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In a hurry? If you are looking for a 4 person tent and just want to know what our top pick is, we recommend the Coleman Sundome.
It’s time to pack for your first camping trip and the most important item to put in the car will probably be your tent. After all, it is your tent that creates your home away from home. It is your tent that keeps you dry, comfortable, and safe. But, what if you don’t already own one? With all of the options out there, what tent do you get? That is going to depend on how many people it needs to fit, how much is in your budget, and how often you plan to use it. Read on for our tips and picks on buying a 4 person tent for your next trip.
- Top Pick: Coleman Sundome
- Upgrade Pick: Eureka Jade Canyon
- Budget Pick: Ozark Trail
- Other Picks:
- Insane Pick: North Face 2 Meter Dome
We really like this tent and it is easy to see why when you look at the specs it has. The price is a reasonable amount, it has a nice amount of square footage, and with Coleman’s patented Weathertec technology, you will stay warm and dry even during those unexpected showers.
- 10 minute set up time
- Water resistant
- Lots of ventilation
- Weighs less than 10 pounds
- No footprint
- Not appropriate for colder weather
As tall people we really like the 7 foot interior height and almost vertical walls this tent provides. Additionally the wrap up bathtub floor helps eliminate those bottom seams that can rip if the campers aren’t careful.
- contains a “touch friendly” center pocket for electronics
- has an E-port for running an extension cord
- includes removable fabric panels that reflect light
- could use a larger rain canopy
- needs more stakes
This is definitely a budget tent and that’s okay. When you only plan on camping for a weekend in great weather and you aren’t planning on making a lifestyle of it, you don’t want to spend a lot of money. The Ozark Trail 4 person tent fits the bill.
- Quick to set up
- E-port for running an extension cord
- Large storage pocket
- rainfly can be tricky to adjust
- zippers can be fragile
This tent is very similar to the Coleman Sundown in price and features. It offers 57 square feet of floor space and weighs just about the same.
- D style door
- multiple storage pockets
- mesh panels for airflow
- rain fly is not well designed
- zipper can get caught
The REI brand is well known for quality equipment and this tent is no different. It has almost 59 square feet of floor space and an interior height of 48 inches while weighing less than 8 pounds. Plus it can be set up quickly and efficiently, even when you aren’t quite sure what you are doing.
- two doors for ease of entrance and exiting
- when open, doors stash away in pockets
- fly can be rolled up to maximize views and airflows
- needs extra guy lines and stakes for inclement weather
- does not include a footprint
We don’t know anything about this tent other than the reviews we have seen online but oh my this tent sounds amazing! It has 125 square feet of floor space and is able to withstand the extreme temperatures of the Himalayas and Antarctica! Granted, this tent is made for eight people so it doesn’t really fit our criteria for the best 4 person tents for car camping. We just wanted to point it out as a really cool tent for those who have the need for such a luxury item.
What we looked at while researching 4 person tents:
The three most important factors, outside of price, we find in researching any type tent would be:
Tents that are knows as 4 person tents do not actually equate to comfortably housing four people. While it might allow for four people to sleep snugly side by side, if you plan on doing anything else inside the tent, you should cut the number of persons in half. In our experience, a 4 person tent comfortably houses two adults, with maybe a child or two while small.
Additionally tall people, like us, need to consider interior height dimensions. Dome tents can be easy to setup and take down but cabin tents might be a better option as they will stand taller and have more interior room. This does add to the weight though so you will want to consider that prior to making your decision.
You have finally arrived at your campsite and can’t wait to enjoy your vacation but wait! You really should set up that tent before it gets too dark to see or in case a rainstorm is heading your way. Luckily most known brands of camping tents are geared to easy setup but we still recommend you practice setting it up in your backyard or garage first. That way you will have had time to figure out who does what and how to work as a team when it comes to setting up camp. And, don’t worry, all of the tents we have recommended are able to be set up in 10 minutes or less.
Luckily, while car camping, weight is not as big of a deal as if you are backpacking or hiking your way into your site. However we still don’t want to have to lug a heavy tent in and out of the car. So what makes up the majority of the weight of a tent?
- Size (think about footprint and height)
- Material (think canvas vs. polyester)
- Type (think cabin vs. dome)
We have tried to keep the tents on this list to being under 10 lbs to aid in ease of transportation. However, if weight is your highest priority, the Ozark Trail tent is the one on our list that weighs the least amount, with the REI Co-op Half Dome 4 coming in just a few ounces heavier.
Other Factors to Consider:
Most tents will also include some space for gear storage. It might be as simple as a pouch hanging from the center of the roof to as elaborate as a vestibule. Tent vestibules usually don’t have a floor and definitely add weight to the tent but it can be nice to have that mudroom aspect for storing any wet or dirty gear before crawling into your clean sleeping area. Luckily, while car camping, the majority of your larger gear can be stored in the car. Pockets and pouches won’t hold as much but sometimes all you need is a place to store your headlamp and glasses for those times in the middle of the night when nature calls.
Even though you might only plan on camping in good weather, that can be hard to guarantee if you are making reservations weeks in advance. Therefore it is important to look at tents that can handle some rain, some wind, some heat, and some cold. However, unless you are planning on camping in extreme weather year round, you won’t need to necessarily go into all season or even three season tents.
Many smaller tents only come with one door but if one or both of you tends to get up multiple times in the night, a two door tent will be a game changer. Instead of having to climb over your partner you can just exit the door closer to your sleeping area. Alternately, if you do only have the one door, a solution we used was to put our feet closest to the door and our heads at the opposite end of the tent. At least this way we could exit the tent without necessarily waking up the other.
While it might seem like a small thing, how a tent is ventilated can be the difference between a miserable time and a wonderful time while enjoying your camping trip. Without ventilation, you will definitely wake up to lots of condensation inside the tent. The easiest way to ensure at least some ventilation is to have a tent with two doors, that way you can encourage air flowing through the tent. Unfortunately many four person tents only come with that one door. That is why we look for rain flies and windows made of mesh to help warm air escape from inside the tent to the outside.
We talk throughout this article about if a tent comes with a footprint which can be confusing as it sounds like it means how much square footage there would be on the floor of the tent. However, in the case of talking about tents, this actually means a ground cover that is placed under the tent prior to pitching it in order to protect the floor of the tent from abrasion. While it is nice to have a footprint come with the tent, we have actually always packed our own heavy duty tarp for our ground cover. Not only does the tarp help protect our tent floor from abrasion, it can also add extra warmth by keeping your body heat trapped inside the tent rather than sinking into the ground.
If it is not expected to rain, we like to use a tarp larger than the tent so that we have a patio area out front for removing dirty items prior to entering the tent. However if we are dealing with inclement weather, it is best to stick with a ground cover the same size as your tent so that water doesn’t pool on top of the exposed tarp and leak into the tent. Regardless if the tent you purchase comes with a footprint or not, you will want something to go between the floor of the tent and the ground.
Even though we like each of the tents on this list, our all around top choice for a 4 person tent has to be the Coleman Sundown. It meets our criteria for size, setup, and weight, as well as being a reasonable price for the value it provides. We actually used an older version of this same tent back before we had a child and for the first five years of his life. Then he grew taller and we moved up to a larger tent.