In the busy, stress-filled environment of 21st century life, remembering to get back to nature and unplug from our devices is an important thing to do.
There’s nothing better than getting out in the open, enjoying a night under the stars and sitting around a crackling log fire. Camping is not only good for the soul, but is also an economical way to enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, especially with the price of hotels and package holidays on the rise.
With the levels of carbon dioxide that comes from flying long distances, it’s also a more ecological way to travel, and will certainly help you to reduce your carbon footprint.
But why spend a load of money on a tent when there are some fantastic cheaper options available out there? Join us as we take a look at some of our favorite tents that come in under $100, but lack nothing in the quality department.
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Best Tents for Under $100 - Reviews
This 4 person camping tent measures 8ft x 8ft, which allows for spacious sleeping quarters that are large enough to house a queen size airbed, as well as leaving plenty of room to safely store away your hiking gear and other camping essentials.
The inner layer is attached to telescopic poles, so the whole tent pops up for easy assembly within 60 seconds, and it is also cleverly color coded to help you correctly position the fly cover. Built in internal storage bags offer you somewhere to safely store and keep your belongings close to hand overnight, or to place a phone or tablet and enjoy watching a movie whilst you unwind.
Windows on all sides of the tent give great ventilation, and this tent also has a ground ventilation system which allows you to adjust the inside temperature. The rain roof is also fully detachable, so you can lay down and gaze out into the starry night sky.
Totally waterproof, the tent is constructed using PU taping for both the rain fly seam and the inner tent seam, and the floor has welded corners that prevent any water from entering even in the heaviest rainfall.
The all-weather resistant design of this camping tent from Bessport means that, should you suddenly find yourself in a surprise downpour of rain, you’ll have somewhere to take cover. Quick and easy to set up, this tent can be erected in less than two minutes, and it’s freestanding structure makes it a spacious haven for 1 or 2 people.
The weather resistant properties of this tent include water resistant fabric and seams, which are thermally heat sealed to help keep rain completely outside of the tent. It also has a wind-responsive frame that makes it more stable in windy, rainy and even snowy conditions.
This tent comes complete with an incorporated ventilation system that doesn’t only improve airflow, but also allows you to enjoy the view from your chosen spot. The built in rip-stop panels also offer privacy and wind reduction without sacrificing breathability.
As well as all of these fantastic features, this tent uses an extra large zipper on its entrance flaps and vestibules to not only make access more convenient, but to also ensure the zipper never gets stuck.
Spacious and waterproof, the ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 3-Person Tent is the third product on our list. This was because of its pricing, being slightly expensive for a three-person tent when similar products exist out there with more capacity and humbler asking prices. Nevertheless, we think the price paid is worth it due to the Hydrostatic Head ratings of 1500mm for the polyester fly and a shocking 3000mm for the polyester taffeta flooring.
Its breathable, UV-resistant polyester rainfly is rated 1500mm on the Hydrostatic Head ratings, and the floor is even better with a massive 3000mm resistance which means that nothing is getting into this tent that you don’t want to. Nothing weather-based, that is, you’ll have to find other things to ward off snakes and bears. The Zephyr is also very easy to set up thanks to two aluminum pole frames which reduce setup time to mere minutes.
If considering this option, you may also want to consider getting any heavy-duty stakes you may have lying around to replace the flimsy ones that retail with this product.
The hexagonal design of this tent from Hewolf provides a spacious sleeping area with enough room for 2 adults and one child - perfect if you’re a small family going on a camping trip. There is also enough room to set up an overhead hanging light so you can find your way in the dark.
Designed with quick and easy set up in mind, the fly sheet and inner mesh layer are partially connected, which also saves you time and effort when it comes to folding it up for storage.
An entrance on either side of the tent allows for a cross breeze to pass through, which is great if you’re setting it up to take some shade on a particularly hot day, and gives you an all-round view of your chosen camping area. The outer layer is constructed from a breathable polyester, and the inner layer from a mesh material, ensuring excellent ventilation.
With a lifetime guarantee and a pole replacement service, this tent isn’t only a budget friendly choice, but will provide you with a safe, cozy place to sleep when camping out for years to come.
Another fantastic choice for a quick and easy set up, this 4 person tent from Coleman has pre-attached poles so you can simply pop it out of the included storage bag, extend the poles and secure the tent in place. It really is that straight forward.
Using a patented WeatherTec system consisting of tub-like floors with welded corners and covered seams, you’re guaranteed to stay warm and dry in any deluge.
This tent also features ‘Dark Room Technology’, which helps to block out 90% of sunlight entering the tent so you can not only get some more sleep without being woken by sunshine, but also helps to keep you cooler by reducing the internal temperature of the tent by up to 10%.
Best Tents for Under $100 - Buyers Guide
When you’re on a camping vacation, there are a few things to bear in mind. You’re essentially placing nothing but a piece of fabric between yourself and the outside world, so keeping the elements out of your tent is an absolute must!
Weather resistant fabrics will help to keep the inside of your tent and your belongings dry, so look for a material that is guaranteed to keep water out. Some tent brands have patented their own weatherproof technology with features such as welded floor corners and PU covered seams to ensure no leaks.
Depending on the type of camping your trip you’re taking, you’ll need to consider the weight and portability of your tent. Lightweight fabrics are going to weigh you down less if you’re hiking from spot to spot, and an included carry case is going to help transporting it around with you a lot easier. If you’re planning on setting up camp in one spot for the duration of your trip, you could consider a tent that is a little bit sturdier and includes all the accessories you need to pin it down for a while.
One of the most rewarding things about any camping vacation is getting to gaze out into the night sky and see all of the amazing star constellations. If you’re looking to do this, it might be worth getting a tent that allows you to remove a part of the roof and look out at the stars whilst still being under cover.
Likewise, if you’d like to make the most of the view you have in the daytime or sit in your tent, reading a good book and feeling a breeze, a tent with removable doors and windows will not only give you a full view of your chosen spot, but will also create a cross breeze to help provide ventilation.
When considering your ventilation options, don’t only think about airflow but also give some thought to temperature. Especially in summer, the warm weather can cause the inside temperature of a tent to get to a surprisingly high level, so ventilation is key. Look for a tent with a good ventilation system to keep you from overheating - some now even come with ventilation ports which allow you to adjust the internal temperature.
Camping shouldn’t be an activity that is confined to the warmer months though. In fact, there is a growing trend of winter camping on the rise. If you’re curious about camping out in the winter, you’re going to need a tent that isn’t only going to be able to withstand the rain, but can also bear the weight of snow and stay put during high winds. Look for something a strong, wind-responsive frame that won’t bend or tear during more extreme weather conditions.
If the weather is pretty bad, or you’ve been trekking all day and tiredness has kicked in, you’re likely going to want to set up tent up pretty quickly too. The last thing you need to be doing is battling against the elements to stop yourself getting wet, whilst simultaneously struggling to get your safe place set up. A tent that simply pops out of the bag and is ready to go in less than two minutes is ideal in this situation, however you also need to give some thought to how many people there are to help set it up, as some will require more than one person to get it secured in place.
Solo camping won’t require a very large tent, however if you’re going with a friend or partner, something a bit larger will not only give you more of a spacious sleeping area but will also provide you with a space to adequately store your belongings.
If you’re planning on setting your tent up in one place and leaving it there as well, think about what sort of storage space you might need. It may be worth going ‘one person’ bigger than you need, that way you’ll have some extra room to keep your luggage without feeling like everything is on top of you. Some tents also offer built in storage pockets so you can keep your items close to hand should you need to reach for them in the night.
All of these options are available to you when searching for a budget friendly tent, so it’s worth doing the research and finding the best one to suit your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should my tent be made of?
First and foremost your tent needs to be made of a waterproof material. Some tents have their own special, weatherproof technology to help minimize rain entering, so if you’re planning a trip outside of the summer months this is definitely something worth looking for. A strong, wind resistant frame will also help your tent stay secured and in place.
How big should my tent be?
The size of a tent is given in ‘person’, with the allocation being given to how many people can comfortably sleep inside. This sizing system works well if you’re planning on using the tent for a minimal amount of time or solely for sleeping in. However, if you’re looking to use your tent during the day, you should research the height as well, so you can also stand and move around comfortably.
What weight should my tent be?
If you’re going on a hiking trip and buying a tent that you’ll be taking down and packing away every day, then a lightweight tent would be best as you’ll be able to carry it with you without it weighing you down. Some tents also come with a carry case so you can easily store it away. If your tent is going to remain stationary for the duration of your trip, a lighter weight option isn’t really necessary, however you should give some thought to how you’re travelling to your campsite as heavier or more cumbersome tents can be tricky to deal with on public transport.
Why is ventilation so important?
A well ventilated tent is important on many levels. Firstly, improving the airflow through your tent will keep fresh air flowing in and old air moving out, so the air quality inside your tent will be much less stuffy. Proper ventilation will also help to control the temperature inside your tent making it cooler to sleep and relax in during the warmer months. Ventilating your tent properly will also help to dry out any patches where rain has gotten in, and dry out the tent fabric leaving it ready to protect you from the elements next time the rain comes.
What is a rainfly?
A rainfly is the outer piece of material that is waterproof and protects the inner tent from any leakages. Most tents now have either a rainfly or an alternative as part of their structure, however they can also be purchased for extra protection if desired.