you to move comfortably
- Easy setup in only 10 minutes. Snag-free, continuous pole sleeves for easy setup
- WeatherTec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep you dry
- Large windows and a ground vent for superior ventilation
MSR (Mountain Safety Research)
- Founded: 1969
- Headquarters: Seattle, Washington
- Best for: Mountaineering and backpacking
Mountain Safety Research began in 1969 as a simple newsletter that delivered tips and tricks to keep climbers safe. Larry Penberthy is the founder of the MSR newsletter, engineer, and a lifelong outdoorsman with a passion for climbing and safety. The first year and a half he tested ropes, pitons holding power, the strength of axes and a whole slew of other important items, but he simply couldn’t cover everything on his budget.
After a short period of time, he realized that his vision was more than he could handle by himself and Mountain Safety Research, inc was born to design and sell safety equipment. Today MSR is well known for their mountaineering and backpacking tents around the world. Their products are respected and used by climbers all around the globe.
The MSR Hubba NX series of mountaineering tents are one of the most popular lightweight tents today and have been for years. They also make a variety of other tents that are geared mainly for mountaineering, however, they have other selections that serve a practical use for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
You can check out MSR’s full selection of tents here.
- 3-season, 2-person backpacking tent that offers the most livable accommodations in a lightweight freestanding design
- Pole geometry maximizes space with 29 sq. feet of floor area, interior peak height of 39 inches, plus 17.5 sq. feet of vestibule area
- Complete setup weighs 3.5 lbs. and packs down to 18x6 inches; minimalist setup option uses footprint, poles, and rainfly and weighs 3 lbs.
- Includes DuraShield Coating and DAC Featherlite NFL poles
- Founded: 2001
- Headquarters: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- Best for: Backpacking and mountaineering
Big Agnes is a relatively new player in the camping game, c0- founded in 2001 by Bill Gamber, with the goal of “making the best gear possible to help folks like you get outside and chase your dreams.” They were told that the outdoor market was too saturated and they would never succeed.
Fast forward 18 years and Big Agnes is well known for designing and producing quality sleeping bags and tents. Their tents are designed to make the most of space and comfort while minimizing the weight. They also pride themselves on making tents that are extremely easy to pitch, which is one of the biggest pain points in setting up camp.
Here is one of our favorite Big Anges tents, it’s a 3 person tent with a 3 lb 2 oz packed weight, and a 5.5″ x 17.5″ packed size.
If you want to see their wide selection of their tents, you can take a look here.
- Trail weight: 2lb 13oz; Packed weight 3lb 2oz
- Packed size 5.5" x 17.5"
- Floor size: 29 sq. ft.;
- Floor length: 90"; Floor width: 52-42"
- Founded: 1993
- Headquarters: New Haven, Missouri
- Best for: Mountaineering
ALPS Mountaineering was started in 1993 by Dennis Brune who was a former employee of Kelty. After starting a family he began to understand the value of being in control of your own time and ALPS mountaineering was born. They started with one mission in mind, “to create durable, high-performance products without the premium price tag that consumers would expect to find on such high-quality outdoor gear.”
They produce a wide range of outdoor gear under the umbrella of their four brands: ALPS Mountaineering, ALPS OutdoorZ, Browning Camping, and their budget line, Cedar Ridge. They make all kinds of outdoor gears and their tents are all backed with a lifetime guarantee, giving you peace of mind that a purchase from ALPS will last a lifetime.
To see the full selection of ALPS tent you can check them out here.
- Free standing, two pole design w/7000 series aluminum poles; easy Assembly with pole clips; 75D 185T polyester fly resists UV damage and stays taut
- Factory sealed fly and floor seams for best weather protection; 75D 185T poly Taffeta floor W/2000mm coating; extra-large #8 zippers
- Vestibule for gear storage and extra weather protection; Weatherproof fly buckles on for maximum adjustability and protection
- Half mesh walls increase ventilation; mesh storage pockets, gear loft, 7075 aluminum stakes and guy ropes included
The North Face
- Founded: 1966
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California
- Best for: Backpacking and camping
North Face began as a San Francisco based out climbing store in 1966, founded by Douglas Tompkins and his wife Susie. The name is taken from the idea that the North face of a mountain in the Northern Hemisphere is “the coldest, iciest, and most formidable route to climb.”
In its early days, the store offered gear that specifically targeted serious climbers and backpackers. Sometime in the eighties, skiwear was added which we can only hope included the quintessential 80’s fluorescent colors and camping gear. Today they offer everything ranging from insulated jackets to tents of all shapes and sizes.
Check out some of the other tents North Face has to offer here.
- Fully seam-taped canopy and floor
- Easy-pitch design
- High-low ventilation for better breathability
- Abundant headroom
- Founded: 1952
- Headquarters: Boulder, Colorado
- Best for: Backpacking and camping
Kelty was started in 1952 by Dick Kelty who was a carpenter by trade. He began welding aircraft-aluminum contoured frames for backpacks while his wife hand sewed each pack together. In the first year they sold a total of 24 packs for a price of $24 each and by 1954 they were selling around 220 packs. Kelty was the first designer to sell external frame backpacks and is the considered inventor of the exterior aluminum frame backpack, a backpacking staple to this day.
Their tents are known for their quality and affordability. They design tents that are primarily for casual campers and backpackers alike, featuring tents such as the Kelty Grand Mesa, Salida, and Trail ridge. Their tents are durable, simple to use, and highly rated and if you want to see their full selection, you can check them out here.
- Backpack-friendly compact folding poles, Gearloft loops, Color coded clip and fly attachment.Wall material: 68D Polyester, 40D No-See-Um Mesh,Floor material: 68D Nylon, 1800 mm
- Roll top cube carry bag, Easy set up, Free standing, Fabric/mesh tent walls
- Kelty hug clip, Easy entry D door, Internal storage pockets, Fully seam taped construction
- Seasons: 3, Number of doors: 1, Number of vestibules: 1, Number of poles: 2, Capacity: 2
REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated)
- Founded: 1938
- Headquarters: Seattle, Washington
- Best for: Camping and backpacking
REI is a Seattle based outdoor co-op founded in 1938 by Lloyd and Mary Anderson. The company started like many others, trying to find a solution to a personal problem: finding an affordable and quality ice axe. They found an affordable ice axe and people took notice and wanted other affordable and reliable outdoor gear, so Mary and Lloyd “crowd-funded” their first store by selling $1 lifetime memberships and the REI co-op was born.
Today the membership costs $20 and the members receive an annual dividend of %10 of their purchases each year to spend at the store. One of the coolest things about REI is their charitable efforts, they donate to local and national non-profits that encourage people to get outdoors and promote conservation on a global level.
REI manufactures and sells a number of different tent styles that range from cold weather to mountaineering.
If you want to see what they offer, you can check out their website here.
Which tent brand is right for you?
The best tent brands all have features that set make them different, but most importantly, they are all made by companies you can trust.
Are you looking for a tent for a family camping trip? Interested in taking your first long distance backpacking trip and need a tent? Are you a mountaineer who needs a lightweight tent to take to the mountains?
You should ask yourself all these questions and decide which tent brand best suits your needs. The most important thing is to remember that using a tent means being outdoors, and that’s what each one of these companies focuses is on. Their love and appreciation of the natural world and sharing it with everyone around them.