Our list includes the best 4-person car camping tents of the year! The essence of car camping is simple. Get your car, drive to your preferred destination, unpack the coolest campsite ever, and then relax until it’s time to go home. Car camping is meant to be hassle-free.
The biggest, most annoying part of camping for many people is their tent. Tents can take everlasting ages to set up. Tents can frustrate campers when poles break or ropes snap. Tents can irritate any type of camper, simply by not being the right choice.
What makes a good car camping tent?
- Choosing the correct sized camping tent.
- Easy setup, you want to sit back and relax sooner rather than later.
- High-quality materials make long-lasting tents, which will save you money in the long run.
- Packable size for your vehicle.
Tent Size Matters
The size of the tent you choose is critical to feeling comfortable and relaxed. If your tent is too small, then you could be cramped and irritable. If your tent is too big, then you might be dwarfed by the monumental task of setting it up. Choosing the right tent size depends on how you plan to camp.
A small tent is easy to set up. This might be perfect for people who want to get on with their adventures. Rock up at the campsite, set up your tent, and then hit the rock face like Alex Honnold. Please use ropes!
A minimum size should be 12 square feet per person. This is enough space to lay out a sleeping bag for most adults. Kids might be smaller, but they really don’t take up too much less space. Buy a tent at least this big for best living comfortability. One disadvantage is the lack of space in a smaller tent for your gear. When you’re at your campsite, where will you sit? When it rains, where will you go? These are important questions for your comfort and happiness.
You could, of course, stow your gear in your car and sit in your tent. You could also get a bigger tent. A big tent might be more work to set up, or it could just be bigger. The extra space is going to be useful. Nobody ever finished a camping weekend and said, “I wish I had less space in my tent.” See our choice of the best family tents against bad weather if size is a concern for you! These tents are much larger with standing room if that is what you want.
Cook Food, Consume Food, Chill Out
One of the huge benefits of car camping is the short distance from your car to your campsite (hopefully). You don’t have to worry about carrying something heavy. You can just drop it outside the trunk. Bring lots of accessories and camping gadgets. Get them out of the car one at a time as you want. For example, you can pack up your portable camping refrigerator to keep your beers ice cold! Even better, your best camping grill can be taken on the road to cook up some amazing steaks.
The tent or shelter you choose can reflect this positive aspect of car camping. You can bring along a separate shelter for cooking food. You can set out some chairs for a great outdoor dining experience. You could even bring along a screen and portable projector for a night at the movies next to the lake.
Choosing a car camping tent wisely can help you do all these things. Two room tents divide up your living space easily. A large single room tent can do the job for you too! Plan for the extra space required to simply live free camping.
Save Now, Pay Later
Buying a cheap tent is a massive temptation. No one likes to pay more than they need for anything. However, there are some extra factors in the cost-benefit equation for your tent purchase.
For example, how many times do you want to buy a tent? Cheap tents are often made from cheap materials. Shiny nylon can rip, melt at the slightest touch of a small spark, and cannot be easily repaired if it tears. Small fiberglass poles might look cool and they might be super lightweight. They might also break during setup or small storms.
Buying a tent for your family, or for yourself, is a small investment. The potential benefits in the future of a wise purchase in the present are enormous. A great tent will…
- …last for years. You will save money in the long run.
- …look cool. You will enjoy the thought of looking at it at the campsite.
- …be easy to set up with practice. You will save time later and appreciate the design.
- …not break or leak in bad weather. You will be grateful for the peace of mind.
As you can see, the price of the tent is not the only consideration. If everything goes well, then you will use your tent for ten or twenty trips out to the camp. You could keep it for years. Spend more now for the perfect tent and you will thank yourself many times in the future.
Now it’s time for the list. There are smaller, single room tents here to check out. There are some larger tents to view as well. These tents will all do a great job for you. A few of them may even attract people to your campsite to view your outdoor home in all its beauty.
The Best 4 Person Car Camping Tent List
- Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup
- Coleman Tenaya Lake Cabin Tent with Fast Pitch Setup
- Wenzel Pine Ridge Two Room Family Tent
- Napier Backroadz SUV Tent
- Stout Bell Tent
- ALPS Mountaineering Camp Creek Tent
- Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Four Person Tent
- NTK Indy GT 4 Person Tent
- Trek Tents Canvas Cabin
- Tentsile Vista
1. Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup
Coleman is one of the most highly-respected camping brands on the market. They have been making tents, coolers and useful camping gear for years. Their tents are well-designed, reliable and come with brilliant after-sales support.
The Coleman Cabin Tent is a fantastic choice for those new to camping. It’s very easy to set up. The tent poles are integrated into the tent itself. Once it comes out of the bag, you just unfold the poles and the tent pops into shape. Extend the poles to their full height, peg it all down, and you’re ready to get on with the weekend.
Coleman’s tents are tested extensively for durability in bad weather. The seams are waterproofed and welded. The poles are a little thicker and will resist bending in any of the weather you’re likely to endure at your camp. The floor is a bathtub floor. An extra width of the floor material runs up the side of the tent to keep splashes and bugs out.
Coleman offers several options with this tent design. You could purchase a slightly larger model designed for six people. If you don’t plan on having another shelter for your gear, then this might be a wise choice. There is also a ten-person, dark room tent. For those who value a long sleeping time every night, this could be an awesome choice. See the prices on Amazon by clicking the button below!
2. Coleman Tenaya Lake Cabin Tent with Fast Pitch Setup
Comfort is often connected to the organization, especially while camping. Coleman’s Tenaya Lake tents are designed to help you keep stuff tidy. They feature a really, really cool built in closet for your gear. They are also easy to set up and use Coleman’s Fast Pitch method.
First, what about that closet? The closet is formed by making a small room on the side of the tent. The closet is similar to side doors on other tents. There is a crossbar at the top of the closet as well as two support poles. These support the top and pegs at the bottom pull it into shape. On the inside, a tie back curtain hides all the stuff you throw in there.
The Fast Pitch method designed by Coleman is simple to erect. The roof structure is built into the tent and unfolds when the tent is laid out on the ground. The side poles are color-coded and fit into the roof hub. After connecting the poles, the rest of the job is easy. The rain fly goes over the top and gets attached to the sides. A few guy lines need to be staked out to keep the tent secure and in shape. (Only if the weather looks bad)
This model is designed for eight people. It will sleep four in comfort while also providing extra space for the relaxing, eating, and preparing for your next adventure. Check out the most recent price! Or read a full Tenaya Lake Tent Review by clicking here.
3. Wenzel Pine Ridge Two Room Family Tent
Privacy is possible at the campsite. Wenzel’s Pine Ridge tent is a good example of how simple achieving a bit of privacy can be. The room divider concept is applied simply here. It’s just enough to help those who want a little separate space.
A small family with two adults and two kids will really benefit from the design of this tent. The room divider will give the children a place to lie down and sleep while the parents stay awake. Equally, a couple could use the room divider as a way of hiding away their gear when they don’t want to see it any longer.
Another cool feature of this tent is the gear loft with Wenzel’s Lite-Reflect system. Again, this is a simple idea applied well. The gear loft has reflective material so your flashlight or camping lantern gives more light to the whole tent. The zippers at the entrances are well-designed to keep the weather outside the tent. They come with a rain flap covering the length of the zip. These can frustrate those in a hurry but, taken slowly, they won’t jam, and they will keep the rain from being driven in through the zipper.
As you can see, extra space for gear storage is a problem tent manufacturer’s tackle in different ways. Napier takes its own approach with this tent designed for those who bring their SUV to the campsite. This Napier Backroadz SUV Tent uses your vehicle as a closet.
Napier’s detachable sleeve attaches to most SUV’s on the market. It allows your SUV to remain the primary storage space for your gear while you’re camping. If you arrive at the campsite in the rain, this will help you get your tent setup and keep your gear dry. Once the tent is set up and the sleeve attached to your car, then your gear can be accessed from within the tent.
The sleeve is detachable without great effort. When your adventure is ready, just detach the sleeve, make sure it is sealed with the tent, and then drive off. When you return, simply do the same but in reverse.
Many people do the opposite. They set up this tent but sleep in their car. If your seats fold down into a nice sleeping platform, then why not? Use your SUV’s power ports, sleep in a totally protected space, and then wake up and move out into your spacious, 9’ x 9’ vestibule. Amazing!
5. Stout Bell Tent
If you want other people to stand in awe of your camping prowess, this Stout Bell Tent will bring you many admirers. It’s also incredibly spacious, super durable, and a breeze to set up.
A 13 Foot Bell tent has an amazing 113 square feet of floor space. This is plenty of room to sleep four people with room for your gear. The sides of a bell tent are also vertical at the bottom. All that floor space is useable. Many people sleep with their heads at the sides of the tent and their feet pointed towards the pole in the middle. This sleeping arrangement looks like spokes on a tire. It works well and gives everyone a little extra room near their heads.
Stout Bell Tents all come with a built-in stove jack. A stove jack is a hole in the roof the tent surrounded by a silicone flashing. You can buy a small wood stove and take it to your campsite. Set up your tent, light the fire, and you can relax in warmth and comfort no matter the weather.
These tents are made of canvas and are super durable. Armies all over the world have used this design and material for a few centuries. You can have great peace of mind in even the roughest weather knowing your tent is nearly bomb-proof. Even though this tent is big and heavy, set up is easy. Lay out the tent, stake it out very loosely, then run the pole up in the middle of the tent. The loosely-staked sides will keep the pole in place while you take care of the door. After the door, you simply stake out all the sides. It doesn’t take long before you have a beautiful shelter.
6. ALPS Mountaineering Camp Creek Tent
Car camping lets you bring along a tent and gear to suit your taste. Taller campers can be cramped by small tents. ALPS Mountaineering sells this gorgeous four-person shelter with a roof high enough to suit everyone not currently playing in the NBA. The ALPS Camp Creek Tent is a one of a kind option!
The design is standard. You get a single room with nearly vertical walls. The ceiling height is a generous seven feet. You won’t go back to a low dome tent after this one! Gear storage and organization is important for a comfortable camping experience. ALPS solve this in part by integrating several storage pockets into the corners of the tent. These attach easily and will keep small items within easy reach and off the floor.
Keeping the rain out is achieved by adding the rain fly to the top of the tent. The shape of the rain fly is nice. Small poles at the corners push the front and sides out a little bit to provide small roofs over the door and the windows. In a light rain, the door and windows can stay open without fear of water ingress.
A bathtub floor and adjustable straps at the corners help this tent get into the proper shape. This is important for looking good. It also helps keep the rain and mud out of the interior space.
7. Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Four Person Tent
Rugged good looks define the Canvas Flex-Bow Tent by Kodiak. The canvas material is very strong and will stand up to many years of enjoyment. The colors are gorgeous and will blend into your campsite instead of standing out like a giant, purple, nylon elephant of a tent.
Many people discover the need for a second door early on their group camping experience. Getting out of the tent in the middle of the night while someone else is sleeping can be a challenge. Kodiak’s Canvas Flex-Bow tent has two large doors. You can easily open one of them to sneak out for some late-night relief from your bladder.
Like most canvas tents, the poles and connections are superbly engineered. These tents are made to last. The main poles are 1” galvanized steel tubing. 3/8” Flex-Bow rods pull the tent into shape. The zips are heavy-duty as well. The floor is polyester-reinforced vinyl and comes with welded seams. It should last for years and keep the mud and bug out.
One of the nice features of this tent is its awning. It’s about six feet wide and extends almost five feet out from the front of the tent. This is plenty of space for a couple of chairs when you want to sit outside. At night, you can tuck your extra gear in close to the tent and the awning will keep most of the weather off your gear as well.
8. NTK Indy GT 4 Person Tent
European tents are often designed differently. NTK offer this compact Indy GT for those who want a snug tent with space for their gear. The simple design has some clever additions to help make your camp more comfortable and enjoyable.
The best part of this tent for comfort is the porch. The porch is covered by the rain fly and will be fully waterproof. There is plenty of covered space for your gear. This extra space is well-ventilated with two doors. The front door can be zipped up for entry through the side in bad weather. Both doors can be opened to provide a nice feeling of space and openness to the outdoors.
European tents often have a lower profile and a double skin design. The lower profile, in a class dome shape, helps this tent withstand different weather problems. Wind will not bother this tent much because it sits low on the ground. Rain will be kept out by the full coverage rain fly. The double skin design will greatly reduce condensation because of the air space between the inner tent and the outer fly.
For extra durability, the poles are made of extra-thick nano-technology fiberglass. They connect with gold chrome plated hardware. The snug, low profile design and the reinforced hardware will give you a tent built to last for many years of enjoyable camping.
9. Trek Tents Canvas Cabin
Many campers progress in their camping ambitions. After a few easy weekend trips to safe spaces, they want something a bit more rugged and challenging. The Trek Tents Canvas Cabin is an ideal fit for their dreams.
Canvas tents come with one huge natural advantage. They are all much stronger than nylon tents. Canvas doesn’t stretch or tear easily. The heavy poles can bear a high wind and snow load. Once you decide to camp regardless of the weather, you need a tent as committed as you are.
The Trek Tents Canvas Cabin has a very large floor space to keep you and the family comfortable and relaxed. There are 108 marvelous square feet you can use to stretch out. The ceiling is a generous seven feet to help those tall campers.
Canvas also comes with two disadvantages. First, it’s heavy. Second, it can’t be safely put away wet or damp. Since you won’t need to carry this tent too far, the first disadvantage shouldn’t be a problem. If you take care to dry this tent before taking it down, or set it up to dry at home, then maintenance will be no problem. The floor of this tent is made of vinyl reinforced canvas. Read: TOUGH. Bring on the mud and rain. This tent and floor will laugh them off.
While this tent is a little more expensive than others on this list, it will survive for years. You will only appreciate it more and more as it becomes part of your family’s stories through the years.
10. Tentsile Vista
The Tentsile Vista will bring all the boys – and girls – to your yard. Or campsite. This eye-catching design will attract comments and envy from other campers. It will also help you in ways you have to experience to truly appreciate.
The most obvious attraction of the Tentsile Vista is its floating appearance. Being off the ground is a novel concept for many campers. Apart from hammocks, most people are stuck to the floor. You could be sleeping on air. Everyone else will be looking up to you!
You will sleep better in the air. There will be no rocks to rub you or lumps to punish you in the middle of the night. With a good sleeping pad or air mattress, a night in the Vista will feel like sleeping at home.
Setting the Vista up is a little more challenging than some other tents. To begin with, you need strong trees or other supports at the right spaces. Then, you will spend some time adjusting the straps to achieve the correct amount of tension. Tensioning the Vista is helped by industrial strength straps and powerful ratchets.
There are three entrances as well as a central entry point through the bottom. The sides of the tent are mostly covered by the rain fly. A clever design allows the rain fly to keep the water out while still keeping the bottom of each side open.
The Final Word
There you have it. Ten tents to choose from. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Every one of them will give you a great time in the woods. Choose the tent best suited to your intended camping style. Let us know in the comments what you favorite 4 person camping tent is!