Best 3 Person Tent Under $100 (2020 Buyer’s Guide)

If you enjoy nature and camping (which if you’re reading this you most likely do), you know how expensive some of the top-brand outdoor gear can be.

Outdoor enthusiasts come from all walks of life… and all wallet sizes. Those on a tight budget might find it challenging to find an affordable 3-person tent that doesn’t compromise on the essentials.

So, we compared a range of budget 3-person tents under $100 and reviewed those that we felt offered the best value. Plus, we threw together a detailed buyer’s guide to help you get the most bang for your buck when choosing your next tent!

DescriptionAwardPrice
Editor’s Choice Coleman Sundome Tent Coleman Sundome TentBest OverallSEE PRICE »
Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent Weanas Professional Backpacking TentBest For BackpackingSEE PRICE »
Forceatt 2-3 Person Camping Tent Forceatt 2-3 Person Camping TentBest Four-Season TentSEE PRICE »

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Coleman Sundome Tent

  • Best Overall Choice

Coleman is an American heritage outdoor brand with roots tracing back to 1900. They started out making gas lanterns, but in the 1960s, they ventured into tents and other camping equipment. 

It is only fair that our top choice for the best 3-person tent under $100 comes from a reputable manufacturer with an immense tradition in producing quality outdoor goods.

We failed to find a tent that offered a better combination of build quality, easy setup, portability, weatherproofing, and value during our testing.

The Coleman Sundome Tent line is a series of budget tents offering a sleeping capacity from two to six people, depending on the model. Our model of choice, as you might have guessed from the title of this review, is the 3-person option. It has a spacious 7 x 7 ft sleeping area and a ceiling height of 4-feet-4-inches. This tent will easily sleep three people without feeling crowded.

It features sturdy build quality, with lightweight and durable aluminum poles. This tent should last for years. Even better, it only took us around 10 minutes to set it up without any issues. Coleman made sure that even those new to the outdoors were up to the task.

With a rainfly installed right from the factory and Coleman’s trademark WeatherTec technology, the Sundome Tent provides excellent weather protection to boot. Although the rainfly doesn’t cover the entire tent, its tarp-like bottom prevents water from leaking through the inner layer.

Inverted seams and zipper cuffs provide additional weatherproofing. With this 3-person tent, you’ll stay dry no matter how much Mother Nature rains on your parade. The frame should also be fine in winds up to 35 miles per hour—plenty for what most of us are comfortable camping in. On top of its quality design, Coleman added storage options on the tent’s inner sides to keep your gear and equipment accessible and safe from the weather.

Other features include large windows and a floor vent, which provide superior breathability for warm days. It even has an E-port for extension cords if you need to bring power inside the tent.

Overall, we came away impressed that a sub-$100 tent checked all the boxes, some of which more expensive options fail to. That’s why it took the top spot as the best 3-person tent under $100.

Key Features

  • Double-layer design for weatherproofing
  • Lightweight and durable construction
  • Takes just minutes to setup
  • Excellent build quality
  • Spacious main chamber
  • Large windows and floor vents
  • Excellent wind protection

Specifications

  • 84 inches x 84 inches x 52 inches
  • 6.5 lb packed weight
  • Suitable for spring, summer, and fall
  • Single-door design
  • Room for three people
Pros
  • Fantastic value
  • Premium build quality
  • Portable
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Reliable weatherproofing
Cons
  • The rainfly does not cover the whole tent area
Coleman Sundome Tent

Coleman Sundome Tent

Price:
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Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent

  • Best For Backpacking

If you’re a backpacker, you need to be able to stay mobile and explore nature at your fancy—you can’t have a heavy tent weighing you down. You also need something that’s easy to set up, even if it means sacrificing extra space or features, especially if you’re looking for a budget tent.

Many of you might recognize Weanas as an online retailer of sporting and outdoor goods, but very few know about their branded products. Weanas’ Professional Backpacking Tent is a fantastic lightweight solution for backpackers, weighing just 4.8 pounds packed. The sleeping area is 80 x 63 inches, with a 45-inch ceiling. 

On the downside, due to its ultra-portable design, the Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent might get crowded with three people sleeping inside. For a solo hiker or even a couple on a romantic adventure, though? It’s absolutely perfect. While it might not be suitable for longer trips, it is ideal for backpackers on weekend adventures.

Weanas made sure that the weather won’t be an issue with this tent, too, providing a 201T polyester with PU coating rainfly, 201T polyester and breathable nylon mesh inner tent, and 150D Anti-Tear Oxford cloth floor. The rainfly has a 4,000 mm waterproof rating, while the floor rates at 5,000 mm.

The tent’s setup and takedown are a single-person operation that only takes about five minutes, so you don’t have to worry about getting caught in a storm. Weanas included plenty of ventilation for warm days and a hook for a lamp/lantern as an additional feature.

Overall, it is hard to argue against choosing the Weanas’ Professional Backpacking Tent. Weanas delivered on premium material and build quality, creating an ultraportable tent for backpackers for a fraction of the price of comparable options. Sure, you don’t get much in terms of features and accessories, and the space in the tent is limited, but no other budget 3-person tent can compete on the essentials where this tent shines.

Key Features

  • 201T polyester inner tent and rainfly
  • 150 Anti-Tear Oxford floor with 5,000 mm waterproof rating
  • Single-person setup
  • Ultra-durable 7001 aerospace aluminum frame
  • Main chamber for up to three people
  • Plenty of ventilation and breathability

Specifications

  • 86 inches x 62 inches x 43 inches
  • 4.8 lb packed weight
  • Fits two to three people
  • Suitable for spring, summer, and fall
  • 2-door dome tent design
Pros
  • Ultraportable
  • Quick setup and disassembly
  • Superior weatherproofing
  • Premium build quality
Cons
  • Lack of storage room and features
  • A bit too small for three people
Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent

Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent

Price:
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Forceatt 2-3 Person Camping Tent

  • Best Four-Season Tent

The first two tents on our list are versatile tents that focused on waterproofing but offer little protection for winter use. Winter camping and backpacking is an entirely different experience. The temperatures can be brutal, so protecting the people inside the tent from snow and high winds is a challenge.

Forceatt is far from a well-known brand name in the sporting and outdoor goods market segment. They mainly produce budget-oriented equipment that is always on sale. Given that, we weren’t expecting much from this tent.

We were stunned that this brand’s product managed to deliver the performance and build quality that many premium brands fail to do.

Putting together a proper four-season tent that can withstand the elements is a challenge in itself. Doing it at less than $100 is downright miraculous.

The Forceatt 2-3 Person Camping Tent is the only option we would feel comfortable taking with us on a winter camping trip. Four-season tents need extra insulation and a more robust frame/build quality to stay dry and warm, and Forceatt rises to the challenge. 

The frame is sturdy while remaining lightweight. Four-season tents tend to be heavy, yet the Forceatt Camping Tent weighs only 6.6 lbs. when packed. Additionally, they didn’t cut any corners to save on production costs and used heavy-duty zippers and attachments for longevity.

Coupled with high-quality 70D polyester with 200T PU coating for the outer tent to provide superior weatherproofing and insulation, there’s nothing budget about this 3-person tent’s build quality. A 3,000 mm waterproof rating should be enough to weather you through winter storms. The rainfly covers every inch of the tent, and along with the welded-floor design, you should stay dry.

When pitched, the tent has an aerodynamic design and additional supports to provide stability in high wind situations. You can use the heavy-duty zippers to close off all windows and vents for complete wind protection in heavy storms. The setup takes a bit longer than the other products on this list, but this is understandable due to additional supports.

Overall, Forceatt’s 2-3 Person Camping Tent gives you the confidence and support to hit the trails year-round. Being able to say that about a sub-$100 tent is already a massive achievement for Forceatt.

Key Features

  • Four-season design and fabrics, including a 70D polyester rainfly with a 200T PU coating
  • Welded-type flooring for anti-tear and waterproofing
  • Large enough for three people or two people with heavy gear
  • 7001 aluminum rods provide robust and windproof construction
  • Breathable inner tent, separable from the outer tent
  • Heavy-duty zippers and attachments

Specifications

  • 88 inches x 73 inches x 43 inches
  • 6.6 lb packed weight
  • Fits three people
  • Suitable for all four seasons
  • Single-door dome tent
Pros
  • Fantastic value
  • Robust construction
  • Superior weatherproofing and windproofing
  • Lightweight
  • Tear-proof flooring
Cons
  • Takes a bit longer to set up
  • Pungent smell out-of-the-box
Forceatt 2-3 Person Camping Tent

Forceatt 2-3 Person Camping Tent

Price:
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Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Complete Buyer’s Guide for Tents

You’ve seen our tent choices and the reasons why we picked them. Unless you’re a seasoned outdoorsman and have gone through plenty of tents over the years, chances are you might not be familiar with the right methodology on how to choose a perfect tent, whether from this review or otherwise.

Let’s take a look at some essential factors you need to consider before browsing tent models. Bear with us, and you’ll be ready for the trails in no time.

Related: What to Look For When Buying a Tent

Sleeping Capacity

The first question you should ask yourself is which tent size fits your needs. Manufacturers produce everything from single-person tents that are little more than sleeping-bag sized to large units that can fit up to 10 people.

Make sure to look for a tent that offers a bit of extra room that should fit your gear as well. We recommend adding one more person to your actual headcount, maybe more if you have a large camping party.

Even though some manufacturers mark their tents as something like “2-3 person,” read that as two people comfortably, three people max, and plan accordingly. These units are usually something in between the standard sizes, and having a bit too much space is much better than not enough.

Seasonality

You also have to consider how much time you plan to spend in the great outdoors. Are you a recreational outdoorsman that waits for the warm weather to go on hikes and camp in nature? Or are you an outdoor enthusiast always looking for adventures, regardless of the weather?

Tents usually come in three seasonality categories. Two-season tents are only suitable for warm weather-use and have lightweight, mesh-like materials that provide ventilation to keep you cool while staying in them. Three-season tents offer the flexibility to hit the trails during the fall and protect you from heavy rain. Finally, four-season tents have superior insulation and weatherproofing to protect you from snow, high winds, and low temperatures.

A three-season tent is an excellent choice for beginners, and it should provide you dry shelter in the vast majority of camping conditions—or at least camping conditions most of us are willing to stick it out in.

Shape

Tent designs and shapes have changed quite a bit throughout history. Traditionally, A-frame (like pup tents) and teepee designs dominated the market, but an evolution in materials and aerodynamics has pushed the dome or boulder design to the industry’s forefront.

Dome tents provide campers with needed space while maintaining a low aerodynamic profile that helps with windproofing and water-resistance. You can still find other types of tents, but they are usually in the form of long-term or novelty shelters.

Construction

Wood and steel were once the materials of choice when it came to a tent’s frame as they provided the necessary support for the tent walls. As you can imagine, this made the tents heavy and challenging to carry. Over time, aluminum emerged as a tent frame material since it is a robust yet lightweight alternative to steel.

Modern tents use aluminum pipes as the frame pieces, cutting down the tent’s overall weight and improving portability. When choosing a tent, pay attention to the attachments and mounts on the tent walls. A robust frame won’t help if the tent walls are not secure and firm.

Fabrics And Materials

Natural canvas materials dominated the industry in the early years. They were cheap, easy to get ahold of, and provided reliable protection from the elements. And they make great breathable, well-insulated tents.

With that said, canvas tents are heavy and are prone to mold and mildew growth/

Artificial materials like polyester are the foundation of modern tent walls. They are incredibly lightweight yet provide improved performance and weatherproofing compared to canvas. Additionally, heavy-duty polyester has anti-tear properties making it robust and durable.

So, the type of tent material you choose really boils down to what you’re looking for and how you plan to use your tent.

Waterproofing

Being exposed to the elements in nature is no fun. A dry shelter is a must for those that like to camp during the rainy season. Materials used for the tent’s outer walls or rainfly are usually polyester blends that come with a specific waterproof rating, expressed in thousands of millimeters.

For example, in the tent specifications, you may see that the outer tent is a 70D polyester with a 220T coating, for a 3,000 mm waterproof rating. It means that this tent can stay leakproof under the pressure of a 3-meter water column. The higher the rating, the better waterproofing the tent will offer.

Portability

When hiking or camping, you will need to carry plenty of gear and equipment with you, and your tent is just a part of it. The weight and the size of a packed tent plays an essential role in its practicality and functionality. Modern materials like polyester and aluminum revolutionized the tent design, and now there are plenty of lightweight and portable tents on the market. 

Anything below 5 pounds of packed weight is a lightweight tent that should not be an issue to drag around on the trail. There are also ultra-lightweight tents that can weigh as little as 2 pounds. Be careful when buying those, as they usually come with a compromise, such as lack of features, storage space, or less weatherproofing.

Ultra-lightweight tents are mostly for backpackers that don’t expect to spend a long time in them. Most mainstream tents fall in the 5-to-7-pound range, including accessories such as vestibules, attachments, vents, etc.

Storage

Having storage while camping is crucial. You want your gear and supplies to stay dry so that you can use them outdoors. Most modern tents have designated storage areas like vestibules or pockets sewn into the inner tent walls. Estimate how much gear space you will need and choose a tent appropriately.

Setup

The absolute last thing you want to do outdoors is to spend hours pitching a tent. It could be downright dangerous if you are facing bad weather.

Choosing a tent that features a quick, single-person setup is preferred. It’s even more important if you don’t have a lot of camping experience.

Tents that take under 10 minutes to pitch are the sweet spot, with some instant tents taking less than 60 seconds to set up!

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