The amount of equipment that camping often requires can be fairly daunting to a newbie or someone camping on a budget, but most items that are necessary can be bought cheap – if you know where to look. This is also the same for tents, as some quality tents can be bought for much more affordable prices.
What to Look for When Buying a Tent
When buying a tent, you need to consider what its main purpose will be. Whilst all tents are used for sleeping and shelter whilst out on trips, they each have different features which you may or may not want to do without. When looking to cut down on cost when camping, it’s especially important to only consider the essentials when tent camping.
When looking for a budget tent for your adventure, try to consider how many people will be using it. The size of a tent can drastically increase or decrease the price, which depends on how many people will be sleeping inside of it. One thing to remember when it comes to tent sizing is that they often run small, so a tent built for three people will barely comfortably accommodate three people, and is better for two, especially if there is baggage being stored inside the tent as well.
The performance of your tent depends largely on the material which it is made up of. Discussed in Best Waterproof Tent Materials, it’s evident that certain materials are best suited for various weather conditions. When camping, it’s advised to prepare for the rain, as it can ruin an entire trip if you are unprepared. One way to be prepared for the rain is by taking a tent which will withstand (there are, of course, other ways to prepare for the rain and make the most out of camping during the rain, which are discussed in Camping in the Rain).
Cheaper tent material will, undoubtedly, be less effective against weather conditions and may be flimsy, but most tents are made using one of several standard materials. Currently, most tents are created from a polyester compound, but some cheaper tents opt for nylon. Nylon was one of the first choices for tents before certain polyesters became available, so it is still a reliable option.
Some tents require additional waterproofing before they can be safely used in wet weather, so make sure to check reviews of products before purchasing to ensure your tent doesn’t need any additional work done to seal it before using it. Tent waterproof sprays can be inexpensive, and are certainly useful to have for future use.
The weight of a tent can make a big difference when it comes to hiking or walking with it. Whilst the weight of a tent when car camping may not matter as there is little walking and carrying involved, it can definitely affect a hiking trip. Most cheaper tents are often on the smaller side, meaning they will be lighter and easier to carry for extended distances. Nothing is worse than having to carry weighty items for a long distance during the height of summer.
Each tent has different features that are useful for different camping experiences. For instance, some people will be looking for a 4 season tent, whilst others will be more content with a 3 season tent for their travels. Ventilation is also a key feature of a tent which some people may be particularly interested in, along with whether or not the tent has darkroom technology. Additionally, windows, vestibules and other addons serve some purpose to certain tents. These features aren’t essential in a tent, but they can increase comfort and make the camping holiday run a lot smoother. Certain features will increase the price of a tent, whilst others can be found included with some cheaper models. Knowing what features are essential for you is important when hunting for a new tent.
The Best tents for Under $100
There are plenty of quality tents under $100 which are ideal for a variety of different camping trips in different circumstances and environments. Most of these tents can fit anywhere between 1-4 people as larger tents typically cost more- especially ones of respectable quality.
#1 Coleman Sundown Tent
- The three-person dome design is quick and easy to set up
- Spacious interior, room to move
- Dome design for quick setup, 10 minutes
- Snag-free, continuous pole sleeves for easy setup
- Rainfly awning for shade and rain protection
Coleman tents often appear on our lists due to their prominence in the world of tents. They create quality, long-lasting tents that are perfect for general use throughout the year. The Coleman Sundown tent is renowned for being waterproof, and having a tub-shaped flooring which increases its durability and resistance.
This tent will comfortably house two people but can fit three. With it’s fast, easy setup, the Coleman Sundown tent is ideal for new campers who are looking for a budget-friendly practice tent. With its durability, however, the Coleman Sundown tent will see many camping trips.
#2 Coleman Hooligan Backpacking Tent
- Lightweight, one-pole design tent for two campers
- Features a full-length rain fly with a large vestibule
- Coleman's Weather Tec System will keep you dry in wet conditions
- A mesh inner tent offers maximum ventilation
- Easy to set up
The Coleman Hooligan Backpacking tent is ideal for those looking for a reliable but cheap tent. Despite being referred to as a backpacking tent, this particular model is heavier than the average backpacking tent, but not unmanageable. Like most tents, the Coleman Hooligan’s sizes run small, but can fit up to four people, but at a tight squeeze. This tent is waterproof, fares well in different weather conditions, and offers unique ventilation solutions. This tent is ideal for warm weather camping as a result, but isn’t particularly suitable for any cold weather camping.
#3 Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent
- MULTIPLE CHOICE - Spacious Interior: 86 x 51 inch floor; the Waterproof & Lightweight backpacking tent fits for 1-2 people in sleeping bag or 1 people with lots of camping gears; Center Height: 41.2 inches. Using 7.9mm 7001 aluminum pole, tent total weight only 5.2lbs, super lightweight, easy to carry.
- SNUGLY PERFECT FOR TALL PEOPLE OVER 6ft - Upgraded floor dimensions is 85x51 in, which ensures tall people will fit comfortably in it, without heels and head pushing both sides when laying down.
- TWO DOOR DESIGN & BIG FRONT VESTIBULE - This tent has two doors so that occupants aren't crawling over each other to enter or exit. The front door of the fly is double zippered on the sides, can extends to make a porch with the help of your walking sticks. Perfect for your backpacks, hiking boots, and other camping gear.
- EASY TO INSTALL - One person can easily and quickly install the tent, easily and quickly. With high-strength automatic setup aluminum poles, lightweight, and can withstand high pressure. Freestanding allows the tent to be moved and relocated without having to disassemble, easy to use.
- MULTIFUNCTION USAGE: Inner and out layer superpose together as a weatherproof backpacking camping tent for windy or rainy days. The inner layer also can be used alone as a ventilated tent. The outer layer also can be used alone as a sunshade. It is available for multi-occasion such as backpacking, hiking, expeditions, fishing, kayaking, camping, motorcycle, or backpacking, etc.
The Weanas Professional Backpacking tent is a great budget option for those looking for a more spacious tent. It also provides a decent amount of outside storage solutions in the form of a vestibule. The Weanas Professional Backpacking tent is noted as running small, meaning that a two person tent may be more suitable for just a single individual. If camping with someone else, be sure to order the larger Weanas Professional Backpacking tent,
In addition to this, the Weanas Professional Backpacking tent is also incredibly light and easy to carry. It may look bulky once assembled, but the tent can be collapsed into a manageable package, ideal for transport.
#4 Bessport Backpacking Tent
The Bessport Backpacking tent is ideal for casual and sporadic camping trips. It’s a cheap and cheerful option, but isn’t suitable for frequent camping trips. It can tolerate rain and wind fairly competently, but may struggle against even harsher weather conditions. The Bessport Backpacking tent is ideal as a first tent due to its quick assembly and lightweight material. It is also useful for backpacking, as the name suggests, due to how easy it is to pack and carry.
#5 NTK Cherokee Gt
The NTK Cherokee Gt is a suitable tent for camping and offers substantial waterproofing and shelter. It is fairly spacious and contains a decent sized built-in storage bag. The NTK Cherokee Gt is great for two people, and offers enough room for storage if there isn’t a third person. The tub floor assists in its durability, and also prevents the floor from being damaged too much. It does not, however, come with a footprint.
Camping on a budget is certainly doable and can garner the same results as a camping trip that doesn’t have a budget. There are very few necessities to take when camping, and luckily those necessities are available at low prices. A tent for less than $100 can and will provide a similar amount of protection and comfort that a tent that sells for more will provide, as long as you check reviews and the manufacturer.