Tent buying guide: How to find the best tent for you

Compare camping, hiking, swag, family, pop up tents and more to find the perfect tent for your next camping trip.

It’s no secret that Australians love camping and with the right tent, your next trip can be stress-free. Your gear will stay dry, you won’t waste precious time trying to figure out which pole goes where and you’ll sleep like a baby. The wrong tent, on the other hand, could turn your trip into a disaster.

Our guide will walk you through all the steps of buying a tent to make sure your money is spent wisely. We cover styles, sizes, weather durability and key features. Find out where you can buy your next tent and how much it will cost.

Read on to compare all the options and choose the best tent to suit your needs and your camping style.

Compare some of the best tents

Data obtained December 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Average Price (AUD) Sleeping Capacity (# of people) Dimensions (L x W x H, cm) Purchase Today
Vango Soul 300
Vango Soul 300
$128.34
3
280 x 190 x 120
Designed for camping newbies, this tent can be pitched in 5 minutes and sustain all climates.
Caribee Spider 4 Easy Up
Caribee Spider 4 Easy Up
$209.95
4
275 x 245 x 138
The Caribee Spider 4 Easy Up tent can be assembled in just a few minutes.
Outdoor Connection Escape 4 Plus
Outdoor Connection Escape 4 Plus
$219
4
240 x 240 x 170
An affordable dome tent with 2 doors, windows and floor vents that provide plenty of ventilation for hot weather.
OzTrail Sundowner DTMSUN-C
OzTrail Sundowner DTMSUN-C
$249.99
6
220 x 360 x 200
A lightweight tent that can be divided into 2 rooms.
Coleman Instant Up Gold Series 10P
Coleman Instant Up Gold Series 10P
$479
10
430 x 350 x 200
Pops up in just a few minutes and fits 3 queen size air mattresses.
Explore Planet Earth Maximus 6
Explore Planet Earth Maximus 6
$499.98
6
520 x 360 x 170
Features 3 internal room and includes poles to turn the front door into an awning for additional room.
Kathmandu Retreat 150
Kathmandu Retreat 150
$499.98
3
566 x 275 x 195
This roomy 3-person tent is larger than many other manufacturers 4 or 5-person tents.
Darche Air Volution AT-4 (2017)
Darche Air Volution AT-4 (2017)
$889.50
4
260 x 300 x 215
Includes a 2.8 metre zip-on awning and poles for additional shade and rain protection.
Exped MIRA II HL
Exped MIRA II HL
$1,087.21
1-2
215 x 125 x 110
This 3-season tent has an entirely mesh canopy that can be used as an a bug tent.
BlackWolf Turbo 450 Lite
BlackWolf Turbo 450 Lite
$1,099
10
450 x 300 x 230
This large cabin tent features plenty of headroom and a broad front awning for extra space.
Diamantina Riviera 3 Room Canvas
Diamantina Riviera 3 Room Canvas
$1,299
14
680 x 220 x 215
The huge Diamantina Riviera is divided into 3 fully enclosed rooms, providing enough privacy for your whole family.

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What types of tents are available?

If you’re looking for a tent for your next camping trip, you have several styles to choose from. Each type of tent is suited to different activities.

Check out descriptions of some of the most common tent styles below:

How to compare tents

When searching for a tent, look for something that is user-friendly, big enough for your group and is suited to the weather you’ll be camping in.

To get started finding your perfect tent, consider the following questions:

  • Can I easily set up the tent?
  • How many people will be using the tent?
  • What weather will I be camping in?

One of the most important, and often overlooked, factors when choosing a tent is how easy it is to set up. Try setting up the tent in the store or at home before you take it on a trip to make sure you know what goes where.

Sleeping capacity

Tent size is measured by the number of people who can sleep in the tent. Specifically, this measures the number of sleeping bags that can fit on the floor and does not include any additional gear. If you want to be able to move around comfortably in your tent choose one that has a sleeping capacity one size up from the number of people who will actually be sleeping in it. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the tent or fill your pack with handy gear, you should choose a tent that sleeps two or three more people than you actually have.

Seasonality

Tents are rated by the number of seasons the tent can withstand while keeping you dry and relatively warm. Typically, tents that can withstand extreme weather conditions are more expensive and heavier because they have more layers.

Suitable seasonsDescription
Two-season
  • Spring
  • Summer
These tents are lightweight but offer less protection against the elements. While they are suitable for Spring and Summer, you may need an extra tarp if you use one during heavy rain.
Three-season
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
These are the most popular type of tent in Australia. They are relatively light and can stand up to heavy rain better than two-season tents.
Four-season
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter
These tents work all year round. They are heavier and more expensive than two-season tents because they are more durable. While they work well in cold climates, they sometimes feel hot and stuffy in hot weather.
Five-season
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter
  • Extreme cold
  • High altitudes
Five-season tents are designed for cold weather and high-altitudes. If you camp during snowstorms, five-season tents are the way to go, but if you just need protection from the Sydney winter they’re not worth the money.

Additional features to look for

Hopefully, you’ve found a tent that is easy to use, roomy enough for your party and gear, and suited to the weather you’ll be camping in. Next, check if it includes these extra details:

How much does a tent cost?

You can find a two or three person tent at Kmart or Big W for less than $100 that may be suitable for backyard camping or shade at the beach but it probably won’t hold up to regular use or moderate rain. If you’re looking for a large, durable tent that will survive many seasons worth of camping trips, you could spend thousands on a quality tent. There are also many options in the middle. Retailers like BCF, Tentworld and Snowys sell tents from a wide range of manufacturers and offer regular sales and discounts.

Where to buy a tent

Some manufacturers including BlackWolf, The North Face and OzTrail allow you to buy tents directly from their websites or stores. Other brands like Coleman only sell their tents via third-party retailers such as Tentworld, Snowys and BCF.

The following sites sell tents and other outdoor gear:


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