Do you like to go camping on the weekend? Are you a regular music festival fan? Choosing a cheap tent doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. We’ve considered all the crucial factors, such as weight, materials, space, size, waterproofing, and durability and narrowed the list down to our 11 best camping tents under $100.
There are hundreds of tents in this budget range to choose from, but if you just want to know what the best of the best is, it’s the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent.
In this article, we’re going to review the following camp tents under $100:
If you’re a solo camper, this ALPS tent has plenty of features to ensure maximum comfort. From the durable poly taffeta floor to the polyester fly, you’ll get protection in all weathers. The seams of the floor and fly are factory sealed, and the extra-large zippers ensure you stay snug and warm.
One of the outstanding features of this one-person tent is its ease of assembly. It’s lightweight and freestanding, which also means you’ll have no problems moving it around.
The walls are mostly mesh, making it cool in the summer, but the added fly provides extra protection should the heavens open or for those cool summer nights.
The tent is available in a combination of colors: blue/green, gray/navy or clay/rust. You won’t have to worry about standing out like a sore thumb and scaring all the wildlife away.
The only real downside of this cute little tent is that it only sleeps one person. If you like to camp with your partner, you’ll have to get real cozy or use separate tents.
The Coleman Sundome is a very basic budget tent, but it’s great for family outings. There’s a range of different models available, depending on the size of your camping party.
This is another fine example of a freestanding tent. It’s easy enough to put up and take down, but why bother when you can lift it and move it to a new location? The company has sewn the assembly instructions into the carry bag, which is a feature we’ve never seen before and is certainly a useful one.
For ease of entry, there’s a large ‘D’ style front door that leads into a space large enough for between two and six people.
A WeatherTec system uses welded corners, covered seams, and a bathtub-style polyethylene floor ensures the water stays out and your belongings stay dry. The coated polyester fabric for the walls and the fly add further protection against wind and wet weather.
Large window mesh vents on the roof provide ventilation, and a ground vent allows air to circulate further. You’re able to stay cool and comfortable all night because the air is pushed up and out of the tent.
One feature this model has, which is usually found on much larger tents, is the electrical access point to run AC power into the tent. Use it to charge up your gadgets stored in the interior storage pocket.
Who would’ve thought you could get a four-person tent for under $100? Coleman has come up trumps with its Cabin Tent. You have two options with this style of tent. One is the basic model, and the second includes a screen room, which adds a 9 x 4-foot space to the tent.
The big selling point for this style of tent is the instant setup system. It comes with pre-attached poles, which means you can be set up and ready to relax in less than 60 seconds. You get to enjoy every moment of your camping experience to the max, rather than wasting precious time getting the tent ready.
Another interesting feature is the darkroom technology that blocks out 90% of the sunlight — no more rising with the sun. Stay in bed and keep enjoying those z’s long after the sun has risen. It also reduces the internal temperature by up to 10%.
The second tent on our list from ALPS Mountaineering is the Meramac 2-Person Tent. It weighs in at just 7.5 pounds, making it easy to carry whatever the terrain. Yet again, this is a freestanding tent, so you can move it around to ensure you get the right positioning.
Assembly isn’t overly complicated, so even if you have to take it down and move location, it’ll be back up again in no time. This is thanks to the freestanding, fiberglass poles that also feature shock cords.
This might be considered a budget tent, but ALPS Mountaineering has’t skimped in the additional features. Included in the price are:
A polyester fly with a 1500mm coating provides an awning over each door, which resists water and UV damage. Also, the floor material is made using 75D poly taffeta, which should provide excellent protection from moisture. That being said, some customers have complained that the floor is not up to the job.
This tent has not one door but two — one to the rear and one at the front. This means you don’t have to crawl over your bedfellow to get in or out. You can also tie back the doors for blow-through ventilation.
This bivvy tent from Winterial is designed for those who prefer a spot of solo camping. If you relish this kind of adventure, you’ll be extremely impressed with this tent.
Weighing in at just under 3 pounds, you’ll have no problems carrying it over any terrain. The three rope bundles and 14 stakes also mean you can secure it almost anywhere.
As you’d expect, assembly is easy because of the two-hoop design — one person can have it put up in no time.
This Winterial Bivy Tent has been designed to be used for three seasons of the year — the rainfly provides full coverage, but it’s not enough to keep you warm in the winter. It does, however, have a ventilated roof mesh to help keep you cool in the summer. The large zippered door can also be tied back for added ventilation.
They might have called it the AmazonBasics, but this tent has a lot going for it. The space is very generous with a 4.9-inch head height and floorspace measuring 9 by 7 feet. It’s possible to squeeze four people into this area.
The ventilation is excellent, even when the fly is being used. It has a back window and cool-air port for optimum airflow. The sides of the tent also provide excellent privacy, at the same time as allowing for a view of the stars.
Assembling the tent doesn’t take very long. Simply put the shock-corded poles together, slide them through the pole sleeves and lift them to stand the tent up.
This tent is extremely waterproof with a 1000D polyethylene bathtub-style floor, rainfly and walls made using polyester fabric. The seams are also well-constructed and welded to reduce the chances of moisture finding its way in.
You get plenty of bang for your buck with the Wenzel Pine Ridge tent. The floor size is 10 x 8 feet, and it’s 4.8 feet at the center, so don’t expect to stand up straight. The downside for some may be the fact that it weighs 11 pounds, which doesn’t make it overly portable for any hiking trips.
That being said, there are plenty of other features, one of which is the integrated light-reflection system. You’ll have no problems trying to find things in the dark. Place a headlamp or flashlight into the gear loft and the tent magically fills with light.
Meshed windows and roof let in lots of fresh air and natural light, or you can lie back and gaze at the stars of an evening.
“D” doors are used to help keep out the elements. Two doors and the room divider also mean two groups can share one tent without encroaching on each other’s space.
Some customers have reported issues with the construction of the zipped windows and doors, but it doesn’t seem to be a common complaint.
This four-person tent from Mountain Trails weighs in at just 7 pounds. This makes it easily portable for those long group hiking adventures.
Setting up the tent can take just a few minutes, so you don’t waste all of your first camping day erecting the accommodation. All the pieces fit together nicely thanks to the shock-corded poles and pin and ring system.
The tent comes complete with an integrated carry bag that turns into a mud mat, which you can use at the tent entrance.
Exiting and entering the tent is easy because of the large D-style door. Extra features include a utility pocket and gear loft.
Such light construction does make it a little unstable in windy weather, but what this really means is that the tent can move slightly. It can also get cooler insider when the wind cuts through the light fabric.
This Toogh camping tent has a unique hexagonal design, which creates a spacious inside for four people, as long as the group comprises two adults and two children. If it’s just adults using the tent, there’s only enough room for three, and for some, this might still feel like a squeeze.
For a minute camper, the pop-up design will take less than a minute to erect. Less-experienced campers might take a little longer, but it shouldn’t take more than five minutes.
The ventilation in this tent is excellent. You can tie the doors back to allow optimal airflow. Additionally, there are mesh windows that allow a breeze to flow through.
The 210D Oxford fabric and silicone coating used in the construction ensure you stay warm and dry inside. There have been a few reports of problems with the waterproofing, but you can overcome these with extra proofing spray.
It weighs in at 8.5 pounds, which some might consider on the heavy side if you’re going hiking, but when compared with other tents of the same size, it’s very lightweight.
The most noteworthy feature of this four-person tent from Coleman is the WeatherTec system. This patented design includes welded floors and inverted seams. The polyethylene bathtub-style floor further improves its waterproofness.
It’s a tent that’s easy to put up and down because of the shock-corded fiberglass poles. It’s not, however, considered freestanding because it requires extra staking.
The shape that Coleman has chosen is very functional and works very well in windy weather. Another good feature of the design is the covered vestibule area — it works well as a dry spot for storing muddy boots or your hiking gear.
Something else unique to this Coleman tent is the pin-and-ring system, which helps to keep the corner poles secure. This makes it far more secure than other tents that promise to be freestanding.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive tent for two people, this tent from Wenzel is perfect. It’s marketed as a three-person tent, but what that really means is three children or one adult and two kids. This is all down to the pentagon shape — the quoted dimensions are from the longest points of the shape.
While this tent is basic, you can’t expect more from one at the lower end of the price range. Nevertheless, it has a large D-shaped entrance door, a small loft for your possessions, and good ventilation.
When it comes to waterproofness, you’ll stay dry inside, even in the harshest of rainstorms. No extra covering is necessary; the rainfly works adequately enough.
What to Consider When Buying a Tent for Less Than $100
If you have a limited budget and you’re limited to looking for camping tents under $100, there are compromises you must make. What features you’re prepared to compromise on is a personal thing. To help you decide, we’ve broken them down into six categories.
Compromises to Consider
A cheap tent shouldn’t mean you have to settle for a lemon. That being said, there are some areas in which you might have to settle for less.
The right weight for your tent depends on when you will use it. Do you plan to take long hikes and need somewhere warm and dry so you can get a good night’s sleep? If this is the case, the one-person tents from ALPS and Winterial will be perfect.
Our list also includes tents that are much heavier. They’re not suitable for carrying on your back, and so you need to be traveling in a car.
The weight of your tent can be a vital consideration when you’re considering all the other things you need to pack for your hiking trip.
The quality of materials is especially important if you want your tent to last the test of time. Most use polyester and polyethylene in the construction, both of which are fairly durable and able to withstand tough weather.
Cheap doesn’t have to mean poor quality. Your camping trip isn’t going to be much fun if your tent rips, the zippers keep getting stuck or the fiberglass poles break when you’re putting the tent up.
There are a few tents we’ve reviewed that have no reported issues in this area. They include the ALPS Mountaineering, Coleman Instant, Mountain Trails and the Toogh options.
What would be the point in a tent if it didn’t offer a certain amount of protection from the weather? The truth of the matter is a little different, and this is one area where you’ll have to compromise.
It’s possible to get around less than perfect waterproofing by using some kind of waterproofing spray. The ALPS Mountaineering Meramac is a fine example. Some extra covering on the floor might also be helpful.
Talk about the size of a tent and it’s almost the same as discussing the space. The right size for you is one that allows you to be comfortable. The level of required comfort differs, whether you’re hiking or going away for the weekend with a group of friends.
You also need to bear in mind that a four-person tent doesn’t necessarily mean four adults. It could mean two adults and two children or just four children. As well as sleeping space, you should also be looking for a tent with additional space for storing all your gear. This is especially important if you’re camping in a group.
In many of the tents that we’ve featured, there have been issues with the quality of the floor, such as with the ALPS Meramac.
A solution to get around this is to use a tarp or tent footprint under the tent. It will cost you extra, but is there a price you can put on keeping dry when camping?
One thing to remember is that if you want to stay within your budget, the larger your tent, the more compromises you must make. These will be in stability and durability.
Take into account that the classification of a tent doesn’t mean you can comfortably sleep that amount of people and store all your gear.
The best tent under $100 for budget camping has to be the one you’re comfortable in, especially if you’ve spent all day hiking. It also has to be waterproof, have adequate ventilation and be easy to put up.
The ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent ticks these boxes, which is why it’s at the number one spot. The only downside is that you’ll struggle to fit a family of six inside.
Coming in a close second is the Coleman Sundome Tent that can fit two, three, four, or six people inside. The reason we’ve relegated it to the number two spot is that there have been some reported problems with tearing seams. It’s also a little on the heavy side, especially if you choose the six-person option.