Car camp set up along Montana's Gallatin River Car camp set up along Montana's Gallatin River

The Best Car Camping Tents

 

Car camping might just be the most luxurious way to spend an evening in the outdoors. You don’t have to lug your sleeping supplies on your back, you can have all the heavy food and drink you want (meaning no powdered or dehydrated junk), and you can have plush bedding to curl up in right after you finish your s’mores.

To fit with this theme, car camping tents are also designed to feel luxurious. These freestanding rooms are designed to provide plenty of room for gear and people while keeping things comfortable and organized. To help with the organization, these tents usually come with gear lofts, plentiful interior pockets and large vestibules or “porches.” Some will be tall enough to completely stand up in and others have lighting features for convenience.

 

Dive into our reviews below to find the best tent for you.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Mountainsmith Conifer 5+
85
Best in Class
2016
Ease of Setup & Brea... 5
Livability & Functio... 7
Materials & Construc... 8
Weather Resistance 8
Versatility 7

Weatherproof

Versatile

Spacious

Lacks privacy w/o fly

Color coding still ambiguous

MSRP
$359.95
BEST DEAL
Nemo Wagontop 4P
84
Ease of Setup & Brea... 5
Livability & Functio... 8
Materials & Construc... 8
Weather Resistance 7
Versatility 6

High point spans the tent

Removable vestibule

Sturdy

Setup is awkward & unruly

No center point to hang a lantern

Minimal pockets

MSRP
$449.95
BEST DEAL
Big Agnes Chimney Creek 4 mtnGLO
83
Ease of Setup & Brea... 5
Livability & Functio... 6
Materials & Construc... 7
Weather Resistance 8
Versatility 7

Stormproof

Built in light

Double doors

Limited headroom

No windows

Battery management required

MSRP
$449.95
BEST DEAL
N/A
Kelty AirLift 4
79
Ease of Setup & Brea... 5
Livability & Functio... 6
Materials & Construc... 6
Weather Resistance 7
Versatility 5

No poles to break

Cozy Vestibule

All-in-one setup

Can get tangled in itself

Low wind tolerance

No outward facing main body windows

MSRP
$499.95
BEST DEAL
N/A
Coleman Longs Peak 6
74
Ease of Setup & Brea... 5
Livability & Functio... 5
Materials & Construc... 4
Weather Resistance 5
Versatility 5

Inexpensive

Substantial floor fabric

Tight fit in storage bag

External pole connectors

MSRP
$139.99
BEST DEAL
Mountainsmith Conifer 5+

The Mountainsmith Conifer 5+ is an extended dome style tent with lots of headroom, a generous vestibule and lots of tie down points to ward off fierce winds. The tent does take a little extra time to set up and despite the color coding there is still some ambiguity on orienting the tent and getting the fly attached.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Mountainsmith

See All Car Camping Tents Reviews

How to Select the Best Camping Tent for You

by: Last Updated:

Almost all car camping tents aim to be easy to pitch, so you don’t have to spend hours of your vacation in frustration, but can get the tent set up with ease and return to hanging out with the family.

In our latest test, the best car camping tents were:

Mountainsmith Conifer 5+
Nemo Wagontop 4p
Coleman Long Peak 6
Big Agnes Chimney Creek 4
Kelty Airlift 4

These spacious models are sold in capacities ranging from 4-8 people, and can fit several adults and a few kids. This is the perfect platform for getting the whole family to enjoy the outdoors together. Sometimes, a product will include a “+” to indicate that a dog or extra gear can easily fit along with the specified number of occupants.

Car camping tents are not meant to be carried in a backpack or toted for any distance longer than from your trunk to campsite, so they are not compact or lightweight items. Not being constrained by weight concerns, they are made of heavier and more durable materials that can last longer and be more weatherproof than the materials used on a fragile backpacking tent. This also results in rather large packed sizes, but since you don’t need to stuff it in a backpack, this is inconsequential.

We performed our latest tent test in 2016, when we rounded up five car camping palaces and evaluated them side by side. We timed our testers when setting up each tent and tried each model in a wide range of weather and terrain.