What is the best outdoor tent company that you have used?

There are numerous reputable tent manufacturers, including (but certainly not limited to) Big Agnes, The North Face, REI, Mountain Hardwear and MSR. The the tents I’ve most enjoyed backpacking with have been The North Face Tadpole 23 (good, moderate weight, 2-person), a Mountain Hardwear Sprite 1 (good, lightweight, 1-person) and my current shelter, a Tarptent Stratospire 2. The Stratospire 2 is an excellent, lightweight shelter with room for two.

You mention in your question wanting, “something durable.” I’d be interested in knowing why durability is a priority? I’ll also suggest rethinking your priorities by answering a few questions.

  • Car camping, backpacking, mountaineering or other?
  • How many people?
  • Spring/summer/fall or winter?
  • What readily available natural resources will you have user of as aids in securing your tent?

Suppose your answers are that you want a tent for car camping with a family of four. You’ll be staying in established campgrounds during the summer. In this scenario, the car is doing the work of lugging the tent from one campground to another (weight isn’t an issue), the kids are young enough that they’ll want to be in the tent with Mom & Dad so, to maintain some semblance of sanity, you’ll probably want something roomy (room for 5–6 with a partition). Something freestanding (has a frame allowing the tent to stand in place without being tired down) will probably be an advantage. Rugged and durable – to withstand the kids roughhousing – may also be a plus.

Suppose your answers are that you want a shelter for solo backpacking. You’ll be hiking rugged terrain in a wide range of environments (forests, mountains, canyons, etc.) during three seasons…but occasionally with a possibility of snow. This is a scenario where a heavy, rugged tent may be your worst option. You’ve got to carry this thing on your back every day of the trip. Something lightweight (3 lbs. or less) is probably a better option. Lightweight typically translates as being made of thin, light material. It won’t fall apart during a storm but it won’t respond well to rough, careless treatment. To save weight, the shelter may be designed to be supported at two points by trekking poles, to maintain its shape when tied off (no frame) and to be cozy (i.e. cramped) for one person. Rather than packing stakes, you may opt to use trees or rocks as tie-off points to secure the shelter.

These are the kinds of scenarios that will help you identify the type of tent or shelter that best meets your needs. A heavy rugged tent isn’t always the best option. Often, something lighter and easier to pack through a national park will be.

Thanks for the A2A, Dorian Oddi.

For reputable companies, a warranty should seldom be an issue; their tents should certainly outlast it, with proper care and maintenance. Seldom are there issues with materials and craftship. When there are, they will evidence themselves quickly, and these companies realize that it costs more to get a fan than to keep one and will usually, and even enthusiastically, honor the warranty.

I’ve been backpacking for a long time and have owned exactly two tents that I ever cared to keep. My first ‘real’ backpacking tent was the ‘Pharaoh’ by Sierra Designs. Pretty tent. And it held up great in weather. Unfortunately, my backpack went to Aruba when I went to Costa Rica. I did get my backpack returned, sans the tent.

The other is a tent I had to recently retire thanks to that damned cat. I’ve owned my Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2 for seven or so years, and it’s a really nice tent at a great price. It’s got virtually every feature I enjoy in a tent:

  • Great value.
  • Quality aluminum poles.
  • Sealed seems.
  • Excellent ventilation.
  • Two doors.
  • Two large vestibules.
  • Several guy points.
  • Holds up in weather.
  • Visible color, but not garish.
  • And here’s their warranty: Warranty Information

The only drawback is that it is a two-person tent and weighs in at over 4 pounds. Since I usually went backpacking with a partner when I had the tent, we split the load. They do offer a solo version, as well, but it’s a head-entry tent.

Today, I rely on a Crazy Creek tarp. I don’t usually backpack during warm weather, so I really don’t need a bug net. As such, I really don’t need a tent. The tarp is suspended by my hiking poles, which I’d have had even if I did have a tent. So, I dropped a few pounds, and it’s allowed me to drop a few liters in pack size.

To that end, if you see a tent for sale that has the qualities I look for in a tent, do a little research and buy it. It may seem like a lame answer, but the list of companies that make quality gear is just too long. Were you to ask about a few in comparison, I would have been a little more concise.

For durability I would have to recommend the Trango series from Mountain Hardwear. They are about as durable as they come and decently versatile, if a bit heavy. They have all features you’d expect form a good tent like vestibules, and ventilation. I know a couple guiding companies that use them specifically because they just last so long despite abuse.

As for warranties REI, MEC, and L.L. Bean have absurd warranties that allow for even ridiculous claims. While this is doubtlessly great for the consumer in the short term, I personally I dislike this system. It implies that the customer is always right, and that things should last forever. Things last forever if you take care of them, and you’re willing to invest in repairing them. By letting people return them it just adds to the landfill, and creates unrealistic expectations.

If you’re going to take care of your gear a little better, then I recommend Hilleberg. Their tents are phenomenal, very lightweight with some really great versatile designs. Their durability isn’t top notch, but it’s excellent for the weight.

I also love MSR. I really like my Hubba Hubba NX, while not at all durable is very light and liveable. They offer a good repair program based in Seattle, which makes it get a top notch repair job done. This main sound like nothing, but most gear is manufactured in Asia, so it’s almost totally unheard of to get it repaired by the same quality as from the factory. The MSR Fury is an excellent choice if you want a more robust option than the Hubba Hubba.

Do not buy North Face. Their warranty isn’t great, and their quality is sub par.

There is a huge diversity in tents. Everything from very cheap tents made with very little quality control to expedition level tents that can withstand piles of snow and tremendous wind.

Most tents you can check the reviews to see how well the tents perform. There is a balancing act of weight, cost, and durability. Usually you can pick two and their third is what you are willing to sacrifice on. Sierra Designs, Big Agnes, MSR, North Face, Rei, Nemo are all great brands and fit moats people’s needs. There are some small scale manufacturers that you will also get a great deal with because they pay such close attention to detail like, Hilleburg, Yama Mountain Gear, Tarp Tent, and Mountain Laurals Design.

I’m missing a lot but online reviews are pretty good for tents.

Spacious, user-friendly, and feature-rich, tents for camping are made for a relatively luxurious experience in the outdoors. Many of these behemoths offer enough room to set up cots or even chairs and a table for card games on a rainy day. The majority of car campers take only a few trips a year, usually during the peak summer months, and even the cheapest tents on this list will perform well for this type of use. For tougher weather conditions or as a long-term investment, consider springing for a better-built and more expensive model. For more information, see dabest88’s review about canopies

Between my partner and I we have about 10 tents from Sierra Designs, Eureka, Mountain Hardware, MSR, Kelty, REI and The North Face.

I would avoid low to medium end Eureka and North Face stuff they use pretty cheap materials on the low and medium level products in an effort to attract the 5–10 nights a year in the tent crowd. Kelty is mostly good for budget priced stuff, they tend to go with heavy and cheap rather than going light and cheap.

All of our tents have lasted a good amount of time being pitched 40+ nights per year. Some of my tents took 150+ nights per year and 10 years later are still fine, just UV damaged. My partner is really into her Kelty, she has used it 60 nights or so with no issues and she uses her stuff in pretty severe conditions, mostly in the Apostle Islands National Seashore.

All the big brands like Big Agnes, Sierra Designs, MSR, Mountain Hardware, Go Lite, Kelty and REI. There’s a bunch of features and most of the brands they sell at REI are going to be good. I would encourage you to look more at features. It’s also nice to have some extra room in a tent so I usually use a 2 person when I am by myself and a 3 person when I am camping with my partner or somebody else.

Also, if you are tall or big take some time to lay down in the tent or next to a tape measure to get an idea how you fit into the dimensions of the tent.

If you want durability and an ironclad warranty, go with LL Bean or REI tents. Both Bean and REI make quality, durable tents. They are sometimes on the heavy side when compared to similar tents, but both Bean and REI have satisfaction guarranteed policy. If 6, 8 or more years later you decide you don’t like the tent you can still return it.

Other manufactures of quality tents are Marmot, Mountainsmith, The North Face, Sierra Designs, Big Agnes, Eureka, MSR, Mountain Hardwear. I’ve owned or used most of these brands and they are durable. As far as their warranty I would check each mfrs. website. I think a year is the usual length.

I find that Alps Mountaineering makes a full range of products, including tents. I would consider them on of the best outdoor tent companies when it comes to durability against rugged conditions.


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I tried all sorts of tents and had all sorts of experiences with tents. What I’m about to suggest is a little risqué. It is because it is expensive. I’ve been buying tents for my kids from Z-packs in Florida. I started doing that after my own experience making an using my own gear. I make tents and packs out of Cuben fiber sailcloth. This allows me to get my tent weight under 2 pounds. My total dry pack weight is 11 pounds. I tried buying Cuben fiber on my own. Z-packs is able to make and sell complete Cuben fiber tents for cheaper than I can buy the fabric. And their quality is to die for. Joe the owner frequently through hikes the AT and uses his tents. The one I bought for my daughter is better than the one I made for myself. These will run you 5–6 hundred bucks. It will be light, dry, and airy. You have to be a little patient with them. It’s Mom and Pop.

When I was section hiking the Mahousucs last fall one of the through hikers had his Z-packs pack fail. Joe sent him a replacement express to the hostel we were at.

If you are planning on travelling by yourself this is a great article which helped me decide what one person tent should i buy – Top 5 One Person Tactical Tents