The Mountain Hardwear Mineral King 3 Tent is the best car-camping tent choice for couples. It has everything you need for three-season camping, with the bonus of being light enough to double as an occasional backpacking tent. Although it’s designed to accommodate three people—hence the “3” in its name—we found that at 42.5 square feet, the tent is more comfortable for two, plus gear and maybe a medium-size dog. A classic polyester dome tent, the Mineral King 3 uses two high-quality pre-bent aluminum poles, which maximize head and shoulder space, making this tent feel less cramped than other dome tents we tested.
We weighted each metric according to its importance before grading and ranking each shelter, side by side, on a scale of 1-10. Below, we discuss the metrics we used to score each model and highlight impressive models in each performance area. Fully enclosed and ready to protect you from sun, wind, rain, AND bugs, the Clam Outdoors Quick-Set Escape is a perfect shelter for the campground. coleman canopy No assembly is required; this shelter is ready to go right out of the box and can be fully deployed in less than a minute. We do admit there is a small learning curve to setting up the Escape, but once you’re locked in, popping this canopy into place is really fun and even somewhat addictive. The massive screened walls keep insects where they belong — away from you.
We even gave extra points to canopies that also protected against bugs. The Eureka Tagalong is lightweight with stellar components, so if you want to be a bit more mobile with your canopy, this is one of our favorites. And if you can step into the next price bracket, the Eurmax Standard 10×10 is hands-down our top choice. The added cost will buy you stronger materials and a structure that you won’t have to worry about falling apart for many years to come — if at all. Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times.
Families who regularly pitch their tent in rainy locales need a wind-fighting tent with a good-size vestibule for storing wet shoes and gear, as well as a full rain fly for added weather protection. The Pacific Breeze Easy Up is a beach tent with a half-dome design and enough space to shade one or two adults. Its one-pull setup requires more muscle than we anticipated, but overall it is hassle-free and takes only seconds to erect. At 5.4 pounds, it’s the lightest canopy in our lineup, making it very portable. We like the built-in sidewall pockets, attached floor, and roll-away side drapes. However, we feel the tarp-style floor stays a little hot in the sun, and it tends to collect dirt, sand, and water.
At $500, this modified dome-style tent isn’t cheap, but it represents substantial value. Many tents with similar profiles—such as the Big Agnes Dog House 6—either cost more or require you buy the tent body and attachable vestibule separately. The Wawona doesn’t come with a footprint—few tents this size do—but it’s otherwise all-inclusive, and it is compact considering how much livable space you get. The price also reflects the high quality of the materials, such as the four reinforced aluminum poles, which weigh little yet result in a remarkably strong tent.
If you can spend a bit more and want a more traditional cathedral shape, the Caravan V-Series is a good choice. We are also very impressed with the overall value the Coleman 10×10 Sun Shelter brings to the table. It’s slightly more expensive than the cheapest options on our list, but we feel its price point is nearly perfect considering its quality and performance, specifically its extra features and beefier design. To uncover the best canopy tent, we use comprehensive test metrics and cover all manner of use cases and essential details. We also took a close look at the quality of each canopy tent in our craftsmanship metric, as well as measuring each tent when packed up to provide details on portability.
This side wall is made with UV Guard™ material that provides UPF 50+ sun protection and shields your guests from wind and rain. The Base Camp tents include a low side vent and multiple stuff pockets on the walls and ceiling, which are made of 75D polyester treated with 1500mm of polyurethane waterproofing. Note that these coleman sleeping bag tents are strictly meant for car camping; the Base Camp 4 and the Base Camp 6 weigh 16 and 21 pounds, respectively, so you won’t want to carry either one very far. Measuring 10 by 10 feet, the Sundome covers an area larger than that of our family-tent top pick though its lower roof leaves it with less headroom.
This design is a big plus for people who regularly camp in crowded campgrounds and don’t like to get naked in front of strangers. And you can unzip the front door, remove it, and neatly stash it into one of the tent’s internal pockets—a useful feature if you’re feeling sociable. Its walls are 75-denier polyester fabric (tougher than the Wireless 6’s 68-denier polyester and the same as the REI Co-op Base Camp’s) that extends about two-thirds up the tent’s sides, and then is topped with mesh. The partial fly does a great job of keeping rain out of the upper, mesh areas, and cleverly placed vents maintain airflow so it never feels too stuffy. Our second grading metric involves how fast and easy it is to set up and take down each shelter, but it also considers how simple and intuitive both processes are.
The price tag may also be too high for some shoppers, but we feel the quality increase is worth it if you can swing it. Add extra weather protection to your sun shelter with the Coleman Sunwall for a 10′ x 10′ Canopy Sun Shelter Tent. The Wawona 6’s side-walls are high and straight, but the structure stays very stable in wind thanks to a final pole that wraps around the front and sides—and thanks to the absence of any acute angles in the poles. We were skeptical about the vestibule’s ability to handle wind, since it’s big and supported by a single pole, but it stood fast in 30 mph oceanside gusts and 15 mph hilltop winds.
She covers outdoor gear for Wirecutter and worked on the most recent update of this guide, testing couples’ tents and family tents. The Eurmax was followed closely by the Quick-Set Escape and E-Z Up Pyramid. Every stress point on the Quick-Set Escape is reinforced, and all of its seams are double-stitched and taped. We feel the E-Z Up Pyramid is almost as well-made as the Eurmax; however, its frame and canopy materials are a little bit thinner. It offers impeccable craftsmanship and is even listed as “Entry Commercial” grade by the manufacturer.