Of all the smaller tent sizes, it seems that 3 person tents are the rarest. Most companies don’t make them, opting instead to either go with a 2 person or 4 people model and skip 3 altogether. This makes some sense for them financially but can make it very different to find the best 3 person tent if that is your goal.
Because a 3 person tent is more a specialty item, occasionally they will cost comparatively more than tents of other sizes. This further complicates selecting one that is right for you. It can be hard to spend more for a smaller tent than you would for a larger. However, with some smart shopping you can eventually find a deal that will let you get the most space for your money.
Table of Contents
- Three Person Tent Considerations
- Top 10 Best 3 Person Tent on the Market Reviews
- Final Verdict
Three Person Tent Considerations
Who Needs a 3 Person Tent?
There are not a lot of options for three-person tents. They are far more rare than two or four person. Occasionally, these may be used by 3 people who want to minimize space in their packing. Usually, a three-person tent is used by a single person or two people who want more space.
Many people who car camp alone use a 3 person tent as it allows them to use a twin sized air mattress. This is the smallest tent you can fit one in easily. They also have more room for gear and to move around. This makes them a great choice for one or two people in bad weather where they may be stuck in the tent a bit more.
For pet owners, these are a great choice as long as there are no more than two people. It gives the pet a lot more room to move around and get comfortable without walking on its owners. You may want to add some form of bottom protection if you do this to prevent damage.
Occasionally with tents you will find in-between sizes. This could be a 2-3 person tent or a 3-4 person tent. Though these are rare, they can be a great buy for those who want something a little smaller and lighter or a little more spacious without going a full size smaller or larger.
Weather & Season Rating
Most tents will list a seasonality rating that serves as a guide on when that tent should offer adequate protection. This is only a guide and most are a little generous. If you don’t see a listing for a tent, it is usually safe to assume it is a 3 season model. Though there are a very few summer only tents, these are not commonly found. The most common tent season ratings are:
Weight & Size
A 3 person tent sits right in the middle of something you may be willing to carry and something that is far too large and heavy to pack in. If you are comfortable with the weight, this is generally the most space you can have on shorter trail hikes. For the serious backpacker, any 3 person tent is likely to be far too large and heavy to contend with on the trail.
You can get a tent under 4 pounds if you are willing to spend a little extra but the average will generally be between 6 and 10 pounds for a 3 person tent. As you near the upper end of that range, the tent will likely be too heavy for backpacking for most people.
Size will also be a determining factor with many of these tents folding into larger bundles that may be harder to pack. Whether or not it will fit will be determined by the size of your pack and what else you plan to carry. Measure your pack before you purchase to ensure you get an appropriate tent for what you want.
Space in these smaller tents is a premium and every square foot adds both size and weight that you may not want to carry. This makes additional covered areas such as an awning or vestibule a very nice feature to have. They can be used for gear storage and a small, covered outdoor space for cooking when the weather is bad.
You are unlikely to find any 3 person tents that have completely enclosed spaces outdoors like a porch. This would add more weight and size than most people would like and are usually not found in any tent under a 4 or 6 person model.
Top 10 Best 3 Person Tent on the Market Reviews
1. Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 3
When quality really matters, go with the companies that know what they are doing and understand a camper's needs. In that market, it is very hard to beat Teton Sports and their supremely good tents. These are always some of the best rated camping products on the market even if they can get a little pricy. When compared to the other big brands, you will find them to be a good value overall.
This is quite a good sized tent measuring a little better than 7x7 feet which gives you a few extra square feet of space. Packed down, it is a reasonable size at about 6 inches square by about 2 feet long. The weight is just a hair over 8 pounds. It may be a little hefty for backpacking but can be manageable, especially if you split it between a couple of campers.
The upper of this tent is mostly comprised of mesh which gives you amazing ventilation when it is warmer outside and will keep the tent from having condensation issues. This can be covered by the massive rainfly which goes from the ground up. It even has a large vestibule for your outdoor space needs.
This tent is a bit on the heavy side for its size, especially since it is mostly mesh. A part of that is the included footprint that protects the tent bottom. You can lose a little weight if you need by leaving that part at home. You are better off to have the footprint by far but the option exists for those time you need to lose the weight.
2. Kelty Trail Ridge 3
If there is any name recognizable in the tenting world it should be Kelty and they deserve that reputation. They are generally regarded as among the best when it comes to the higher end of budget gear. They tend to be light, affordable, and an overall great value when you want the best. This makes them a great option for most campers no matter what their needs are.
With the Trail Ridge, you do get that lightweight at only 6 pounds all in. For this you get a tent that is a little better than the usual 7x7. Packed down this is about 7x24 inches which is a bit large backpacking but not unreasonable. You will need to plan your pack around this tent.
The tent is sizable to begin with but you get a huge vestibule area. It is nearly the size of the actual tent and will provide you more than adequate outdoor space when you need it. This is all under the sizable rainfly that covers from top to bottom for a decent 3 season tent.
The vestibule area is divided into two halves, one for each side of the tent and each having their own door. All of the poles use quick clips which makes setup a breeze and much faster than having to feel through loops. For an astound price under $150.00, this is an all-around solid option that will be hard to beat!
3. Mountainsmith Morrison
Mountainsmith has been making tents for more than 50 years and have pretty much ironed out the process for developing quality, usable products. They also tend to come in lighter than most other tents thanks to continued innovation and the use of the best possible materials.
Their Morrison tent is available in several sizes but the 3 person model measures a solid 7.5x6 feet which runs a tad smaller than the competition. However, it beats the competition in weight at only five and a half pounds. Packed down it is a little larger than a 2-liter bottle but still small enough to pack and not difficult to carry.
If you are looking for a true 3 season tent, this is among the best. It may not make it in winter but with the ultra-tight mesh it will stay warm enough the rest of the time. This is added to by the complete coverage rainfly. Venting is built in but closable to keep out any of the worst weather. This is the type of innovation you can expect from a company like Mountainsmith.
Usually these tents sell for better than $200.00 but you can find them for much less in the offseason. Current prices are well under $150.00. It comes with a footprint so you can actually minimize the weight of this tent down to less than 3 pounds. All in all, this is an amazing product for the serious camper.
4. Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 3
Alps Mountaineering is one of those companies that offers so many quality products that its hard to pick just one but if we were to feature only one of their products, it would be from the amazing Zephyr series. It perfectly exemplifies the devotion to quality you can expect from a high-end company.
When it comes to size, the Zephyr series does tend to be a little smaller but it also comes in lighter than many other tents. Measurements are around 7.5x6 feet but weighs only 6 pounds or a tad over. This is one of the smaller packed tents at only 6x20 inches. This is a tent that you can fit in most any reasonable size pack and haul for miles.
For warmer conditions, this tent is comprised almost entirely of mesh. This is one way to save weight and provide tons of ventilation. When weather turns a little rough, the rainfly is sizable and proves excellent protection. This makes it a great choice for warmer weather horse or motorcycle camping.
You get two doors and a double vestibule for a ton of usable outdoor space no matter the weather. The extra space also comes in handy since this is a bit smaller of a tent. If it fits your needs, you will enjoy this tent and the quality of its construction. It was definitely built to last season after season and will hold up to the worse conditions without issue.
5. Winterial 3 Person Tent
The first company that comes to mind when you are looking at tents probably isn’t Winterial who is much better known for snowshoes and other harsh weather gear. However, their tents are equally impressive and as capable as any of their hard use gear. This will stand up to the worst conditions and come back for more.
Along with being tough, this tent is exceptionally lightweight for any 3 person tent at just a little over 4 pounds. Of course, it will be a little smaller to make that weight but it still measures nearly 7x6 feet or just a hair under. If you are tall, this may not be the tent for you but for those of average height, it shouldn’t be an issue. When packed down, this is about the size of 2 20 ounce bottles stacked on top of each other.
There is adequate mesh for ventilation all of which is contained under a very well fitted rainfly. You can seal up the tent quite tight for colder or harsher weather or you can open it up a little and get the breeze. Vents near the top prevent condensation and keep everything aired out.
The vestibule is fairly small but sizable enough for a small amount of gear storage. You can even use your trekking poles to post out the cover a little and get a larger outdoor space for cooking. This is a clever design that doesn’t fit the mold of most mainstream tents.
6. ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 3
We are going to throw in one more from ALPS. As was previously said, they offer a ton of amazing products and while this may fall a little below the Zephyr, the margin is tiny. It comes down to which one offers the most of what you want out of a tent and which one serves it best. Both have their ups and downs.
At 7.5x6.5 feet, this is a reasonably large option for a 3 person tent. It isn’t the largest but it is far from the smallest out there. One of the major downsides of this tent is the weight which comes in around 9 pounds making it among the heaviest 3 person tents out there. There is reason for this.
While the tent can be opened up for warmer weather, it has less mesh than most other tents on this list. This means its warmer and more durable. It has double doors and double windows but lacks a vestibule. While this hurts the tent somewhat, if you need less outdoor space this isn’t a huge issue.
It does have internal pockets for organization and a small gear loft. The rainfly forms a double awning to keep the doors out of the rain but that is about it. For under $100.00 it may not seem like this tent offers much but it does guarantee durability and can be taken somewhat colder than other tents. Still not the dead of winter but most other seasons, it will do fine.
7. Moko Portable Cabin
There are a number of companies now that focus all of their sales through Amazon rather than their own site. This is a solid business model but most of these companies have a bad reputation for producing cheap junk. This isn’t universal as some, like Moko, are producing good quality gear at great prices.
With this cabin tent you get the average interior space of 6x7 feet but you get huge vestibule to add to the usable area. The overall weight is on the heavier side at just under 10 pounds. You won’t want to backpack with this tent but for car camping it works out fine and gives you plenty of space for a weekend trip.
The vestibule area has a very high roof and measures 3x6 feet. This is one of the largest vestibules you can get and makes the weight worth it. When combined with organizer pockets and a small gear loft, this tent gives you plenty of storage. Since this is a smaller tent overall, this extra space is very welcome.
The rainfly is very well fitted over a tightly sealed shell. The ventilation areas are adequate but somewhat small. This makes this nearly a 4 season tent but not quite if you have colder winters. The only real downfall of this tent is getting it set up. This does take a little longer and a little more effort to do but is still manageable in less than 15 minutes.
8. Coleman Hooligan
When it comes to tents, very few brands offer the selection and are as recognizable as Coleman. They produce dozens of models and have sold hundreds of thousands of tents. They are easily the number one outfitter when it comes to quantity but suffer from some reputation issues when it comes to quality. This is the tent to change that.
This falls outside the standard Coleman by being an acceptable backpacking tent that is larger than most other tents but without the added weight. At only 8 pounds, you get a tent that measures a whopping 8x7 feet and packs down to just 24x7. There are many smaller tents that miss this mark.
It also has a vestibule covered in one of the largest rainflies available in tents this size. Combined with a little less open ventilation, you get a tent that is capable in a variety of weather conditions if not a full on 4 season tent. It may be the most capable on this list of withstanding the cold if you have a good kit.
The outdoor space is massive for your gear storage. Easily this provides you with the most space of any 3 person tent on the market. There are none that will give you more to work with. If you car camp, you can even fit an air mattress. If you are on a budget, this is definitely one to look at.
9. Coleman Sundome
The Coleman Sundome is the ubiquitous Coleman tent made famous by car campers and weekenders for decades. There have been some modifications and improvements over the years but at heart, this is still the classic that made Coleman famous. It is durable, functional and very affordable and that makes a great choice.
At 7x7 this is the standard in size for a roomy 3 person tent. It doesn’t feel cramped and allows you room to move around. The packed down size is limiting if you want to backpack as is the weight at nearly 9 pounds. This is more of a short trip or car camp product.
With a single window and mesh vent over the door, there isn’t a lot of air flow. There are some additional vents near the top but they are more for keeping moisture from building up rather than providing airflow. The rainfly helps by being somewhat smaller. It covers what it should but leaves the rest open.
There are some gear pockets on the inside but not a lot of extras. This is a basic tent for those who want to get out every now and then and not spend a fortune. They tend to last with a little care, usually for several seasons if not more. They go up easy and pack down quickly making it perfect for first-timers.
10. Core Dome Tent
Core has emerged as a contender to industry leader Coleman focusing their sales mostly through Amazon but finding their way into some big box retailers. While they have a long way to go if they want to take a share of Coleman, the fact that they produce a quality tent you can get for under $50.00 is a good start.
This tent measures just large enough to fit a queen air mattress if that is your goal. It comes in at just a bit over 7x7 feet. The total weight is actually quite good at just 7 pounds but not exceptional. You could backpack with this tent if you wanted but something a little lighter would serve you better.
The overall shape and construction of this tent closely resemble the classic Coleman design but this tent has more mesh. This keeps the weight down and provides better airflow. The rainfly is also quite large and provides a small awning but not a vestibule. It has additional venting around the base of the tent which provides decent air flow.
For an affordable tent, this is a very hard option to beat. Any tent you can get for this price and use for a few seasons is a steal. It gets you outdoors on any budget and serves quite well. It is much better in warmer weather but you can take this in to spring or fall with confidence.
A 3 person tent, while not as common as those of other sizes, can be a very good investment. They are more likely to be used for car camping or shorter treks but a few models exist that can be hauled for longer distances without weighing you down. As with all things, there are always tradeoffs and sacrifices. If you are willing to carry it, the best 3 person tent will do you well when you need a little more room.