With a reliable tent, you can comfortably explore Australia's great outdoors with the knowledge that you have somewhere warm and dry to sleep. But not all 3-person tents are equal, and not all will stand up to Australia's tough and variable conditions.
Here, I've taken a closer look at exactly what makes a great 3-person tent. I've done all the hard work, analysing everything from their prices and main features to their durability and design to put together the following list of the top 10 three-person tents on the market today.
My Review Process
I'm a long-time traveller and a regular camper, and I've learned that there's nothing more comforting than knowing that you have a safe place to sleep at the end of a long day. A quality tent provides just this. I've had the fortune to sleep in numerous 3-person tents over the years, and I've had plenty of great experiences - along with some awful ones!
With this knowledge, I've created a short list of the best 3-person tents on the market. The perfect option should be affordable, durable, well designed, include some extra features, and stand up to various weather conditions.
Every model on this list excels in at least one of these areas if not all of them.
It really was a struggle for the top spot, but at the end of the day, the Planet Earth Speedy Blackhole just took the points. It's a versatile model, boasting excellent protection from Australian conditions, ample windows for ventilation, and a nifty popup design.
There's also built-in LED lighting that's compatible with rechargeable power banks. The 150D Oxford polyester floor is super tough, and the fibreglass poles are strong and flexible. There are even taped seams for extra waterproofing and no-see-um mesh for added privacy.
Overall, the Planet Earth Speedy Blackhole is a high-quality shelter with a lot going for it, and it's definitely worth considering.
This lightweight 3-person tent comes in at just 2.98kg and 43 by 18cm, making it the perfect compact backpacking tent. It's a roomy model with plenty of gear storage space, and it comes with aluminium poles and a tear-resistant polyester fly.
There's also a mesh ceiling for maximum ventilation. The micro-mesh fabric allows excellent breathability while maintaining a strong waterproof rating, and the manufacturer claims that it can be put up in 3 minutes and pulled down in just 2.
Overall, I'd seriously recommend considering this model if you need a tent for backpacking that features ample storage for your extra gear.
The Coleman Swagger Instant Up is a trusty 3P tent that's designed for bad weather and cold conditions. It mixes elements of the classic swag and the traditional dome tent to deliver something that's spacious, tough, and super easy to set up.
It is a little heavy, but it boasts excellent ventilation and zippered windows to maximise airflow. There's even an extendable awning to provide extra rain protection.
This instant-up tent from Coleman is actually sold as a 4-person model, but it's an excellent option for 3 people at festivals and events. With one less person, you will have loads of gear storage space for your clothes and other festival gear.
One thing that I love about this tent is the fact that it uses the patented WeatherTec for a leading waterproof rating and maximum rain protection. The darkroom design is said to block out up to 90% of sunlight - making it great for sleeping in after a late night out partying!
The Boundless Opalus Ultralight hiking tent is one of the best 4-season tents on the market. It provides full protection from the worst conditions - including rain, snow, and strong winds - and it comes in at just under 3kg.
This makes it the perfect heavy-duty backpacking tent for your next trip. It also boasts loads of internal storage pouches, as well as a large vestibule for storing extra camping gear. For me, the main downside of this tent is that it can be a little difficult to set up.
This Naturehike 3-seasons hiking tent is one of the best ultralight options on the market. It weighs just 2.4kg and packs down into a small, compact bundle. It features a double layer for extra wind protection, and the breathable mesh provides maximum ventilation.
There's also a 1-year warranty that enables you to get a replacement if you have issues within the first year. The main downside with this tent is that it's a little cramped with 3 people, but it remains one of the best tents for backpacking that I've seen.
The Thule Tepui Explorer Autana is expensive, but it's hands-down the best 3-person rooftop tent on the market. It boasts a large sleeping footprint, an optional annex, and a tough canvas design that's great for camping on cool winter nights.
What's more, this rooftop tent boasts excellent UV and mould resistance. It comes with a built-in high-density foam mattress for maximum comfort, and there are loads of extra features including ample internal storage pockets.
If you're looking for a spacious rooftop tent, I'd seriously recommend considering this Thule Tepui model.
The MSR Mutha Hubba certainly isn't for everyone, but it boasts loads of features for extra comfort. At just 2.07kg, it's an ultralight option. There are dual vestibules for extra storage, along with a colour-coded pole system to make setup fast and easy.
The thing I particularly like about the Mutha Hubba is the included compression sack. This makes it easy to pack it away into a tight bundle for hiking or backpacking. It's made with high-tenacity nylon fabric and is suited to all but the worst winter conditions.
If your budget allows it, I'd highly suggest having a look at the Mutha Hubba. It's expensive, but it's worth every cent.
The Grindavik 4-season tent is another model that's technically a 4-man tent, but it's an excellent option for 3 people as well. It's super affordable, and it's one of the best budget options I've seen.
Don't expect anything too fancy here, as it uses a simple dome tent design. But despite this, it still boasts tough aluminium poles, durable polyester material, and a tough waterproof floor. The basic extra features it does have include internal storage pockets, an interior light hanger, and a dry bag carry case.
If you're looking for a budget-friendly camping tent for 3 or 4 people, this is it.
Inflatable tents aren't super common in Australia, but they're actually a surprisingly good option. The Wiedao Ultralight Inflatable Tent is one of the best models I've seen. It boasts excellent stability in winds up to 50km/h and is fully waterproof in bad conditions.
A hand pump is included for easy inflation, and the manufacturer claims that it takes just 3 minutes to set up. There's also loads of ventilation and, although this is a rather expensive tent, it remains a model worth considering.
How To Choose The Best 3-Person Tent
With such a variety of options on the market, how do you know what tent is right for your needs?
It can be difficult, granted, but you can simplify the process significantly by focusing on the key decision-making factors that I've outlined below.
There are a few different types of tents, including the following.
Dome/traditional - We all know what a dome tent looks like, and I've included different-shaped variations with pole support in this category.
Pop-up - Tents with a pop-up design are becoming more and more popular. Pop-up tents usually have a clever pole design that enables an almost instant set up, making them a hit with impatient campers.
Inflatable - These are becoming more common on the modern market, as they are very easy to set up and don't use any poles. Instead, inflatable tents are held up by tightly inflated air bladders.
Just because a tent is rated for 3 people doesn't mean that it will be the same size as other 3-person tents. Pay particular attention to the dimensions of the sleeping space, as some 3-person models are a little cramped with 3 people.
If you're camping out of a car, this isn't a big deal. But if you're hiking, backpacking, or flying from place to place, it's super important to get a compact, lightweight tent that's easy to carry around.
Most modern tents are designed to take no more than a few minutes to set up. For example, tents with a pop-up design can be assembled almost instantly. It's worth checking this, though, as there are a few models out there with a reputation for being hard to set up and pack down.
If you're planning to use your tent in winter or in bad weather, you should pay attention to the season rating. You will most commonly see 3-season and 4-season ratings.
3-season tents - These are designed for use in Spring, Summer, and Autumn. They don't usually offer enough wind and rain protection for bad winter weather. Of course, a 3-season tent will be more than enough for most of Australia's warmer areas.
4-season tents - These are generally built tougher and designed to stand up to trying weather conditions. If you're camping in winter or in the mountains where there could be snow or extreme cold, I'd recommend a 4-season tent.
Australian conditions are tough on the gear, which means that you will need a tent that's built to last. Most traditional Australian brands use durable tent material and tough poles, but it's still a good idea to take a closer look to make sure you're getting something that you can rely on.
Last, but not least, you should set a clear budget before you begin your search. This will help you narrow your options and prevent you from spending too much on your tent.
For me, the best overall 3-person tent in Australia is the Planet Earth Speedy Blackhole, which boasts loads of extra features and comes in at a very affordable price. The Coleman Swagger Instant Up is another favourite, but every model on this list is a leader in a specific area.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.