Ah yes! It’s camping or hiking season, and you’re in the market for arguably one of the essential pieces of camping gear a camper needs – a tent, but you’re running a tight budget. The good news is that, in as much as there are camping tents worth north of $2000, you can still find some of the best tents under 100 in 2021.
Searching for a tent can be quite distressing for every camper, particularly the amateurs, as you have to consider many factors like weight, size, durability, etc. but, have no fear because I’m here to make the selection process as easy as it gets.
I plan on accomplishing this by breaking down as much as I can the necessary criteria or factors to consider (kind of like a checklist) when searching for a camping tent, especially under the 100 budget line. I also include my recommendations of the best products that I came across during my research for the best camping tents for under 100.
- The Top 6 Best Camping Tents Under 100 in 2021
- Factors to Consider When Searching for the Best Camping Tents Under 100: A Detailed Buyer’s Guide.
- FAQ Section
- Final Statement
The Top 6 Best Camping Tents Under 100 in 2021
1. MOON LENCE Pop Up
This 4-person tent from Moon Lence is just magnificent for the price range, and you’re going to find out why.
The Moon Lence 4 person tent has dimensions of 7 feet 8” by 7 feet 2”, so it is compact and easy to carry around with a packing size of 32.7” by 7.1”. And with a weight of only 10 pounds, it is the perfect relatively lightweight tent for backpacking or hiking.
The build quality also feels pretty premium for an item that is under 100. The walls sufficiently shield you from ultraviolet rays while also not compromising ventilation. This high-quality wall makes it possible to use the Moon Lence during three seasons- autumn, summer, and spring. The extra vestibules and ease of set-up are convenience factors that allow you to carry additional luggage and quickly pitch the tent without solving a complicated puzzle.
- Easy to install and use
- Solid polyester body and aluminum framework
- Extra vestibules/pockets
- Uncompromising ventilation
- Being a 3-season tent, it doesn’t work well in winter
The Moon Lence 4 person tent is perfect for you if you’re on the market for a reliable, compact, and comfortable tent under 100 that would serve you efficiently. You won’t find much better deals than this, trust me.
2. Coleman Tent Sundome Dome
As hard as it was to decide, I finally decided to place this incredible under 100 tent second on my list. The Coleman sundome tent is arguably one of the best and most sturdy tents you can find on the market for under 100.
As long as you don’t plan to overhaul the tent with friends and family, the 10 by 10 feet internal dimensions would be more than sufficient for you.
Coleman tents are also known for their trademarked WeatherTec waterproofing system explicitly designed for rainy seasons and serve to keep the inside dry regardless of the outside weather.
In addition to being waterproof, the tent’s body is pretty solid. I found a way to balance the solid build with adequate ventilation, making it suitable for three seasons, sadly excluding winter.
- Easy to pack and set up
- Waterproof with WeatherTec system
- Great cross ventilation
- Doesn’t work well with snow
- The storage space could be bigger
The Coleman sundome tent is virtually flawless for a tent with the under 100 price tag. It could, however, have used more storage space.
3. Coleman Hooligan Backpacking Tent
And again, a tent from the Coleman group finds itself on the top half of my list, and for a good reason. It is a top-performing camping tent loaded with features that offer great value for money.
The Hooligan features a coated waterproof polyester body and rainfly that keeps you safe from light to moderate rainstorms while also protecting you from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. The coating does not in any way compromise ventilation.
Finally, the Coleman hooligan is easy to set up (basically done in under 10 minutes), which is excellent for camping and hiking. The internals also come with numerous vestibules that offer extra storage space.
- Waterproof build
- Set up is a breeze
- Well ventilated
- Relatively fragile fiberglass poles
The Coleman hooligan is an incredible unit packed with features and offers high value for money.
4. Bessport 3 and 2 Person Backpacking
This extremely lightweight unit from Bessport is arguably one of the best 2 person tent under 100.
The Best Sport backpacking tent comes in various sizes, which allows you to choose your capacity based on your individual needs. The exterior is made from high-quality polyester fabric that is waterproof and can keep you protected from harmful ultraviolet rays.
The frame is sturdy and can withstand some pretty gnarly winds. Speaking of winds, the Bessport unit is sufficiently ventilated regardless of the external waterproof coating. It also has extra storage space due to being packed with vestibules.
- Maximum stability
- Easy set-up with pre-attached poles
- Well ventilated
- The zippers break pretty easily
Apart from the low quality zippers, which shouldn’t be much of an issue as long as you’re careful, the Best Sport 2 and 3 person backpacking tent would make a great addition to your camping gear.
5. Toogh 3-4 Person Camping Tent
This is a uniquely built camping tent from Toogh that is an excellent choice for camping or hiking. I know the looks don’t affect the functionality, but I have to admit that this is a pretty good looking tent.
Apart from looks, the Toogh unit is a pretty tough unit with a durable design. It features a high-quality waterproof polyester exterior with a solid framework and spacious interior capable of accommodating up to 4 people.
The set-up is pretty straightforward, even though some first-timers may complain about it being a bit complicated.
- High quality and durable build
- Easy set-up
- Unique design
- Adequate ventilation
- 2 doors
- Beginners may find the set-up difficult
The unit from Toogh would’ve been number one on my list if the list was based on just looks. This unit properly balances beauty, durability, and functionality.
6. Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent
Last but not least on my list is the Weanas backpacking tent, and you know I just had to include this guy on here. It weighs just around 4 pounds, making it one of the “lightest lightweight” tents and just the ideal weight for backpacking and hiking.
The build quality is just superb for a tent under 100 with a body made of 201T waterproof polyester. Also, this body doesn’t trade its waterproofing capabilities for ventilation and comfort.
The internals have sufficient vestibules that let you expand your storage space while also not making packing comfortable. All these features packed into a 4 pound, under 100 camping tent is why this tent is featured on this list.
- Durable construction
- 2 door set-up
- Easy to pitch and pack
- Proper ventilation
- Could use more internal space
This tent would serve your camping needs for quite a while that it would make you forget just how cheap it was.
Factors to Consider When Searching for the Best Camping Tents Under 100: A Detailed Buyer’s Guide.
This buyer’s guide section is vital for the amateur camper with little to no idea about what to look for in a tent, particularly a budget one. It’s also for the more experienced campers who want to sharpen their knowledge on budget tents and camping as a whole.
The guide includes a breakdown of necessary criteria to consider while searching for the highest-quality hiking tent or the best backpacking tent under 100. All the items in my recommendations above passed these criteria with flying colors, hence their inclusion on the list in the first place.
During your research, you’re going to discover that you don’t have to sell a lung to afford a pretty comfortable and durable camping tent. This is because the more expensive camping tents offer additional comfort features that any true rugged outdoorsman/woman can do without.
All you have to do is make sure that whatever product you finally settle on passes all the following criteria:
Ease of Use and Set-up
Unless you want to spend most of your camping time setting up a tent with a complicated 20-step set-up, you should ask the following questions: How quickly can I pitch the tent? Are the parts color-coded? Does it have pole hubs?
Color-coded parts make pitching your tent a lot easier because you can tell which tent pole goes to which tent corner just because they’re the same color. This cuts downtime spent figuring it out like a jigsaw puzzle. Pole hubs increase the tent’s strength in addition to making it easy to figure out which pole goes where.
This is probably the most critical factor to bear in mind when shopping for a camping tent under 100 because this would greatly influence your tent’s comfort and durability. The capacity of your tent can range from 2-15, so this decision is solely based on your needs with a little overhead room for unforeseen circumstances.
Because of the weight, backpacking tents are usually of smaller capacity, generally between 2 and 4. If you prefer sleeping alone or with a single partner, your best bet is getting a 1 or 2 person unit.
If you backpack with a larger group of friends, you probably need a larger capacity tent like the best 6 person tent under 100. Individual body size and amount of luggage and gear would also influence your capacity choice. For instance, smaller sized individuals with only a few additional gears would require smaller tents.
Finally, bear in mind that your tent’s capacity may have a direct correlation to the price. So, you shouldn’t be expecting to find a 10-capacity tent for under 100. Also, larger capacity tents are usually heavier, so you should consider something smaller if backpacking is the primary use.
Weight and Size
Like I said previously, the weight of your tent dramatically depends on the capacity, with the larger capacity models generally weighing more and vice versa. So, if you’re primarily a backpacker, a smaller capacity tent should be your preferred option. The following weight terminologies would increase your understanding of tent weights:
● Minimum trail weight
This is the main weight criteria you should consider when choosing as it gives you a rough idea of the weight of the rainfly, poles, and body of the tent. However, because it is the “minimum” trail weight and only the mandatory components are taken into account, it doesn’t include the weight of additional parts like stakes.
● Packaged weight
Unlike the minimum trail weight, the packaged weight includes the weight of everything in the tent’s purchase pack. You may not need to take all the packaged components when going camping, hence the difference between the minimum trail weight and the packaged weight.
● Packed size
This gives you a rough idea of the amount of space the packed tent would take up in your backpack.
Tents are primarily meant to shelter us from the elements of weather effectively. So, what time of the year do you planning to use your tent? What kind of weather are you expecting? Some tents are designed for one or two seasons e.g., the summer tent specifically designed for the summer weather with tailored ventilation and insect protection features.
However, the preferred tents are those that are built to withstand a broader range of weather conditions. They include:
● 3 season tents
These tents tend to try to strike a balance between ventilation, warmth, and insect protection. They can withstand a little bit of rain and snow but generally are not best for prolonged exposures to these elements. If you hike or backpack during relatively clear weather with just the occasional light rains, they are for you.
These tents usually come with a waterproof rainfly that protects you from the heavier downpours. It can always be removed to provide more ventilation during a hot day. These groups of tents are your best bets for a high-quality camping tent under 100.
● 4 season tents
To be totally honest, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a four-season tent within the under 100 price range even though a lot of manufacturers would lay such claims.
They are designed to withstand wintery conditions, including heavy snow, in addition to their effectiveness during the summer and rainy seasons, even torrential downpours. They are typically dome-shaped and have smaller meshes on the tent’s body to keep the cold out and the warmth in.
Build Quality and Durability
The quality of materials used in the construction of your camping tent dramatically affects the overall lifespan, waterproofing, and weight of the products. So, questions like, “how long do I intend to use it?” “am I planning just a single-use?” should be at the back of your mind when examining the tent’s durability criteria.
The following terminologies are usually found somewhere on the tent’s packaging and can serve as guides to expected durability:
● Denier Rating (D)
The tent’s “Denier rating” can be used to measure the thickness and durability of the material. Strictly speaking, it is the thickness of each strand within the tent’s body.
One denier or 1D is approximate to the thickness of one strand of silk. This means that a 20D fabric features strands that are as thick as 20 strands of silk wound together.
Generally speaking, the higher the denier rating, the thicker, more durable, and water-resistant the fabric.
● Thread Count (T)
This refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch of tent material. The higher the T rating, the softer the material is, and it is way more pleasing to the touch.
A material with a high T and D rating would be expected to have high levels of water-resistance and durability.
● Water-resistant Coating
It is usually denoted as “1000mm *brand name* polyurethane and silicone”. This means that the tent’s fabric has a water-resistant layer that is 1000mm thick and is made up of polyurethane and silicone. The “brand name” can be any of the many manufacturers.
As is expected, the thicker the water-resistant coating is (in mm), the better it is at keeping water out of the tent.
*note that the figures used to describe durability are not constant and used to illustrate. For example, the 20D denier rating could’ve easily been 25D or 30D. So, try to get the tent with the highest ratings in all criteria within your 100 budget.
Also, note that most modern-day tents are made of human-made fabrics like Polyester, Nylon, and Cotton/Canvas. The cotton/canvas materials are usually heavier and more expensive but are generally more livable and durable.
Is the tent double-walled or single-walled? The double-walled tents are more common than their single-walled counterparts and comprise most of the tents you come across on the market.
The double-walled tents simply have a breathable mesh inner material that is surrounded by an external waterproof rainfly.
In as much as we would all like to claim the title of the most rugged outdoorsman, we should bear in mind that even the most challenging campers require some level of comfort. So, it would be best if you looked to purchase a camping tent with the most comfortable features your budget can afford.
Look out for the presence of adequate interior space, pockets or vestibules, patio space, and ventilation. The right amount of all these would give you all the comfort you need while also staying without becoming too expensive or bulky.
What is the best material for a tent?
I would say the canvas or cotton. They offer the highest sustainability levels, weather resistance, durability, external noise reduction, strength, and breathability. They, however, are heavier and more expensive than the traditional nylon tents.
Are cotton or canvas tents waterproof?
Yes, cotton/canvas tents are naturally waterproof as they can absorb water and expand to fill in gaps preventing water from seeping in further. Tent fabrics are also commonly treated with additional artificial waterproofing like polyurethane and silicone on the exterior.
Is it possible to find a long-lasting tent for under 100?
Even though the lifespan of your tent would ultimately come down to how much you’re willing to spend, it is still very possible to come across sufficiently durable camping tents for under 100.
I’m sure it was great to find out that not only the super-rich who can afford $2000 tents can go on a fun and safe camping trip. As long as the tents pass all the criteria stated in the buyer’s guide section, it is still possible to purchase some of the best camping tents under 100 2021.