Shopping for a tent isn’t a process that should be taken lightly. The wrong tent can quickly turn a fun outing with family or friends into a disaster. Tents aren’t exactly a cheap piece of equipment either so you will want to get the most bang for your buck.
One of the most versatile tent sizes are 4 person tents. The average person probably won’t go camping alone, but probably with one or two other people. A 4 person tent offers plenty of room for a couple along with space to store gear. Being able to shelter another one or two people makes this size category ideal for the more casual camper or weekend warrior.
Top 3 Recommendations
There are a ton of 4 person tents on the market but here are the top 3 highly rated models.
#1 Sierra Designs Zeta 4 Tent
The Sierra Designs Zeta 4 is an extremely user-friendly hybrid style tent that is surprisingly spacious and tall inside. It is popular with both new and experienced campers alike. The Zeta 4 has quite a few impressive features that makes it enjoyable to use.
- Appropriate for 3 season use in majority of climates
- Total weight of 8lbs 9oz
- Total package size of roughly 6” x 22”
- Total floor space of 58.2 sq ft- dimensions are 95” x 92”
- Peak height of ceiling is 50”
- Two doors for entry and exit
- Aluminum poles
- Primarily made from polyester taffeta
- Freestanding in design with quick set up
- Hybrid dome- and tunnel-style design for increased space
- Aluminum poles are built together with Sierra Designs Swivel Hubs to make set up quick and error-free
- Color coded clips also help to make set up easy, even in low light
- Secure but flexible ridgeline poles add stability in wind or heavy rain
- White tent canopy allows more ambient light into tent to brighten surroundings
- Bathtub style floor prevents water from entering floor
- Interior pockets for storage and organizational are on the wall, off the tent floor
- Two vestibules for gear storage
- Tent body is largely made of mesh which offers plenty of ventilation, even with canopy attached
The Zeta 4 is far more user friendly than most tents and is particularly impressive in areas where high winds may occur. One downside of the tent is its lack of interior pockets for storage when compared to other tents in this category. This is more of an annoyance for some people than a true fault of the tent.
Overall the Zeta 4 is designed extremely well for usability. The Swivel Hub pole attachments are an ingenious idea that makes set up quick right from the start. Sierra Designs combination of a flexible ridgeline along with tough polyester taffeta material put up with a lot of tough use as well.
#2 Marmot Limelight 4P Tent
Marmot is a well-respected brand in outdoor gear so it’s no surprise that one of their 4 person tents made the list. Marmot Limelight 4 Persons Tent, Orange, One is ready to go right out of the box and is specially designed to split between 2 backpackers, making it ideal for camping with a buddy.
- 3 season usability
- 2 color options- a neutral dark grey color scheme or a bright orange and blue
- Double-walled design (primarily polyester materials)
- Total weight of 9lbs, min. trail weight is 8lbs 4 oz
- Package size is roughly 9” x 27”
- Floor area of 53 sq ft (93” x 82”)
- Peak ceiling height of 50”
- Two doors and two vestibules which are both 16 sq ft
- Aluminum Pressfit poles
- Unlike many tents, the Limelight comes with a footprint and gear loft
- Vestibules offer plenty of room to store packs and dirty boots
- Minimal poles (only 4) make set up easy, especially with its color coding system
- Poles use a Pressfit system which keeps poles strong even in winds
- Rainfly is treated with a UV resistant coating for increased longevity
- Tent floor is bathtub style to prevent leaks in heavy rain
- Built in vents on fly keep out rain but gives plenty of air flow
- Numerous off the floor pockets for organization
- Can be set up with only the poles and rainfly for day trips (weight only 6lbs 7oz)
The Marmot Limelight 4P is super versatile since it can easily be broken down to just a rainfly and pole set up. This is very useful for simple overnight trips during warm weather or as weather protection for day long outdoor activities. As mentioned earlier, this kit can be broken up to allow for two people to carry a portion of the gear in their own pack. This is a great feature for campers who would rather share a shelter than have to each carry a one person tent.
There really aren’t any downsides to the Marmot Limelight 4P. It’s consistently rated at 5 stars and the high quality materials means your investment in this piece of equipment will serve you for many years of use. You can check out the Marmot Limelight 4 Persons Tent, Orange, One.
#3 Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Tent
The Mountainsmith brand has been around for more than 30 years and has produced many wonderful tents in that time. One of their best 4 person tents is Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Person 3 Season Tent (Lotus Blue). This model is roomy and tough enough for the trail just as it is at a campground. The Genesee 4 was even awarded a “Top Pick” in ’11 by Camping Life Magazine.
- 3 season tent
- Total floor area of 56 sq ft (84” x 96”)
- Packed size of 8” x 19.5”
- Total weight is 6 lbs 14.5 oz, trail weight reduced to 6 lbs 9 oz
- Peak ceiling height of 52”
- Double-walled design (primarily polyester)
- Freestanding and can be used with guylines
- 2 Yunan alloy poles
- 2 doors
- 2 21 sq ft vestibules
- Comes with a fully detachable gear loft storage
- PU coating on flooring and rainfly keep out heavy rain
- Additional bathtub floor construction prevents leaks, plus all floor seams are sealed
- Tent fly has built in vent windows for airflow and light
- Tent walls have No-See-Um mesh to keep even the tiniest bugs away
- Various interior pockets and loops for storage
- All poles are a lightweight yet strong aluminum alloy which are held in place by easy to use color-coded clips
- Setup instructions are printed on the bag to prevent the common issue of losing typical paper printed instructions
- Having two separate vestibules and doors mean you can keep your gear separated from your friend(s) for easy access
- Comes with reflective guylines for additional support in windy weather, plus the reflective materials prevent accidently trips when walking around at night
The Mountainsmith Genesee 4P is a very reasonably priced tent that is budget-friendly for many people. It can comfortably hold 4 people but makes a very roomy shelter for a couple. The tent is well designed and capable of taking on fairly heavy rain or high winds.
It has also tested well in humid regions where condensation or excess moisture is often a problem in a tent. (Mountainsmith Genesee 4 Person 3 Season Tent (Lotus Blue)).
All three of these 4 person tents would work well for almost any situation as long as you don’t expect to camp in very cold or extremely stormy weather. Their lightweight and unique quick set-up designs make them user-friendly and perfect for those who don’t want to struggle to get their shelter up at the campground or out on the trail.
Be sure to research prospective tents carefully before deciding on which one to go with. It’s never a bad idea to double check warranties and return policies as well.
Sam Hardy is an outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for survival skills. He writes about the great outdoors and his favorite equipment here.