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A tent is a wonderful investment purchase - with a little bit of TLC at the end of each trip, a decent camping tent will last for years and facilitate many great holidays.
What tent should I buy - backpacking, family, or four-man?
Depending on the kind of holiday you’re planning, there are a number of different tent sizes and configurations to consider. Family-style tents are usually bigger, with multiple compartments for convenience, storage and privacy.
Backpacking two-man or one-man tents are made with weight in mind - they tend to be lighter, less cumbersome and more appropriate for hiking, backpacking and covering large distances over multi-day hikes, for example.
Four-man tents, which we will be looking at in this article, are a happy medium-ground; perfect for two with ample room and storage space, or additionally suitable for a small family or friends if you’re looking to go away in a slightly larger group.
What to look for in a four -man tent
It’s worth looking into waterproof ability, especially when it comes to the outer ‘fly’ sheet which will protect you from the elements.
Pay attention to quality of attachments and zips too, as well as the amount of guy ropes and security ability the tent has. Additionally, we’d recommend doing some research in terms of inside the tent too - are there storage compartments?
Does it have a loop to hook up a torch or a lantern? Is there anywhere to stow away luggage or store other various bits of camping equipment? If you can, see if you can set up or try out a demonstration model and practice erecting the tent before you travel.
Get kitted out for your camping and backpacking adventures.
Here are our picks of the best four-man tents on the market.
Best for: a reasonably-priced option
Key Specs: Weight: 11.7kg, Bedrooms: 2, Pitching: 2 people and 4 poles
This Decathlon tent features 2 Bedrooms in a relatively small package that we found easy to put up. It has an impressively sized standing area, and although the carry case weighs 11kg, we found it was easy to transport.
Coloured markings on the poles made it easy to put up in no time. We thought this tent was good value for money, and provided ample space for family and friends when camping. A simple affair, but a lot of tent for the money.
Best for: backpackers
Key Specs: Weight: 3.3kg, Bedrooms: 1, Pitching: 1 person with 3 poles
This offering from MSR was created for backpackers in mind. Although this 4-man tent is slightly heavier than some others that MSR create, it’s still perfectly small enough and light enough to take into the backcountry or on longer trips.
The tent itself can easily sleep 4 people, and we were also impressed with the amount of headroom. MSR tents often come with a breathable mesh fabric underneath the fly, but such is the speed of putting it up we would be very happy erecting this tent in stormy or inclement weather.
MSR tents don’t compromise on the quality of materials, design or construction - this model is an updated version with larger porch areas, built-in gear lofts and handy glow in the dark zippers.
Best for: a family tent
Key Specs: Weight: 9.8kg, Bedrooms: 1 with one porch room, Pitching: 2 people
A slightly more affordable option from Outwell, the Dash 4 sleeps four in one large, blacked-out inner.
The space is versatile and we really liked the standing room height in what is a relatively easy and straight-forward package to put up and get down again.
Like the Robens option on this list, it works well as a base for a family, and is a good option for a longer stay, working well as a tent that has a fixed position for a whole.
Best for: value for money
Key Specs: Weight: 7.7kg, Bedrooms: 1 with one small porch room for storage, Pitching: 1 person, 3-pole setup
We thought this option from Vango was very well-priced for what you get, albeit being slightly smaller than some of the other larger 4-man tents on this list.
Although you can stretch out, it doesn’t necessarily have bags of standing room, but we liked the cosier porch area, which is still ample enough space to sit in good shelter. In the sleeping compartment, ‘nightfall’ fabric has been installed, which limits the light into the tent when day breaks.
The compartments themselves are generous in terms of sleeping and living space, despite the tent’s relatively small size and weight.
Best for: comfort
Key Specs: Weight: 15.7kg, Bedrooms: 2 with one porch room, Pitching: 2 people, erect flysheet first
A tent designed with comfort in mind, the Coleman Meadowood 4 sleeps four with ease - there’s space in either of the two bedrooms for large airbeds, and the sleeping areas are equipped with blackout technology to help you rest easy.
There’s plenty of ventilation however, and we were especially impressed with the porch hood, which covers the outside portion of the ground sheet and enables you to stay opened up in the rain, as well as keeping it largely dry inside the tent itself.
It gives the impression of a tent that’s bigger than it actually is.
Best for: families looking to stay comfortable and dry
Key Specs: Weight: 11.6kg, Bedrooms: 1 with one porch room, Pitching: 2 people, 1 person possible
Robens advertise the Green Cone as having ‘base tent’ comfort, and with its all-weather performance, rugged build and standing height, it makes a great option for campers looking to spend a little longer out into the wild, or families who need a slightly larger tent to act as a base.
We liked the ‘water-free’ access - a door that can be opened and closed without getting wet.
This tipi tent handles heat well, with fantastic air circulation due to the outer tent sitting of the inner - it’s also brilliant for keeping bugs out.
Best for: handy storage space
Key Specs: Weight: 5.4kg, Bedrooms: 1, Pitching: 1 person with 3 poles with press-fit connectors
This is a ‘fly first’ tent, which means that you erect the outer sheet first before attaching the bedroom compartments to the fly. We were impressed by the waterproof taped seams, double entrance points and the two scooped mesh vents that allow more air in to circulate and ventilate the tent.
It also comes with an extended living compartment so you can store your belongings in the porch area safely. At only 5.4 kg weight, this tent would be suitable for longer trips and backpacking adventures on multi -day pitches and mountainous terrain.