Best Six-Person Tents

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

49 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
670 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best six-person tents

Last Updated July 2020

We’re all drawn to the outdoors for different reasons. Some people hike, some hunt, some study, and some simply go outside for a much-needed reset. No matter your reason, if you aim to be outside for long periods of time, you’re going to need a tent. If you’re going with a group, you might need a six-person tent.

Tents are the cornerstones of camping, and they come in all shapes and sizes. We’re focusing on six-person tents here, which are the perfect size for family outings or group getaways. These portable shelters are significantly larger than your standard two-person tents, but they offer several of the same features as the smaller versions. They come in nylon, polyester, and canvas, with sturdy waterproofing and windows for ventilation. Unlike smaller tents, however, six-person tents often feature awnings, porches, storage areas, and separate sleeping sections for privacy. A six-person tent can look like a dome, a small house, and everything in between, offering a reliable home away from home.

If you’re in the market for a six-person tent, we’ve got you covered. Check out our recommended models and read our buying guide for more information.

Some tents can be divided into multiple “rooms” with interior dividers. Some dividers are mesh, but others provide a surprising amount of privacy. If your camping plans include siblings, couples, or other groups, consider a partitioned tent.

Key considerations

Capacity

You might think all six-person tents are the same size, but there’s a fair amount of difference between various models. Floor space and headroom can vary dramatically based on the tent’s design. And while all six-person tents can technically fit six people, manufacturer ratings are sometimes inflated. Many experienced campers recommend using a six-person tent for a group of four.

Just how much space do you need? A sleeping bag plus pad requires approximately 12 square feet of space, and you need space to accommodate all your gear as well. Keep these figures in mind while also considering the tent’s maximum height if you want to be able to stand inside it.

Weight

Ideally, you want your tent to weigh as little as possible, because this makes packing and carrying your gear significantly less taxing. Modern tents are made of fiberglass, carbon fiber, and nylon to reduce weight, but you should still pay close attention to the total weight if you aim to backpack with your tent.

The materials mentioned above are quite strong and made to stand up to the elements, but if you seek an even more durable tent, consider a polyester or canvas six-person tent. Just remember that these weigh more.

Durability

You may have the largest, comfiest, and most ergonomic tent in the world, but if it falls apart after a few uses, it’s not worth your money. Always consider durability when shopping for a six-person tent, particularly because there will be more traffic going in and out of the tent than with a smaller model. These materials come in single- and double-walled tents, with double walls offering the best protection from the elements.

Cotton canvas is extremely durable but heavy.

Polyester falls somewhere in the middle.

Nylon is light, with the best strength-to-weight ratio.

In addition, pay attention to the quality of the poles and frame. Fiberglass, carbon fiber, and alloy frames will last you for years, especially if they have noncorrosive coatings. Tents with cheap plastic poles and frames should be disregarded because they’re almost never worth it over the long term.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation prevents condensation from building up inside your tent. Some tents have windows, screens, and vents to improve ventilation, and these features are even more necessary when you have a large group in one tent. Double-walled tents prevent condensation more efficiently than single-walled versions. All that said, if you plan to camp in cold weather or snow, a tent with lots of screens and vents might not be your best option.

Pitching the tent

There’s no better way to suck the enjoyment out of a camping trip than wasting precious time  pitching the tent, particularly after a long drive or hike. Fortunately, many modern tents can be set up in less than a minute. The time varies depending on the model and the camper’s experience level, but most manufacturers list approximate setup times in the product descriptions.

EXPERT TIP

Need more room inside your tent? Consider a model with vertical walls. They drastically improve headroom, so you can stand up inside, but the taller profile makes it less stable in the wind.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Porches and storage

You may not be interested in sleeping right next to your muddy boots or bulky backpack, so some six-person tents include a porch, awning, and/or vestibule where you can store your gear away from the sleeping area. Some tents also have additional pockets, flaps, and organizers for smaller personal items as well.

Blackout technology

Thick canvas six-person tents are exceptional at blocking out light, but thinner nylon models aren’t so great. To help with this, some tents have Dark Rest or other blackout technology, which integrates dark panels onto the tent’s exterior. These are great for reducing light bleed inside your tent and regulating the inside temperature as well.

EXPERT TIP

If you plan to camp with young children, a tent with blackout technology can improve the quality of everyone’s sleep, as well as make daytime naps a whole lot easier.


Staff  | BestReviews

Six-person tent prices

Inexpensive: You can buy a quality six-person tent for $50 to $100, but keep in mind it will be a thin nylon model with fairly basic features.

Mid-range: Spend $150 to $250 and you can find higher-quality nylon tents with more space, more ventilation, and stronger materials. You can also find polyester tents in this price range.

Expensive: Canvas tents are significantly more expensive than nylon or polyester tents, so you can expect to pay $500 or more for one that fits six. These tents are very heavy, but they’re also very durable and will last you a lifetime if properly cared for.

EXPERT TIP

Noiseless zipper pulls may seem unnecessary, but they’re perfect for group outings where campers awake at different times. The quiet zippers allow people to enter and exit the tent without disturbing others.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Mark the poles. With a large tent, it can be hard to remember which poles go where if you don’t have the instructions handy. We recommend using colored duct tape, paint, or another type of marker to differentiate the poles and mark where they go for stress-free setup.
  • Pitch your tent on level ground. Setting up your tent on a slope can cause it to move and be unstable.
  • Never use a fuel-burning lantern inside a tent. Doing so can cause an unsafe buildup of toxic vapors, particularly if the tent is not well ventilated. We recommend using LED lanterns, glow sticks, or flashlights instead.
  • Use a ground cloth under your tent. Putting a tarp under your tent can help prevent rocks and sticks from tearing the material. We recommend using a tarp that’s a few inches smaller than the tent’s footprint. That way, water won’t pool around the edges and potentially leak in. If you expect heavy rain, consider digging a small trench to drain water away from the tent.
Tents are available in every color imaginable, with your choice largely coming down to preference. If you camp in the wilderness, however, consider a brightly colored tent so you can locate it in dense brush.

FAQ

Q. How do I clean my six-person tent?
A.
Camping is an inherently dirty activity, and that’s half the fun! Messes can be exponentially larger with a big group, though, particularly if you’re camping in the mud. The good news is that cleaning a tent mostly involves removing loose dirt, which can be done with a quick spray with a hose. The only important thing to remember is to air-dry the tent completely before storing it to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

If your tent is very dirty, sponging it with a mild solution of soap and water should be enough to solve most issues. Avoid using dish soap or harsh chemicals because they can damage the material. Mineral oil or even creamy peanut butter may also be used to help loosen sap, pitch, or other sticky messes.

Q. How can I improve my tent’s waterproofing?
A.
Every outdoor tent has some degree of water resistance, but there’s more of a range than you might think. Some are waterproof right out of the box, while others are less effective even with a rain fly attached. If you’re unhappy with your tent’s waterproofing or simply looking to improve it, follow these two steps:

  • Seal the seams. Tent seams, particularly those that aren’t well made or have been damaged, are where water can sneak through. First, clean the seams with rubbing alcohol on a rag, then apply a seam sealer. Note that not every seam sealer works with every material. Silicone-treated fabric requires a different sealer than polyurethane-coated fabric, so double-check before buying.
  • Treat the rain fly with a durable water repellent (DWR). These waterproofing sprays are very simple to apply and will stop moisture from penetrating the fabric. First, make sure the rain fly is clean. Liberally spray the rain fly’s exterior and wait a few minutes. Wipe off the excess with a cloth. Make sure the fabric is dry before storing the tent.
     


Q. How can I make my tent more stable in the wind?
A.
You might think that six people and their gear would be enough to weigh down a tent, and in some ways, you’re right. When the wind kicks up, though, you might want to boost your tent’s stability, particularly if you’re going to leave it for extended periods of time.

If your tent has a narrow end, face that part into the wind. Consider using additional stakes, tie-downs, and even rocks for additional stability as well, remembering to set your stakes at angles rather than straight down into the ground.

Finally, resist the urge to tie your tent to a tree. The tree itself might be stable, but a branch falling in the wind could ruin your entire trip, or worse. Not only could it damage the tent, but it could also injure anyone inside.


Q. How do you “season” a canvas tent?
A.
Canvas tents are highly desirable because of their natural look, sun protection, and temperature regulation. They require a bit more preparation than polyester or nylon tents, though. Seasoning involves setting up the tent and soaking it with a hose until it’s completely saturated with water. This makes the canvas fibers swell, interlocking them to prevent water penetrating from the tent.

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