Great for backyard overnights, this simple dome-style tent is for anyone who doesn’t want to spend more than $150 on a tent but also doesn’t want to buy another one next year. With nearly 60 square feet of floor space plus two large vestibules, the Tungsten 4 is roomier than our top-pick tent for couples. It also costs more, though, and is less forgiving of a careless set-up.
Our only quibble with the Mineral King 3 is that it comes with only six stakes. (Our runner-up pick comes with eight.) Six is enough to secure the tent and fly but not to fully secure the tent’s extra lines in very windy conditions. This shouldn’t be an issue in most situations, but if you’re headed into a particularly windy place or simply want some backup, we suggest picking up four extra tent stakes at your local outdoor shop or online.
Our most portable models are the Sun Ninja, Neso 1, and Eureka Tagalong Shelter. All of these models are thinner, fold-down styles that weigh far less than the larger canopies on our list. Some, like the Tagalong, are lighter because of the high-end materials used in their construction. Others, like the Sun Ninja, are lighter because they employ less expensive materials. So it is important to distinguish that not all lightweight and portable products are also high quality.
The Pacific Breeze Easy Up didn’t score as highly here, but we were impressed with its ability to handle the wind. Its stiff frame doesn’t bend or sway during heavy breezes, and it stays put as long as it’s staked down or weighted by its five built-in sandbags. Benzene has been used in the manufacturing of this product to meet CPAI-84 fabric fire retardant standards for the tent and canopy industries. Whether you’re thinking of hitting the road or staying close to home for your next car-camping adventure, you and your loved ones will need a comfortable place to sleep. The North Face Wawona 4, which we used to list in our Other Good Tents section, has been redesigned; it’s now made of polyester, not nylon. Weighing just 7 pounds, the tent is light enough to double for backpacking trips, especially if you divide the pieces among hikers.
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.
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.
If you won’t be carrying your tent more than a couple hundred feet, more space means more comfort (as well as more room for your stuff). Great adventures are made in the shade—especially when there’s plenty of it. The OASIS 13 x 13 Canopy sets up easily using a one-push center hub with OnePeak technology. The robust steel frame withstands winds up to 35 mph coleman sleeping bag when the canopy is fully staked and the vented roof releases trapped heat so you stay cool even when it’s hot out. Its fully enclosed design protects users from sun, wind, rain, and bugs, making this a perfect shelter for camping. It was followed closely by the Eurmaxand E-Z UP Pyramid, though neither of these has sidewalls for complete bug protection.
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 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.
To mimic heavier rain and to test the tent’s ability to withstand soggy ground conditions, we also soaked our tents with a garden hose. A few weeks later, we brought the front-runners to a platform in an area that had higher elevation, near the Waianae Mountain Range, and camped out overnight in intermittent but consistent rainfall. Our experts teamed up to develop a rigorous test plan, which we applied to every canopy tent in this review. We learn a lot about each model by testing in varying environments, including mountains, forests, lakes, beaches, and dunes. Each canopy was set up and broken down repeatedly to assess its ease of use and craftsmanship, separating the well-designed from the failure-prone or confusing models. Methodically, we used each tent in its intended environment — plus some unintended ones — to see just how much use we could get out of them.