The best three-person tents reviewed (2023)

From hiking tents to camping tents this is Live For The Outdoors' current selection of champion three-person tents.

The best three-man tents

by Chris Williams |

When you're camping across the UK and abroad, it's important that you get the best-sized tent for yourself and whoever will be joining you to ensure the best trip without any hiccups.

Three-person tents are indeed made for three people, but they are very popular options amongst pairs who want a more spacious tent to store equipment that a two-person tent can struggle to provide. This is particularly useful on longer hikes.

There's a lot to think about when you're researching your tent. So we've included what things ought to be on your mind.

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What to look for in a three-person tent

Size: Naturally, if it's a lightweight trekking tent you want then you will be looking at compact three-person tents. Though for the best space-to-weight ratio, you should consider low-lying tunnel tents. This shape can offer plenty of space without generating much bulk. If it's a general camping tent you're after, then there are a range of options in terms of size, from Vango's modest Beta 350XL to Zempire's cavernous three-person mansion.

Weight and packed size: For trekkers, this is key and part of the reason three-person tents are very popular. They can give that bit of extra room without adding too much weight or girth to the packed size. Consider your rucksack size and volume and be sure to check dimensions of a tent's packed size before committing to it. With camping tents consider how much space you have in your car.

Shape: Dome tents and geodesic tents are the most stable shapes and best for dealing with stroppy weather. Tripod and backpacking shapes are lighter than dome and geodesic tents but aren't so weather resistant. Though, waterproofing is usually still very good. Tunnel tents are popular for hiking and camping alike. They can be compact and lightweight or large and commodious, depending on the design. They aren't as good in a storm as dome or geodesic tents but they are usually still pretty good.

Material: Most tents these days use nylon and polyester because these materials offer excellent weather resistance and durability while remaining lightweight and inexpensive. Some larger camping tents may use cotton, polycotton, or canvas because these materials insulate better, are more breathable, quieter, and very durable. Though, like leather boots, tents using these materials usually need breaking in to weather-proof the fabric. They're also much heavier than the synthetic fabrics.

Features: Things such as the number of doors and size of vestibules are important because these heavily influence a tent's liveability. Two opposing doors makes entering and exiting for multiple people much easier while multiple or generous vestibules helps cater for gear and make things more comfortable when the weather sucks. Are there gear pockets? How many pegs come with it? Do the zips have storm flaps? Think about your intentions for the tent and if it matches.

The best three-person tents

Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket III

Verdict: Light, durable, very versatile. It's just a little cramped for three.

Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket III
©Photo: Jack Wolfskin

1. Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket III

Editor's pick
Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket III

Pros: Proper 3-season tent, light and compact, PFC-free, free-standing

Cons: Sleeping space is snug for three people

It’s hard to find a tent that covers all bases but the Skyrocket III gives it a pretty decent crack. It’s durable and weather resistant, yet light and compact. Furthermore, the Skyrocket III is completely PFC-free. Being free-standing, you can still pitch it on hard ground. It’s quite an impressive piece of kit.

The Skyrocket III is a great middle ground in terms of the weather it can handle. Bar deep winter treks, this tent can cope with anything. Its waterproofing for the fly and groundsheet is excellent, the 9mm aluminium poles are very strong, and there are 12 pegs and four guy lines for extra strength.

Inside, there are half a dozen pockets for your precious kit and anything else should be able to fit inside the two modest vestibules. The only niggle with this tent is the bedroom width. It’s only 175cm across, so while it can cater for three, it is a snug night you’re going to have.

Internal dimensions (LxWxH) 170 x 225 x 115cm | Peak height 95cm | Packed size 55 x 20cm | Weight 3.1kg | Doors 1 | Porches 1 | Style Freestanding dome | Poles 9mm DAC aluminium alloy | Fly 75D polyester fly (4000mm HH) | Groundsheet 70D Hydrofilm nylon groundsheet (5000mm HH) | Inner 68D polyester

Rejka Antao III Light HC

Verdict: Offers a lot of space yet doesn't demand extra weight in return. It's perfect for those longer treks and hikes

Rejka Antao III Light HC

2. Rejka Antao III Light HC

Best space to weight ratio
Rejka Antao III Light HC

Pros: Lots of space, still light and compact, good weather resistance

Cons: Not everyone needs the extra space

Long, low tunnel tents are the best shape for longer treks and hikes because they offer the best space to weight ratio because the steep walls free up floor space and the simple pole arrangement keep the weight down. Rejka's Antao III Light HC offers roughly four metres of internal space lengthways, while only weighing in at just over three kilograms and packing down into a smaller pack than the Jack Wolfskin Skyrocket III.

Tunnel tents aren’t the most weather-resistant shape but the Antao III Light HC combats this by being low and using strong 8.5mm aluminium alloy poles, aided by guy ropes and Y-shaped pegs. While the size is not necessary for everyone, for those who do want the extra space, the Antao III Light HC is a brilliant tent.

Internal dimensions (LxWxH) 230/410 x 160 x 110cm | Peak height 120cm | Packed size 42 x 20 cm | Weight 3.2kg | Doors 2 | Porches 1 | Style Non-freestanding tunnel | Poles 8.5mm T6 aluminium alloy | Fly 40D silicone-coated ripstop nylon fly (3000mm HH) | Groundsheet 70D PU-coated nylon groundsheet (10,000mm HH) | Inner 30D nylon

Sea to Summit Telos TR3

Verdict: Lightweight and easy to pitch. But it's not suited to wild weather and is a bit tight for three people.

Sea to Summit Telos TR3

3. Sea to Summit Telos TR3

Best lightweight 3-person tent
Sea to Summit Telos TR3

Pros: Very lightweight, excellent internal space, multiple pitching configurations

Cons: Only suitable for milder weather

Sea To Summit's freestanding Telos TR3 is very lightweight indeed and perfect for backpacking or treks in mild weather. It's also very clever and awash with smart ideas. Sea To Summit uses its Tension Ridge Architecture design to give a higher ceiling and therefore more space inside. Coupled with vestibules on each side, this is a very spacious tent. The Telos TR3 is also designed to be very well ventilated thanks to a range of adjustable vents. In mild weather, that's great, but be aware it can be drafty in cooler climates.

You can pitch the Telos TR3 in six different ways, if you include the inner only setup too. The most intriguing is the Hangout Mode, which has the tent pitched as a semi-open shelter. There are other clever innovations too, such as the tent pole bag doubling as a light-diffusing lamp when you put a head torch in it.

This tent isn't cheap, and it's really only suited for use in milder weather. But that's when most of us undertake our outdoor expeditions so there is value in that. We love the Telos TR3's generous space, ingenious design, and of course its low weight.

Internal dimensions (LxWxH) 230/330 x 181 x 134cm | Peak height 134cm | Packed size 49 x 15cm | Weight 2.12kg | Doors 2 | Porches 2 | Style Freestanding | Poles 9.6mm DAC Featherlite NSL and 9.5mm aluminium alloy | Fly 15D Sil-PeU-coated nylon ripstop (1200mm HH) | Groundsheet 15D Sil-PeU-coated nylon ripstop (2500mm HH) | Inner 15D polyester

Jack Wolfskin Yellowstone III

Verdict: Excellent weather resistance for wilder weather. It packs down quite well, but it is relatively heavy.

Jack Wolfskin Yellowstone III
©Photo: Jack Wolfskin

4. Jack Wolfskin Yellowstone III

Best for wild weather
Jack Wolfskin Yellowstone III

Pros: PFC-free, excellent weather resistance, double vestibules

Cons: Relatively heavy, Skyrocket III will suit most people better

If you like your hiking trips in wild weather, or at least undertaking treks when the weather can get wild, a tent that can cope with wind and rain time and time again is crucial. Jack Wolfskin has earnt another place here with its Yellowstone III tent.

It’s a beefed-up dome tent with fantastic resilience to wind and plenty of rain. And yet, like the Skyrocket it’s PFC-free. The great thing about the Yellowstone is that while it is good in cooler and tumultuous weather, there is plenty of ventilation that allows it to be comfortable in milder temperatures too. Though, while it is quite compact when packed down, it is relatively heavy.

The bedroom can easily cater for three and the inclusion of two doors and vestibules makes a huge difference to practicality. The Vestibules aren’t that big but because there’re two, it’s enough for gear storage.

Internal dimensions (LxWxH) 180 x 225 x 125cm | Peak height 130cm | Packed size 63 x 20cm | Weight 4.88kg | Doors 2 | Porches 2 | Style Freestanding dome | Poles DAC Reverse Combi aluminium alloy | Fly 75D polyester fly (4000mm HH) | Groundsheet 150D Hydrofilm nylon groundsheet (10,000mm HH) | Inner 68D polyester

Vango Beta 350XL

Verdict: A lightweight camping tent made from recycled material that manages to remain spacious. It is quite basic, though.

Vango Beta 350XL
©Photo: Vango

5. Vango Beta 350XL

Best for camping
Vango Beta 350XL

Pros: Lightweight, made from recycled material, great value

Cons: No power cord port, too low for standing upright in

Camping tents do have a job to do in catering for more people and gear, thus they end up being bigger and bulkier. But we appreciate there are those of use who want a camping tent that doesn’t go too far down the route of bigness and bulkiness. Enter the Vango Beta 350XL. It’s a tent of excellent design, catering for three adults with ease yet remaining within a reasonable footprint and weight.

It’s managed this feat by being quite short. So you get the generous bedroom and porch, you just can't stand up fully in either. That’s not really an issue because you tend to sit in both rather than stand.

We certainly like that this tent is made from recycled plastic, and you don’t lose any performance because of it. But it is quite a basic tent, certainly for camping (as opposed to hiking) trips. There are no slits for power cords for example. But at the end of the day, it’s very well made and that’s key.

Internal dimensions (LxWxH) 435 x 220 x 145cm | Peak height 145cm | Packed size 65 x 25cm | Weight 6.8kg | Doors 2 | Porches 1 | Style Camping tunnel | Poles Vango PowerFlex fibreglass | Fly Sentinel Eco Flysheet (3,000mm HH) | Groundsheet PE groundsheet | Inner polyester

Coleman Darwin 3+

Verdict: The ideal small camping tent. It's well made and spacious, it's just not suitable for hiking trips.

Coleman Darwin 3+ pitched in a field
©Photo: Coleman

Best budget camping tent
Coleman Darwin 3+

Pros: Great quality for the value, compact packed size, groundsheet in porch area

Cons: Not suitable for hiking trips

Coleman has long been a camping brand for those after value and quality, which is basically everyone and explains why the brand is so popular. Its little Darwin 3+ is a truly excellent little camping tent.

For its size, the Darwin 3+ manages to provide quite a lot of interior space. It will cater for three if you need to, or make a very comfortable two-person tent. The porch is also large enough to store bags, shoes, and even a small camping table if you wish.

The dome shape is nice and sturdy and the waterproofing is up to scratch. With a weight of under five kilograms and reasonably compact packed size, the Darwin 3+, though not suitable for proper hikes, can certainly be carried a fair distance from the car to the camping site if that's required.

Internal dimensions (LxWxH) 210/320 x 180 x 120cm | Peak height 130cm | Packed size 50 x 19cm | Weight 4.9kg | Doors 1 | Porches 1 | Style Freestanding dome | Poles Fibreglass | Fly WeatherTec polyester fly (3000mm HH) | Groundsheet PU groundsheet | Inner polyester

Vango Anantara IV Air TC 450XL

Verdict: It's heavy and expensive but the Anantara will last decades and delivers incredible attention to detail and comfort.

Vango Anantara IV Air TC 450XL

7. Vango Anantara IV Air TC 450XL

Best for luxurious camping
Vango Anantara IV Air TC 450XL

Pros: Spacious, very durable, great features, easy to pitch

Cons: Expensive, heavy

Vango's tent models vary enormously. But its Anantara series are big flagship models that are all about making your summer camping experience as comfortable as possible. Though classed as a four-person tent, the Anantara IV Air TC 450XL is suitable for two to six people, depending on how you want to use the bountiful space. The sleeping quarters is almost seven square metres, with the living and awning areas adding a further 16 square metres.

In pursuit of comfort, the polycotton fabric is certainly heavy but in return it is very breathable (assisted by ventilation points). You won't suffer from unpleasant condensation. There are many wonderful touches such as power cord points into the bedroom and living area, light hanging points, darkened bedrooms, sky lights. and optional add-on pods.

With tents of this size, putting them up and taking them down can be a little arduous. But the Vango is one of many family-sized tents that employ inflatable poles, which makes erecting large tents quick (10 here) and above all, easy. It's quite an investment but it'll last you decades.

Internal dimensions (LxWxH) 805 x 300 x 210cm | Peak height 220cm | Packed size 80 x 55cm | Weight 52.4kg | Doors 5 | Porches 1 | Style Camping tunnel | Poles Inflatable air frame | Fly Sentinel Elite Fabric polycotton (5000mm HH) | Groundsheet Sewn-in groundsheet | Inner N/A

Tent care and maintenance

All of the tents we have recommended are durable and last many moons but only if you take care of them as you ought to. This includes cleaning and proofing the fabric plus making sure the tent is completely dry before storing it.

Tents that are still damp when packed away and stored are the ones that don't last long. Mould quickly sets in and the fabric gets wrecked. We know that you can't clean and dry your tent while you're away on a hike, and that's all the more reason why it's crucial you do so when you get back home.

For cleaning synthetic, cotton, polycotton, and canvas tents, we recommend Grangers' Tent + Gear Cleaner or Nikwax Tent and Gear SolarWash. Both of these are effective water-based cleaners that clean and also revitalise fabric breathability.

Grangers Tent + Gear Cleaner 500ml
Price: £8.14
Grangers Tent + Gear Cleaner 500ml

9. Nikwax Tent and Gear SolarWash 500ml

Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarWash 500ml

For the subsequent re-proofing of the tent fabrics, we also recommend Grangers and Nikwax. In addition to rejuvenating the water repellency of tent fabrics, they also help protect against UV.

Grangers Tent + Gear Repel
Price: £11.99
Grangers Tent + Gear Repel

Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof 500ml
Price: £13.98
Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof 500ml

12. Nikwax Cotton Proof 300ml

Nikwax Cotton Proof 300ml

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