In one point or another, every camper needs to invest in a quality tent. This is perhaps the most significant part of your camping equipment, and can really make or break the whole adventure. You need a proper shelter and a place where you can get a good rest and replenish the energy for activities that await. Tents come in many different shapes and sizes, so every camper can find what suits them best.
If you wish to go camping with your family, you need to look for a tent which can accommodate everybody. This is where four person tents come in. They have many upsides, and there’s a reason this size is very popular. You get a solid amount of space inside the tent, while it still remains relatively lightweight and easy to pack and transport. Many parents choose this one when camping with kids.
On the other hand, maybe you’re just looking for a tent you’ll use on your own or with your partner, so you’ll be able to move around freely and have some extra space. Whichever the case, the best 4 person camping tents featured here come with different specs, and you need to see what you like and make a pick. We will try to help by providing some additional information in our buying guide, so be sure to check it out.
How To Choose A 4 Person Tent – Buying Guide
Even though the label you’re looking at says a tent is designed for four people, there are a few more things you should think about before buying. As you had the opportunity to see in our 4 person tent reviews, specs vary from one product to the other. Size, design and materials can all determine whether the tent will work for you in the long run. Take a closer look.
This is pretty obvious when we’re talking about 4 man tents. However, not all manufacturers have the same idea of how large people are, so the ground space won’t always be the same. It’s usually made for averagely sized occupants (under 6ft tall), so a four of them can fit without much room left. If you are taller than average or want to store some gear inside, a 4 person tent will work great if there’s 2 or 3 of you. Look at the dimensions of each product, and see if it suits you. If you plan to put an airbed or a camping cot inside, don’t forget to take that into account too.
Total weight of your new tent depends on the materials used for body and poles. Some are designed to be light and compact when packed. These are a good choice for backpacking, and you can find many ultralight 4 person tents you can take on a hike, without feeling weighed down. Light tents are easy to move around, but you need to be cautious when buying them. Even though it’s not always the case, they can lack strength compared to some heavier products.
On the other hand, if you’re going RV or car camping, weight isn’t an issue and you should concentrate more on other features. Most often these tents weigh between 5 and 15 pounds. While we’re on the subject, let’s mention portability. While it’s largely dependent on weight, it’s not the only thing that determines it. You should check the size when packed, so it can fit in your backpack or trunk, instead of being too bulky. It’s a plus if it comes in a nice protective bag with handles to make carrying easier.
Depending on your preferences as a camper, 4 person tents offer a large choice when it comes to weather conditions you’ll be using them in. The majority of people like camping when the weather is nice and warm, which is perfectly fine. However, some people need their tent to withstand heavy rainfall, strong winds or two feet of snow.
Tents which are designed for nicer weather (1-2 season) come with lighter materials, less poles and many mesh panels to allow air circulation and keep you comfy inside. Of course, they protect you from rain too, but won’t keep you dry if there’s heavy rainfall for days. This is usually the most budget friendly option and something most users are satisfied with.
You can also choose a 3-season tent, some of which we featured in our reviews. They offer greater reliability and extended use ranging from early spring to late fall. They are usually fully waterproof, use thicker materials and stronger frames for greater protection. A full-length rainfly is also common on these tents, and can be removed when not needed. This is a nice balance, and the best choice in terms of versatility if you want a product you can use for the largest part of the year.
Of course, 4-season tents also exist. They are much tougher, and able to withstand strong winds and lots of snow. These are popular among mountaineers, and you probably don’t need one if you’re a regular camper. Their strength doesn’t mean they are heavy – some are very lightweight. However, because of the materials used and the design, they can cost substantially more compared to conventional tents. In addition, they often have reduced ventilation and aren’t very comfortable during warm weather.
When buying a new tent, you expect it to function as a shelter too, not just a place to sleep. Protection from light rain and some wind is something that all tents should give you. This is determined mostly by the fabric used, but also design and shape. Hydrostatic Head rating is used to show how waterproof a fabric is, and it’s expressed in millimeters. Greater values can withstand larger amounts of water, so it’s important that the rainfly has a good rating.
Wind resistance is also important, especially if you’re camping in clear areas. Frame should withstand wind exposure without suffering permanent deformation, but again, you don’t need top performance for regular camping trips. It’s enough if the tent doesn’t break when the wind gets stronger than a breeze. It’s smart to stake your tent, and also use guylines so that it remains stable. This way, the chances of it getting blown away are reduced too. Some products (usually made from polyester) offer UV protection. They filter out harmful UV rays and make the tent a safer environment for you and your kids.
Seals on your tent can sometimes be a weak spot. Water can find its way through the holes and into your tent. For this reason, look for tents with sealed or welded seams. Some campers buy a seam sealer and go over all the seams before their trip, making sure they won’t find any puddles inside when they wake up in the morning.
This is something that is important to all of us – we don’t want to feel cramped when we go inside. Always take a careful look at the floor size and tent height when choosing. Height can sometimes be overlooked, buy you need sufficient space so you can sit properly, and it’s even better if you can stand up. Cabin-style tents offer the most volume, because they have almost vertical walls. Comfort also depends on the number of occupants. You will get the most out of your 4 person tent if there is less than 4 adult occupants. Some design solutions and extra features can increase the comfort too, because you have better air circulation and increased storage space.
Manufacturers try to find a balance between strength and weight when choosing materials for their tents. Poles are usually made from fiberglass or aluminum. Fiberglass is more common because it performs very well, and it’s cheaper than aluminum. On the other hand, it isn’t as durable and can get damaged more easily. Aluminum is also very light, but isn’t as gentle as fiberglass. You’ll get prolonged durability, but often at an increased cost.
The choice of fabric varies from one product to the other. Body is most often made from either canvas, nylon or polyester. Canvas is a nice choice – it’s strong and gives good protection, but it’s also quite heavy. Nylon and polyester are much more common nowadays, and there’s a reason for this. Both are very light and can have a great waterproof rating. You can choose to get rip-stop nylon which is resistant to tears and gives your tent a new dimension. Polyester on the other hand often comes with added UV protection.
Materials used also influence breathability, and you should be able to get some fresh air inside. However, waterproof materials won’t allow breathability, so these tents need to have windows and added ventilation openings. This way you feel more comfortable, and avoid condensation which can form on tent walls if the temperature difference is too large. All tents we featured have two layers, which significantly boosts ventilation. The first is the tent body, which usually has several mesh panels, and then a rainfly goes over it to stop water from coming in.
Smart design can makes your tent much easier to use. When it comes to shape, all products we featured are either a dome or a cabin. The dome offers best wind and water resistance, while the cabin style offers biggest comfort. You will also come across ridge (A-frame), tunnel or geodesic tents, and each has its ups and downs. It also makes a difference if your tent is freestanding or not – a freestanding tent is usually easier to set up, and you can move it around.
Pay attention to doors and windows – their number, shape and position. It’s always useful to have more than one door – it allows you to enter and leave without disturbing anyone else who may be sleeping in the tent. Door shape can also be different, but it’s important that it’s large enough. Windows are a necessary addition – not only do they allow air circulation, they give you a nice view of your surroundings while you’re inside. It’s a big plus if doors and windows have a mesh screen in addition to fabric flaps, to prevent the insects from coming in while air can flow uninterrupted.
Tent poles also aren’t the same on every product. Some tents may have less poles (which reduces the weight), while others need to be stronger and pack more. It’s useful when they have a shock-cord inside because they can quickly be assembled and put into place. Often the tent will have built-in clips to attach the poles, and it’s a plus if everything is color coded to make the assembly easier.
Finally, the rainfly is a vital part of your tent, and depending on the product it can cover just the roof of your tent, or it can go all the way to the ground and fully cover all sides (which gives the tent better water resistance). Some products allow the rainfly to be quickly set up into place, and come with attached guylines to secure it.
Many extra features can make your time inside the tent nicer. We mentioned the mesh pockets, and to be honest, they are so useful that all top rated 4 person camping tents should have them. Some products offer a gear loft placed overhead, so you can organize the space you have and lift some small equipment up. On the ceiling you can find a loop which is used to attach a lamp and get some light inside. Some tents have special zippered openings which you can use to pull an extension cord through and get some electricity if you have it available.
As for the outside, you can get a tent with a vestibule (or more than one), which is a covered area outside the door, useful for keeping gear and shoes. Even though it’s rarely included in the package, you should definitely consider getting a tent footprint. Some manufacturers make footprints designed for specific models, but you also can make yourself, using a tarp. This gives you added protection, durability, and also cleaner packing when it’s time to go home.
Q: When Should I Get A 4 Person Tent?
A: You should consider it when you want company in your tent. It’s good accommodation for you, your spouse and two small children, a couple of people with pets and some gear, or for three adults. Strictly speaking, it can fit four adults inside but for sleeping purposes only. Some campers even use it on their own, and this is ok too if you want to put a larger bed in and know you’ll be spending a certain amount of time inside.
Q: What Is Most Important To Consider When Buying A 4 Person Tent?
A: Since you’ve decided to go for a 4 person tent, you should first and foremost consider the inside space – total floor surface you have at your disposal. Don’t forget the height, you don’t want to be hitting your head every time you sit up. After this, you should consider factors which determine quality, durability and usability. Think about whether the materials used are good enough to shelter you, and whether they can do it on many camping trips. Also, as we discussed earlier, give some thought to doors and windows because they can really improve your experience as a tent user.
Q: What Are The Construction Features I Should Look For?
A: If you’re not going camping only a couple of times during the summer, you want a tent which can endure some rain and wind without falling apart. Look for strong poles and tougher fabric. It all comes down to what you’re going to expose it to. It’s not a bad idea to go through the experience of other users and get a better feeling of what you can expect.
Q: How Long Does It Take To Assemble?
A: This is something you need to think about when purchasing. When you go out with your family, you don’t want to spend half of your day preparing the tent. If you have several poles that require feeding through the loops, you will need more time than if you get a pop up tent. However, manufacturers are trying to make tent setup as simple as possible. For this reason, most products can be set up in 15 minutes or less (and even faster if you’re not doing all the work on your own).
Q: How Do I Take Care Of My Tent?
A: Caring for your tent will prolong its lifespan and save you the cost of tent repair or buying a replacement. You should try to avoid all unnecessary wear and tear – remove sharp branches and rocks from the area where you’ll be placing the tent. Use a footprint or a tarp underneath whenever you can, because it’s much stronger and easily replaceable than your tent floor. Before packing and storing it away until you next camping adventure, be sure to clean your tent first. Remove dirt and debris, and wipe it off if there is mud. Always let it dry before you put it in the bag, otherwise it can develop mold and have a nasty smell the next time you open it.
Globo Surf Overview
Buying a 4 person tent is a smart investment, because you get a nice size with great versatility. It will be a reliable companion on your trips, and a solid addition to your camping gear. However, finding the best 4 person tent is your decision, based on certain features. We tried to give many details in both our reviews and the guide, so you have a clear picture of what you need. We’re sure you’ll make the right choice and have great time outdoors!
Have you tried a 4 person camping tent that made it onto our list? Which one? How were you satisfied with build quality and weather protection? Did it have enough space inside? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.
Globo Surf 4 Person Tents Reviews