Whether you are trying to spread your passion for the outdoors to the whole family or planning a base-camp stop before conquering a peak with friends, a reliable and lightweight tent is essential. We know that choosing one of the best 4 person backpacking tents is no easy task. While basic gear may be sufficient for shorter hikes in good weather conditions, the success of an extended multi-day trek will depend largely on the quality of your equipment.
Tents come in all shapes and sizes, from simple shelters with a single door entry to more sophisticated architectures with integrated LED technology to light up the whole tent. To make your search easier, we narrowed down the selection to the five best 4-person backpacking tents on the market, taking into account weight, durability, and price, so you can focus on planning your next backcountry adventure.
For a complete analysis of all backpacking tents, check out the buyer’s guide Best Backpacking Tents.
Quick Answer –The Best 4-Person Backpacking Tents
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 4View at REIMarmot Tungsten 4PView at REIMSR Elixir 4PView at REIREI Co-op Trail Hut 4View at REIMountain Hardwear Trango 4View at REI
Comparison Table– Best 4-Person Backpacking Tents
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Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 4
5 lbs 03 oz
57.0 sq ft
Marmot Tungsten 4P
7 lbs 14 oz
53.0 sq ft
MSR Elixir 4P
7 lbs 14 oz
54.0 sq ft
REI Co-op Trail Hut 4
8 lbs 02 oz
55.0 sq ft
Mountain Hardwear Trango 4
9 lbs 60 oz
57.0 sq ft
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.
Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.
Season Rating: 3Number Of Doors / Vestibules: 2Ultra-lightweight Large Ceiling Pocket and Multiple Media PocketsIncreased Strength
When it comes to 4-person backpacking tents, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 is a safe bet. Designed with a reinforced rip-stop nylon fabric, this piece of equipment will support you in almost any climate, making any backcountry expedition a stress-free experience.
With double doors, sturdy zippers, and storm flaps, harsh weather conditions will no longer be an obstacle. And the large ceiling pocket and easy grip zipper pulls will make getting out of your comfort zone… well, a little more comfortable.
The Copper Spur is a high-end backpacking tent, ideal for longer journeys into the wilderness because of its minimal weight. If you are seeking an ultralight, reliable shelter to bring on your next multi-day trekking adventure in the mountains, this is an investment worth considering. Keep in mind that the footprint is sold separately and will add a bit of weight.
Season Rating: 3Number Of Doors / Vestibules: 2Vertical WallsColor-coded “Easy Pitch” PolesWeather SealedAbundant Storage Space
With a great set of additional features, the Marmot Tungsten 4P tent does much more than keeping you dry at night. It offers ample moving space thanks to the pre-bent angular poles that create vertical walls.
The tent is also extremely straightforward to mount with the color-coded aluminum poles guiding you in the process. Built with the backpacker in mind, the Tungsten 4P remains budget-friendly while not sacrificing quality.
The Tungsten 4P is equipped with two large vestibules, useful to store boots, backpacks and wet clothes, plus a number of easily accessible pockets inside to keep maps, valuables, and torch-lights from getting lost when the sun goes down. This tent is as easy to dismantle as it is to set up.
Although the Marmot Tungsten is not the lightest 4-person backpacking tent on the market, the weight is still manageable. The solid fabric side allows for extra privacy on shared campgrounds, making this tent ideal for the adventurous family.
Season Rating: 3Number Of Doors / Vestibules: 2Footprint Included Solid Canopy Fabric for Maximum PrivacyAmple Vestibule Space
The MSR Elixir 4 is a tent optimized to give maximum head room to all the people sharing the space, yet adds minimum weight to your back once packed. Featuring two large StayDry doors that provide easy access and large vestibules to store your gear, this tent makes for a cozy movable home, perfect for backcountry explorations under any weather condition.
The breathable mesh fabric combined with the solid nylon panels of the canopy allow for maximum privacy while keeping the space ventilated. A removable nylon rainfly adds an extra layer of warmth and offers protection from rain and heavy winds. This tent may be great for a family of four with children, but four adults may feel a bit tight sleeping in it.
Freestanding2 large vestibulesIntegrated door venting
The REI Co-op Trail 4 is a great backpacking tent for families who are looking to upgrade from the barebones budget category but don’t want to splurge on a top of the line tent.
What we love the most about the Trail Hut 4 is its outstanding value. There are lighter, more compact 4 person tents out there, but for the price tag and overall quality, it’s hard to beat. It’s easy enough to set up and take down on your own incase your kids or partner aren’t around to help. Another cool feature is the footprint stays attached to the tent body, which saves time when setting it up and packing it down. The Trail Hut 4 held up well in heavy rain and gusty winds. It has four top vents that gives it great airflow and prevents condensation from building up over night.
It would be a tight squeeze for four grown adults. We’d recommend it for families with small kids or a couple with dogs. A little complaint we have is we wish there would be more pockets inside. It can be tricky to stay organized when four people share a small space. If you want to stake it out fully, you’ll need to buy some extra stakes.
The REI Co-op Trail Hut also comes in a two person version
Lots of roomEasy to set upTwo large dry-entry vestibules
The Mountain Hardwear Trango 4 is a four season backpacking tent that was designed to handle tough alpine weather conditions.
What we love the most about the Trango 4 is its liveability for four fully grown adults. Everyone could comfortably sit up at the same time and there is plenty of headroom. The length is good, even for taller people. There’s lots of internal storage, four really big pockets, two smaller pockets and plenty of gear hanging loops. We liked the snow flaps on the vestibules that you put rocks on incase it’s tough to get the pegs in. Internal tension of the inner tent is good, which prevents it from flapping around in high winds. The walls of the Trango 4 are quite vertical so there shouldn’t be any issues with snow loading, however it could affect performance in high winds.
One of the upgrades from previous models of this tent is the color coded poles. This makes setup much easier, especially when pitching it at night or in bad weather. The Trango 4 is on the heavier side, but that should be expected with a 4 season tent. Width might be an issue if all four people have wide sleeping pads. If this is an issue, you can turn the pads so that everyone is lying across the tent, it just makes getting in and out a bit tricker for the two people in the middle.
The Mountain Hardwear Trango also comes in a 2-person and 3-person version.
View at REI
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING THE BEST 4-PERSON BACKPACKING TENTS
LENGTH AND DESTINATION OF THE HIKE
The first thing to keep in mind when selecting a 4-person backpacking tent is the type of hike you intend to use it on.
7 lbs may not seem like much additional weight in your backpack. But when you combine that weight with heavy clothing or the supplies necessary for an extended backpacking trip, things change. Those extra 7 pounds will have a substantial impact on your shoulders.
If you are planning to set out for multi-day treks and you don’t want to carry a huge amount of weight, you might want to consider investing in an ultra-lightweight tent.
Most tents follow a scoring system that determines what seasons they are most suitable for. Tents meant to withstand harsher weather conditions are usually equipped with sturdier poles and thicker fabric that will keep you warm during winter months.
Light backpacking tents tend to have a score of 3, meaning that they are built to be used in 3 seasons (spring, summer and fall). These types of tents are weather sealed and strong enough to protect you during the occasional storm, but if you are looking for a shelter that will last and keep you dry under heavy snowfall or rough winds you should opt for a 4-season, heavy-duty tent.
When buying a tent, make sure to check whether the footprint is included or if it is sold separately. This might impact your budget big time. A footprint is a sheet of fabric that is used under the floor of the mounted tent to avoid wear over time.
While you can camp without a footprint, it is a good idea to use one if you often place your tent on rough surfaces such as sand or rocks. This will prevent damage to the floor of your tent.
VESTIBULES AND STORAGE
If you are looking for one of the best 4 person backpacking tents, it is likely that you will need a place to store four backpacks, four pairs of boots, and any additional gear your friends or family decide to bring along. The vestibules are the layers of fabric that extend outside the doors, creating a separate space useful for storage.
While many tents feature easily accessible wall or ceiling pockets that are handy to keep maps, books, electronics or headlamps, you may not be able to fit everything inside. Although the vestibules add extra space, they can also add extra weight when they are quite large. So make sure to find the right compromise of weight vs. space for you.
NUMBER OF DOORS
All tents present in this list have two doors, but you may find tents that only open on one side. Single-door tents are usually lighter in weight. However, they may not be the ideal solution when there are four people sleeping on the floor and one needs to exit for a bathroom break. If you are not camping alone, choose a two-door tent to avoid having to climb over someone every time you need to go outside.
EASE OF SETUP
The speed of setting up and dismantling a tent will largely depend on experience. However, there are models built to make the process smoother, allowing you to start cooking earlier in the evening or begin hiking shortly after you wake up in the morning.
Color-coded and pre-bent poles will help you erect your tent faster, while compact folding poles make the packing a no-brainer. Many backpacking tents are “freestanding,” meaning that after you mount the poles the tent will stand on its own. Keep in mind that the term “freestanding” is a bit misleading, as in most cases you will still need stakes to secure it to the ground. Freestanding tents are faster to set up than traditional tents that rely on guy lines. So, if you’re looking for quick and easy assembly, go with a freestanding tent.
The price of tents can vary widely. From festival tents costing under $100 to technical tents nearing $1,000. As for most sports gear, you get what you pay for. However, what you pay for might not be what you need. The occasional camper will be perfectly fine with a lower-end tent, while the adrenaline-fueled adventurer will look for the best of the best.
When it comes to tents, a big jump in terms of cost is usually due to the weight. Ultra-lightweight tents are always much pricier than those using standard heavier materials, but if you plan to hike for long distances, then an ultra-lightweight tent could be worth the investment.
FEATURES EXPLAINED – BEST 4 PERSON BACKPACKING TENTS
The weight of the tent at the moment of purchase, including packaging, replacement items and repair kits.
Trail /minimum weight
The weight of the tent itself, including poles and rainfly.
The outer layer of the tent covering the mesh and protecting the tent and its occupants from the rain.
Mesh / canopy
The breathable fabric of the inner layer of the tent, protecting it from insects and dust.
A tent that is supported only by its poles and does not rely on guylines to stand.
The ropes affixed to the ground through stakes that help stabilize the tent.
The area outside the tent door covered by the rainfly, usually used to store gear.
The separate layer of fabric usually placed under the tent to avoid wear.
Metal or plastic hooks that you drive into the ground to hold guylines or tent material in place.
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