Spoiler Alert: Conquerwild named the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx as the best 4 person tent!!
When embarking on a camping trip, there’s a long list of essential items you’ll need to take along with you. The very first item on that list should be, “quality tent.”
Choosing the right tent can be a bit daunting and stressful. If you’re looking for a decent sized shelter for just a few people, a 4 person tent may be the way to go.
I’ve taken the time to scavenge the internet in search of the most affordable, best 4 person camping tent out there. I’ve come up with 4 viable options that range in terms of price, features and size. One of these four person tents may be the perfect choice for your next camping trip.
What We’ll Be Reviewing
- Coleman Sundome Tent
- ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 4 Person Tent
- Coleman Dome Tent With Screen Room
- Coleman 2-in-1 All Day Shelter And 4 Person Tent
Coleman Sundome 4-Person Tent – Best Value 4 Person Tent
If you’re camping on a budget but don’t want to skimp out on quality, the Coleman Sundome 4 Person Tent may be great for you. This affordable tent checks all the major marks that you should look for in an efficient camp shelter. The Coleman Sundome is resilient when it comes to both strong winds and hot weather. It has large, mesh windows as well as a vent near the ground- meaning it’s very well ventilated. At the same time, its welded corners and inverted seams make for great protection from the rain.
This 4-person, polyester tent is large enough to fit an air mattress and has a peak height of 4′, 11″. It also features an E-Port. This is a small opening near the floor of the tent that allows an extension cord to be fed through without letting in any bugs or water. If you’re looking to save a couple of bucks with a durable, well ventilated tent that’s easy to set up, you can’t go wrong with the Coleman Sundome 4 Person Tent.
- Most affordable tent on the list.
- Rain resistant & wind tested up to 35 mph.
- Can be set up in approximately 10 minutes.
- Has an E-port for access to power.
- 9 x 7 foot interior.
- Comes with small, mesh storage pockets on the interior.
- Comes in light green or navy color.
- Does not offer a lot of storage space.
- Peak height is on the shorter side at 4′ 11″.
- Not cold weather proof.
ALPS Mountaineering 4 Person Tent – Best Pick Overall
For trips where you’ll be backpacking long distance, it does not get much better than The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 4 Person Tent. This thing weighs a mere 8 pounds and is shockingly roomy for its lightness. The Lynx has room for 4 people to sleep side by side without having to worry about storage space. You’ll be able to keep your equipment out of the way with a gear loft. This is a mesh storage pocket that hangs from the tent’s ceiling and can support a decent amount of weight.
The Lynx does a great job of keeping campers dry with a large rainfly that spans over its roof. This gives the appearance of an awning extending over the tent and has 2 main purposes: to keep rain out and to serve as a double “storage vestibule.” If the gear loft doesn’t provide enough space for you, these vestibules are a great place to lodge your belongings.
This tent stays well ventilated throughout the summer with its two half-mesh doors. One of the greatest things about this ALPS 4 person tent is that it’s freestanding with a simple, aluminum, 2 pole design. This gives you the ability to move the tent around after it’s already been pitched. No need for disassembling and reassembling again, even though pitching this tent only takes a few minutes. Overall, this tent is phenomenal at everything it promises to do.
- Lightest 4 person tent on the list.
- 3 season tent.
- Includes a gear loft.
- Moderate pricing.
- Very easy to set up.
- Jumbo, durable zippers.
- Rainfly resists water and UV damage.
- Best 4 person tent with vestibule.
- Features 2 entrances.
- Floor is coated with 2000 millimeters of poly taffeta for waterproofing.
- Mesh window cannot be covered completely and lacks a bit of privacy.
- Peak height is on the shorter side at 52″.
Coleman Dome Tent With Screen Room – Most Unique 4 Person Tent
If you’re not so into an open environment or bright mornings, this tent may be the best pick for you. This Coleman Dome Tent has dark room technology, blocking up to 90% of sunlight from its occupants. Some customers have likened this one to a bear’s den, meaning it’ll definitely help put you into hibernation.
Another unique feature of this tent is its mesh, bug-proof screen room- which sort of acts like a porch. This extended section provides not only great ventilation, but also an extra place to sleep when the weather’s warm. This tent’s polyester make-up allows for a light, water resistant barrier that can withstand winds of over 35 miles per hour.
All together, the whole thing weighs a total of 15 pounds, meaning it’s not a huge burden to carry while backpacking. It also comes in a convenient carry bag that can be expanded for extra storage space once the tent is removed. If extended sleep time is a major concern for you while camping, this tent can truly make a difference.
- Dark room technology blocks 90% of sunlight and reduces heat.
- Affordable price.
- Unique, bug-proof screen room.
- 9 x 11 foot interior (including screen room).
- Conventional pitch makes for a 15 minute set up.
- Has small mesh storage pockets on the interior.
- Has an E-port for access to power.
- Screen room offers no protection from rain and may collect water.
- Dark room technology can make it a bit hard to see while inside.
- Not suitable for cold weather.
Coleman 2-in-1 All-Day Shelter and 4 Person Tent – Most Versatile & Spacious 4 Person Tent
The Coleman 2-in-1 All-Day Shelter tent is not a typical back-woods, camping tent by any means. During the day, this tent serves as a casual canopy. A great place to lounge and stay out of the sun or rain. This is ideal for a chill afternoon by the lake, a tailgate or even a day at the beach. When it’s time to crash for the night, all you need to do is set up the accompanying tent and connect it using the attachment clips provided.
This tent is super spacious and can fit two queen sized air mattresses. Since it’s designed to be a canopy during the day, the ceiling is tall enough for an average-sized adult to walk around. As a camp tent, it offers tons of mesh and ensures great ventilation. Even though there’s no guarantee of waterproofing aside from the tent floor, most customers report that this tent does a great job of keeping rain out. Setting up this tent is no issue with two people and usually takes about 15 minutes. If you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone, this 2-in-1 tent should be right up your alley.
- Super spacious with 10 x 10 foot interior.
- Center height of 7′ 2″.
- Doubles as a camping tent and a canopy tent.
- Uses WeatherTec system with welded floors and inverted seams.
- Can be set up in 15 minutes.
- Well ventilated.
- Has an E-port for access to power.
- Very heavy at 44 pounds (not ideal for backpacking).
- Not ideal for cold weather.
- Only the tent floor is considered to be waterproof.
- Tent cannot be used without the accompanying canopy.
How To Choose The Tent For You
Your choice of tent can make or break a camping trip. This is why it’s so important that you know all the in’s and out’s before making a purchase.
Even the most affordable tents are not exactly what I’d call “low priced items.” You do not want to waste your money on a product that is not of quality. There are tons of things to consider about your preferences, your camping environment and the design of each tent.
The 3 C’s of 4 Man Tents
It can be overwhelming to have to make a decision when there are so many factors to go over. Things become a bit simpler when we break them down.
When preparing to buy any tent, it’s crucial that you think about the 3 C’s of camp tents: Comfortability, Convenience and Constancy.
Comfortability In A 4 Person Camping Tent
The aspect of camping that new campers always seem to be concerned about: comfortability.
The fear of being uncomfortable is what scares a lot of people away from the idea of camping. The truth is, when you choose the right tent, you should never have to sacrifice comfortability.
Lots of Space
Let’s first get the misconception out of the way: a 4 person tent is not always the best choice for 4 people. Yes, 4 average-sized adult humans can physically fit into one of these tents, but this does not mean it will always be a comfortable squeeze. Think of the number of people advertised on a tent as a unit of measurement, not a capacity standard.
Be conscious of the size of each of your guests. Is anyone in your group claustrophobic? Do they like to toss and turn while they sleep? A group of 4 restless sleepers will probably not be comfortable in an average 4 person tent.
Claustrophobic campers may also want a tent with a decent peak height (the height from the tent’s floor, to the tallest part of its ceiling). The Coleman 2-in-1 All Day Shelter tent has a peak height of over 7 feet tall. If it’s raining all day, having the ability to walk around may prevent campers from going completely stir crazy.
Also, if you’re camping with children, be conscious of the space they need. The last thing you want to do is coop up a group of hyperactive children in a tent that’s too small. The same goes for pets.
Overall, it’s more important to look at the dimensions of a tent than the “capacity.” Many groups of 4 have no issue using a 4 person tent. However, if you’re over-concerned about your personal space, you may want to look for a 6, 8 or even 10 person tent.
You may also want to consider choosing a tent with more than one entrance/exit. This way, you’re not constantly stepping over your fellow campers when you need to go outside.
An aspect that many new campers forget to consider is ventilation. It’s important that your tent has sufficient airflow to prevent your shelter from turning into a sauna. This is especially relevant for summer camping.
Be sure that your tent has mesh windows to let fresh air circulate. I prefer tents that have “optional” windows. By this, I mean windows that can be zipped closed if need be. This is important for areas where weather is unpredictable or unstable.
For example, if you’re camping in a desert environment, it’ll get very hot during the day. You will need great ventilation to let out some of that heat. However, some deserts get very cold during the night. It’s ideal to have the freedom of closing these windows if it gets too breezy in your tent at night.
A great tent has not only windows, but also ground vents. These are great at encouraging airflow throughout the entire tent, not just the upper portion. These can make a world of difference on a hot, humid night.
Convenience In 4 Man Tents
Convenience is another key concept to consider when camping (say that 10 times fast). Sometimes, the excitement of escaping into the wilderness becomes so inflated in our heads that we forget to prioritize easy camping. Remember that the more you plan beforehand, the less you’ll struggle on your camping trip.
One of the most important factors to consider in a tent is its weight.
Tents do not just magically appear at your campsite. Remember that you (or someone else in your group) will have to carry it to its final resting spot.
If you’ll only be transporting your 4 person tent a few feet from your car, then weight won’t be as big of an issue. This means that heavier tents are fine for social campsites with parking lots or for camping out in your backyard.
If you have to trek through the woods to get to your campsite, you’ll need to think light. If you’re embarking on a multi-day backpacking trip where you’ll be moving from campsite to campsite, think even lighter. Any tent between 7 and 15 pounds is fantastic. However, this all depends on your physical abilities and what you’re comfortable with.
The goal is to find a tent that’s so light, you forget that you’re even carrying it. With that being said, there’s a fine line to walk when it comes to the balance between weight and durability.
Ease of Set-Up
For inexperienced campers especially, it’s vital that your tent doesn’t require an overly-difficult set-up. If you’re nervous about this aspect of camping, it may be a good idea to invest in an instant tent. These can usually be assembled within minutes and do not require a team of brainiacs to be put together.
If your tent does not pitch instantly, then you should practice assembling it before you embark on your camping trip. There’s nothing worse than having spent lots of money on a tent and carrying it all the way to your campsite just to realize that you don’t know how to assemble it.
Here’s a great, general guide on how to assemble a 4 person tent.
Remember that each tent comes with a set of specific instructions, and it’s important that you read them carefully. If you do not set up your tent exactly as it’s intended, you will likely run into issues. This is how camping accidents happen.
If you’re planning on camping with a lot of equipment, you also need to think about storage space. It’s not always wise to leave your gear outside of your tent throughout the night. This leaves the possibility of animals getting at it, the rain ruining it or the wind blowing it away.
If your tent isn’t big enough for the extra gear, then look for compensation. Many tents have storage pouches along the walls. These are great for small items like glasses, phones and wallets.
A great feature to look for in a 4 person tent is a gear loft. This is a mechanism that essentially allows your gear to be suspended from a net near the ceiling of your tent. These are usually great for backpacks and other larger pieces of equipment.
Some tents, such as the Coleman Dome Tent, feature a “screen room.” These are great for storage as they offer a bit of protection from the environment.
If a tent does not feature any of these options, then look to the carry bag. This is the sack that your tent comes in. Once your tent has been removed and set up, the carry bag is a great place to store some of your gear.
Constancy in 4 Person Tents
The third C of camp tents is constancy. In other words, durability. How does each tent hold up when faced with the perils of wilderness?
The most obvious factor that affects constancy is the material that your tent is made of. Here are some key fabrics to look for when buying a 4 person tent.
- Polyester is a common fabric found in 4 person tents. It’s light, affordable and low maintenance. It has waterproof properties that stop moisture from seeping through and it’s easy to clean. Also, it’s mildew resistant, so there’s no problem when it’s left out in the rain for long periods of time.
- Nylon shares a lot of characteristics with polyester, though it’s stronger and more stretchy. It’s also abrasion resistant. Nylon is a great material to use for tent floors.
- Polyethylene is another material that’s commonly used for tent floors. This is because it’s super durable and does not need any waterproof coating. The only drawback of this material is that it’s a bit heavy.
Waterproofing is Important
Weather can be unpredictable. Rainstorms can come unannounced, even when you’ve planned camping trips specifically around weather forecasts. Hence, why you should always look for a tent that’s waterproof.
As stated in the previous section, materials like polyester, nylon and polyethylene are good at deflecting water. However, some tents have layers of waterproof coating that give extra protection.
I also suggest looking for a tent that comes with a rainfly. This is a cover that goes over your tent to protect it from water, UV rays and other elements of nature. Rainflies can usually be removed if need be for extra ventilation.
Know Your Environment
The final element to consider is less about the tent itself and more about your circumstances. You must always think about the environment that you’ll be camping in.
Every unique location will require different features from your tent. As we’ve discussed, with rainy areas, it’s vital to have sufficient waterproofing and a sturdy rainfly.
If you’re expecting high winds, be sure your tent can handle that. Look to the tent poles. Are they sturdy enough to withstand high levels of stress? Aluminum poles are light-weight and are great at standing up against high winds. Unfortunately, they do corrode easily when exposed to saline environments (such as the beach).
Fiberglass poles are not quite as strong as aluminum poles. However, they are more affordable, and they will not rust or corrode.
Time of year also should have an impact on your tent selection. It’s great to know each tent’s seasonality. Consider buying a 3-season tent. These are equipped to handle spring, summer and fall weather in most locations. Tents equipped for extreme cold weather are usually more expensive and offer less ventilation.
At the end of the day, choosing the best 4 man tent takes lots of consideration. You want to find a tent that’s affordable, but you also want to make sure it excels at the 3 C’s of camp tent selection: comfortability, convenience and constancy. This means doing your research and being thoughtful about your purchase.
Our Top Pick Is….
The Lynx is a fantastic 4 person tent in every aspect. It’s super lightweight and freestanding, meaning it’s really easy to transport, whether it’s in the bag or already assembled. Its waterproof design and sturdy tent poles are ready for most environmental challenges, from heavy rain to strong winds. Its water resistant rainfly protects campers from UV rays and creates extra storage space with two vestibules. If you want the total package without breaking the bank, the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx is likely the best 4 person backpacking tent you can find.