Most people understand the basics of a tent. When you’re camping, backpacking or on a hunting trip, you need shelter from the elements. Of course, with the variety of conditions that may require a tent, there are many different options available also. Here, we’re going to help you figure out how to choose the best 5-person tents for your next trip. Tents may be complicated, but making the right choice doesn’t have to be. Once you have read through this guide, you should be ready to get your next trip underway.

What is the Backpacking Principle?

Before you start looking into tent capacity, you need to understand the backpacking principle. This is what a lot of tent manufacturers use when labeling their product. So, what does it mean? The backpacking principle is simple: it’s a unit of measurement based on how many sleeping pads can fit in a tent. This measurement doesn’t take into account how tight a fit it might be, or what happens if you have too much luggage.

It’s called the backpacking principle because it has backpackers in mind. When backpackers camp, they tend to only take what is necessary for travel. Everything can fit into their backpacks. This includes their tent! Keep in mind that backpackers do not spend a lot of time in their tent. They use it to sleep in, and then they’re on the move again. They don’t have to worry too much about space.

Now, consider what it might be like for a group of vacationers packed into a tent. Their luggage and gear will take up a lot of space, not to mention other gear. Have you ever camped in the rain? No one wants to sleep next to wet jackets or muddy boots.

When it comes to family camping, of course, you can fit as many people as advertised into the tent. However, you may not be able to do it comfortably. You have to figure out what is reasonable for you and your group. Comparing a tent’s square footage and estimates of how much space each person will need can help you come up with a comfortable number of campers. In some cases, you may find that a 12-person tent may be best for six people, or a 10-person tent great for five campers, or 5-person tents good for 3 campers.

Fortunately, not all tents use the backpacking principle. In fact, there are some tents that are far more generous with their spacing and make sure to consider what your family might bring along on the trip. This is simply important information to know while shopping around.

What are Popular Tent Types?

5-Person Tents - cabin tent type

Cabin Style

Cabin-style tents can be a little more on the luxurious side. They are supposed to fit families or couples and give them a livable space. These tents tend to have vertical walls with a taller peak height than the dome-style tents. These models may also have room dividers and other extra features. These are most likely to be used by campers on vacation.

Dome Style

Dome-style tents are for the adventurer or more seasoned camper. These models are stronger and can handle wind storms better than a cabin-style tent. They are tall in the center, but have sloping walls. This generally means that there is less livable space in dome tents than in cabin tents.

What is Tent Seasonality?

tent seasonality

As you start looking into tents, you will see seasons mentioned a lot. Most likely you’re going to see three of the most common choices. These choices are three-season tents, three- to four-season tents and four-season tents.

Three-Season Tents

These are the most popular tents that you can find. While these aren’t heavyweight tents, they are capable of handling moderate temperatures. They can be used in spring, summer and fall, as long as none of those seasons experience extreme weather. They have mesh panels to keep insects out, and have a rain fly to defend against rain. What you can’t expect these tents to do is protect you in a violent storm, or when heavy snow falls.

Three- to Four-Season Tents

These tents allow you to go beyond the average camping seasons. However, you should not consider these tents right for camping throughout all four seasons. They are best in the late or early winter when the snowfall isn’t heavy and the weather isn’t extreme. While they still encompass the spring, summer and fall months, you can stretch into the other seasons a little.

Four-Season Tents

Four-season tents can handle violent winds and heavy snow. If you’re up high in the mountains, the weather is not going to be as favorable as it would be in a comfortable campground. The design of these tents keeps that in mind. They use more poles for extra stability and are made of a heavier material. They are usually dome tents, designed to keep snow from piling up on the top of the tent.

If you’re a casual camper, then odds are you’re going to need a three-season tent. These are the most common and cost-effective tents. Now, you should know that they do sell one-season tents. However, these tents tend to be too lightweight and cannot handle even a small downpour. We suggest that you stick with a three-season tent and above.

How We Chose Our Ratings

We aim to make our ratings and reviews completely transparent. Accuracy is important to us, no matter what the data shows. We want consumers to get the best out of a product, rather than be tricked into something of low quality. When it comes to looking for a tent, you have to keep in mind a variety of factors. Budget, season, purpose and capacity are only a few of the variables that you have to consider. When we developed this list, we took all of those considerations, and more, into account.

We searched through some of the more popular 5-persons tent options to find out which ones stood above the rest. We discovered which ones were best through looking at the product features and the reviews. Reviews are among some of the best resources that we have to look at when it comes to ratings. If people are unhappy with a product, then the reviews are going to say so. Equally, if they appreciate their purchase, it will be obvious.

Top 5 Best 5-Person Tents

Vango Capri 500XL 5-Person Tents

5-Person Tents - Vango Capri 500XL

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This is, by far, one of the most luxurious 5-person tents on the list. You won’t see anything else quite like it. This is an inflatable tent! It comes with air beams instead of classic poles. This tent is built a little differently than most. It has three rooms, which include a large living area and two sleeping units. The dividers can be removed for more customization.

In addition, if you’re a late sleeper, there’s an inner cocoon tent that allows less light to get through. This means it stays darker for longer, allowing you to sleep when you want to.


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Coleman Montana 5-Person Tents

5-Person Tents - Coleman Montana 6

Image Credit: Costco Wholesale

5-person tents technically can fit up to six people, but it comfortably fits around five. This tent has an extended door awning to keep all of your gear dry and out of the way. It can fit up to two queen-sized air mattresses inside for your comfort.

With an easy setup, you don’t have to worry about losing the tent instructions. They’re printed right on the inside of the tent. For those who live in rainier regions, this tent keeps all water out.


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Coleman Rocky Mountain 5-Person Tents

5-Person Tents - coleman rocky moutain 5

Image Credit: Carlson Knives

Coleman is known as one of the best tent manufacturers, and this is another one of its 5-person tents that made the list. Seasoned and beginning campers tend to know and love the brand. This particular tent is pricier than the Montana Tent. It contains two bedrooms and a living space in the front. Not only is this tent waterproof, but it also protects against the sun’s rays.

Unfortunately, the height of this tent, especially in the bedrooms, can be a problem for some people. Its head height is on the lower end. Even shorter people may have to bend down or crouch in the bedroom area.


Wenzel Pine Ridge 5-Person Tents

5-Person Tents - ​Wenzel Pine Ridge 5-Person

Image Credit: CampMore2

When you are camping, you do not always need luxury. Wenzel’s 5-person tents can comfortably fit a small family of five. With a queen-sized mattress and a couple of cots, it’s great for first-time campers who don’t need a lot of room.

This dome tent also offers some privacy by using dividers. It comes with two mesh doors, a mesh roof and a mesh window, perfect for ventilation. Unless you’re a backpacker, however, most reviewers found that four to five full-sized adults don’t fit in the tent very well.


Forfar Camping Family 5-Person Tents

5-Person Tents - forfar family camping tent

Image Credit: Amazon

When it comes to space for value, this tent is one of the best. This is one of the more affordable family 5-person tents that we reviewed. It is a three-season tent with a double-waterproof design. When looking for a tent, you should always keep the worst weather in mind. Prepare for bad weather, even if you hope it won’t happen.

You can erect this tent quickly, given that it has a quick-clip system with the pole design. This tent is an all-purpose shelter. You can use it for your family vacations, festivals and any other camping experience you can imagine. One thing that we can say about this tent is that it’s sturdy. Additionally, it stays cozy at night without being suffocating. The mesh panels help get a regular airflow through the shelter. It’s the sturdy and high-quality construction, along with its price, that make it one of our favorites.


5-Person Tents - buyers guide

Buyer’s Guide

We have covered what we think are the best tents on the market, but how do you decide for yourself? There are a lot of considerations to take into account. On one hand, our reviews and ratings are well thought out and designed with the consumer in mind. Of course, you should always check other reviews, in case one of your questions went unanswered.

If you need to purchase a tent, think of a few different factors:

  • Capacity
  • Durability
  • Style
  • Features
  • Cost

How many people and how much gear they have with them is always going to be a consideration when shopping for a tent. A comfortable experience results when you have plenty of room. Additionally, you need to check for durability. Look at the descriptions and the material used to make the tent. What style of tent is going to suit your needs best? Do you need it to be more durable? Or are you planning a family vacation?

When buying a tent, you should make a checklist of everything that you need to bring and everything that you want out of a tent. Whether this is extra storage space, divided rooms, awnings or a garage for your boots and backpacks, you have to know what you want before you can find the right tent.

Like anything that you purchase, keep your budget in mind. Tents can be costly! While they are an investment, you don’t want to overpay, either. Keep cost in mind and check reviews to make sure that you aren’t going to be ripped off.

Planning a camping trip can be a lot of fun. Exploring all the tent options available can be a lot of fun, too. It just takes a little bit of knowledge about what you’re purchasing to make the right choice. Before you go out and buy, make sure that you’ve read this guide over and know what you’re interested in.

If you have an idea of what you need for your trip and what your budget is, then it shouldn’t be difficult to find a tent that fits you and your lifestyle perfectly.

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