If you love the outdoors, there likely will come a time in your life — or, if you’re lucky, many times in your life — when you’ll want to share the experience of enjoying nature with family or friends.
If you do get that urge, you’ll need to make sure before you hit the woods that there will be plenty of room for everyone to sleep and to be shielded from inclement weather.
Even if there will be just a few of you on the camping trip, a tent capable of sleeping eight people isn’t an extravagance, particularly if you’ll be taking along a lot of fishing, hunting, or hiking gear that you’ll want to protect from the elements.
Read on for our picks of the best 8 person tents for your outdoor adventures, and get ready to introduce more people to the wonders of nature.
Our Top Picks
Eureka Copper Canyon LX
Portal 8 Person Family Camping Tent
Best Use of Space:
North Face Wawona 8
Look at the Eureka Copper Canyon LX 8 person tent, and one of the first things you’ll notice is the steep slant of its walls. That slant is by design, as the Eureka Copper Canyon LX is designed to provide maximum usable space. And that is a primary reason that this tent is our choice for best all-around 8 person tent.
With its near-vertical walls, the Eureka Copper Canyon LX maximizes standing room in the tent. The steep walls also provide ample space for air mattresses and sleeping bags, as they boost the area of usable floor space.
Beyond that, the tent features a divider curtain that splits the space in half, allowing for privacy among its occupants. And an extended fly over the door helps keep the tent entrance dry during inclement weather.
With 130 square feet of floor area, covered by a ceiling that boasts a maximum height of 8 feet, the Eureka Copper Canyon LX is an ideal shelter for a family or group of friends or for campers who need space to stow lots of gear.
Other conveniences with the Eureka Copper Canyon LX include a zippered “power port”, which provides an easy connection with external power for stays at campgrounds that offer electrical service as an amenity.
- Durable enough for sustained use by scouts, other groups
- Interior stays dry even in heavy rains
- Storage features are a welcome part of tent’s design
- Set-up may be difficult for some users
- Loops for window flaps can be a hassle
- May be too heavy for some users to maneuver
If you’re looking to introduce your family or friends to life in the outdoors, but don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of money on shelter, the Portal 8 Person Family Camping Tent deserves a look. For the space it offers, this tent comes at a budget price that earned it a place on our list of the best 8 person tents.
Among the most welcome features of the Portal 8 person tent is the covered screen porch on one end of the structure. In addition to opening the tent to the light of day and the cool of night, the porch provides a comfortable place from which to enjoy wide vistas of the natural world.
Easily stored in a vehicle with an unassembled width of just over 2 feet, the Portal tent is also easily transported for set-up, with a weight of just slightly more than 25 pounds. And once the tent is set up, it includes plenty of storage space to keep gear out of the way.
- Color-coded tent poles makes set-up easy
- Remains stable in windy conditions
- Repair kit included
- May have some leakage during heavy rains
- Requires two people for set-up
Best Use of Space
If you want your tent camping experience with family or friends to closely mimic at least the feeling of being at home, the North Face Wawona 8 is a great choice among 8 person tents.
Featuring three doors, a divider for splitting up the indoor space, and a vestibule for protected outdoor sitting and relaxing, the North Face Wawona 8 represents the best use of space among the tents listed here as the best 8 person tents.
If you like feeling close to nature even when you’re inside your tent, the North Face Wawona 8 includes a window that stretches the length of the structure to provide an ever-present vista of the outdoors.
Another thoughtful design feature of the North Face Wawona is its internal storage pockets, which keep essential pieces of gear close at hand, but out of the way of the people using the tent.
And the tent’s vestibule, while providing a place to enjoy the outdoors under a protective canopy, also offers a handy place to store bicycles and other recreational equipment, keeping it all out of the weather.
- Exceptional rain protection
- Two people is best option for set-up of the tent
- May be a bit snug for eight people
Truly in a class by itself, the Obsidian Rapid Deployment Shelter made our list of the best 8 person tents because it shows exactly what a top-line shelter can be. Boasting more than 100 square feet of floor space, the Obsidian Rapid Deployment Shelter also offers more than 6 feet of headroom.
And because all of the required poles are stored within the shelter itself, set-up of the Obsidian Rapid Deployment Shelter is a breeze, taking less than a minute. Additionally, because the Obsidian shelter is designed as a four-season tent, it’s ready to go camping whenever you are.
The Obsidian Rapid Deployment Shelter is equipped with rooftop ventilation to ensure occupants’ comfort, and it also comes equipped with two ports for electrical cords to add whatever interior conveniences you might need to make your time in the natural world as comfortable as possible.
- Zip-off flooring transforms the shelter into an ice fishing tent
- Window design provides 360-degree visibility
- Weight is an issue in transporting tent to set-up spot
The Marmot Limestone 8 person tent is thoughtfully designed for camping with a group of people, which earned it a spot on our compilation of the best 8 person tents you can find today.
Its two-door design, featuring one double door and a single door, provides for easy maneuvering so that even when at capacity, occupants need not be tripping over one another to get into or out of the structure.
Additionally, the Marmot Limestone has color-coded poles and clips for easy assembly, and its other conveniences include a number of interior storage pockets, along with a pocket that holds a light source for ambient lighting of the tent when needed.
The Marmot XP sets up with vertical walls to maximize its usable space, which comprises more than 130 square feet. Weighing in at just a shade over 21 pounds and in a package, less than 3 feet long and just 17 inches tall, the Marmot XP is easy to transport by car, and easy to maneuver to its set-up spot.
- Impressive amount of storage space
- Seams are well-constructed
- Awning poles may not be included with tent
- May not perform well in windy weather
Measuring 7 feet by 16 feet, and with 6 feet of headroom, the Coleman Skydome XL tent also comes with two wide doors, both of which are equipped with wide awnings to provide protection from inclement weather and to ensure more-than-adequate airflow.
Those design features are just a couple of reasons the Coleman Skydome XL made this list of the best 8 person tents. Other features that brought this tent to our attention include the ground vents for enhanced air circulation and a special port designed to bring electrical power into the tent.
Also notable with the Coleman Skydome XL is the quick set-up time, estimated at less than five minutes with two adults handling the job. Part of the reason for the quick set-up time is the fact that support poles are pre-attached to the tent.
In addition, the Coleman Skydome XL uses inverted seams, along with taped seams, to help keep water out of the structure to ensure camping comfort in inclement weather.
- Frame can withstand winds up to 35 mph
- Constructed with durable materials
- Easily fits back into storage back after being taken down
- Set-up instructions can be hard to follow
Buyer’s Guide for the Best 8 Person Tent
From the amount of space you’ll need for you and your friends or family to be comfortable in an 8 person tent, to the process for setting up the tent, to consideration of your gear storage needs, there are a lot of things to consider before making your purchase. Read on for some guidance on these issues.
Assess Your Square Footage Needs
As you evaluate the best 8 person tents for meeting your needs in the outdoors, you’ll of course want to be sure that the tent you choose will have enough room to comfortably accommodate you and your friends and family.
The keyword here is “comfortably.” Many camping guides will tell you that 20 square feet per person is a good rule of thumb for the space needed by each camper in an 8 person tent. But taking a closer look reveals that 20 square feet translate into a space 3 feet wide by a little more than 6 feet long.
Obviously, that’s barely enough room for an average adult to sleep comfortably. And, of course, you’ll likely have gear that you want to store inside the tent, further restricting the available space.
A better rule is to plan on at least 30 square feet per person in an 8 person tent, with 40 square feet as an even better option, particularly if you’ll be camping for more than a day or two.
Consider the Tent’s Set-up Procedures
So, once you’ve bought it, where’s the first place that you should set up your new 8 person tent? Here’s a hint: The first place that you should set up your tent is not the first campsite to which you take it. The first place to set up your tent is in your backyard, or if space permits, inside your home.
Getting familiar with your tent’s set-up procedure is paramount to having a pleasant experience in the outdoors. Being prepared before you hit the woods is your best insurance for being safe. And knowing what you’re supposed to do beforehand can bring peace of mind that will make your trip more enjoyable.
More Space May Mean More Complicated Set-up
In terms of set-up, one thing to consider as you contemplate buying an 8 person tent is to understand that setting up a tent with a lot of space can get complicated, in some instances requiring that it be connected with anchor points, either above the tent or on the ground, to ensure stability.
With those tents, you’ll need to be at least somewhat proficient in tying secure knots. It might be helpful to go online, or into a book, or maybe even to find a class in outdoor skills to get comfortable with knot-tying.
Pay Close Attention to Wall Configuration and Ceiling Heights
When you’re looking at the possible purchase of an 8 person tent, floor area is just one of the dimensions that should get a close look before you make a final decision. You’ll also want to look at the slope of the tent’s walls, and the height and configuration of its ceilings.
Sloping Walls Mean Less Room
Knowing those dimensions will give you a clearer sense of the actual room of your tent. A sloping wall will give you less overall space as you move upward from the floor. So, an air mattress, even just a couple of inches thick will intrude more into your floor space than if you had a straight-walled tent.
Know How Ceiling Height Is Measured
Similarly, be sure that you understand how the ceiling height of your tent is measured. If it is advertised to have, say, 6.5 feet of headroom, be sure that’s across the entire ceiling and not just at some area in the center.
Don’t Neglect Gear Storage Needs
Of course, one of the things about enjoying the great outdoors is that your experience is enhanced by excursions into nature beyond the area around your campsite. And for that, you’ll likely want to take some extra gear — backpacks, hiking boots, fishing poles, bicycles — to fully enjoy your time in the outdoors.
So, when purchasing an 8 person tent, you’ll want to be honest about how much gear you’ll be bringing and how much of that gear you’ll want to be protected from the elements. Some tents include vestibules, and covered areas outside the tent’s sleeping area, for such storage, but others do not.
Look for Storage Pockets and Hooks
You’ll also likely bring a number of smaller items with you — flashlights, toiletries, camping tools — that you’ll want to keep handy. If that sounds like you, be sure that you buy an 8 person tent with lots of storage pockets, hooks, etc., included in the design.
Frequently Asked Questions About 8 Person Tents
Before wrapping up this post on 8 person tents, here are a few frequently asked questions that may guide you in a decision on making this investment in your enjoyment of the outdoors.
What materials are used in making 8 person tents?
If you’re of a certain age and remember your days of scout group trips into the woods, you’ll most likely remember sleeping under the stars in a canvas tent. Well, you can still find canvas tents, and they will be durable and treated with waterproofing, but they will be expensive, not to mention heavy to transport.
Most 8 person tents on the market today are made from water-resistant synthetic materials like polyester or nylon, with floors made of thicker and more durable synthetics. These tents, like their canvas cousins, are waterproof, though you may want to occasionally treat their seams with a readily available and inexpensive seam sealer.
And, of course, the big advantage of tents made with synthetic materials is that they are light and compact, easy to get into and out of the wilderness.
What about windows and doors?
Just like your home, your 8 person tent will include windows and doors, all zippered and equipped with tie-backs to keep them out of the way when they are opened.
A tent with two doors will be far more convenient than one with just a single door, particularly if you or one of your companions needs to enter or leave the tent during the night when others are asleep.
Your tent’s windows aren’t simply an accessory for surveying the outdoor scene. They serve an important function in keeping the tent properly ventilated. At a minimum, your 8 person tent should include two large windows, one each on opposite sides of the tent.
Should the tent floor be protected from the ground?
As mentioned, the typical 8 person tent will include a floor to keep campers separated from the ground. And while that floor typically will be constructed with tougher material than the rest of the tent, you’ll still want to consider protecting it from direct contact with the ground.
For that purpose, laying out a plastic or similar tarpaulin on the ground, on top of which you’ll set your tent, is a great idea. In addition to keeping your tent floor protected from sharp rocks and protruding roots, a tarpaulin can provide additional shielding from the ground for the tent’s occupants.
How waterproof will my tent be?
While searching for your 8 person tent, you’ll want to pay attention to its rating for being waterproof, typically expressed in millimeters. What that rating tells you is the amount of water that can sit atop your tent before it begins leaking.
For example, a 1,000mm rating means that a column of water a little more than a yard high could sit atop your tent before it begins leaking. Be aware, though, that a heavy, driving rain can apply a lot more pressure to the tent fabric than just a sitting column of water.
And just so you’ll know, a 1,000mm rating is considered to be water-resistant, just at the edge of being waterproof. For your 8 person tent, a 1,500mm rating should be considered the minimum acceptable waterproofing level.
From that 1,500mm level, you’ll want to consider the types of weather in which you routinely camp as you make a decision on the waterproofing level that you want. With a 5,000mm level, you’ll be protected from the heaviest rain you’re likely to encounter.
Wrapping up the Best 8 Person Tent
We hope this post has provided you with helpful information on how to choose the best 8 person tent for your camping adventures with family and friends. Additionally, we hope this post may have steered you to a tent specifically geared to your needs and wants for an 8 person tent. For more on all kinds of camping gear, check out Beyond The Tent.
- About the Author
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Jim Thompson grew up tent camping with his family, and was introduced to backpacking with the Boy Scouts. He attended a military college, where he was introduced to rappelling, an outdoor activity which he has not pursued.
Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia, and spent 35 years as a newspaper writer and editor before become a writer for Apple Pie Media.
Jim can be reached at email@example.com