Updated on: April 15, 2017
When you choose your backpacking tent, there are several things to consider: how big it is (how many sleepers need to fit), seasonality (for which weather conditions the tent is built), weight (the less weight, the more money you pay), the livability (how much comfort and convenience the tent brings, considering its features and design).
As it figures, these are the most important aspects, but you need to consider also how easy the setup of the tent is, and the materials used on the tent. The underfloor is also essential and sometimes it’s sold separately and goes under your tent floor for better protection.
A closer look
You can find backpacking tents from 1-to 4-person models and most tents tell you right away the number of their capacity.
In order to be low weighted, backpacking tents need to fit snugly and there aren’t industry standards for a 2-person tent, for instance. So, ultralight models are also extra snug.
As there are no standard sizes for a 4-person tent, you simply need to take a closer look at the persons the tent is intended for… Check the length and the width of your 4-person backpacking tent as it’s possible it won’t fit 4 large adults that will sleep inside.
Most popular backpacking tents are the 3-season ones as they are lightweight and keep you comfortable, dry and warm in the temperate conditions of spring, summer and fall. These tents feature a taut rainfly and can take downpours and even light snow. They fail though in a harsh stormy weather, violent winds or heavy snow.
If you want to go with a 3-season tent as your 4-person backpacking tent, it’s good to know that it features ample mesh panels for better ventilation and protection against insects, and gives more upright walls for more interior headroom. Additionally, there aren’t many poles and the fabric used is light in order to create a lighter tent.
The extended-season backpacking tent covers the summer, early spring and even late fall with some moderate snow. This type of tent comes with one or two more poles for strength, more upright walls for even more interior headroom, but it features fewer mesh panels to keep warmth inside.
When you go hiking in the winter, the four-season tents are a good choice as they feature a lightweight single-wall with waterproof/breathable walls and no rainfly. For dry, cold conditions, they are the best choice.
For the strong winds and heavy snows, the 4-season mountaineering tents are the best choice. They lack a good ventilation which makes them too hot for the mild weather. They feature more poles and are made of heavier fabrics. They have a rounded dome design for stability in the strong wind and fewer mesh panels also. Additionally, the rainflies extend close to the ground.
What counts the most
The weight of you 4-person backpacking tent is probably the most important factor to consider. Manufacturers today are always trying to create better models, newer models that are not only easy to setup, giving enough space for all 4 members of the group, but are also lighter.
Don’t be afraid that your tent might not be sturdy and strong. Technology today creates fabrics that are lightweight, but also very strong and able to take the heavy winds, without adding more weight.
There are plenty of tent models out there that are lightweight and easy to carry: minimalist shelters, bivouac sacks, tarp shelters, hammock tents, bug shelters.
A good 4-person backpacking tent doesn’t give just space for 4 sleepers, but is also provides efficient, comfortable space and uses every single point of design to obtain that. The goal is to gain the comfortable space without adding weight which is why number and location of doors, ventilation is very important.
Go for a freestanding tent that doesn’t need stakes to stand so the setup is very easy and…it weighs less also. this is not a rule though, as you can find 4-person backpacking tents that have pole structure that is robust, yet lightweight at the same time.
Which way to go?
You can also check the materials of your backpacking tent as their quality is directly related to the durability of the tent.
But, if there’s too much information for you already, stick to the poles. Strongest tents feature top-grade poles in a hubbed pole set. The seasonal rating is also a good one to watch, as the fabric and the quality of the poles influence it directly. The minimum weight for the overall tent is given by the weight of the poles and the fabrics together.
Top 5 best 4 person backpacking tent reviews
The Azurec 2-3-4 Person 3 Season Double Doors is lightweight, waterproof and has a double layer.
The tent has a great design and features two doors and it can be opened from inside and outside. It has a brace type window, two closing ventilation skylights. The tent is easy to use, and easy to setup/take down.
The tent is made of professional waterproof fabric with stub adhesive. The waterproofness of the fabric is rated at 4000mm. the structure is resistant to strong wind. The tent is also SPF proof thanks to its UV coating and breathable nylon. As for the ventilation, it’s also very efficient.
The high-strength aluminum poles are lightweight, yet can take the high pressure so the tent is resistant in the heavy windy weather.
The tent is very well made and has a compact design. There are lots of tie-out options and compression straps not only for the tent, but also for the backpack. The tent features heavy duty zippers and taped seams.
Here are the most important pros:
- The tent is easy to setup/take down
- The tent is made of strong fabric
- The aluminum poles are lightweight, yet give a strong structure to the tent
- The tent is very well made
As for the parts we like less, here they are:
- The tent is not very small which doesn’t make it a good option for the tall
- The tent comes with no repair-kit for the emergencies
- The tent could be bigger
As it comes with many useful accessories that need easy setup, the tent is a lightweight, 3-season tent for backpacking in a group of four.
A great 3-season backpacking tent for your family of four is the Winterial 4 Person Tent.
The tent has a compact design and a rain fly vented roof. There are two long lasting aluminum tipped tent poles and solid zippered doors.
The tent comes with 4 metals stakes that give good stability to the tent, along the aluminum poles.
The tent is lightweight and is very compact when folded.
It comes with a carrying bag which makes it easy to carry it around.
The tent is very to setup/take down and it’s sturdy enough for challenging weather conditions. The zippers are heavy duty ones and the bottom is waterproof.
Let’s pinpoint the most important pros:
- The tent is a great choice for a family with 2 children
- The tent is compact when folded and easy to carry around as it’s lightweight
- It comes with aluminum poles (2) and stakes (4) and a rain fly vented roof
- The tent comes with a carrying bag
As for the cons, here are ours:
- The tent is not large enough for 4 adult sleepers
- The stability in the strong winds is questionable
All in all, the 3-season tent is still a good choice for a family of 4, when backpacking.
The freestanding Slumberjack 4 Person Trail Tent features a full coverage rain fly and is a great choice when backpacking, fishing or hiking with your friends for several days.
The tent is easy to setup thanks to the color-coded clip construction and side-release buckle ten-fly connection. The poles give good stability to the tent as they are made of fiberglass. The tent is ready to take the bad weather as the polyester of the tent is 75D 1200 mm with taped seams.
You don’t have to worry on the hot summer either as the tent has a good ventilation and the mesh wall panels sure help on that. When it comes to comfort, let’s not forget the quiet zipper pulls either.
The tent has a well thought out design and the ridge pole geometry gives maximum interior space. The internal storage pockets organize better your items.
As a plus to all these great features, the tent is waterproof so it protects you in a heavy rain. The tent has a good built, reliable and sturdy.
Let’s sum it all up and outline the main pros:
- The tent is easy to setup as it comes with color coded poles
- The tent has good stability and it’s lightweight at the same time
- The tent is waterproof
- The ventilation is efficient
As for the parts we don’t really like, here are the cons:
- The bottom is a bit thin
- The vestibules are rather small
As you can see, there are minor issues and the tent is still a reliable, 4-person tent, sturdy, spacious and waterproof.
The more you are willing to pay for your backpacking tent, the more you need to expect from it when it comes to its performance and features. The same principle applies to the Kelty Trail Ridge 4 – 4 Person Tent that has a design that adds performance to your backpacking adventure.
The dual doors give easy access in and out of the tent and the 2 vestibules (one for each door) offer you more space to store your gear.
The tent has a freestanding design and it’s easy to move around for the best placement when camping. The tent combines various pole diameters in order to create a strong and spacious tent frame with an interior that gives the best comfortable space.
The full coverage fly surrounds and protects you and your family/friends. The fly has added Fly Vents to help control condensation. The frame of the tent is made of light, yet strong aluminum. There are lots of mesh that minimize the risk for condensation. The side release buckles attach fly to body for faster setup.
There are many subtle details in the tent that sustain its value. For instance, the quiet zipper pulls are a great detail and the color coding for the poles eases up the setup. The guy outs points on the fly keep the tent steady in the windy weather and the large mesh panels provide an efficient ventilation.
Additionally, the tent comes with many mesh pockets for a better organization of your items.
The backpacking tent comes with carry sacks and stakes, and a flashlight loop on the ceiling. Let’s not forget that the tent is also fire retardant.
These are the main pros:
- The tent comes with strong, yet lightweight aluminum poles
- The tent has two doors, two vestibules and plenty of mesh pockets for better organization
- The ventilation is good
- The tent is fire retardant and strong
As for the cons, there are only the following:
- When the rain fly is on, the visibility is lost
- The zippers need to be of better quality
As its spacious, sturdy, lightweight and with many accessories and useful features, the tent makes a great choice for a group of four, when backpacking.
There are many good things related to the MSR Papa Hubba NX 4-Person Tent, but its main asset might be its low weight and easy assemble.
The tent has two large Stay Dry doors with built-in rain gutters. The rainfly is adjustable and gives a good cross-ventilation to the tent. The tent also has two large side-entry vestibules that give you quite some space to store your gear.
The tent is very easy to assemble thanks to the unified hub-and-pole system with color-coded clips. You can easily pack the tent and carry it with you in its very compact compression stuff sack.
The tent comes with lightweight reflective guy-outs and is made of durable high-tenacity nylon fabric. The reinforced infinity bar tacks and lap-felled seams add up when it comes to the durability of the tent. The bathtub floor and the Durashield-coated rainfly protect you from the elements.
The tent is lightweight, made of good quality fasteners and zippers. The interior is not only roomy, but also nice looking with its white color. The tent is breathable and well thought-out.
Here are the most important pros:
- The tent is easy to setup
- The tent is easy to carry thanks to its compact sack
- The tent comes with two large doors and two large vestibules for storing your gear
- The tent gives good protection against the elements
As for the cons, apart from the price and the weak performance of the tent in high altitudes, there are no cons on our part.
As it’s easy to setup, to carry and gives great protection and nice features, the tent is a sure buy anytime.
Best Lightweight 4 Person Backpacking Tent
The Weanas® Waterproof Double Layer 2, 3, 4 Person 3 Season Aluminum Rod Double Skylight Outdoor Camping Tent is a lightweight tent, easy to setup and to put in your backpack when going camping.
The tent has a classic interior design and comes with two doors, which makes it perfect for a group of four. You can open it from outside and inside just as well and has a brace type window for more visibility. Outside the tent top there are two closeable ventilation skylight, so the ventilation is pretty good.
The tent offers you vestibules for your shoes and backpack, but also some storage compartments on the inside for a better organization of your items.
The door curtain can be rolled up and fixed with buckle for easier use.
You don’t have to worry when it rains as the tent is made of waterproof fabric, with stub adhesive. The waterproof index is 4000mm. The protection against the elements is efficient, as the tent has a good, strong windproof skeleton with tent nails. The tent is also SPF proof and features special UV coating and breathable nylon.
The tent is easy to install. The poles are made of high-strength aluminum, are lightweight and the whole structure can take high pressure.
The design of the tent is nice and the tent is easy to roll up. The two-way zipper door is efficient and the two sides of the ventilation windows can be opened/closed freely.
The tent has good seams and strong zippers. The self-snapping poles are a nice detail and the vent flaps do their job.
Here are the most important pros:
- The tent is easy to set up and is lightweight
- The tent has a compact size and may be easily carried in your backpack
- The tent is waterproof and stands out pretty good in the wind
- The tent has a good design and useful features
As for the cons, here they are:
- Some say the tent is too small for a group of 4
- The ventilation could use some improvement
- The vestibule could be bigger
But, for the money you pay, the Weana is a lightweight 4-person backpacking tent to get.
Best Value 4 Person Backpacking Tent
The Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Person Tent is not very easy to setup on your own, but it’s also very to take with on any hiking/camping family trip.
The tent has a three season flexibility and gives easy access in/out with its two doors. The tent is really free-standing and the two pole simply make it all easier.
The tent has a bathtub floor construction and a clip-pole attachment for lighter weight and better breathability. And now that we are at it, the ventilation is also ensured by the tent fly ventilation windows also. the tent has a good resistance for the strong wind thanks to the guy lines with tension lock cord adjustment also.
You get good protection against the elements in the tent thanks to the taped floor seams and the water resistance of the fabric. The no-see-um mesh wall panels are efficient and the detachable ceiling loft pocket gives you more options for storage. The interior mesh storage pockets offer more space for organizing your items.
The color coded poles make the setup very easy to do and the tent packs very compact.
Here are the most important pros:
- The tent is very easy to setup
- The tent has a strong structure
- There is good protection against the elements
- The tent packs compact and it’s easy to carry
As for the parts we like less, here are our cons:
- The vestibules are quite small
- The floor is a bit thin
- There are only two mesh pockets for storage, which is not enough for a group of 4
As it’s very easy to setup and compact, the tent is a great option for any group of four, for 3 season.