best 4 person tent for backpacking

The lightest weight and most packable 4 person tents for backpacking

Shopping for a 4 person backpacking tent is unlike any other size capacity. Options are severely limited because most backpacking brands don’t manufacture many, if any, 4 person tents. This leaves you choosing between an uncontested-clearly-best performer, an array of value or budget picks, and a few ultralight pyramids.

All of six of our featured freestanding tents can be used effectively for car camping. But for backpacking, we believe that the lighter weight models are generally superior. Our assessments are grounded in a mixture of statistical comparison, backcountry experience, and meta-analysis of user/expert reviews. We only recommend models with two doors, as single-door 4p tents are clunky to use, suffer from condensation issues, and lack sufficient gear storage capacity for four people.

Instead of a 4 person backpacking tent, many hikers opt to separate out into two smaller tents. So while you’re here, you may also be interested in our guides to 1 person backpacking tents, 2 person backpacking tents, 3 person backpacking tents, backpacking tarps, pyramid tents, and small 2 person crossover tents.

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4 Person Tent Quick Picks

view from inside a 4 person backpacking tent

4 Person Backpacking Tent Comparison Table

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Tent Price ($) Weight (oz) Height (in) Interior Area (ft²) Vestibule Area (ft²) Weight Per Person (ft²) Total Area Per Person (ft²)
Total Area/Weight (ft²/lb)
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 800 84 50 57 28 21 21.3 16.2
Sierra Designs Meteor 4 369 89 46 55 18 22.3 18.3 13.1
Marmot Tungsten 4 399 127 52.8 52.7 36.6 31.8 22.3 11.3
Big Agnes Blacktail 4 350 117 50 60 18 29.3 19.5 10.7
Mountainsmith Morrison EVO 4 269 113 51 56 22 28.3 19.5 11.0
Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4 220 124 52 70 24 31 23.5 12.1
HMG UltaMid 4 849 27.1 75 85 0 6.8 21.3 50.2
MLD SuperMid 885 19 69 70 0 4.8 17.5 58.9
Black Diamond Mega Light 400 32 65 78 0 8.0 19.5 39.0
MSR Front Range 380 26 64 81 0 6.5 20.3 49.8

4 Person Backpacking Tents

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 4

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4

Choose the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 because it is hands down, far and away the best 4 person backpacking tent, and nothing else even comes close. It is the lightest weight model, and approximately two pounds lighter than average while maintaining great headroom and massive vestibules, which can be configured into awnings.

Another differentiator are its 10.25 mm DAC NSL poles, the strongest aluminum poles in their Featherlite class, and the best tools for the jobs. Like it’s lower capacity siblings, this Copper Spur uses ultralight Silicone-treated ripstop nylon/polyurethane coated fabric, which is strong, lightweight, and waterproof. Given that Copper Spur is also our preferred freestanding 1P, 2P, and 3P tent, it’s unsurprising to find it at the top of 4 person tent heap as well. Read more in our full-length Copper Spur HV UL4 review.

  • Price: $800
  • Weight: 5 lbs, 4 oz
  • Height: 50″
  • Interior Area: 57 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 28 ft²
  • Pros: Lightest 4p model. Near-vertical side-walls. Large doors. Ultralight fabrics. Large awning vestibules. High quality across the board.
  • Cons: Expensive. Only one ceiling vent.

Sierra Designs Meteor 4 person backpacking tent

Sierra Designs Meteor 4

For an optimal blend of value and weight minimization, choose the Sierra Designs Meteor 4, a great value 4p tent. In addition to the aforementioned Copper Spur, this is the only other 4 person backpacking tent we could find weighing less than six pounds while most weigh over seven. And compared to Copper Spur, it costs less than half as much.

We love the near-vertical side walls, and appreciate the vestibule roll-back for star viewing on a warm night. But there are downsides. This is the shortest 4 person tent in our roundup, with the least amount of ceiling space and least headroom. It also has a smaller than average interior area, and smaller than average vestibules. You might think of this more like a 3.5 person tent.

  • Price: $369
  • Weight: 5 lbs, 9 oz
  • Height: 46″
  • Interior Area: 55 (ft²)
  • Vestibule Area: 18 (ft²)
  • Pros: Great value. Second lightest weight.  Steep side wall angles. Fly roll-back feature. Durable fabrics.
  • Cons: Smaller than average interior and much smaller than average vestibules. Shorter than average ceiling height.

Marmot Tungsten 4

Marmot Tungsten 4P

The Marmot Tungsten 4P is a very popular 4 person backpacking tent with great user reviews. However, despite averaging 4.8 stars on 14 user reviews posted to, it is statistically unimpressive. Tungsten is the heaviest tent and has the smallest interior in our entire roundup.

But there are advantages. Marmot is a quality brand who makes reliable products. Tungsten 4P has the largest vestibules of any 4 person tent, and also has the tallest peak height and great headroom. It has dual vents, durable fabrics, and nearly ever user was impressed by the quality and performance. And did we mention it comes with its own footprint?

  • Price: $399
  • Weight: 7 lbs, 15 oz
  • Height: 52.8″
  • Interior Area: 52.7 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 36.6 ft²
  • Pros: Durable fabrics. Absolutely massive vestibules. Dual ceiling spreader bars. Two vents. Tall ceiling height. Good user reviews. Comes with footprint.
  • Cons: Heavy. Smaller-than-average interior space.

Big Agnes Blacktail 4

Big Agnes Blacktail 4

The Big Agnes Blacktail 4 offers a great blend of value, space, and all-around good quality. Its 60 ft² interior floor plan differentiates it from the pack, and makes it one of the largest models in its class. Sure, the seven pound five ounce weight is heavy, but fairly average for a 4 person backpacking tent.

Even if Blacktail isn’t the most premium 4 person tent, it’s made by Big Agnes, so we can assume a baseline level of design competency knowing that brand produces some of the best backcountry shelters money can buy. A few standout features include dual ceiling vents, a ceiling spreader bar, and lots of interior pockets. We wouldn’t have minded larger vestibules,  buy beyond that, Blacktail 4 is a well-balanced tent with little to complain about aside from weight, even if nothing about it is top tier.

  • Price: $350
  • Weight: 7 lbs, 5 oz
  • Height: 50″
  • Interior Area: 60.0 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 18.0 ft²
  • Pros: Good value. Larger than average interior volume. Dual vents.
  • Cons: Small vestibules. Heavy.

Mountainsmith Morrison EVO 4 person backpacking tent

Mountainsmith Morrison EVO 4

All things considered, we feel that Mountainsmith Morrison Evo 4 is the best 4 person backpacking tent for less than $300. Everything about it is fairly average except for the price tag, which is well-below average. And that makes for a good value proposition.

Sure, seven pounds isn’t particularly lightweight, but it’s actually the third lightest freestanding model out of six on our list. It has a spreader bar, and interior mesh pockets, and most importantly of all for a budget 4 person tent, it has two doors and two vestibules.

  • Price: $269
  • Weight: 7 lbs, 1 oz
  • Height: 51″
  • Interior Area: 56 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 22 ft²
  • Pros: Very affordable. Good stats relative to low price point. Durable fabrics.
  • Cons: Heavy. Inexpensive tents are more likely to break or fail. strangely placed low bug mesh panels at foot/head-end.

ALPS Montaineering Lynx 4

Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4

The Alps Mountaineering Lynx 4 is the pinnacle of affordability for a functional 4 person backpacking tent. It is the least expensive model with two doors and two vestibules, making it far more desirable compared to similar offerings from Kelty like Grand Mesa and Late Start. What’s more, it has an absolutely mondo massive interior floor plan of 70 ft², the largest in our roundup by a large margin.

However there are some downsides. Firstly, the sidewalls and head end walls are all quite sloped, meaning it feels smaller than it actually is. There is no ceiling spreader bar, which further decreases headroom. The tent body itself is mostly nylon with little mesh, making it less breathable, and less adaptable in warm climates (though superior in cold/windy ones). Yes, it’s heavy, but it also has quite durable fabrics on the plus side.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is that tents this cheap are not made to last. Corners have to be cut somewhere, and while we cannot point to a specific flaw, know that inexpensive outdoor gear is prone to failure, and something always finds a way to break. You get what you pay for.

  • Price: $220
  • Weight: 7 lbs, 12 oz
  • Height: 52″
  • Interior Area: 70 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 24 ft²
  • Pros: Most affordable. Massive interior floor plan. Durable fabrics. Dual ceiling vents.
  • Cons: Heavy. Inexpensive tents are more likely to break or fail. Very sloping sidewalls with no ceiling spreader. Tent body discourages ventilation.

Ultralight 4 Person Backpacking Tents

The best way to save weight on a 4 person backpacking tent is by choosing a pyramid. This type of shelter is extremely lightweight and incredibly sturdy in high wind. It can be your primary shelter, or act as a base camp kitchen or living room. Pyramids offer a supremely spacious interior area.

Of course, there are drawbacks to choosing a mid. They are floorless and not inherently bug proof. Pitching involves strapping a pair of trekking poles together and properly tensioning lots of guy lines. It’s simple enough, but there is a learning curve. The interior perimeter serves as the gear storage zone, because there is no differentiated vestibule.

All of these downsides can be mitigated by modular floor/bug mesh inserts. However, these solutions add cost and weight, which decreases the ultralight luster. Bug mesh inserts create a double-walled experience, but reduce the interior volume. In general, we recommend adding a floor, skipping the mesh insert, and using the tent outside of mosquito season. That being said, a pyramid with a full floor + mesh insert is likely still better from a performance perspective than every other 4 person tent in this guide except for Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 person backpacking tent

Hyperlight Mountain Gear UltaMid 4

For a premium ultralight 4 person backpacking tent, choose the Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 4. This design offers an incredible strength-to-weight ratio, and its massive 85 ft² interior can easily fit four campers. The high price tag is thanks to its Dyneema construction, a best-in-class tent fabric that does not stretch or sag, and is significantly stronger than nylon or polyester. This is truly a great piece of gear, especially in winter, and we recommend it highly!

Add-on: Mesh Insert with DCF Floor
Add-on: Mesh Insert, No Floor
Add-on: Half Insert (for 2p use)
Add-on: Carbon Fiber Pole

  • Price: $849
  • Weight: 1 lb, 11.1 oz
  • Height: 75″
  • Interior Area: 85 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 0 ft²
  • Pros: Ultralight. Best area-to-weight ratio. Dyneema fabric is durable and doesn’t sag when wet. Dual peak vents. Highest ceiling.
  • Cons: Expensive. Optional floor and bug mesh inner sold separately. Pitch requires well-tensioned stakes and large tent pad.
Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid

Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid (made to order)

We believe in the top-of-the-line quality of MLD’s ultralight pyramids, and SuperMid in DCF is Adventure Alan’s 4P choice! At 19 ounces, it’s the lightest weight option in its category. Split four ways, that’s less than five ounces per person!

But pay attention! This 4 person backpacking tent is made to order, meaning it comes with a 3-6 week lead time. We recommend buying no later than two months before your first intended use, just to be safe. There’s also a less expensive SilNylon version available, but as this is a connoisseur’s pick, we assume you want DCF.

  • Price: $885
  • Weight: 1 lb 3 oz
  • Height: 69″
  • Interior Area: 70 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 0 ft²
  • Pros: Ultralight, lightest size-to-weight ratio. Lightest 4P option. Dyneema durability. No sagging. Peak vent. Inserts available. Fewer seams. Exceptional quality.
  • Cons: 3-6 week lead time. Smallest interior area in 4p class. Most expensive mid in 4P DCF class.
Black Diamond Mega Light

Black Diamond Mega Light

In our estimations, the Black Diamond Mega Light is the best value ultralight 4 person tent. Compared to its chief competitor, the MSR Front Range, Mega Light is slightly more expensive, but comes pre-seam taped, includes a peak vent, and a carbon fiber pole (or use trekking poles), and is designed with an explicitly sag-resistant fabric. It’s not as good as Dyneema, but it’s the next best thing, and we think this tent wins when it comes to Black Diamond Mega Light vs MSR Front Range.

Add-on: Mega Light Ground Cloth
Add-on: Mega Bug Mesh Insert
Alt-Version: Black Diamond Mega Snow

  • Price: $400
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Height: 65″
  • Interior Area: 78 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 0 ft²
  • Pros: Ultralight. Great area-to-weight ratio. Sag-resistant fabric. Comes with carbon center pole, or use trekking poles.
  • Cons: Optional floor and bug mesh inner sold separately. Pitch requires well-tensioned stakes and large tent pad.
MSR Front Range 4 Person Ultralight

MSR Front Range Ultralight Shelter

You don’t have to break the bank to purchase an ultralight 4 person tent, and value shoppers will love the MSR Front Range because it’s the least expensive option with all of the pyramid benefits.

It’s slightly lighter, larger, and even less expensive than its direct competitor, the Black Diamond Mega Light. However, it lacks a peak vent, its fabric is slightly more prone to sagging, and isn’t seam taped. As such, we slightly prefer the alternative, but only marginally. Choos Front Range because you’re an MSR loyalist, found it on sale, want to save a few ounces, or simple prefer the orange colorway. This is still a sweet tent.

Add-on: MSR Front Range Bug/Floor Insert
Add-on: MSR Adjustable Tent Pole

  • Price: $380
  • Weight: 1 lb, 10 oz
  • Height: 64″
  • Interior Area: 81 ft²
  • Vestibule Area: 0 ft²
  • Pros: Ultralight. Great area-to-weight ratio. Lightest weight value option.
  • Cons: Not seam-taped. No vent. Optional floor and bug mesh inner sold separately. Pitch requires well-tensioned stakes and large tent pad.

Who Should Choose a 4 person tent for backpacking?

We believe that a 4 person backpacking tent is the right choice for the following users and use-cases, in no particular order.

  • A family with two adults and two kids or dogs
  • Four small-to-medium sized bodies of any age
  • Three medium-to-large sized adults or wide-pad users
  • Mixed car camping and backpacking use
  • For setting up a backcountry basecamp

Who Should Not Choose a 4 Person Backpacking Tent?

Just because you are a group of four does not mean a 4 person backpacking tent is right for you. Depending on the group composition, you may have more success with a 3p or 5p tent.

  • A group of four medium-to-large sized adults because it would be cramped. Instead,
  • A group of five or more people, obviosly
  • Four people and one large or two small-to-medium sized dogs
  • Restless or noisy sleepers, because you will be in very close proximity to three others, disrupting their ability to rest and recover their hiking muscles
4 person tent for backpacking

4 Person Backpacking Tent Conclusion

Thank you for reading this buyer’s guide where we hope you found your next 4 person backpacking tent! The marketplace for a 4 person tent is unusually sparse, and options are limited. In fact, there are very few that we didn’t cover. If you’re wondering about a particular tent, but don’t see it featured, that’s most likely because it was too heavy or too poorly user-reviewed, and simply didn’t make the cut to justify recommending.

We’re still contemplating what it says about the marketplace that an overwhelming majority of 4 person tent offerings are price point or value-tier models, rather than premium performance models. Never before have we seen fewer options competing for the best overall slot. Truly, Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL4 stands alone on a high pedestal.

Perhaps groups of more dedicated backpackers who are willing to buy fancier tents prefer separating out into two smaller tents, rather than using a 4 person backpacking tent. Perhaps families need a big tent, but can’t afford a fancier model while also supporting their children. Maybe beginners who buy entry level price point gear envision they are more likely to use a 4p tent than they actually are. Either way, it’s a fascinating phenomenon!

From all of us at Adventure Alan & Co, happy hiking, and happy camping!