Camping with the family is an affordable way to connect with nature, and finding a budget-friendly tent has never been easier. With all the endless options, it can be hard to find the right one, so we created this guide on the best cheap tents.
Whether you’re looking for a small tent to house your family of 3 or a large shelter for your clan of 8, you’ll find the best option for your specific needs.
So before spending your hard-earned money on camping gear, read this best cheap tents guide first to make the right purchase decision.
Our Top Picks for Best Cheap Tents
Coleman 4-Person Dome Tent for Camping
Best for Backpacking:
Londtren 4-Person Easy Pop Up Tent
For Small Families:
CORE Tents for Family Camping, Hiking and Backpacking
For Large Families:
UNP Camping Tent 10-Person-Family Tents
Coleman steals the top spot on our guide to the best cheap tents. This product protects your family against the elements and provides ample breathing room and an effortless setup. Let’s dive into this tent’s incredible features.
We all know how the weather can change on a dime in nature. That’s why Coleman crafted this tent with robust, synthetic fabric that’s waterproof and tough against the elements. The dome shape has a sturdy frame that can withstand 35+ mile per hour winds.
The patented Weathertec design includes welded floors and inverted seams that keep moisture outside and maintain a cozy, dry interior. If the forecast predicts a rainy night, you can rest easy knowing you won’t wake up in a damp puddle.
Coleman smartly prepared this tent for hot weather too. The large windows and ground vents push the warm air outside, so you can stay cool and comfortable while you sleep.
If you’re a camper who wants to relax when you drive into your site, the Coleman Dome Tent is your best bet. You can set your shelter up in 10 minutes, which means less hassle and more lounging by the fire.
There are a couple of unique design features, like mesh storage pockets for extra storage and an E-Port for easy extension cord access. At such an incredible price tag, the Coleman Dome Tent is hard to beat.
- Only takes 10 minutes to set up
- Sturdy design that’s weather resistant
- Well-ventilated and breathable
- Only fits up to 4 people snugly
Best for Backpacking
Taking your family on a backpacking trip can be a very memorable experience, and finding the best tent can make or break your trip. We listed the Londtren 4-Person Pop-Up Tent as the best cheap tent in our backpacking option for numerous reasons.
After a long day of hiking, the last thing you want to do is fuss over your shelter, and this option comes with an insanely easy setup. It pops up instantly with preassembled poles that hold the structure.
Simply open the bag, let go of the tent, and watch it form in mere seconds. Not only will this be a blessing after an exhausting day of backpacking, but if it starts raining at an inopportune time, this tent will save the day. You can be cozy inside your shelter before getting soaked to the bone.
You’ll have a wonderful time relaxing in the Londtren tent, even when the weather is hot and humid. There are 2 front doors and 2 side windows, all containing a mesh layer that provides a pleasant breeze. If you want a little privacy, simply zip the nylon fabric screen over doors and windows for more solitude.
The 9.2 x 6.6 feet spacious interior can fit 3-4 people with sleeping bags or 2-3 people with lots of camping gear. While it might not provide the roomiest atmosphere for family camping, it contains the perfect amount of space for sleeping in the wilderness. Plus, with all the time you’ll spend hiking, fishing, and sitting by the campfire, who needs a huge tent?
- Effortless setup that takes seconds
- Incredibly portable
- Easy to pack away
- On the smaller side
- Not 100% waterproof
Best for Small Families (4-5 People)
If you’re looking for a roomier option, CORE made one of the best cheap tents for small families.
The 16 x 9 floor plan can technically house 9 adults in sleeping bags but would fit 4-5 occupants with camping gear. If you’re taking your family of 4 on a great wilderness adventure, you can easily chill out in this large tent with lots of room to spare.
CORE created this tent using weatherproof polyester material with heat-treated seams that keep water out. The advanced ventilation system draws in cool air from the ground and releases hot air through the large mesh canopy.
That’s just one perk of the see-through ceiling. Imagine spending a night gazing at the stars as you drift to sleep. This tent makes you feel like you’re sleeping in the great outdoors, with an unobstructed view of nature.
If you prefer a bit more privacy, this tent also comes with a rain fly that easily attaches over the top. This extra layer will also protect you from rain and other inclement weather.
This option is best suited for car camping since the carrying bag weighs nearly 20 lbs. While this tent has a longer setup time than other options on our best cheap tents guide, the extra work is well worth the increased space.
- Large size fits 4-5 people with lots of room to breath
- Mesh ceiling allows you to stargaze at night
- Durable construction that’s weather-resistant
- Takes a bit longer to set up than other tents
- Weighs 20 lbs in carrying case
Best for Large Families (6-8 People)
If you want to go camping with your extended family and then some, the UNP Camping Tent might be your best bet.
This gargantuan tent measures 18ft x 9ft, providing extra room for 10 people sleeping or 6-8 occupants with gear.
The material is 100% polyester which provides ample protection against inclement weather. You’ll find a large mesh roof for stargazing and increased ventilation. If rain is in the forecast, you can easily attach the rain fly, which includes an extended awning design to keep water outside the tent.
Despite the large size, this tent is surprisingly easy to assemble and take down. UNP increased the size of the carry bag, so you don’t have to stubbornly stuff the tent inside a tiny case. Once inside the carry bag, this tent weighs 23 lbs, a small price to pay for the enormous size.
UNP wants you to make the best tent purchase, so they offer an unconditional 1-year quality assurance to help provide a risk-free purchase. With all of these added perks, UNP is a no-brainer addition to our best cheap tents guide.
- Extra-large size provides ample room for large families
- Wide mesh ceiling allows unobstructed views of outside
- Sturdy, water-proof design
- Easy to set up considering the size
- Not good with strong winds
- Carrying case weighs 23lbs
It wouldn’t be a family camping trip without bringing the kids along, so we had to include the best cheap tent for young campers.
The Coleman Kids Wonder Lake is the perfect shelter for the little ones. With a 7×4 feet base and 3 ft height, this pint-sized tent allows youngsters to have a tent just like mom and dad.
This tent has kid-approved design features with bright colors and a fun glow-in-the-dark logo. Parents will appreciate the wind-proof frame and weather-resistant material. This option includes a rainfly and extended waning to keep water out of the tent.
Setting up this tent is a breeze. With snag-free pole leaves and a simple pin-and-ring system, you can easily have this tent ready in 10 minutes without breaking a sweat.
When you purchase the Coleman Kids Wonder Lake, you’ll get a 1-year limited warranty to help protect your purchase. If you want to get the young ones out in nature, this might be one of the best cheap tents out there.
- Bright kid-approved design
- Easy to set up and take down
- Sturdy wind-proof design
- Created with waterproof materials
- Small size only fits 2-3 kids
We wanted to finish our best cheap tents guide with a bang, and what better than to end with the Coleman Dome Tent and Screen Room?
This tent has a lot going for it, including a 4-person sleeping capacity, weatherproof material, and an easy set-up time. But the icing on the cake has to be the roomy screened-in porch attached to the front.
This 10×5 feet space allows you to lounge outdoors without worrying about bugs. It also doubles as a mudroom, where you can remove shoes without tracking dirt into the tent.
This small addition has a huge payoff, and after camping with this tent just once, you’ll have difficulty returning to a tent without a screen room. Keeping your sleeping area clean and tidy makes such a big difference.
The tent’s interior measures 10 x 9 feet and can fit two queen-sized air mattresses. Roomy, practical, and durable, Coleman Dome Tent and Screen Room is a homerun.
- Includes a screened-in porch that doubles as a mudroom
- Spacious interior
- Easy to set up
- Porch isn’t 100% waterproof
Best Cheap Tents: Buying Guide
Now, let’s keep our best cheap tents guide rolling and discuss some important considerations to factor into your purchase decision.
Before you buy the best cheap tent for your camping needs, ponder the capacity limits first.
Most tents will mention the number of people that can fit inside the space, but remember that this might not be a good representation of the ideal occupancy. Just because a tent can fit up to 10 people doesn’t mean it will comfortably accommodate all guests.
Think about how many people are in your clan, then choose a tent that can house a few more people than you need. Buying a bigger-than-necessary tent will give you lots of room to breathe, so you don’t wake up in the middle of the night in cramped quarters.
Besides the extra money, buying a bigger tent has virtually zero downsides. It’s better to have extra room than not enough. Think about each tent’s ideal occupancy before spending your hard-earned cash.
Another important factor to consider is the weather resistance of a given tent. All the options we listed in this best cheap tents guide incorporate some form of weather protection into the design, but some are better than others.
For instance, tents with a rainfly and awning (like the Coleman Dome, CORE Tent, UNP Tent, and the Coleman Kids) will provide ample protection against rain. The Coleman Dome Tent has a rainfly but no awning, and the Londtren Pop-Up doesn’t have either, so these options will leave your tent more susceptible to water leaking through.
Another consideration to deliberate is whether or not the tent is wind-proof. We listed the Coleman Dome as our top pick for the best cheap tents because it can withstand winds up to 35+ miles per hour. Many other options (except for the Coleman Kids) don’t mention the wind-proof rating, so keep this in mind when finding the best cheap tent for you.
Set-up and Pack-up Time
Before choosing one of these best cheap tents, contemplate the estimated time it takes to set up and take down. You can assemble all of these tents in under half an hour, but there’s quite a bit of variation within that window.
The Londtren Pop-Up certainly steals the lead for minimal work since it only takes a few seconds to set up. It also requires virtually zero labor on your end since this tent essentially self-assembles. Once you get to your campsite, you can have your shelter ready without breaking a sweat.
If you go with the CORE Tent, it might take you 20 minutes before your sleeping quarters are ready. This might not seem like a long time, but it can add up when you’re exhausted after a long day of driving or hiking.
Weight will be another factor to think about when buying the best cheap tent. Decide on how you plan to go camping, then buy the right tent based on your preferred method.
If you plan to go car camping, you might not mind a tent weighing 20 lbs. But if you’re portaging, hiking, or backpacking with the family, a 20lb tent is definitely not ideal. You and your back will appreciate a lightweight tent like the Londtren Pop-Up or the Coleman Dome.
Material is something that sets apart the best cheap tent from others. Not all materials are created equal, and certain fabrics will boast different advantages.
Polyester is a popular tent material for many reasons. It’s durable, waterproof, and lightweight. The main downside of this material is that it’s not breathable, and if you’ve ever worn a polyester garment on a hot day, you can imagine why.
It holds in heat and moisture, which is great for waterproofing but not ideal for ventilation. Make sure your tent has airways inside the structure through mesh screens, windows, or doors.
Nylon is another popular tent material with a better strength-to-weight ratio than polyester. This fabric is stretchier than the latter and distributes stress over a larger area, resulting in increased durability.
Before we wrap up our best cheap tents guide, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
What should I look for in the best cheap tent?
Just because your tent is cheap doesn’t mean it has to lack quality. Every tent should have a few must-have features, regardless of the price tag.
Make sure your tent includes treated or inverted seams, waterproof materials, and a sturdy frame. Purchasing a tent with a rainfly and awning should also be a big consideration, but you can also purchase a tarp from your local hardware store to save some money.
How much should I spend on a good tent?
There’s no need to break the bank to invest in a good tent. You can find sturdy options that will last for years to come for under $100. Size will determine the price tag. You’ll find larger tents (like the UNP option) that stay within the $150 range.
What is the life expectancy of a tent?
It’s hard to estimate an average tent lifespan since so many varieties exist, but most tents will last 5-7 years on average. One nice feature of tents is that you only use them for a few weeks out of the year, so they can last a very long time regardless of the cost.
Best Cheap Tents: Which Will You Get?
We hope this guide helped you discover the best cheap tents that money can buy.
While you can’t go wrong with any of the listings here, we recommend the Coleman Dome Tent as a versatile, durable shelter for family camping.
Now that you’ve found the best cheap tent, check out our Camping Page for more helpful gear guides.